Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

A limo carrying several couples to a birthday party failed to stop at an intersection in upstate New York and struck a parked vehicle, killing 20 people in the deadliest transportation accident in the United States in nearly a decade.

The 2001 Ford Excursion limo was traveling southwest on State Route 30 when it blew past a stop sign at the intersection with State Route 30 A and collided with an SUV in a parking lot shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday in Schoharie, New York.

All 18 people in the limo, including the driver, were killed. Two pedestrians near the unoccupied, parked 2015 Toyota Highlander were also killed.

It is not yet clear whether the 2001 Ford Excursion limousine had any mechanical issues that may have contributed to the limo accident. It is important for investigators to gather as much evidence as possible to assist the families of the victims with pursuing wrongful death claims. A wrongful death claim holds those responsible for the accident accountable, and awards financial compensation for the loss of a loved one.

Wrongful death claims also seek to make impactful changes when it come to safety procedures. Whether it’s adding seat belts, mandating their use, or improved training of limousine drivers, a wrongful death claim can make a difference. The goal is to make sure that accidents like this one are avoided in the future.

Continue reading

On Nov. 30, 2016, an elderly woman in her 80s was brought to Mariners Hospital after she had a seizure and her heart stopped.

Her physical condition was appalling as she was bleeding, covered in urine and feces, and had severe bed sores indicating abject neglect, according to court documents.

Doctors and nurses transported her to Homestead Hospital where she died the next day of septic pneumonia.

The woman’s death led investigators with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Children and Families to discover two unlicensed elderly care facilities: one in Plantation Key and the other, a trailer in Key Largo. Six patients, all over 80, lived at the two homes.

All the patients were in wheelchairs, had mental disorders and were prescribed either antipsychotic or anti-anxiety medications. They were all incontinent and required extra skin care and to be frequently turned over so their skin would not blister from exposure to their own waste.

None of the patients received anywhere near the proper care they needed for their conditions, which require 24-hour attention. Some were not being treated at all, according to court documents.

The facilities were operated by a 67-year-old doctor who was arrested at his Miami Beach home last June on two counts of aggravated neglect of an elderly person or disabled adult.

A 49-year-old woman, who was running the facilities on site despite having no medical training, was charged with the same crimes.

Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are out of jail awaiting trial. Their next court appearance, a status update, is scheduled for Oct. 30 at the Plantation Key courthouse.

Investigators also said the doctor was billing Medicare and being paid for services he was not providing.

Abuse and neglect in nursing homes and assisted living facilities occur every day across the country. Nursing home and assisted living facility negligence includes failing to protect residents from health and safety hazards. Negligence can result in injuries such as broken bones, bedsores, dehydration, malnutrition, and other medical conditions which cause harm and even wrongful death.

Our Florida Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you and your loved ones fight to recover everything you deserve. We are experienced in nursing home negligence matters, and will thoroughly and carefully assess each individual case. We prepare each case for trial in order to obtain maximum compensation for injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. We want to help victims and their families hold these facilities accountable.

Continue reading

A mother is suing duck boat operators, alleging negligence caused serious injuries to her child.

The woman filed a complaint July 30 in Orange County Circuit Court against Ripley Entertainment Inc., alleging the duck boat operator failed to provide for the safety of the its passengers.

According to the complaint, on July 19, 17 people were killed and several others were injured when the duck boat sank in a Missouri lake. The suit says the child sustained severe injuries that resulted in physical pain and suffering, disability, discomfort, mental anguish, distress and other medical problems.

The lawsuit alleges that the boat was taken out on the water despite knowing about impending rough weather and that Ripley Entertainment was further aware through prior inspections that the duck boat was not fit for voyages in such weather.

The mother alleges Ripley Entertainment, based in Orlando, failed to properly supervise their crew, failed to provide adequate safety equipment and failed to properly monitor the weather.

At least two other lawsuits have been filed on behalf of persons who died as a result of the mishap.

