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Johnson & Johnson confirmed yesterday that they are recalling five sunscreen products after samples of these products were found to contain small amounts of benzene, which is a chemical that has been linked to cancer with repeated use. 

What Do You Need To Know?

sunscreen-1461332_1920-300x198The products in question are packaged in aerosol cans: 

  • Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen 
  • Neutrogena Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena CoolDry Sport aerosol sunscreen
  • Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense aerosol sunscreen 
  • Neutrogena UltraSheer aerosol sunscreen

Any consumers with these products are encouraged to stop using them and to call J&J’s Consumer Care Center for a refund at 1-800-458-1673. There is also further information available on the websites for Neutrogena and Aveeno. 

The recall includes all can sizes of these products and all levels of SPF. These products have been distributed nationwide through various retailers. 

J&J released a statement that the benzene was found by the company doing testing in an independent laboratory. They are looking into how and why the chemical was in these five products. 

J&J is also actively working on getting the five products removed from any retail shelves. 

Benzene is a chemical that is found in the environment and is highly flammable. With repeated exposure at high enough levels, benzene can cause cancer. It is also known to cause damage to the immune system by preventing cells from functioning normally. 

The chemical’s effects can vary from person to person, but symptoms can range from irregular heartbeat, dizziness, convulsions, and death when exposed to very high levels. 

J&J has notified the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the recall. The FDA is in charge of regulating pharmaceuticals like over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications as well as food, cosmetics, vaccines, veterinary products, plasma and blood products. 

When dangerous products are taken off of the market for consumers to purchase, then this means the product has been marked as unsafe for use. Just because a product made available for purchase does not mean it is safe, which is something most consumers are unaware of. This is where our Florida Class Action Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can step in and help if you have been harmed by defective drugs and/or devices. We specialize in recalled product liability claims. We also offer free consultations and case reviews so that we can evaluate your potential claim and help you move forward with your legal options. We have the knowledge and resources to represent our clients efficiently and aggressively and are not afraid to stand up to  manufacturers and distributors of defective products or devices.  Continue reading

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.

July Fourth weekend is upon us and there may be no better way to spend the summer holiday than surrounded by your family and friends taking in fireworks, grilling, swimming, or even boating in one of Florida’s abundant waterways. As most COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, this year’s Fourth of July festivities will be in full swing. As you and your family/friends prepare for a fun-filled weekend, our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge you to also think about your safety and plan accordingly. Here are some tips for staying safe this holiday weekend: 

#1: Fireworks Should Be Left to Professionals

Sparklers and other common fireworks can be quite dangerous when used incorrectly. Sparklers are usually thought to be harmless, but did you know that these handheld fireworks can reach smoldering temps of 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit? Such high temps can easily lead to severe burn injuries, especially for children handling these without supervision. We want you and your loved ones to remain safe this Fourth of July, so please take in a professional fireworks show instead of attempting to light your own fireworks. 

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. 

Contact Us For a Free Consultation Continue reading

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

Medicare patients in nursing homes saw a spike in deaths last year – up 32% from the previous year, according to a government watchdog report released on Tuesday. 

There were two reported surges just eight months apart that are said to be a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services report shows that a large number of Medicare recipients in nursing homes had coronavirus in 2020 (nearly 4 in 10.) The number of deaths spiked by a whopping 169,291 from the previous year, before coronavirus appeared, according to the report.

How did investigators get to these numbers? They used what is considered an accepted method of estimating spikes in deaths in a group of people after a catastrophic event. This same method was used to estimate death tolls in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017 as well as the first set of COVID-19 deaths in NYC. There is no report on cause of death just after the first coronavirus surge last spring. It does not attribute a cause of death but is seen as a barometer of impact.

When compared to 2019, death rates were higher every month in 2020. The biggest jumps in deaths were in April 2020 where 81,484 Medicare patients in nursing homes died and in December 2019 where deaths reached 74,299 amongst Medicare patients in nursing homes. 

The report released Tuesday is the most comprehensive one from the government currently. It found that those residents in nursing homes or assisted living facilities that are classified as low-income and covered through Medicare and Medicaid were much more likely to have COVID-19 with infection rates among the population at 56% (26% died). 

Certain states also suffered worse impacts. By December 2020, more than half of the Medicare patients in nursing homes in Illinois, Connecticut, Louisiana and New Jersey had or were suspected to have COVID-19.

Coronavirus Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton Can Help 

hospice-4135835_1920-300x200Our Florida Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton represent victims of nursing home negligence, and can help you seek compensation for a nursing home or healthcare facility that failed to properly handle the coronavirus pandemic or any other medical emergency. We can assist surviving family members who lost a loved one while in the care of a hospital, nursing home, or assisted living facility.

