Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

The driver of a girls home van involved in an Alabama interstate crash that killed eight children has filed a lawsuit against trucking companies in California and Georgia as well as another driver, according to reports. 

The federal lawsuit is seeking an unspecified amount of money and involves the director of the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch who was trying to help free the victims involved in the fiery crash. Two of the women’s children and two of her nephews were killed in the collision. 

The woman was pulled from the van by others nearby and rushed around trying to free anyone else she could, but was unable to because of the flames and damage.

The suit said that all of the children were killed by the fiery crash. In total, eight children ranging in age from 3 to 17 died in the van. 

The woman driver of the van that was rescued from the crash suffered bruises, burns, and severe emotional and mental distress. 

In a separate crash, a Tennessee man and his daughter also died on Interstate 65. 

The lawsuit names the California-based Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport and Asmat Express of Clarkston, Ga., which both were identified by the National Transportation Safety Board as being involved in the crash. The suit also named an Asmat driver. 

None of the companies involved have made a comment. 

truck-602567_1920-300x200The woman was driving the van on the left lane of Interstate 65 heading north when the Hansen & Adkins truck failed to stop in traffic, struck an SUV and swerved into her lane. The van was then struck from behind by the Asmat Express truck, according to the lawsuit. 

The lawsuit alleges that the crash should not have ever happened. The trucks were not equipped with anti-crash safety technology and the drivers were going too fast, distracted or following too closely. 

A preliminary report by the NTSB recounted the crash similarly to the lawsuit, but did not place blame on a certain party or say what exactly caused the wreck. 

You can be the safest driver on the road, but when another driver on the road acts carelessly or negligently, then all bets are off. While any car accident can result in severe injuries, semi truck collisions can result in even more severe injuries or as this case shows, wrongful death. If you have had a loved one pass away as a result of a tragic accident with a semi truck driver, then our Florida Truck Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you take the appropriate steps to help you recover compensation for your suffering. While nothing we do can bring your loved one(s) back, it can hold the at-fault party responsible for their recklessness and prevent them from ever repeating their actions. It can also reward you with the financial compensation you need to move forward with your life as best as you can. 

The sad truth is that when a truck accident happens, the truck driver usually walks away unscathed while the other parties involved are not so lucky. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has studies that show 87% of all trucking accidents are caused by driver negligence. Negligence can include the following behaviors: 

  • Driver Fatigue
  • Speeding 
  • Distracted Driving 
  • Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and/or Alcohol
  • Inadequate Training 
  • Travelling Too Fast for Road Conditions
  • Unfamiliar with the Roads
  • Cargo Shift 
  • Wide Turns

As legal experts in the field of commercial truck accidents, our Florida Truck Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will thoroughly investigate every truck accident that is brought to us in order to determine exactly what caused the collision. We will start by investigating whether the truck companies involved in the crash and the driver violated any state and federal regulations. We will do this by using the following tools: 

  • Reviewing Truck Log Books
  • Reviewing Truck Maintenance Logs 
  • Drug and Alcohol Tests
  • Looking into Weight Restriction Compliance 
  • Making sure the Company Fulfilled Safety Inspection Requirements 
  • Making sure the Company was in Compliance with Loading Procedures

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The CEO of UF Health Jacksonville, 56, was pronounced dead Saturday following an accident on a personal watercraft. Reports indicate that the man was flung from the jet ski he was riding in Palm Beach Inlet. 

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the man was found in the water wearing a life jacket and was immediately taken to a hospital, where he passed away from his injuries. 

This is all that is known at the time regarding the man’s death. 

man-5320033_1920-300x200Boating, especially in Florida, is a widely popular activity. While there are inherent risks involved when operating a motorized vessel, no one expects to suffer harm when having fun out on the water. Sadly, the U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that in 2019 there were 4,168 boating accidents that resulted in 613 deaths, 2,559 injuries and $55 million worth of property damage. 

Sales of personal watercraft, also known as Jet Skis, WaveRunners, or Sea-Doos, have really surged within the last decade. The leading manufacturers of PWCs are Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Bombardier. Despite the growing sales of these vessels, any design changes or engineering modifications have been minimal despite the upward tick of accidents involving their products. 

Jet skis are very popular throughout the state of Florida, but also much more dangerous than traditional boats. In 2019, jet skis accounted for 20% of the total number of recreational boating accidents that year, ranking second to motorboat incidents.  

