Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

A deadly Sunday crash that killed a cyclist and injured six others in South Florida is sadly the latest reminder about the dangers of distracted driving.

Investigators are still working to piece together what happened, and state lawmakers are continuing their push to strengthen Florida’s traffic laws in the hopes of making people safer on the road.

And it’s not just lawmakers calling for change. Families who have lost loved ones are joining in the effort, saying the laws don’t do enough to crack down on texting while driving.

Legislation has been trying to enhance existing laws since 2015, but concerns about racial profiling and potential privacy issues have put the brakes on any substantial change.

Under the latest proposal, drivers could still use cell phones for navigation. To talk on their phones, however, they would be required to use a hands-free device.

Last year, state Sen. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville, now the Senate Minority Leader, suggested that moving to hands-free devices would erase concerns about racial profiling.

Keeping with current law, the legislation allows for cell phone records to be accessed in cases dealing with deal or physical injury. That could curb some of the privacy concerns voiced in years past.

Though this year’s version of the bill has not been assigned to any committees yet, lawmakers will return to Tallahassee in December for the first rounds of committee hearings.

On highways, interstates and roadways throughout Florida, drivers who allow distractions to interfere with their driving cause serious accidents that can lead to fatalities. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you don’t need to go through this difficult time on your own. Our Florida Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help.

We will investigate your case and determine if the other driver involved in your accident was using their cellphone or otherwise driving while distracted. We can use this evidence to establish liability, so that you can seek financial compensation for your losses.

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The Thanksgiving holiday will have over 54 million drivers hitting the road to visit with their families and friends. With an increased number of cars on the road, drivers, passengers, and pedestrians are at greater risk for being involved in a car accident resulting in serious physical injuries. Our Florida Auto Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have outlined traffic tips below to keep you and your loved ones  from becoming another car accident statistic this holiday season.

Delete Distractions

Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents at any time of the year. When driving, even the smallest distractions can become disastrous. Some of the most common driving distractions include texting or talking on cell phones while driving, eating and drinking while driving and adjusting car radio or temperature control dials. Please keep your eyes on the road the entire trip and pull over when you must use your cell phone or interact with other passengers.

Travel Delays Will Happen

Speeding is another major cause of car wrecks. Anticipate that there will be holiday traffic, so plan ahead so you aren’t speeding to make it to Thanksgiving dinner. Allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at the destination without the need to break speed limits. You can even choose alternative travel days to avoid being on the road during peak travel days like Thanksgiving and the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Make Sure Your Vehicle is in Top Shape for Travel

Drivers and their passengers should always wear seatbelts and follow traffic safety rules. If an accident does occur, wearing a seatbelt can be the difference between a minor injury and a serious injury or even wrongful death. Infants and young children should be using properly installed car seats and pets should be adequately secured in the vehicle. Make sure your car has been properly maintained with adequate amounts of gasoline, oil, windshield wiper fluid, brake fluid and air in the tires. Turn signals, brake lights and headlights should be functioning properly, and if a service light is illuminated on the car’s dashboard, have the car checked out by a certified mechanic to make sure everything is safe before leaving for your destination.

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A Florida sheriff’s deputy who was involved in a recent crash that killed a pickup truck driver has been involved in yet another collision.

The 29-year-old Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy was cited for improper lane change on Tuesday.

Th deputy swerved into another car while trying to avoid traffic near Orlando, causing a three-vehicle crash. No one was injured in the crash.

On Oct. 5, the deputy didn’t stop at a red light and crashed into a pickup truck that then hit two other vehicles. The crash killed a 34-year-old man.

The deputy was placed on administrative during an investigation into that crash.

Car accidents can happen to anyone, even police officers. However, It is the duty of any operator of a motor vehicle to be alert and aware of all the motorists on the roadway. A safe lane change is one that is executed carefully, using turn signals, and checking side-view and the rear-view windows, always remaining aware of blind spots. If a driver fails to perform a lane change safely or engages in reckless driving and causes a collision, all injured parties are entitled to make a claim for damages against the at-fault driver.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle crash or lost a loved one because of a negligent automobile driver, contact our Florida Auto Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton soon as possible following the accident to protect your right to a recovery. Florida has a relatively short statute of limitations, which is the time you are legally allotted to file a lawsuit to recover compensation, so it is important to act fast.

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A 3-year-old is in critical condition after being shot in the head during a road rage incident.

Port St. Lucie police say the toddler is a victim of a shooting incited by road rage. The child was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in critical condition.

Police say the incident happened at 1000 Southeast Bywood Drive around 2 a.m on Sunday.

Most car, truck and motorcycle accidents are just that – accidents. However, sometimes deliberate acts of drivers cause collisions. Drivers in the Orlando area should be familiar with the term road rage, as it is to blame for numerous unnecessary and avoidable crashes.

There are multiple signs of road rage, including:

  • Tailgating another driver
  • Deliberate acceleration or deceleration too close to another vehicle
  • Cutting-off of another vehicle
  • Slamming on brakes in front of another car
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Constant honking of horn
  • Displaying inappropriate hand signals or yelling at another driver

Road rage and aggressive driving contribute to hundreds of accidents every year. Sadly, innocent victims can get in the way of a driver’s road rage, as this case shows. If you find yourself caught in the midst of a road rage incident, the best thing you can do is allow the other driver as much space as possible in order to avoid an unnecessary collision. If at all possible, get out of the way of aggressive driver so that you can protect yourself and your passengers.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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