If your loved one became ill or died because of COVID-19 in a nursing home, then you may be entitled to financial compensation if the facility in question failed to have proper infection control policies in place or lacked the necessary protective equipment needed to keep residents safe. Our Florida Nursing Home Injury and Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you take legal action against nursing homes that did not follow the law in caring for your loved one. We have years of experience holding these facilities accountable for their role in the abuse, neglect, or other lapses in care by filing civil lawsuits. You have every right to take action against any facilities that failed to live up to their obligations of keeping residents safe from infection and disease.  Continue reading

A 29-year-old man that allegedly caused a fatal traffic crash in Avon Park in 2007 fled the country before he could be prosecuted, according to reports. 

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) says the man was driving drunk when he caused the collision. His alleged blood-alcohol content was nearly four times the legal limit of .08. 

The man was arrested just outside of Mexico City on Monday after eluding police for nearly a decade. The United States Marshals Service brought him back to the United States, where he now faces very serious charges of DUI manslaughter, property damage, and driving with a suspended license where death is involved. 

The man posted bail of $10,000 two days after being arrested in 2007 and then fled the country. 

Troopers believe the man killed a man and woman on June 30, 2007, when the man’s Cadillac struck the vehicle the pair were travelling north in. 

The man apparently tried to flee the scene after the crash, but was unable to do so because of his injuries. He has two previous DUI charges on his record – one in 2001 and one in 2004. 

The FHP did not go into detail on how the man was captured. The man is now 43-years-old.

drinking-3740477_1920-224x300Thousands of people are killed every year across the United States in DUI crashes and countless others are injured. DUI victims face a variety of challenges after an accident changes their lives, which is why you need a Florida Injury Lawyer for Victims of DUI at Whittel & Melton to help you fight for your rights when you need it the most. Our team of seasoned personal injury and wrongful death lawyers have handled numerous DUI cases and recovered financial compensation for victims and their families. We are proud to help real people just like you after an accident with a drunk driver has changed their lives.  The negligent driver responsible for the accident can face criminal charges, but victims may also be able to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver and their insurance company for damages, including: 

  • Property damage
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death
  • Possible punitive damages

PLEASE BE ADVISED: When an insurance company calls you following a DUI accident, this is to help them limit their damages owed to you (the victim). We strongly recommend waiting to speak to the other side until you have retained a lawyer that can walk you through handling insurance adjusters. We don’t want to see your damages get reduced just because you said something that was misconstrued. If you get a call from an insurance adjuster, you can politely inform them that you are not ready to speak with them at this time and that you will have your attorney contact them in the future.  

Drunk driving personal injury and wrongful death cases can be the most devastating types of cases a person will ever endure. We know the difficulties involved in these cases and are equipped to fight to the finish for the full and fair damages that you are owed. While nothing we do can undo the damage already done, we can help to make your future better and hold the negligent driver responsible so that they make better decisions moving forward.  Continue reading

The Dutch company Philips, one of the largest medical equipment companies who makes sleep apnea machines and ventilators, has recalled certain breathing devices due to a foam part that can become toxic and potentially lead to cancer. 

The announcement of the recall was issued Monday and targets between 3 and 4 million users. 

What is the problem? Foam has been used to mute the sound in certain machines, but this foam can degrade and release small particles that could irritate airways and the gases released from the foam may also be toxic and carries the risk for developing cancer. 

In April, the group announced a $303 million charge for the issue in its first quarter-earnings report. The total cost of the problem to date is 500 million euros.

As of early Monday, shares in the group were down 4.2 percent. 

The recall is expected to take a year to remedy. 

A company spokesman said about 80 percent of the defective devices were machines used for sleep apnea, also known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines. Users of these devices were told to stop using them. The other 20 percent of defective devices were ventilators. 

Philips is working with health authorities to find a safer alternative to the foam, but first they must pass testing and regulatory tests/standards. 

What products are affected in the recall? Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure devices and mechanical ventilators. The foam risk in these devices, if inhaled, can cause headache, irritation, inflammation, and even cancer. 

Philips also alerted users of these devices to speak with their physician regarding alternatives. Anyone who used a Philips Bi-Level PAP or CPAP machine could potentially be able to file a claim for financial compensation. Our Phillips CPAP/BiPAP/ASV Device Recall Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are here to help consumers understand their rights and what they may be entitled to under the law. 

alarm-clock-1193291_1920-300x199What is Sleep Apnea? 

Sleep apnea is a relatively common condition that happens when the upper airway becomes obstructed during sleep. The Centers for  Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have stated that 38 to 68 percent of adults over the age of 60 suffer from sleep apnea. 

What Breathing Devices Are Affected in the Recall?

The Bi-Level PAP, CPAP and mechanical ventilators are affected in this particular recall. These machines were designed to give users a constant stream of airway pressure to the throat during sleep. Users that may have paused in breathing during sleep can use the device to help ease their difficulty of breathing due to sleep apnea. Philips designed various sleep therapy machines with different levels of air pressure for users. 