Why Are Jet Skis so Dangerous? 

  • Reckless operation: These personal watercrafts are light, but have powerful jet motors that can reach speeds of 65 mph or higher. Because they are easy to maneuver, many operators get overconfident and tend to behave recklessly when taking them out by jumping large waves or weaving in and out of boat traffic. 
  • How they are designed: Because jet skis are small in stature, they can flip over quite easily. When cruising at high speeds, the risk for flipping is even greater. The way that jet skis are designed prevents anything from stopping riders from falling or being ejected from the vessel at any moment. It is also worth mentioning that the steering column of jet skis can strike riders heads or chests when involved in an accident at even moderate speeds. 
  • Riders that lack training: Personal watercraft vessels are generally easy to operate. In the state of Florida, operators must be at least 14 years old and must have successfully completed a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved boating education course or have passed a course equivalency or temporary certificate examination. When operating a jet ski or any vessel with a motor of ten horsepower or more, Florida riders must have their boating education ID card and a photo ID card on them. 
  • Weather: Jet skis fail to offer riders the same protections that other larger vessels do. That said, when stormy weather approaches, these PWCs can be extremely dangerous to navigate and you can be ejected quite easily. 

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An 11-year-old boy was killed Sunday and three others suffered injuries on a water ride while visiting Adventureland Park in Altoona, Iowa. 

According to reports, one child remains in critical condition and two others suffered minor injuries at the water park. 

Here is a breakdown of what police believe happened: six riders boarded the Raging River raft ride when it overturned around 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Four of the riders were taken to the hospital. On Sunday, the park announced that they were “saddened” to find out that one of the riders (the 11-year-old boy) had died.

The sad truth is that some accident victims do not make it through to see their legal suit finished. This often happens when their injuries were so severe that they could not make it through the legal process to make a recovery. So, what happens if an injury victim passes away from their injuries in an accident before their case is finished? Can a family member take over their case? 

Florida law does have rules for what to do in these cases, and having a personal injury and wrongful death lawyer on your side can prove beneficial in these scenarios. If you have questions about the claims process and how to proceed, we strongly urge you to call our Florida Wrongful Death Attorneys at 866-608-5529 or contact us online for a free case review. It will cost you no money to meet with us and discuss your potential case, and if we agree to take on your case, then you will pay zero fees while we work on your case. 

contract-945619_1920-300x199File a Wrongful Death Claim

If an injury victim has passed away during the course of their lawsuit, then the case will become a wrongful death suit. In Florida, personal injury claims cannot continue if the victim dies from their accident injuries. 

A wrongful death claim will allow surviving family members to pursue financial compensation for the deceased victim. This may include children, parents, spouses, etc. The personal representative for the accident victim’s estate will need to file a wrongful death action on behalf of the surviving family members so that they can collect financial damages. 

What Damages Can Be Recovered? 

  • Medical bills and medical expenses that pertain to the death 
  • Funeral or burial costs
  • Loss of income 
  • Loss of benefits, which includes the deceased’s retirement 
  • Loss of companionship
  • Mental anguish and emotional pain from the loss of a loved one 

Any costs incurred as a result of the responsible party’s negligence can be a potential source for compensation. Our Florida Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you prove negligence when it comes to taking legal action for wrongful death. If your claim has merit then we will build the strongest possible claim for you and fight to recover all legal damages that you may be entitled to under law. 

How to Pursue a Survival Action

Sometimes injury victims can pass for completely unrelated reasons to their previous injury, like another type of accident. Florida law allows for a cause of action to survive the victim’s death, which will continue the injury claim that is unrelated to the death of the deceased. This just means that the initial injury claim will move forward as a survival action which is meant to compensate surviving family members for the damages incurred by the victim prior to their death.

Just like a wrongful death suit, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file for a survival action to recover all financial damages the victim would have been eligible for had they lived. These damages may include:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Lost wages

Who Can Sue the At-Fault Party?

In a wrongful death or survival action suit, only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can exercise legal action. They must prove that a negligent party is responsible for the death and that the at-fault party failed to uphold their duty of care to the victim. 

If the victim did not name a personal representative, often called an executor or administrator before their death, then the court will appoint one.

