Articles Posted in Pinellas County

A Tallahassee man is suing a Clearwater miniature golf facility, alleging negligence.

The man filed a complaint Nov. 7 in Pinellas Circuit Court against the mini golf business owners, alleging they failed to provide a safe environment for its business invitees.

According to the complaint, on Aug. 2, the man was at the miniature golf course when he unknowingly stepped down a steep angle on the floor, causing him to fall.

The lawsuit states the man suffered serious injuries to his right leg and back, resulting in pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, loss of earnings and aggravation of a previous existing condition.

The man alleges the business owners failed to provide a side walkway, lighting, and warning of a steep drop-off, failed to inspect the hidden dangers on the property, and failed to warn the man of the dangerous drop-off.

Mini golf is usually a fun experience enjoyed by everyone. No one ever thinks they can be injured playing mini golf, but the truth is, you can certainly sustain injuries while mini golfing. Even the safest mini golf attractions can have lapses of negligence. As an invitee of the mini golf course, you as the guest have a right to be reasonably protected against any safety risk while in the park under Florida premises liability law. Failure on the mini golf location’s part to protect you may be considered negligence.

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A motorcyclist was killed Tuesday evening in a crash, and according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, charges could be filed against the driver who slammed into the biker.

The incident occurred just before 7 p.m.

HCSO believes the biker was operating a motorcycle on Boyette Road when he drove in between two vehicles as he was approaching the intersection of Balm Riverview Road.

At the same time, a female driver was heading westbound on Boyette Road, attempting to turn left and travel south. She pulled into the path of the motorcycle and struck the biker with the passenger side of her car.

The biker was apparently not wearing a helmet and died at the scene after he was ejected from the motorcycle, according to reports. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to police, the female driver had an “odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from her mouth and admitted to having consumed alcohol.”

The woman agreed to a blood draw and could be charged based on the result, investigators said.

Motorcycle accidents usually involve serious injuries, and in the worst cases, death. A motorcycle offers riders very little protection in the event of a collision, leaving bikers vulnerable to catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord trauma, traumatic brain injuries, loss of limbs, neck and back injuries, knee and shoulder injuries and broken bones.

Our Tampa Bay DUI Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can protect your rights after a motorcycle accident, and help you and your loved ones pursue compensation for losses. As former DUI prosecutors, we know how to hold drunk drivers accountable for the pain and suffering they cause to motorcycle accident victims and their families.

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The final report on Hurricane Hermine is in. Heavy rainfall caused more flooding and strong winds brought down trees and powerlines.

Here are the final numbers:

Storm Surge

Cedar Key 7.5 feet

Clearwater Beach 4.41 feet

McKay Bay (Tampa Bay) 4.09 feet

St. Petersburg 3.58 feet

Port Manatee 3.21 feet

Peak Wind Gusts

Indian Shores 78 mph

Treasure Island 71 mph

St. Petersburg 63 mph

Clearwater Beach 62 mph

Cedar Key 60 mph

MacDill 55 mph

Cedar Key 54 mph

Sarasota/Bradenton 54 mph

Crystal River 53 mph

Brooksville 53 mph

Anna Maria 52 mph

Tampa 46 mph

St. Pete/Clearwater 47 mph

Lakeland 42 mph

Winter Haven 41 mph

Plant City 40 mph

Inverness 35 mph

Rainfall

Baskin (Pinellas) 22.36

Largo (Pinellas) 16.11

Gulfport (Pinellas) 14.30

Dunedin (Pinellas) 12.93

Lake Worrell (Pasco) 11.04

Seminole (Pinellas) 10.87

Belleaire (Pinellas) 10.58

Holiday (Pasco) 10.22

Clearwater (Pinellas) 10.03

Palmetto (Manatee) 9.82

Longboat Key (Manatee) 9.61

Ellenton (Manatee) 9.46

Sarasota/Bradenton (Manatee) 9.38

Port Richey (Pasco) 9.24

Tampa (Hillsborough) 6.83

Valrico (Hillsborough) 6.77

Sun City Center (Hillsborough) 6.55

Wesley Chapel (Pasco) 6.55

If your home was damaged by Hermine:

  • Get in touch with your insurance provider ASAP
  • Take any possible steps you can to protect your home from further storm damage
  • Document all damage with photos or video
  • Compose an inventory list of all damages
  • Take down notes on any information your insurance company gives you
  • Save all receipts for expenses related to the damage and/or repairs
  • Make copies of all documents sent to you by your insurance company

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In most cases, it won’t make a difference whether your home or business was damaged in a tropical storm or a hurricane. The damage can be the same regardless of if it was caused by a hurricane or tropical storm.