As previously mentioned, dangerous or defective medical devices, like ventilators and sleep apnea machines, can mean that consumers have the right to file a product liability claim. While medical devices are meant to improve the lives of users, sometimes these devices can do more harm than good. When that is the case, then users may be entitled to financial compensation for all of the harm that these devices caused, such as medical bills and lost wages. We can help you understand your rights and whether or not you have a valid claim for damages.  Continue reading

A Tampa urologist mistakenly performed surgery on a patient’s right testicle instead of his left in September 2019. The patient was scheduled to have surgery on his left testicle for the removal of enlarged veins, but the doctor marked the right testicle for surgery instead. 

The doctor has been fined $2,500 by the State of Florida Board of Medicine and the board also has issued a letter of concern.

On Thursday the board’s final order was filed. The complaint shows that the patient arrived for a varicocelectomy, a surgery to remove enlarged veins, on September 10, 2019. This is usually an outpatient surgery that takes about 30 minutes to perform, according to the Men’s Clinic at UCLA. 

Before the surgery, the doctor marked the right testicle for surgery instead of the left. 

surgery-1807541_1920-1-300x198According to records, the doctor has been a Florida licensed doctor since April 1, 2019 and has no previous board discipline history.

In addition to the letter of concern and $2,500 administrative fine, the doctor will pay $2,045.56 to reimburse the Department of Health for their costs in handling this case. He will also have to take a five hour continuing medical education course involving risk management OR attend eight hours of disciplinary hearings by the Board of Medicine AND give a one hour lecture regarding wrong site surgery mistakes at a medical facility that the board approves. 

A wrong site surgery happens when a doctor makes a mistake and performs surgery on the wrong body part. This is considered a surgical error that should not ever happen, but sadly this happens quite a lot. Medical professionals agree that wrong site surgeries should never happen, which is why they are considered a “never event.” 

While wrong site surgeries are something that patients hope they never fall victim to, the sad truth is that these mistakes are more common than most would think. They happen pretty frequently in Florida and throughout the United States. If you or a family member has had the wrong body part operated on by a medical doctor, then you may very well have a claim for medical malpractice against the at-fault provider or even the hospital where the surgery occurred. Our experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Tampa can help you understand if you have a valid malpractice claim and walk you through the necessary steps for seeking financial compensation for damages. 

While wrong site surgeries are dubbed a “never event,” researchers at Johns Hopkins have conducted studies that show doctors across the U.S. may operate on the wrong body site as often as 20 times every week. This adds up to hundreds of patients every year that fall victim to wrong site surgeries all because of a doctor’s careless mistake.  Continue reading

A 28-year-old Dade City man was killed Saturday night when the pickup truck he was driving rolled over and ejected him. 

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) believes the man has issues negotiating a curve in the road around 10:50 p.m. near Zephyrhills. 

His truck left the road and rolled over on the shoulder. He was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the FHP. 

Any type of motor vehicle crash can be dangerous, but a truck rollover is especially risky as the truck usually crushes whatever is in its path. A pickup rollover collision can result in serious injuries and even death. If you or someone you love has been involved in a truck rollover crash, you need legal help right away so that you can understand whether or not you can seek financial compensation for the damages incurred in the accident. Our Tampa Truck Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you determine if you can file a personal injury or wrongful death claim. 

semi-2659736_1920-300x200Trucks can rollover for a variety of reasons, but the two main ones include having an uneven load and driver error. Our Truck Accident Lawyers often see rollovers happen as a result of: 

  • Speeding and failing to negotiate a curve in the road
  • Speeding in inclement weather 
  • Steering errors
  • Poorly loaded cargo
  • Cargo that has not been secured properly 

What Should I Do After a Truck Accident in Tampa? 

  • Get Police to the Scene 

You absolutely MUST file an accident report when you are involved in a crash with a truck. Even if you think you are not injured and there is no damage or very little damage to your car, you need to get a police report of the crash so that you have this crucial piece of evidence if your case does move forward to trial. 

  • Get Medical Care ASAP

After any type of crash, you need to make sure you get medical attention as your health is the number one priority. Certain types of injuries may not show symptoms for a few weeks or months, so you need to get checked out by a doctor to rule out any injuries. Keep in mind that if you refuse medical care, then this could be used against you later on in court. 

  • File a Report with Your Insurance Company 

This is where things can get tricky. Our Tampa Truck Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can walk you through this process and make sure you do not say anything that may be used against you later on. But, if you speak with insurance adjusters before reaching out to us, just remember to watch what you say and keep conversations at the scene of the crash to a minimum. If you end up speaking with the at-fault party’s insurance provider, stick to the facts and don’t offer up any extra information. 

We are truck accident attorneys in Tampa that understand the complicated liability factors that arise in truck accident cases. We will immediately gather evidence for your case, contact the insurance companies involved, and fight for your rightful compensation.  Continue reading

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