 

Why You Need Legal Representation

Claims involving the passing of a loved one can be complicated. The insurance companies involved only want to protect their bottom line, which means paying out as little as possible, which is not in the best interest of your family. With proper legal representation on your side, you stand a much better chance of securing full and fair compensation for all of your losses. Your wrongful death lawyer will be there to support you through this trying time. 

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On Thursday, a partial collapse of a Champlain Towers South, a condo building in Surfside, Florida, occurred that is currently under investigation. The 12-story building resulted in multiple deaths and at least 150 more people missing. 

First responders and firefighters are conducting a search and rescue mission for all survivors and federal agencies are assisting on the state and local level. 

jsar-2680391_1920-300x225Partial Collapse of Champlain Towers South

Kevin Clark, now 32, who played the drummer in the popular Jack Black film “School of Rock” almost 20 years ago was struck and killed while riding his bicycle at a dangerous intersection on Wednesday, May 26. 

He was struck by a driver operating a Hyundai Sonata at about 1:20 a.m. and was pronounced dead at 2:04 a.m. after being taken to the hospital for his injuries. 

The 20-year-old driver of the Hyundai was issued several citations, according to police reports. 

Riding a bicycle is loads of fun and a great way to get some exercise. Florida has a wonderful climate so that residents can ride pretty much year round, making cycling a passion for many Floridians. Sadly, this hobby can end in tragedy when motorists sharing the roadways fail to take care and watch out for cyclists. The number of bicycle fatalities is climbing across the U.S. In 2019, bicycle accidents increased by 6% according to the National Safety Council (NSC). In the last 10 years bicycle fatalities have grown 10% from 793 in 2010 to 1,089 in 2019 (the latest year data is available.) 

The NSC also points out that starting in June, bicycle fatalities start to rise and continue to stay high through September. For 2019, the most deaths from bicycle fatalities occurred in August – 125 and the fewest occurred in January – 63. 

If you have lost a loved one or have suffered any type of harm in a bicycle accident that was the result of another driver’s negligence, then you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for all of your suffering and related damages. 

Bicyclists are quite vulnerable on Florida’s busy roadways and intersections. When you go out for a ride, you share the road with fast moving cars, large trucks, buses, and other vehicles that can cause severe injuries and even death on impact. For the most part, bicyclists have the same right-of-way as any other motorists travelling on the roads. But despite these laws, most motorists fail to offer bikers the same courtesy as they extend to other vehicles on the road, which is why bike accidents happen so frequently. 

What Are The Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?

  • There are many reasons bike accidents can happen, but most often these dangerous accidents happen because of the following:  
  • Cars turning in front of bicyclists and crashing into them at an intersection
  • Motor vehicles turning right and striking bicyclists in the crosswalk
  • Drivers passing cyclists too closely and clipping them 
  • Drivers opening car doors while a biker is passing, also called “dooring.” 
  • Drivers failing to yield to bicyclists

What Should You Do After a Bicycle Accident?

  • If you are harmed in a bike accident, then we recommend taking the following steps: 
  • Call 911 right away – your health is the first and most important priority. You need to get medical care right away. 
  • Make a police report. Never let the at-fault driver talk you out of this very important step as failing to do this can lead to problems later on. 
  • You need to get information from the driver who hit you, like their driver’s license number and insurance information. 
  • If you can, snap some pictures or take some videos of the car that hit you, your injuries, your bike, and the scene of the accident. 
  • If there are any witnesses to the crash, then get their information, too. Police might miss this step, so help yourself by getting their contact information. 
  • Contact an experienced Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton at 866-608-5529 or contact us online. You should reach out to us before you make contact with the other driver’s insurance provider. 

What Can I Do to Protect Myself in a Bicycle Accident?

  • Wear a helmet that fits properly 
  • Wear reflective and bright-colored clothes 
  • Use a bike light and reflectors, or even reflective tape
  • Ride with the flow of traffic 
  • Obey all traffic laws 
  • Always use bike lanes, whenever possible 
  • Perform routine maintenance on your bike to make sure it is good working condition 
  • Make sure you are alert at all times and are not distracted 

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This week is Child Passenger Safety Week, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has made child deaths from hot cars part of 2020’s campaign. This case reminds us all the importance of the NHTSA’s slogan “Park. Look. Lock.” Always ask yourself “where is the baby?” 

An Orlando teacher has been charged with the death of her friend’s 20-month-old son after she left the child inside a hot vehicle for 7.5 hours. 

