Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Halloween is tomorrow and our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want everyone to remember to make safety a part of your celebration at home, at a party, or while trick or treating. Please keep the following safety tips in mind for happy Halloween memories:

Trick or Treating Safety

  • Children under the age of 12 should be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult while trick or treating. With older children, curfews should be established. Encourage teens to stay with a group and make sure you know what route they plan to use.
  • You can reduce the risk of a pedestrian accident by using flashlights and glow sticks when trick or treating. These will allow motorists to see your trick or treater on the street. We also encourage you to dress your children in costumes with reflective material, lighter colors, and free from excessive material, which could prompt a slip and fall accident. Proper footwear is essential in preventing falls, too. Avoid wearing masks that are too large, which can obstruct your child’s vision.
  • Always have your cellphone on you in case of an emergency!
  • Stay in well-lit areas on familiar streets, and pass on going to dark homes. Make sure your kids know to never enter homes or cars to retrieve candy.
  • Always inspect candy for choking hazards and potential tampering before eating.

Safe Driving On Halloween

  • As a driver, be especially cautious in residential neighborhoods where trick or treaters may travel. Drive slowly and be vigilant in watching out for children in costume and other pedestrians.
  • If you are reversing from a home or street, please look for anyone behind you before doing so.
  • Distracted driving and speeding should be avoided during heavy trick or treating hours, and really any time when you are behind the wheel.
  • Turn on headlights, even during daylight hours just to be extra cautious.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident, a slip and fall accident or any other type of accident due to another’s negligence, we can help. Call us for a free consultation at 866-608-5529 or contact us online. We can begin helping you with your potential case right away, so do not delay.

Continue reading

A motorcyclist was killed Sunday in a hit-and-run crash in Daytona Beach, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The crash happened at the intersection of 13th Street and San Jose Boulevard at about 5:10 p.m.

Troopers said the crash involved a motorcycle and a pickup truck.  

The motorcyclist died at Halifax Medical Center.

The driver of the pickup fled on foot, according to reports. Witnesses saw the driver of the pickup get into a white passenger car that fled the scene, according to police.

Other motorcyclists have died in crashes in Central Florida since Friday.

Two motorcyclists were killed in a crash near International Speedway Boulevard in Volusia County on Friday.

A fatal motorcycle crash in Volusia County was reported on Saturday.

Thousands of motorcyclists were in Daytona Beach Oct. 21-22 for Biketoberfest.

Drivers who cause motorcycle collisions may experience a moment of panic immediately after when they decide to stay or flee the scene. Those who choose to leave the scene of the crash are are in fact breaking the law and committing a serious crime. In such cases, it is the victim and their family who are burdened with all the expenses of the aftermath of the crash, including costs of hospitalization, rehabilitation and even funeral expenses, lost wages and more. Our Florida Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help those injured and families of those killed in hit-and-run accidents better understand their legal rights.

Continue reading

Florida lawmakers are discussing a potential law that would make helmets mandatory for motorcycle riders under 21.

Sen. Keith Perry’s (R-Gainesville) bill would change the helmet exemption from 16 to 21. Under the change, drivers over 21 must have an insurance policy for at least $10,000 to ride without a helmet.

Any motorcyclist under 21 not wearing a helmet would be charged with a traffic infraction.

According to AAA, motorcycle accident deaths in Florida are up 30 percent since 2014, with 606 motorcyclists losing their lives in 2015 alone.

Lawmakers have tried and failed to bring back the mandatory helmet law the legislature repealed in 2000.

The new bill would require that motorcyclists and moped drivers under the age of 21 wear helmets.

Still, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration finds it’s not young people but motorcyclists 40 and over who are more likely to die in accidents: that age group comprised 54 percent of motorcycle fatalities in 2015.

One of every five motorcycle crashes reported results in head or neck injuries. Head injuries are are far more common in motorcycle crashes. Research shows that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of neck or head injury. Most crashes on a motorcycle happen on shorter trips and even with low-speed crashes, there can be a fatality. For most riders who are travelling at around 30 miles an hour when they get get involved in a crash, helmets can cut both the number and the severity of injuries by half. Regardless of what speed a motorcyclist is travelling at, not wearing a helmet places you at an increased risk of suffering from a head injury or wrongful death than riders who are wearing helmets at the time of the crash.

