Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

A new report by Tripadvisor shows that 3 cities in Florida – Orlando, Miami and Key West – are among the top 5 most popular vacation destinations in the U.S. The Sunshine State boasts beautiful weather, gorgeous beaches and waterways, fun night life, exciting theme parks and water parks, and of course, delicious cuisine. Figures from VisitFlorida.org show that in 2021, Florida saw 122.4 million visitors. With that many people coming to Florida, there are bound to be some mishaps that lead to injuries.

Below you will find the top five most common injuries suffered by tourists visiting Florida:

  1. Fractures and broken bones: Falling from a height or other traumas can certainly result in fractures or broken bones, but the most common reason for fractures or broken bones are car accidents. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department, around 200,000 car accidents occur annually on Florida’s roadways, equaling out to 650 crashes per day. Visitors who are unfamiliar with the road and traffic patterns are at a greater risk of being involved in a car accident. Many tourists elect to not drive themselves and use rideshare services, like Uber or Lyft. These are great services, but also carry risks. If you are injured while on a ride with an Uber or Lyft driver, we can help.
  2. Internal organ injuries: Florida is ranked as the No. 1 most dangerous state in the country for pedestrian deaths, according to U.S. News. With that said, tourists are at a great risk of being hit by a car while walking or biking to their destinations. If you are lucky enough to survive being struck by a car, then you could be left suffering severe damage to internal organs, like your stomach, spleen, heart, kidneys, liver, and brain.
  3. Injured-on-Vacation-300x300Neck and head injuries: Car accidents, slip and falls, trip and falls, sporting and recreational accidents, and too much alcohol consumption are all common causes of head and neck injuries. Using golf carts, bikes, electric scooters – all popular modes of transportation in the Sunshine State – can present risks to tourists who are not used to using these vessels. Hiking, surfing, paddle boarding, parasailing, snorkeling, and kayaking are all recreational activities that many tourists partake in, but there are inherent risks.
  4. Soft tissue injuries: These injuries involve muscles, tendons, and ligaments and commonly result in sprains, strains, tendinitis, bursitis, and contusions. Many of these injuries are the result of sporting activities, but they can also occur from slip and fall or trip and fall incidents. Slip and fall and trip and fall accidents often happen at resorts and hotels in Florida vacation destinations, especially those that have beach access and swimming pools. Hotel owners are responsible for making sure that their premises are free from any and all hazards that could lead to guests sustaining injuries. If the premises are not properly maintained and clear of clutter, water, and debris, or have no warning signs about any dangerous conditions, then the hotel could be held liable for any injuries suffered by guests.
  5. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): A TBI is an injury that affects how the brain works. A blow, bump or jolt to the head can lead to a mild TBI or concussion, a moderate TBI or a severe TBI. The CDC reports that there were 64,000 TBI-related deaths in the U.S. in 2020. There can be numerous reasons for TBIs, but most Florida visitors suffer TBIs from recreational activities, like jet skiing, swimming and diving, boating, and parasailing.

Whatever injuries you have suffered, whether from a negligent hotel or a faulty jet ski rental beach company, our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can pinpoint who is liable and pursue financial compensation for your suffering. We specialize in all types of personal injuries and wrongful death cases, including what is known as “resort torts,” or injuries or death that happen while on vacation and staying at a resort, hotel, or in a recreational setting. Continue reading

MARION OAKS, FL – A 17-year-old girl died after a collision with a driver in a cement truck on County Road 484 Friday morning.

The teen was driving a Toyota Camry east in the outside lane of County Road 484. At the same time a driver in a cement truck was traveling west when they entered the left lane to turn left onto Southwest 27th Circle.

It was then that the truck slammed into the side of the Toyota, reports the Ocala StarBanner.

ZEPHYRHILLS, FL – A Canadian man died from injuries sustained while skydiving in Zephyrhills earlier this month, reports WFLA.

33-year-old James Southam of British Columbia, Canada was solo skydiving at Skydive City near Zephyr Pines on March 17th, when he suffered major injuries while attempting to land.

Southam was rushed to Lakeland Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

LAKE COUNTY, FL – A man driving a septic truck was killed when the vehicle overturned in Lake County Wednesday morning, reports News6.

The crash happened on County Road 48 near Ranch Road around 10:20 a.m. No other vehicles were involved.

The driver, a 58-year-old man from Groveland was pronounced dead at the scene.

PASCO COUNTY, FL – A man was fatally struck by a pickup truck while he was crossing an intersection south of Spring Hill on his moped Tuesday.

The incident happened at the intersection of Colony Road and Fairwinds Road as the moped rider made a left turn from Lake Karl Drive, reports WFLA. Police say the man came to a complete stop before attempting the turn.

The driver of a Ford F-150 failed to stop at a stop sign on Fairwinds Road, proceeded into the intersection, and collided with the moped.

BUSHNELL, FL – An elderly motorcyclist was fatally struck by a pickup truck on a county road west of Bushnell last Wednesday, The Villages News reports.

The fatal collision happened on County Road 48 just west of County Road 616 at about 3 p.m. on December 29, when a 1999 Ford F-350 turned left in front of a motorcycle being operated by a 73-year-old Webster man.

Emergency responders took the victim to an area hospital, where he died. Authorities say he was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

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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