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GAINESVILLE, FL – A woman was fatally struck by a vehicle in northwest Gainesville on Tuesday afternoon.

According to a report by CBS 4, the pedestrian was struck by a vehicle turning left onto 8th Avenue from 10th Street.

Police say the victim, a 22-year-old woman, was walking in a designated crosswalk when the collision occurred. She was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

BROOKSVILLE, FL – A collision claimed the life of at least one person near the Church of God of Prophecy in Brooksville early Wednesday morning.

According to WFLA, the crash occurred in the 2400 block of Dan Brown Hill Road near Hayman Road shortly after midnight.

Little information about the cause of the crash, or the total number of vehicles involved, is available at this time.

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.

Using a rideshare service, like Uber or Lyft following a party or big night out at the bar or club on New Year’s Eve is a responsible thing for someone to do after they have been drinking. NYE is a busy time and Uber and Lyft drivers are placed at a disadvantage when it comes to maneuvering roads shared with drunk drivers.

If you drive for Uber or Lyft, then our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge you to stay alert for drunk drivers on the roadways. We know this is a popular time to work and make some good money, the tradeoff is that there are risks of running into drunk drivers and other negligent drivers on the roads.

app-gbfc8a35b4_1920-300x200Every rider you pick up and drop off means one less drunk driver on the roads, which is great, but not everyone will make the responsible decision to get a sober ride home, so we encourage you to stay alert and brush up on some safety tips, especially if you are not accustom to driving late night/early morning hours.

Christmas is just days away, and this time is filled with laughter, family, friends, and revisiting all the memories you have made this year. The holidays should be a happy time, but each year there are thousands of people who are injured or killed in Christmas and holiday-related accidents. Our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you and your loved ones to stay safe this holiday season, so we have compiled a list of the most common Christmas accidents.

Common Christmas Accidents

The holidays bring joy, but also give rise to more accidents and injuries. From DUI accidents to Christmas tree fires, there are numerous accidents that could happen during the holidays, the most common being the following:

  • christmas-g5411a15ae_1920-300x194Decoration/Christmas light accidents: Decking the halls can be deadly. According to Science News, Christmas tree lights cause an estimated 31,855 injuries nationwide each year. Electrical injuries from decorations other than tree lights are estimated to injure 36,054 and nonelectrical decorations injure 80,208 annually. On that same note, using ladders and heavy lifting account for numerous visits to the ER each year.
  • Christmas tree fires: Live Christmas trees require water daily, and when these trees are dry, the risk for a fire increases exponentially. Most people are not aware that live Christmas trees need water daily, and even if they are aware, many forget to do so. If you have a live tree, keep it hydrated. You can read more about preventing Christmas tree fires here.
  • Cooking accidents: Winter holidays are peak times for cooking fires. Cooking equipment and candles all contribute to fire-related accidents around Christmas time in the U.S.
  • Car accidents: The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 371 people will be killed in car accidents across the U.S. for the 2021 Christmas Day holiday period (6 p.m. Thursday, December 23 – 11:59 p.m. Sunday, December 26.) Drunk driving, distracted driving, and all other reckless behavior while driving can easily contribute to a fatal car crash.

The easiest way to prevent a Christmas accident from happening, is to celebrate responsibly. Exercise added caution this Christmas season so that you can avoid a slip and fall, a fire, or car crash that can forever impact future Christmas celebrations.

Ho, Ho…Ouch! Common Christmas Injuries

Accidents can happen anytime, but there is an increase during the Christmas holiday season. Broken ornaments, tree and candle fires, ladder falls, cooking accidents, and even wrapping and opening presents can lead to injuries like deep lacerations and burns that can be painful and ruin your holiday.

If you or a loved one suffers a serious injury to do another person’s recklessness or a product defect of some kind, then you could be entitled to financial damages. The most common Christmas injuries are:

  • Burn Injuries
  • Back Injuries
  • Neck Injuries
  • Hand and Finger Injuries
  • Head Injuries
  • Scars and lacerations

If you are injured over the Christmas holiday, then you should remain calm and seek medical care right away. If you are contemplating filing a personal injury claim, you will want to have an attorney assess your case to determine your odds of recovering financial compensation. We will be available 24/7 over this holiday season, so we urge you to call us at 866-608-5529 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Need Help this Holiday Season with an Injury Claim?

