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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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Changes to Title IX laws are slated to go into effect August 14 that are binding for K-12 and post-secondary institutions. 

The revision, which is 2,033 pages, no longer requires college coaches and other staff members to report any cases of sexual abuse or harassment to the Title IX office. 

football-557565_1280-300x200The new regulations also give schools the choice of what standard of proof they wish to follow and award more protections to those accused. Our Sex Assault Victims Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have outlined everything you need to know to understand the new changes. 

Under the current Title IX laws, college coaches and other staff members are mandated to report any findings of sexual assault or sexual discrimination to the Title IX office or any other appropriate channels. This is what has contributed to so many schools being found liable in numerous high-profile sex crimes cases. A recent case involving Michigan State resulted in the school being fined $4.5 million for failing to handle sex assault allegations appropriately against Larry Nassar, a former sports medicine physician for Michigan State University. 

These new changes are being implemented for the sheer sake of protecting the victim, according to Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education and other government officials. The government believes that many sex crimes victims might wish to keep quiet about their sexual assault incident. The new regulations support a student’s right to not share their personal information or wish to have a formal investigation launched. 

Employees of K-12 schools are required to report any allegations of sexual assault when minors are involved and they must investigate once a formal complaint is filed. 

The goal of the new regulations is to create an environment where all students can learn free from sex discrimination and strengthen protections for victims of sexual assault. However, this could mean the exact opposite for victims. The new regulations could make it more difficult for survivors of sexual assault on campus. 

Title IX revisions may not keep coaches and other staff members from reporting any allegations of sexual abuse. NCAA and the U.S. Center for SafeSport mandate that all coaches, administrators, all other athletics staff, and student athletes report any suspected crimes of sexual violence to campus police or appropriate campus  offices for further investigation. The NCAA recently added on a new policy requiring any sexual acts of violence that resulted in investigation or a criminal conviction to be added into an annual report. This is their effort to address violent sex crimes and keep student athletes from transferring to a different school without them being aware of the transgression. 

With that said, despite the new Title IX revision, colleges and universities very well may still require coaches and athletic staff members to still report any allegations of sexual abuse. Schools can adopt their own reporting policies.  

Unde the new Title IX revisions, schools are now only required to report alleged incidents that happen on campus or during off campus school events, such as a fraternity or sorority event or even a football or basketball away game at another campus. This excludes any students studying abroad as well as any students that are the victims of sex crimes in off campus apartments or houses. 

All allegation of sexual abuse, harassment or assault will require the school to have a live hearing that is quite similar to legal proceedings in criminal court. Cross examinations will be allowed, but students will not be permitted to question one another.  

The new Title IX rules state that college and universities can choose what standard of proof they want to follow: 

  1. Clear and convincing evidence: the evidence is more likely to be true than false. 
  2. Preponderance of evidence: 51% of the evidence demonstrates the accused committed the crime.

It is actually quite common for sexual assaults to happen on college campuses. Often, these cases involve students, athletes, and coaches or team doctors. Doctors, coaches, and other administrative staff are in positions of power and trust, and they can use their authority to take advantage of young adults or even underage minors. 

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A well-known team doctor at the University of Michigan has been accused of sexually abusing former students while performing medical exams. Coaches and other staff members are also accused of being aware of the misconduct, but looked the other way. 

In total, 53 students have accused Dr. Robert Anderson of molesting them. These former students also say they reported the sex crimes to the football coach Bo Schembechler and athletic director Don Canham, as well as others. 

The doctor was with the school for nearly 40 years until 2003. 

The President of the University of South Florida, Steven Currall, along with other school officials, have launched an investigation into alleged sexual assaults that took place on campus involving both former and current students. 

There have been numerous women recounting stories of sexual assault amongst the Greek community on the USF campus. The allegations have all come after a former student took to her Twitter account recently to tell her story. 

people-3154439_1920-300x200The 23-year-old said she was attacked in 2017 by a friend and member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. She said she was taken advantage of after a night of partying led to her having too much to drink.  

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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pinewood-derby-736434_1920-300x200A new string of lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) were filed Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court related to the organization letting sex abuse to repeatedly happen for decades dating back to its founding in 1910. 

A total of 21 new lawsuits filed charge 14 adult scout leaders with partaking in the sex abuse of children multiple times starting in 1954.

The lawsuit says sexual abuse within the BSA has been going on throughout the organization’s 110 years. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the launch of a $3 million public safety campaign at the start of July to educate the entire U.S. about the dangers of leaving children locked in hot vehicles.  

The summer months can be sweltering, so the campaign serves as a reminder to motorists that children should never be left unattended in vehicles and cars should be kept locked so that no child can accidentally get into a car. 

coronavirus-4936055_1920-300x193Almost 90 new brands have been added to the FDA’s updated list of possibly toxic hand sanitizers. The FDA believes these hand sanitizers contain methanol, a toxic chemical that can be absorbed through the skin. If ingested, methanol can kill you. 

According to the FDA, all but one of the possibly hazardous hand sanitizers were manufactured in Mexico. The singular hand sanitizer brand not manufactured in Mexico is from Leiper’s Fork Distillery in Tennessee.

The FDA is warning consumers to steer clear of hand sanitizers on their list, which you can view here

The FDA is taking steps to try and prevent these hazardous products from entering the U.S. by placing them on an important alert. But even with this alert, these hand sanitizers brands are still finding their way on the shelves of popular retail stores like Costco, Walmart, and Target. 