Continue reading

A 2-year-old boy drowned Saturday afternoon after he wandered into the pool at his Westside home, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

The boy’s father and stepmother were with him at the home.

The boy’s father went to check on the boy Saturday afternoon, thinking the toddler was asleep in his room. When he wasn’t there, the father looked for him and found the boy in the backyard pool, quickly pulling him out and beginning CPR.

When firefighters arrived, they continued CPR and took the boy to Orange Park Medical Center, where he died.

Police said the in-ground pool was gated and there were several obstacles to the child getting to the pool, but they were ones the toddler could get through, like a screen door.

There have been 43 reported drownings over the last six years reported to the Department of Children and Families since 2012 in Jacksonville.

Police are investigating the incident, but no foul play is suspected. The Department of Children and Families will be notified.

There are approximately 3,300 drowning deaths per year, according to a report by the CDC. That means there are an alarming 10 deaths per day nationwide. One in five of these drowning deaths involve a child. Tragically, almost all drowning deaths in swimming pools are the result of negligence and are entirely preventable.

Continue reading

According to deputies, a man was killed Saturday while riding a scooter in Pompano Beach.

The 22-year-old Lake Worth man died in the crash that happened shortly before 9 p.m., the Broward Sheriff’s Office said.

Investigators say the man was heading west in the center lane of the 900 block of Southwest Third Street at the overpass when he was struck by a GMC Yukon being driven by a 48-year-old woman.

The woman stopped to help the man after the crash but he died after being taken to Broward Health North, according to reports.

Investigators believe the man was going around the 35 mph speed limit at the time of the crash. Neither she nor a witness reported seeing the scooter before the crash, according to the sheriff’s office.

Scooters sharing the roads with other vehicles can bring about serious dangers. Scooters can be hard to spot for driver who is not paying attention, and many motorists do not take enough care to keep an eye out for them. Scooters are always at risk of being hit, and scooter operators are always the ones at a disadvantage due to the fact that scooters offer so little fall and impact protection.

Even the most defensive scooter driver cannot be protected from negligent motorists. When someone else is responsible for causing your injury or a loved one’s death, you can file a suit for financial compensation for the damages you have suffered, including:

  • Medical costs
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Funeral expenses

Continue reading

A new study of pedestrian and bicycle travel suggests investment in infrastructure and policies to encourage walking and biking is correlated with lower rates of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths.

The work by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Madison also identifies the safest and most dangerous metropolitan regions for pedestrians and bicyclists in the U.S.

Using improved travel data, the study calculated the rates of fatalities for walkers and bicyclists in 46 American regions with populations greater than one million.

The safest regions identified by the meta-analysis were:

Walking

  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Minneapolis
  • New York City
  • Portland
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle

Bicycling

  • Portland

The most dangerous regions were:

Walking

  • Houston
  • Jacksonville
  • Miami
  • Orlando
  • San Antonio
  • Tampa

Bicycling

  • Jacksonville
  • New York City
  • Orlando
  • Tampa
  • West Palm Beach

The study uses data from the National Household Travel Survey, which includes work, recreational, shopping, school and social trips, so it goes beyond the “journey-to-work” data collected by the U.S. Census.

Analysis of all 46 regions also provided support for the “safety in numbers” hypothesis: More pedestrian and bicyclist traffic overall is related to lower crash risk for each person walking and bicycling.

Continue reading

Uber knowingly leased unsafe cars to its drivers in Singapore, according to new reports.

One of those cars, a recalled Honda Vezel with an Uber driver at the wheel, spouted flames from its dashboard in January, melting the car’s interior and cracking its windshield. The driver had just dropped off a passenger when he began smelling the smoke.

Uber had bought more than 1,000 of the defective cars, which were recalled by Honda in April 2016 due to an electrical component that can overheat and catch fire.

And though Uber knew the cars needed repairs to make them safe, the company continued to lease them to drivers unfixed.

Word of the fire apparently reached Uber’s executives in San Francisco shortly after the company’s insurer in Singapore said it wouldn’t cover the damage to the scorched Vezel due to the known recall.

When Uber launched in Singapore in early 2013, it marked the company’s first expansion into Asia.