The 34-year-old woman was charged with neglect and aggravated manslaughter. 

South Dakota’s Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg hit and killed a pedestrian Saturday night while driving. The death was discovered after he told the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office that he collided with a deer, according to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

deer-2053106_1280-300x205Ravnsborg told police that he survived the crash involving a deer unscathed. The highway accident occurred at about 10:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, according to the department of public safety. 

The body of the pedestrian he hit, a 55-year-old man, was found on Sunday morning.

It is unknown whether Ravnsborg stopped to check the scene after the collision. 

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem held a press conference Sunday morning stating that there will be an investigation conducted by the South Dakota Highway Patrol. The fatal crash will be investigated in the same manner as all other fatal accidents. 

Ravnsborg is fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation, according to reports, 

Ravnsborg is a Republican who was elected in 2018 as South Dakota’s attorney general. 

It will certainly be interesting to see how this case pans out. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motor vehicle accidents involving deer are responsible for about 1.5 million crashes across the United States. These accidents cause about 150 deaths per year and $1.1 billion in property damage. Most deer-vehicle accidents happen between October and December which is the mating season for deer. The majority of these accidents do happen at night as deer are nocturnal animals who are on the hunt for food during night-time hours. 

Losing a loved one is not an easy thing to accept. This is even harder to do when their death was caused by the negligent actions of another person. Our Florida Pedestrian Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know how difficult it can be to deal with the death of a family member or loved one. While there is no dollar amount that any state can place on the value of your loved one’s life, we can help you recover financial compensation to help with bills, supplement lost income, and help you start over with your life following a devastating loss. 

Wrongful death claims are usually filed after the untimely death of a loved one by their family members, such as children, spouses, parents, and even siblings. Wrongful death cases must be filed in a certain amount of time and aim to recover a financial award for medical bills and/or funeral costs, loss of benefits, pain and suffering by survivors, and loss of companionship. 

A wrongful death claim can be made when a person’s death is the direct result of another person’s reckless or negligent actions. There are various types of wrongful death cases, including pedestrian-car accidents, and these claims all seek financial compensation in civil court rather than criminal court. While criminal court is designed to punish a person for breaking the law, civil court is designed to help injured victims or surviving family members recover financial compensation for their loss. 

Florida has its own set of rules and regulations on when and how certain family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. set restrictions on when and how a certain family member can file a wrongful death claim. Florida statutes (section 678.18) state that surviving family members can proceed with a wrongful death claim when their loss resulted from one of the following: 

  • Breach of contract (default) 
  • Negligence 
  • Wrongful act

In Florida, as well as other states, there is also a statute of limitations set in place for wrongful death suits. This is a time constraint placed that outlines how long surviving family members have to file a claim in civil court. In Florida, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the death. However, there are special conditions that may allow for an extension for the claim. 

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wrong-way-167535_1280-300x200The Florida Highway Patrol has confirmed that a man was killed in a wrong way collision early Saturday morning. 

The scene of the accident was along E. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway. 

The incident report documented that the 28-year-old Davenport man was driving a sedan heading west in the eastbound lanes of U.S. 192 near Crabgrass Road at approximately 3:20 a.m. His vehicle smashed into another car that was heading east, according to reports. 

The man identified as the wrong way driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The other motorist, a 21-year-old man, and his male passenger, 23, both suffered serious injuries. 

Another driver sharing the road at the same time of the crash said she had to swerve off the road to avoid hitting the two men who were climbing out of the car. 

A truck driver stopped to help pull the men from the wreckage. 

The report did mention that all three of the men were wearing seatbelts, but no further information on the crash is available. 

Wrong Way Driving Statistics 

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration estimates that wrong way collisions result in 300 to 400 deaths annually across the U.S. This number only represents 1 percent of traffic fatalities every year, but the fact that most of these accidents result in head-on collisions at very fast speeds, they are usually more severe than other types of car crashes. 

According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) 2020 Crash Dashboard (which is considered preliminary data), Florida has already seen 176,317 motor vehicle crashes from 1/1/20-7/28/20. Of these collisions, 1,672 fatalities have been reported and another 109,328 people have suffered injuries. The month of January saw the highest number of traffic accidents with 32,548 total crashes and April had the lowest number of crashes with 16,416. 

