Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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

Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused a crash that killed a motorcycle rider on Florida’s Turnpike Sunday afternoon.

Troopers were notified of the crash around 4pm that happened on the turnpike southbound exit ramp to Sunrise Boulevard.

Arriving troopers found a 2007 Harley Davidson in a retention pond on the southwest shoulder of the ramp.

The 64-year-old motorcycle rider was pronounced dead at the scene.

No other information regarding the crash is available.

Motorcycle accidents usually result in very serious personal injuries or wrongful death. After a motorcycle accident, it is extremely important to be aware of your rights to recover for injuries or wrongful death including, but not limited to, past and future medical bills, loss of wages, hospital expenses, pain and suffering, disfigurement, funeral costs and other damages.

Continue reading

A box truck’s tire came loose Tuesday evening and struck an SUV along Interstate 95 in Oakland Park, killing the SUV driver and injuring a passenger.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the box truck was heading south along the highway when it lost its left front tire near Commercial Boulevard, just before 6:15 p.m.

Officials believe the tire bounced over the concrete barrier wall and onto the northbound lanes, smashing into the roof of a 2013 Ford Echo.

The 25-year-old driver of the SUV was pronounced dead at the scene. Paramedics transported the female passenger to Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale with injuries that were not classified as life-threatening.

Troopers are still investigating the cause of the accident. It remains unknown if any charges will be filed.

When a blowout occurs on the tire of a big rig, semi, 18-wheeler or other large, heavy truck, the aftermath is very different than that of a tire blowout in a smaller passenger vehicle. The resulting accident and injuries can be catastrophic or even fatal, as the above accident shows.

When accidents are caused by tires, our Florida Truck Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton work diligently to determine who the liable parties are and hold them responsible for compensating accident victims or families of those killed in these tragic accidents. We collaborate with scientific experts and accident reconstruction specialists to figure out if the accident was caused by a manufacturing defect, by trucking company or employee negligence, or by other conditions.

A tire can be defective for a variety of different reasons, including failure to stand up to heat generated during driving or poor traction due to poor design or a problem in the manufacturing process. The most common tire defect that causes most 18-wheeler accident is poor treadwear and tread separation.

Continue reading

A 22-year-old woman died Saturday night after an ATV crash at Dunns Creek State Park, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

The St. Augustine woman was riding with two others on a dirt trail at 8:15 p.m. when the Can-Am ATV overturned.

The woman was ejected from the vehicle and pinned under it until she could be rescued. She was taken to  Putnam Community Medical Center, where she died.

The other passenger and driver suffered minor injuries. According to FHP, none of them were wearing seatbelts or helmets at the time of the crash.

The FHP is investigating the crash.

ATVs are useful, fun, and they can be safe when used properly and when riders wear a helmet every time they ride. Sadly, ATV accidents do happen, and they can leave accident victims with catastrophic and even fatal injuries. Victims of ATV accidents, or families of people who have died in ATV accidents, may be able to recover financial compensation for their injuries or losses, which can help to ease the burden of medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, costs of living with a disability, etc.

Victims of ATV accidents can be injured in a variety of ways. While some newer models of ATVs have seat belts, many do not, so ejection from an ATV is a relatively common occurrence.

The most common ATV injuries, include:

Due to the fact that ATV riders and passengers can suffer such serious injuries, wrongful death is not uncommon in ATV accidents.

Continue reading

One person was killed and three others injured after an ATV hit a tree at a park in southern Osceola County, according to Florida Highway Patrol troopers.

The accident happened around 9 p.m. in the Three Lakes Wildlife Management area in Kenansville.

Paramedics pronounced a 45-year-old Haines City man dead at the scene and transported two people to St. Cloud Regional Medical Center and another to Osceola Regional Medical Center.

A 40-year-old woman of St. Cloud sustained serious injuries and was transported to Osceola Regional Medical Center.

A 54-year-old woman and a 7-year-old boy, both of Bartow, were taken to St. Cloud Hospital with minor injuries.

It’s unclear who was driving, according to reports.

ATVs provide a great amount of fun for friends and family, but drivers and passengers can get seriously injured, and even killed, due to circumstances beyond their control. If you have been injured in an accident involving an ATV in Orlando, Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Sanford or the surrounding areas, our Osceola County ATV Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you understand your rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

In many ATV injury and wrongful death cases, it can be difficult to determine and prove who is liable due to the large number of contributing factors that often are involved in these crashes. At Whittel & Melton, we are prepared to investigate the situation of any accident in order to establish and verify who is at fault. We will fight to recover maximum compensation.

Continue reading

Contact Information