Failure of the boat operator to act using reasonable care is considered negligence when it comes to boating accidents. Negligence is often the result of piloting the boat recklessly or not taking necessary precautions.

Because the circumstances behind every boating accident are different, you need to seek legal help as soon as possible after the accident so that you can achieve the justice you deserve. Our Florida Boating Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can walk you through the process of filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim.

Continue reading

A new report has found that glyphosate, a weed-killing chemical that some health authorities link to cancer, is in a number of popular breakfast foods and cereals marketed to children.

The study by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) discovered trace amounts of the most widely used herbicide in the country in oats, granolas and snack bars. Thirty-one out of 45 tested products had levels higher than what some scientists consider safe for children.

Recently, some scientists, doctors and activists around the world have worked to keep glyphosate out of crops due to concerns that it is a dangerous carcinogen.

EWG used its own, more stringent standards to conclude that products with excessive levels of the herbicide included Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, Cheerios, Quaker Dinosaur Egg Instant Oats, Great Value Instant Oats, and Back to Nature Classic Granola. Glyphosate was even found in a few organic products, though most had non-detectable levels.

The World Health Organization says glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen,” and California lists it as a chemical “known to the state to cause cancer.”

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the Monsanto weed-killer Roundup. Last week, a jury in California ordered Monsanto to pay one man $289 million in damages after a man claimed the company’s weed killers caused his cancer.

In a statement Quaker said: “We proudly stand by the safety and quality of our Quaker products. Any levels of glyphosate that may remain are significantly below any limits of the safety standards set by the EPA and the European Commission as safe for human consumption.”

General Mills said: “Our products are safe and without question they meet regulatory safety levels. The EPA has researched this issue and has set rules that we follow.”

Glyphosate, also known by the brand name Roundup, is the most used agricultural chemical in the world, acting as a weed-killer. This new study also suggests that it is now a carcinogen.

With the rise in herbicide-resistance crops in recent years, the demand for Roundup has grown, resulting in more medical studies and health surveys concentrating on glyphosate exposure. Monsanto, the company that created and sells Roundup, denies any claims that the chemical is dangerous. They released a statement stating, “glyphosate does not cause cancer” and “has a more than 40-year history of safe use.” However, a number of lawsuits have recently come about, claiming that Monsanto knowingly hid evidence of Roundup’s toxicity because of the large profit they see in the monopolized market for herbicide. It is now being linked to the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Continue reading

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,286 motorcyclists killed in 2016, which is a 5.1-percent increase from the 5,029 motorcyclists killed in 2015. The state of Florida had 555 fatalities, the highest number of motorcycle deaths out of all other states.

Unfortunately, motorcyclists are more likely to be injured or die in a crash than those in a car or truck.

At Whittel & Melton, we provide the highest quality legal service to members of our community who have been wrongfully injured in motorcycle accidents. For over a decade we have helped injured motorcyclists and their families after a collision wreaks havoc on their lives.

Key Motorcycle Accident Statistics:

  • Motorcyclist fatalities occurred nearly 28 times more frequently than passenger car occupant fatalities in traffic crashes.
  • In 2016, 27% of motorcycle riders killed were riding without valid motorcycle licenses.
  • Motorcyclist involved in fatal crashes in 2016 were found to have the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers than any other vehicle types  – 25% for motorcycles, 21% for passenger cars, 20% for light trucks, and 2% for large trucks.
  • Of those who died in motorcycle single-vehicle collisions in 2016, 37% were impaired by alcohol.
  • The NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,859 motorcyclists’ lives in 2016. Another 802 lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.

The state of Florida enforces the following helmet laws:

  • Required to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle in Florida UNLESS you have a motorcycle insurance policy for at least $20,000 in medical benefits to cover injuries sustained in a crash.
  • All riders under 21 years old must wear helmets, regardless of insurance policies.