If a Christmas injury has dampened your holidays, then you need to speak with our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton today to learn more about pursuing a legal claim for damages. We can eliminate the stress and hassle these claims can place on you during this hard time and make sure you understand and are updated on the legal process every step of the way. To learn more about how we may be able to assist with your claim, call us now at 866-608-5529 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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The tradition of a real Christmas tree may be something your family enjoys partaking in every year. Loading everybody up in the car and heading to the tree farm to select your perfect tree, chop it down, and bring it home to decorate might be what Christmas means to you. Fresh trees smell great and can be quite charming, but you may not realize that real trees can be very hazardous when they are dry. A dry tree combined with fireplaces, hot Christmas lights, and any other sources of heat can be a recipe for real disaster. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association has said that dry Christmas trees can quickly turn into a rapidly spreading fire that burns even faster than paper. If your version of Christmas involves a live tree, then you need to know how to prevent a tree fire from ruining your holiday.

How Do Dry Trees Lead to a Fire?

Take a look at this video published by the National Fire Protection Association to see just how hazardous an unwatered Christmas tree can really be.

What starts as a small flame quickly demolishes the tree in just a few seconds. At 30 seconds, the entire room is engulfed in a blaze. This is how Christmas tree fires happen every year and devastate families holiday traditions.

How to Prevent Christmas Tree Fires

Perhaps the most logical answer for this is to just water your live tree. Trees that are hydrated are much less likely to start a blaze.

Live Christmas trees must be watered daily. Many people do not realize that their live tree needs water every single day. Research indicates that 70% of people with live trees are unaware that their tree needs water daily. Only 45% of people with live trees actually water them daily, so there is a huge risk of fires happening in households all across Florida and the rest of the U.S.

While you want to make sure that your Christmas tree is watered daily, you also want to make sure that you are purchasing a hydrated tree before you get it home. You can do this by only buying a tree that has been freshly chopped. Trees that have been previously cut weeks ago have been losing water and because of their dehydrated state, it can be much more difficult to get them hydrated so that they do not pose risk of catching fire.

In addition to watering your tree, you can also follow these tips to prevent a fire:

  • Make sure all lights do not have loose connections or any frayed cords
  • Just use one extension cord for your tree lights so that nothing gets too tangled
  • Turn the lights off on your tree every day/night before leaving or going to sleep
  • DO NOT place candles near your tree
  • Keep your tree AT LEAST THREE FEET from any heat source
  • By observing the above tips, you can make sure your holiday goes smoothly.

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According to projections from AAA, there will be nearly 4 million more people travelling on U.S. roadways this Thanksgiving (2021) compared to last year. This means that if you are planning a road trip that you should expect to see a lot more vehicles sharing the roads and a surge in traffic.

Experts believe that open U.S. borders combined with more people being vaccinated from COVID19 and the long holiday weekend means more people hitting the roads this year. A November AAA report predicts that there will be 48.3 million people making a road trip this Thanksgiving.

While you should anticipate more congestion on the roads this year, you can best prepare yourself for a smooth Thanksgiving journey by leaving early. You can expect delays, so it is best to leave in the morning. The best time to depart is after 9 p.m. on Wednesday, but before 11 a.m. on Thursday and Friday and before noon on Saturday and Sunday.

Car accidents are a big concern this time of year, especially with so many travelers on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns all motorists to eliminate any risky driving behaviors that have become more common since the pandemic began, such as driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol or without wearing a seat belt.

The NHTSA has estimated that 20,160 people have died in car accidents for the first half of 2021, which is an increase of 18% from 2020.

On a similar note, Thanksgiving weekend has shown a trend of more motor drunk driving motor vehicle accidents and fatalities. The NHTSA shows that around 800 deaths were caused by drunk drivers over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend from 2015-2019.

Wherever you are this holiday weekend, our Florida Car Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you to stay safe and get to your destinations safely. Not all traffic is equal, so here is a list of the cities with the worst traffic on the day before Thanksgiving and the worst times to travel:

Atlanta: The worst time to travel is between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. and Interstate 85 South from Clairmont Road to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive is anticipated to have the most congestion.

car-g7a9a9e4de_1920-300x200Boston: Steer clear of Interstate 93 North from Quincy Market to Massachusetts Route 28 between 1 and 3 p.m.

Chicago: Avoid Interstate 290 West from Morgan Street to Wolfe Road from 2:45 to 4:45 p.m.

Detroit: The worst travel times are from 2-4 p.m. on Interstate 96 West from 6 Mile Road to Walled Lake.

Houston: Avoid Interstate 10 West from Sjolander Road to Texas State Highway 330 from 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.