Even though a hurricane can produce heavier rains and more intense wind and flooding, a property can still be damaged in a tropical storm, including wind, rain, mud, mold and debris. In fact, many insurance policies categorize windstorm coverage and flooding under the same cause of damage. However, every insurance policy is different, so it is imperative to review your policy and make sure you have appropriate coverage.

A hurricane and a tropical storm are both types of  tropical cyclones that spur thunderstorms and high winds. The only difference is in the intensity. A hurricane is the most powerful type of tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. What is important to highlight is that some damages caused by hurricanes is not always covered by a traditional homeowners’ insurance policy. Living in Florida, it is essential to understand how important insurance is when a hurricane or tropical storm barges through. While you should be covered by your insurance in the event of a tropical storm or a hurricane, sometimes insurance companies withhold payments or severely underpay for what is owed.

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No one was injured Tuesday morning after a car rammed into the entrance of the Largo Post Office.

Largo Police and Largo Fire both responded to the post office located at 50 8th Ave. S.W. after the sedan crashed into the building.

Postal operations were suspended as officials tended to the logistics associated with the crash.

There were no injuries, according to reports. Operations have returned to normal inside the post office.

Vehicles crashing into buildings happen more frequently than you might think. In fact, every day in the U.S., there are 50-60 serious storefront accidents involving an automobile plowing into a restaurant, store, or other type of business and severely injuring customers and employees.

Sadly, these crashes can result in serious injuries and even death to business patrons or employees. Fortunately, no one suffered any harm in this post office crash.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Storefront Safety Council, the following storefront accident statistics have been recorded:

  • There are 20,000 vehicle-into-building crashes every year in the United States, which breaks down to 50 to 60 accidents every day.
  • Every day in the U.S., more than 20 convenience stores are hit by vehicles, which equates to more than 7,300 convenience store crash incidents each year.
  • Why do these crashes occur? 41 percent of all vehicle-into-building crashes are caused by driver confusion or “pedal error.”

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A 26-year-old man on a scooter suffered serious injuries after a crash Tuesday morning in Clearwater.

According to police, the man was riding a scooter that collided with an SUV just before 7 a.m. on Belcher Road just north of Drew Street.

The man is in critical condition at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.

Officers believe the man was travelling northbound on Belcher Road on his scooter when the 48-year-old driver of the SUV tried to exit a convenience store parking lot to go southbound on Belcher, triggering the collision.

Authorities claim the scooter driver was not wearing a helmet.

An investigation into the crash is pending.

Scooter vs. automobile accidents can be deadly, strictly due to the size and lack of protection that a scooter provides to a driver. If a scooter driver/passenger does survive, they are likely left suffering severe injuries. Most scooter accidents involve ejections and not wearing a helmet can only make these injuries more tragic.

There are many reasons for scooter vs. automobile accidents, including reckless or negligent driving, drivers failing to see the scooter, poor visibility/bad weather, roadway defects and even driver impairment. Regardless of what caused an accident, it is important to get an injury attorney involved right away to make sure all evidence is promptly collected, witnesses are interviewed and insurance companies involved are dealt with accordingly. Our Clearwater Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know that these types of cases can be complex, mostly because insurance companies are quick to place the blame on the scooter driver. We can help make sure your rights are protected and that we do everything we can to recover full and fair compensation on your behalf for all injuries.

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A new report on bicyclist deaths by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that Florida has the highest rate of bicycling deaths of any state in the nation — 0.57 per 100,000 people, more than double the nationwide rate of 0.23 per 100,000.

While other states have found ways to cut bicycle deaths during two periods measured over the last three decades, Florida has only reduced the number less than 10 percent.

Nationwide, safety seems to be improving for bicyclists, with the number of deaths per 100,000 people declining 44 percent from 0.41 to 0.23 during the periods measured — the five years from 1975 to 1979 and the five years from 2008 to 2012, according to the new CDC report titled “Bicyclist Deaths Associated with Motor Vehicle Traffic — United States, 1975–2012.”

The steepest decline measured was among children younger than 15.

According to the report, bicyclists are killed on U.S. roads at a rate double that of vehicle occupants, even though bicycle travel accounts for only about 1 percent of trips across all modes of transportation.