While not every accident can be prevented, it is possible to reduce injury and fatality rates if motorcyclists wear helmets and avoid drinking and driving. Everyone on the roadway has to do their part and drivers are no exception. Drivers should be attentive behind the wheel and give motorcyclists plenty of space to ride safely.

Continue reading

A widow is suing Home Depot and a tenant, alleging negligence in the food poisoning death of her husband.

The woman filed a complaint June 27 in Pinellas Circuit Court against TIWI Group Inc. and Home Depot USA Inc., alleging they failed to follow applicable safety guidelines and regulations.

According to the complaint, the 74-year-old man was a part-time employee of a Home Depot in Clearwater. The suit says on July 4, 2017, he purchased a hot dog and coleslaw from the TIWI Group. The lawsuit says he became violently ill from food poisoning and died July 8, 2017, at Florida Hospital North Pinellas.

The woman says she has sustained the loss of her husband’s support, services, companionship, protection, mental pain and suffering, and incurred medical and funeral expenses. She blames the defendants in the selling and allowing the selling of contaminated food that resulted in food poisoning.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants failed to discover that the food consumed by the man was not fit for consumption, failed to warn customers of any potential dangers that existed in the food they sell and failed to ensure that food being sold was wholesome and fit to be consumed.

Food poisoning affects about 48 million Americans every year throughout the United States. Food poisoning can range in severity, causing everything from a mild upset stomach, a permanent disease such as hepatitis, and even wrongful death. When food poisoning can be traced back to a particular product or distributor, that responsible party can be held liable for causing the disease.

Food poisoning is entirely preventable and subsequent physical, mental, or financial harm can be incurred as a direct result of this illness. The negligent responsible party should be held liable for any losses. Our Pinellas County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can assist you in obtaining the full value of your losses.

Continue reading

This week we learned the Broward Sheriffs Deputies assigned to guard the baggage claim area of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Jan. 6, 2017 when a shooting occured that killed five people and injured another six, were not actually at their assigned posts. Instead, they were in a nearby office full of balloons and cake for a retirement party.

A Virginia Beach woman, who lost her husband in this shooting, is suing BSO, Delta Airlines and the security firms charged with protecting the airport.

The lawsuit asserts that in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, as her husband’s body still lay on the floor of the airport, she was hustled into that party room. She waited there for hours, she said, as law enforcement investigated the scene.

In the chaos after the shooting, she and another spouse of a shooting victim were shuttled from room to room inside the airport while police swarmed outside. One of those offices was festooned with balloons and a cake. The shooter pleaded guilty to the killings in exchange for avoiding the death penalty. He faces five life sentences at his Aug. 17 sentencing hearing.

That was the room where BSO deputies were celebrating a fellow detective’s retirement instead of guarding baggage claim when the shooting took place, the lawsuit alleges.

Airports, just like all other businesses, have a duty to maintain a safe environment. They have a duty to protect their customers/guests from any foreseeable crime or criminal activity, which means having security officers and security cameras.

Negligent security lawsuits matter because they hold the wrongdoer accountable for their actions. Whoever was in control or had the opportunity to use control of the property would be liable in a negligent security case. This could be the person or business that owns the property. In this case, the airline and the security company are being sued as being the responsible entities.

In order to successguly prove negligence, it depedns on what the crime was and if it could have been prevented. If it could have been prevented, it is relevant to establish whether the business or entity did anything in an attempt to do so. If the property owner knew of the danger and did nothing to protect people, then a claim for damages can be filed for personal injury or wrongful death.

Continue reading

An investigation from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services found that the derailment of a Daytona Beach roller coaster in June that injured six people was caused by excessive speed and operator error.

The investigation said operator error was the reason the Sand Blaster Roller Coaster derailed June 14, causing a cart full of people to dangle above the ground. Of the 10 people on the ride, six had to be hospitalized.

