Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

All five passengers of a helicopter that crashed into a New York City river are confirmed dead on Monday morning.

After 7 p.m. on Sunday, several people watched as the chopper went down in the East River.

According to New York Police Department, the pilot was able to escape.

The New York Fire Department said firefighters and divers had to remove the five passengers from the helicopter.

While two passengers were found dead on arrival, the other three were taken to the hospital in critical condition. They were later pronounced dead.

The National Transportation Safety Board says it is investigating the crash.

If you or someone you care about has been injured in a helicopter crash, or if you have lost someone close to you, you need experienced legal counsel to help you understand how to protect your best interests. Our team of Florida Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are composed of trial lawyers serious about helping injury victims. We help determine which laws apply to your case, as well as walk you through the process, step-by-step.

Due to the volatile nature of helicopter crashes, there are many different situations that can lead to a crash or an accident. The most common causes of an accident are:

  1. Operational Error: Helicopter accidents caused by some form of human error, which is usually due to pilot negligence.
  2. Mechanical Malfunction: Accidents that are caused by the failure of some component of the aircraft, such as design flaws or manufacturing problems.
  3. Electrical Malfunction: This refers to accidents caused by some malfunction in the electrical components of the aircraft, such as an electrical short, inadequate design, testing, or improper quality control.

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A new report out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looks at the shifting trends in Americans’ health and mortality, and the conditions most likely to take lives.

While heart disease and cancer still top the list, Motor vehicle accidents, unintentional drug overdoses, and accidental falls and other injuries take the no. 4 spot.

According to the CDC, more than 2 million people are injured, and another 33,000 deaths occur each year due to auto accidents. It is no wonder why motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death in the U.S.

In 2015, more than 35,000 car-accident deaths occurred throughout the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Of those deaths, 3,174 occurred in Florida.

The good news is that most injuries and deaths on the road are entirely preventable,. The bad news is that the majority of those injured or killed are done so through no fault of their own. Auto accident victims are left with medical bills, lost wages, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and, in many cases, permanent injury or death. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an auto accident in Florida, our Car Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you understand how to pursue financial compensation from the at-fault party.

According to the National Safety Council, slip and falls are one of the leading causes of accidental injury. Slip and falls lead to an estimated 9 million visits to the emergency room each year. The risk of slipping and falling increases with age. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries from a slip and fall, it is best to speak with our Florida Slip & Fall Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton to understand your legal options.

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The holiday season is a time for joyful celebrations and enjoying time with friends and family. It is also a high-risk time to be on the roadways. Christmas, New Year’s, and the days surrounding these holidays are days when there is a substantially higher number of auto accidents and crash fatalities than other times of the year. If you or someone you love is injured or killed in a holiday car accident, our Florida Auto Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are here to help you through.

Christmas and New Year’s are all at the top of the list of high-risk days for drivers. These holidays see some of the year’s highest accident rates, along with Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independence Day. The increase in fatalities and serious injury accidents on these holidays is substantial, with motorists facing a dramatically increased chance of being involved in a crash.

The Christmas holiday period includes Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas. During this holiday time, an average of 343 people die in motor vehicle accidents. New Years is also defined as a three-day holiday period including New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Over New Year’s, an average of 373 people die in car accidents. Why? More drivers on the roads and more drunk drivers are two primary reasons for the rise in car accident deaths on both Christmas and New Year’s.

Drivers need to be aware of the added dangers of driving on these holidays and should take precautions to try to protect themselves from becoming accident victims. There are a few things you can do to make sure you are set up well for travelling this holiday season.

  1. Make sure your car is in good condition before traveling.
  2. Get plenty of rest to avoid drowsy driving.
  3. Check road conditions to be prepared for adverse weather and avoid driving during storms.
  4. Try to limit travel time to daytime rather than driving at night when the accident risks are greater.
  5. Stay sober and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  6. Don’t succumb to distractions when driving!

If you or someone you love is the victim of a crash on any day or holiday, our Florida Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can provide assistance with pursuing a case for financial compensation for crash injuries or wrongful death.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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