It was a good market to enter: In addition to all the rain you might expect in a tropical climate with two monsoon seasons, owning a car in Singapore is extremely expensive. The government requires owners to buy a certificate of entitlement, which represents “a right to vehicle ownership and use of the limited road space for 10 years.” The certificates are released through competitive bidding, and recently they’ve fetched prices from $44,000 and up.

That kind of expense made it hard for Uber to find drivers, and so the company created a unit, Lion City Rentals, that would lease cars to drivers. It represented a new approach for the company, which avoids owning assets.

Instead of buying cars from authorized Honda and Toyota dealers, the company reportedly began importing hundreds of used cars a month from small dealers in the “gray market”, where safety standards are hard to enforce. At least one of those dealers didn’t get the Vezels fixed before selling them to Uber. While Uber was aware of the problem and asked the dealer to hasten its repairs, the company continued to lease the defective vehicles to drivers without warning them of the safety issue.

Even after the fire, Uber told drivers that the Vezels needed “immediate precautionary servicing” — without mentioning the risk of fire and overheating.

Uber says it took action, but “could have done more.”

“As soon as we learned of a Honda Vezel from the Lion City Rental fleet catching fire, we took swift action to fix the problem, in close coordination with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority as well as technical experts,” Uber said in the statement. “But we acknowledge we could have done more—and we have done so. We’ve introduced robust protocols and hired three dedicated experts in-house at LCR whose sole job is to ensure we are fully responsive to safety recalls. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve proactively responded to six vehicle recalls and will continue to do so to protect the safety of everyone who uses Uber.”

Uber lost nearly $3 billion in 2016 but is nevertheless is one of the largest privately held companies, valued at nearly $70 billion.

Uber’s actions are quite appalling. Uber reportedly bought the defective, recalled vehicles from what is known as the “grey market” and knowingly leased them out to drivers. Knowingly leasing defective vehicles to drivers, knowing that drivers and passengers are at a great risk of suffering injuries or even being killed, is absolutely shocking. Uber should be held accountable for its careless actions and it is extremely likely that federal regulators will launch a full blown investigation into the type of vehicles that the company is leasing out to drivers in the United States.

Continue reading

Older people are dying on the job at a higher rate than all other workers combined, even as the rate of workplace fatalities decreases, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal statistics.

This is an alarming trend as baby boomers reject the traditional retirement age of 65 and keep working. The U.S. government estimates that by 2024, older workers will account for 25 percent of the labor market.

Gerontologists say those changes include gradually worsening vision and hearing impairment, reduced response time, balance issues and chronic medical or muscle or bone problems such as arthritis.

In 2015, about 35 percent of the fatal workplace accidents involved a worker 55 and older – or 1,681 of the 4,836 fatalities reported nationally.

The AP analysis showed that overall workplace fatality rate for all workers – and for those 55 and older – decreased by 22 percent between 2006 and 2015. But the rate of fatal accidents among older workers during that time period was 50 percent to 65 percent higher than for all workers, depending on the year.

The number of deaths among all workers dropped from 5,480 in 2005 to 4,836 in 2015. However, on-the-job fatalities among older workers increased slightly, from 1,562 to 1,681, the analysis shows.

During that time period, the number of older people in the workplace increased by 37 percent. That compares with a 6 percent rise in the population of workers overall.

The AP analysis is based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census for Fatal Occupational Injuries and from one-year estimates from the American Community Survey, which looks at the working population. It excludes cases where the cause of death was from a “natural cause,” including a heart attack, stroke among others.

AP also examined the number and types of accidents in which older workers died between 2011, when the bureau changed the way it categorized accidents, to 2015:

  • Fall-related fatalities rose 20 percent.
  • Contact with objects and equipment increased 17 percent.
  • Transportation accidents increased 15 percent.
  • Fires and explosions decreased by 8 percent.

An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found in 2013 that 44 percent of older Americans said their job required physical effort most or almost all of the time, and 36 percent said it was more difficult to complete the physical requirements of their jobs than it was when they were younger.

In most states, the fatal accident rates for older workers were consistently higher than comparable rates for all workers.

Nevada, New Jersey and Washington had the greatest percent increase in fatal accident rates for older workers between 2006 and 2015.

The three states with the biggest percent decrease were Hawaii, Oregon and Vermont.

Eight states saw their overall workplace fatality rate drop, even as the rate for older workers increased: Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New York, Texas, Utah and Washington.