During a post-accident inspection, engineers found evidence of previous derailments on the nearly 40-year-old coaster, including one that appeared to have taken place after it was refurbished in 2013, officials said in a preliminary report.

Had that derailment been addressed before the June accident, investigators said, the crash likely wouldn’t have happened. No other derailments had been reported to state officials before the June incident.

The coaster, which is on Ocean Avenue near the Daytona Beach Pier, has been out of operation since the accident and will remain out of operation indefinitely, officials said.

Roller coaster accidents can result in minor to severe injuries, and in some cases, death. Victims of roller coaster injuries in Daytona Beach and elsewhere throughout the state of Florida can rely on the experienced Roller Coaster Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton to provide legal representation in seeking compensation for their losses. We know how devastating these accidents can be, which is why we will fight for maximum compensation for roller coaster injuries.

Ride operators are hired to run roller coasters safely. These individuals are responsible for ensuring that each passenger is seated and secured properly in the ride, and that the ride starts and stops as it is intended. Even the slightest error on the operator’s part can lead to a serious roller coaster accident.

Continue reading

A three-year-old girl died on July 1 in a bouncy castle incident in Norfolk, U.K.
She was bouncing on the inflatable equipment — a bouncy castle with a trampoline — when the trampoline exploded launching her “30 feet” in the air and causing her to land on the sand.

This tragedy comes just two months after two fairground workers were found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence for failing to properly secure a bouncy castle in Norwich, which killed a seven-year-old child.

 

According to the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP), there has been a vast increase in bounce house-related injuries in the last 20 years. Between 1990 and 2010, over 30 percent required medical follow up after initial treatment in the emergency department. The most common injuries were fractures and sprains.

In the U.S., the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that more than 64,000 children were treated in U.S. emergency departments for inflatable bounce house-related injuries between the years 1990 and 2010. From 2008 – 2010, the number of injuries more than doubled to an average of 31 injured children per day. More than a third of the children injured were under the age of six.

Our Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want your kids to remain safe at birthday parties, fairs, carnivals, festivals and all other celebrations. The following safety measures should be taken into consideration when your child is playing inflatable structures:

  • Always supervise children in a bounce house. ALWAYS!
  • Remove shoes, jewelry, and any hard or sharp objects from children’s pockets.
    Group children together according to size to help reduce risk of injury from collision.
    Do not allow children to perform stunts like flips or somersaults.
    Make sure children stay away from the exit points when bouncing inside.
  • If the bounce house starts to deflate, exit promptly.
  • If there are high winds, do not use the bounce house.

Bounce houses and other inflatables fall under premises liability, a legal concept that applies to situations where there is an unsafe or defective object on someone’s property. In order to establish liability in a bounce house injury, you must prove that the property owner was negligent and failed to provide reasonable care.

The main defense against bounce house claims is that they come with an assumption of risk. This basically means that while you may know that bounce houses are potentially dangerous, you still allowed your child to play in one anyway.

Continue reading

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has opened an investigation into why a roller coaster derailed at an amusement park Thursday night in Daytona Beach.

The accident on the Sand Blaster ride at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk sent two riders plunging 34 feet to the ground and left two others dangling in one of the ride’s cars, according to the Daytona Beach Fire Department.

Four riders, all of whom were on the same car, and two others were rushed to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach. A hospital official said information about their condition might be released sometime Friday.

Later Friday, the hospital said it “received nine patients.”

The Sand Blaster has been operating at Daytona Beach since 2013 after the 40-year-old ride was bought from a closed amusement park in Delaware a year earlier.

Thrill seekers and adventurists flock to roller coasters for an adrenaline rush. However, a roller coaster is one of the most dangerous rides at amusement parks. Each year there are an estimated 9,000 emergency room visits that stem from amusement park and roller coaster injuries.

While amusement park rides undergo extensive testing and regular inspections to ensure that they are safe, accidents can still happen, and when they do they can result in serious personal injury or wrongful death.

Continue reading

Contact Information