Facts About Wrong Way Auto Accidents 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) did a study where they compiled all the data from wrong way driving crashes to identify trends in these deadly crashes. The following highlight their discoveries: 

  • Motorists over 70 years old account for a large portion of wrong way driving accidents. While this high number may seem unusual for this age group, their involvement may be attributed to poor vision and not seeing the wrong way signs posted on highways and roads. 
  • The majority of wrong way driving crashes involve a car that is entering an exit ramp on a highway. This can usually be attributed to signs not being clear, driver’s not being familiar with the area, or drivers being intoxicated. 
  • The NTSB found that 78% of the total number of wrong way crashes happen from 6 p.m. – 6 a.m. Drunk drivers, low visibility, and drivers who are fatigued all contribute to more wrong way driving crashes at night and early morning.
  • Keeping in tune with the above facts, the NTSB also found that most wrong way collisions happen on weekends. This could be because more people are out drinking and partying on the weekends as opposed to weekdays. 
  • The NTSB also determined that 7 out of 9 wrong way collisions take place in the lane closest to the median. 
  • Lastly, the NTSB concluded that more than half of all wrong way driving accidents are the fault of an intoxicated driver. Their report further shows that most drivers causing wrong way crashes have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at or above .15. When your BAC is .08 or higher, you are considered legally drunk. 

Wrong Way Driving Accident Claims

If you have survived a wrong way driving crash, then our Florida Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. Our goal is to make sure you receive the medical attention you need for your injuries and recover the full and fair compensation to which you are owed for your pain and suffering. 

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On Wednesday, six workers were taken to the hospital for injuries related to a rebar mishap at a construction site at 830 Brickell in Miami, according to officials.

construction-3390318_1280-300x200Miami Fire Rescue officials said the crane was lifting bundles of rebar when it collapsed on the six workers. It is unknown why the rebar suddenly malfunctioned. 

Rebar is a steel reinforcing bar that adds stability to buildings that are under construction. 

The workers became trapped in the debris, and the rebar impaled two of the six workers. One worker was able to climb out of the rubble on his own, and three others were pulled out by a rescue team. 

All six workers were taken to the hospital with serious and critical injuries. 

G&E Florida Contractors is building the structure and all six workers are employed by the company. 

The crane operator is employed by a subcontractor, Morrow Equipment. 

According to reports, all three of the companies involved with the accident have previous violations with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  

An OSHA report shows that just last month, G&E was issued a notice for a similar violation at a different job site in Miami and is facing a nearly $7,000 fine.  

OSHA also shows that Morrow reached a settlement of $8,300 for a fall violation in 2018. 

The incident that happened Wednesday also resulted in a street closure.

The accident is still under investigation.

Construction sites can be the scenes of numerous accidents that result in tragedy. Construction is an inherently dangerous industry, and it makes sense, because workers are literally building their worksite as they go along. This creates a work environment that is constantly changing which can easily result in serious injuries and even death. This is why construction sites must have strict safety rules and protocols in place. 

According to OSHA, the construction industry accounts for one in five worker fatalities. The majority of these deaths and serious injuries can all be traced back to federal and state safety violations that are implemented to keep workers safe. 

There are several types of construction site accidents that are most commonly responsible for worker injuries and deaths, including: 

  • Falls
  • Workers being struck by an object (rebar falling on workers) 
  • Crush injuries 
  • Electrocution
  • Forklift Accidents 
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals 
  • Highway construction accidents 

If you are a construction site worker and you suffered an injury while on the job, you have the right to hold the at-fault party responsible. There may be multiple parties to blame, including your supervisors, company owners, and even property owners. While your job may be dangerous, that does not mean you have no safety precautions available. You have the right to safety during the entire duration of your employment at a construction site. If your employer does not take the appropriate steps to keep you and other workers free from harm, then they can be held liable for their oversights. Our Florida Injury and Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help you take appropriate action.

Your employer and its insurer will have lawyers on their side fighting to protect them once a construction accident happens. You need legal representation on your side to represent your best interests. We can help you make sure you are being compensated justly for your suffering. We can review the facts of your case and figure out if your injury merits a workers’ compensation claim, a lawsuit, or possibly both. We can also gather evidence on your behalf to help prove your right to certain benefits and financial compensation. Finally, we can negotiate with all parties involved on your behalf for a favorable settlement agreement, or argue your case in court. 

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