In two states – North Dakota and Wisconsin – the trend was reversed; older worker accident rates got smaller while the accident rate overall increased.

If you have been injured on the job, one of the most important things you can do is to report it. While this might seem obvious, there are many times a person is injured without requiring immediate medical attention, so it might seem like a good idea to take a wait and see approach and not report the incident. However, when an accident is not reported, your employer could deny you medical treatment and benefits for missed time from work. By reporting any workplace accidents properly, you can prevent many potential hassles.

Continue reading

The first South Florida death related to lobster miniseason involved a 79-year-old man who was being towed behind a boat.

The man was snorkeling Wednesday at Bahia Honda State Park in search of lobster when he had “difficulty in the water and did not survive,’’ said a public information coordinator for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s South Region.

The man was transported to Fishermen’s Hospital in Marathon, where he was pronounced dead.

The two-day lobster miniseason ended at midnight Thursday.

Last year, a 60-year-man from Little Torch Key died while diving for lobster on the Gulf side of Cudjoe Key.

Also on Wednesday, a 16-year-old girl was taken to a hospital in the afternoon after one of her fingers was severed while climbing off a boat.

On a similar note, the first arrest of the miniseason in the Florida Keys occurred around 2:30 a.m. when a 78-year-old Marathon man was charged with possession of one undersized lobster and of “over-the-limit” lobsters, with 33.

With more than 10,000 miles of rivers, streams, lakes and ocean coastline, Florida’s abundance of water make it an ideal spot for water and boating activities. While water and boating activities can be fun hobbies, the truth is that they can also be dangerous. On average, there are over 1,000 reported boating accidents every year in Florida with many causing serious injuries and wrongful death.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or FWC has jurisdiction over most of the boating accidents in Florida and are usually the ones who investigate the majority of boating accidents. According to their reports, an increase in the number of boating accidents is usually seen on holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th, Columbus Day, New Year’s Eve and during lobster miniseason when more boats are on the water.

Continue reading

An 18-year-old Ohio man was killed Wednesday evening when the Fire Ball ride he was on at the Ohio State Fair broke apart in mid-air, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

Seven people were also injured in the incident.

The victims were transported to local hospitals and at least three are in critical condition.

According to amusement ride operator Amusements of America, the Fire Ball swings riders 40 feet into the air while spinning them at 13 revolutions per minute.

Fair officials said that rides will remain closed as safety inspections continue, and those who purchased wristbands can receive refunds.

KMG International B.V., the Netherlands-based ride manufacturer, said in a statement, “Our deepest sympathies go out to all who were involved or affected by this tragic accident. We are currently gathering information on the accident and investigating the cause and circumstances of the accident.”

The operators of “Fireball” and similar rides are instructed to stop operations until further notice, the statement added.

An official with the Ohio State Highway Patrol said its investigators have been at the scene since the deadly incident was reported at 7:24 p.m. Wednesday.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s chief inspector of amusement ride safety said inspectors have been present at the fair since last Wednesday. An inspection of the Fire Ball would include evaluating connections and hydraulics.The Fire Ball had apparently been inspected three to four times over the previous two days.

Wednesday marked the first day of the fair, which is scheduled to run through Aug. 6, according to the fair’s website.

Other similar rides throughout the country are being shut down as a precaution.

The Monmouth County Fair in New Jersey immediately shut down a ride similar to the Ohio State Fair’s Fire Ball. A similar ride at the Orange County Fair in California was also shut down to undergo a re-inspection after the Ohio incident.

North American Midway Entertainment, which is not a provider of the Ohio State Fair rides, said in a statement that “due to the tragic incident… we will keep all our Fire Ball rides closed until further notice from the manufacturer for precautionary safety measures.”

The Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by the tragic accident at the Ohio State Fair. As the investigation into the cause of this accident continues, the Indiana State Fair and North American Midway Entertainment have made the decision to not operate the Fireball at the 2017 Indiana State Fair.”

The Illinois Department of Labor said it is also suspending the operation of all rides similar to the Fire Ball until further notice.

There is a lot of pressure placed on state fairs and carnivals to get rides set up in a short amount of time. Because of this time constraint, those setting up can neglect what matters the most – keeping people safe.

Continue reading

Contact Information