As coronavirus lingers in the U.S., hand sanitizer is still a very popular product. With schools slated to reopen soon and numerous other professionals heading back into work on a full or part-time basis, hand sanitizer is a huge must have for many people who may not be able to wash their hands with soap and water as often as they’d like. While the CDC urges people to wash their hands with soap and water as frequently as possible to reduce the spread of germs, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can reduce the amount of germs on your hands which in turn can help you avoid getting sick or spreading any germs to others. 

If you have any of the potentially poisonous hand sanitizers in your possession, the FDA says to stop using them immediately and toss any leftovers into hazardous waste containers. You should not flush or pour any of these toxic products down the drain.

Methanol poisoning can be fatal, which is why the warnings regarding these hand sanitizer brands are so urgent. If you have used any of the brands listed from the FDA, you should check in with your medical provider right away to make sure you have not been exposed to methanol. If you have been exposed to methanol, the following symptoms might be noticed: 

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Blindness
  • Vomiting
  • Death
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Ingesting hand sanitizers or using them as an alcohol substitute places you at heightened risk for methanol poisoning. You want to keep all hand sanitizers away from any babies and young children who may get their hands on these products and accidentally drink them. 

We all want to do our part to stop the spread of coronavirus, which is why hand sanitizer is a must-have item in your home, car, office, purse, etc. Our Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want everyone to stay healthy and safe, which is why we are urging everyone to stay up to date on FDA recalls and always read your labels so you know what you are putting on your body. Remember, you want to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% ethanol.

Methanol poisoning is quite serious, and as we have pointed out, can be deadly. Methanol is a toxic alcohol that is mostly used as a fuel source or a pesticide. After being exposed to methanol, it could take 1 to 72 hours for symptoms to present themselves, but once medical treatment is administered methanol poisoning can be reversed. 

If someone you love has suffered from methanol poisoning due to a dangerous hand sanitizer, our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are here to help hold the manufacturer of these dangerous brands responsible for their negligence. We can discuss your injuries or the death of a loved one with you and help you understand what your options are for pursuing financial compensation. 

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concentration-4929210_1920-300x200Nursing home neglect happens at nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country. While this is not as violent as abuse, it is equally as dangerous. When staff at these facilities fails to keep close tabs on their elderly patients or provide them with proper care, this can quickly cause their health to decline. 

Nursing home neglect is when a facility fails to provide its residents with a basic standard of care. Sadly, 15.3% of elderly abuse complaints arise from neglect, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime. 

If you think this cannot happen to your loved one at their nursing home or assisted living facility, think again. A facility administrator at the Good Samaritan Retirement Home, a 45-bed assisted living facility at 507 SE First Ave. in Ocala, was arrested for elderly neglect when he did not notify a nurse of a resident’s failing health. The facility had many infractions over the years and was finally shut down in 2018. 

According to police, the nurse who was assigned to the elderly patient requested that the 31-year-old administrator report any changes in health to her. The resident had recently undergone an outpatient procedure and had been transported back to Good Samaritan.

According to reports, the staff on duty over the weekend let the administrator know that the resident’s health was declining, but were never instructed to contact the nurse. 

It is unknown why no one contacted the nurse. 

Upon the man’s return to work Monday, he apparently contacted the nurse of the resident’s failing condition. She told him to call 911 and get the resident to the hospital. 

The man was charged with elderly neglect. 

An investigation by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration apparently found the nursing home was guilty of failing to supervise residents, not taking appropriate action when a resident fell, not meeting staffing requirements, failing to train staff appropriately, and failing to provide the necessary care and services to meet their resident’s needs. 

Good Samaritan was disciplined by the state many times before it was officially shut down. 

Nursing home neglect is most often the result of poor staffing. Facilities that do not have enough staff may be stretched too thin, and exhausted and overworked employees may not be able to provide the residents in their care with the quality they need to live a healthy and happy life. Some facilities are aware of their issues, and others simply choose to ignore them. Regardless of the reasons, elderly neglect is never acceptable, and all resident’s basic needs must be met on a daily basis. 

Elder neglect is a form of elderly abuse. This is because neglect causes harm to the elder. In facilities that do not have the appropriate staff, employees may find it difficult to provide the appropriate standards of care because they lack the support needed to do so. This can result in poor hygiene and affect the resident’s physical and mental health. This can result in a variety of conditions, including: 

  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Injuries
  • Sickness
  • Dental issues
  • Depression
  • Anxiety 
  • Insomnia
  • Substance abuse
  • Loneliness
  • Fear
  • Personality changes
  • Unpaid bills/debts
  • Suicidal thoughts/actions
  • Wrongful death 

In the most severe cases of elder neglect, death can result. It is important to note any signs and symptoms that point to neglect. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility and see any of these signs, you should report your suspicions to local police. 

  • Bedsores/ulcers
  • Lengthy time periods between showers/baths and changing of clothes or bed linens
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Unexplained burns, broken bones or bruises
  • Sleep loss
  • Severe personality changes
  • Medication errors

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sparklers-828570_1280-300x200Floridians are legally able to celebrate the Fourth of July by lighting off fireworks this year. While this might be great news to some, some medical professionals and others who have had life-changing experiences from fireworks injuries want to warn everyone of the hazards fireworks can bring. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill back in April that made it legal for Floridians to light off fireworks on three holidays: New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and of course, the Fourth of July. 

Due to the pandemic shutting down many big fireworks displays, it is likely that we will see an increase of people having their own backyard, or front yard, fireworks shows. 

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