Because of the year-round warm climate in Florida, cycling is a popular mode of transportation and exercise activity during most months of the year. However, Florida roadways also pose serious risks to bicyclists, from distracted automobile drivers to improper bike lanes. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury or was killed in a bike accident, it is very important to discuss your case with a Florida Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton.

Unfortunately, what could start out as a leisurely bike ride can quickly turn into a fatal accident. At Whittel & Melton, we believe that the responsible party should be held responsible for damages. Filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim for a bike accident can be complex, but we can provide you with the experienced representation you need.

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Fireworks are definitely dangerous, but they are not the only dangers to avoid this Fourth of July weekend. The roadways are especially hazardous during the summer holidays. When you are traveling to or from an Independence Day party this year, please remember to be on the look out for reckless drivers.

Here are a few dangers to try and avoid this Fourth of July:

  • Drunk drivers. Think about it, almost every Florida Independence Day celebration will have alcohol. Partygoers who are drinking at parties and such should not get behind the wheel of a car. If you see a car weaving or dodging in and out of traffic, keep your distance. If you have a passenger with you, consider notifying authorities.
  • 4428561177_831c2f9269_zDrowsy Drivers. Many holiday drivers are travelling lengthy distances to get to their final destination. Those who have been driving for hours may be feeling fatigued. Drowsy driving is often as dangerous as drunk drivers, so stay alert.
  • Distracted Drivers. Keep in mind that many travelers on Florida roadways are from out of town and have never been to the area before. Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds to look at a navigation device can have devastating results. Avoid being a distracted driver by staying off your cell phone and having other passengers check your GPS or phone for you.
  • Speeding Drivers. People that are anxious to get where they are going may decide to speed or drive recklessly. Make sure you obey the posted speed limits and monitor your speed if there is heavy traffic.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a press release last week about the U.S. Department of Transportation’s first-ever National Tween Seat Belt Safety Advertising campaign. The campaign urges parents to “Never Give Up Until They Buckle Up.”

The NHTSA is utilizing this campaign to show the importance of targeting this age group and their parents about seat belt safety. It is absolutely vital for tweens to use their seatbelts any time they are riding in cars because these are formative years that immediately precede driving privileges for teenagers.

Unrestrained Tween Facts: Did You Know?

  • Within the past five years, 1,552 children between the ages of 8 and 14 died in car, SUV or Van collisions.
  • Around half of those children killed were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.
  • The percentage of child passengers who die while riding unbelted tends to increase with age. This more pronounced among 13 and 14-year-olds, regardless of seating position.

2732924156_617c53d3df_zThe campaign targets the parents of children between the ages of 8 and 14 years old. Why? This is a very important time to instill the habit in children of always buckling up, for every trip. Tweens are just a few short years away from being in the driver’s seat, which makes this campaign all the more important.

Parents are encouraged to lead by example. No matter how short the trip, any time you get behind the wheel you should fasten your seatbelt before heading anywhere.

Tweens are constantly learning how to be responsible and make good decisions. It is up to the adult or adults in the car to make sure they are always buckled up. Again, it doesn’t matter if you are driving 2 miles or 2,000, tweens, children and adults need to be buckled up for every ride.

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According to police, a man was stabbed and critically wounded during an altercation outside a St. Petersburg nightclub early Sunday.

Just before 2 a.m., an argument involving several people inside the nightclub located at 2420 Central Avenue, continued outside on the street.

A witness told police they saw a 29-year-old man stab a 32-year-old man twice.

An officer on the scene arrested the man accused of the stabbing and charged him with attempted second-degree murder.

179875756_5ac7eb2447_zThe man that was stabbed was transported to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg where he underwent surgery. He is listed in critical condition.

Violent crime is a serious problem in and around bars and nightclubs. The Tampa Bay Negligent Security Lawyers at Whittel & Melton routinely represent victims of violent crime and help them to recover financial compensation for injuries, and in many cases, for wrongful death.

Business owners have a legal duty to provide adequate security for customers and visitors in order to prevent foreseeable violent crimes. If there has been criminal activity on or near the premises in the past, then the owner of the property should have known that future criminal activity could take place and taken proper steps to implement adequate security measures. When the proper steps are not taken, then the business or property owner can be held liable in a civil personal injury or wrongful death case based on negligent security and they could be required to pay compensation to the injury victim or the family of the person killed.

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