Los Angeles: Stay away from Interstate 5 South from Colorado Street to Florence Avenue between 3:45 and 5:45 p.m.

New York: Keep away from Interstate 495 East from Borden Avenue to Little Neck Parkway from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

San Francisco: From 4-6 p.m. Interstate 80 East from Interstate 580 to San Pablo Dam Road is expected to be heavily congested.

Seattle: From 4-6 p.m. Interstate 5 South from Washington State Route 18 to Washington State Route 7 is expected to be heavily congested.

Washington, D.C.: From 2-4 p.m. avoid Interstate 95 South from Interstate 395 to Virginia State Route 123.
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A biker was killed in a fatal wreck involving a large truck on Interstate 4 in Polk County on Monday night around 7:30 p.m.

Reports indicate that the 52-year-old motorcyclist was riding his 2015 Harley Davidson heading west in I-4 when a trooper who was assisting a construction crew crashed into him. The biker was thrown from his Harley Davidson motorcycle and landed in the path of a big rig, which ran him over.

The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene, according to troopers.

The trooper and the driver of the tractor trailer were not harmed in the crash.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has compiled data involving collisions with large trucks for the latest year available – 2018. They have recorded approximately 499,000 large truck accidents for 2018, with 4,415 fatalities and 107,000 injuries. Most fatal accidents involving semi-trucks occur on Interstates and at night between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. For 2018, the majority of fatal truck accidents (82%) did not involve any occupants of the large truck.

Truck transport is growing by the day in the United States, and 70% of all products reach their destination by some type of delivery truck. With so many trucks on the roadways, we have seen a surge in accidents and injuries caused by these enormous vehicles carrying all sorts of cargo. Due to their size and weight, large trucks can cause very serious injuries when a crash occurs, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spinal cord damage, broken bones, internal bleeding, head and neck injuries, and more. If a person is lucky enough to survive a crash with a big rig, then they are most likely looking at immediate medical attention and numerous surgeries, which can become quite costly rather quickly.

semi-truck-g97fb2408f_1920-300x200A large truck is classified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as any vehicle that weighs over 10,000 pounds. The vast majority of truck accidents are not caused by drugs or alcohol, but rather mechanical defects, driver’s switching to new routes, and truck driver fatigue. Issues with tires, wheels, steering wheel defects, brakes, and the weight of the truck are all top contributors of crashes. Large trucks weigh much more than a normal vehicle, and sometimes large trucks surpass 40 tons where a regular passenger vehicle weighs approximately 2.5 tons. Because of the weight of their cargo, large trucks require a greater stopping distance than a traditional passenger vehicle, especially when cargo Is not loaded properly and evenly. While a passenger vehicle may only need 300 feet to come to a complete stop after hitting the brake, a large truck usually needs double that length – around 525 feet – in order to completely stop.

Big rigs injure or kill a person every 15 minutes in the U.S. This adds up to a great deal of accidents, injuries, and deaths. If you or a loved one has been involved in a crash with a large truck, you may be wondering what you can do to hold the at-fault driver accountable for your suffering. Our Florida Truck Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are here to help guide you through the recovery process. We can be the ally you need during this difficult time, not just your legal advocate. We understand how devastating these accidents are and will listen to your side of the story and take the stress of these situations off your shoulders so that you can focus on what is truly important: getting better.

Truck accidents are quite different from traditional car accidents. When you are involved in a crash with another driver, it is usually that driver that you file a suit against. Trucking accidents can have multiple parties that are responsible, such as the truck driver, the truck company, the loading company responsible for the cargo, the manufacturer of the truck parts, and the maintenance crews responsible for safety inspections. Truck accidents can also involve both state and federal laws, further complicating these matters. You need an attorney who knows trucking regulations and laws and has the resources needed to fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve. Continue reading

Those who suffer from sleep apnea may be prescribed to used mechanical ventilator devices so that they continue to breathe while sleeping and avoid being woken up multiple times throughout the night.

Sadly, in June of 2021, the main manufacturer of CPAP and BiPAP machines, Philips Respironics, recalled 4 million of its devices because they have been found to cause cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, and lung injury.

These affected devices use sound abatement foam liners that are made from polyester-based polyurethane, which can break down into smaller particles that can be inhaled or ingested quite easily. The foam has been found off-gas toxic chemicals that can cause nausea, vomiting, stroke, liver and kidney disease, cancer, serious respiratory issues, as well as myocardial infarction.

The VA has distributed around 600,000 of these recalled CPAP/BiPAP machines to veterans across the country. If you have used one of these mechanical ventilator devices and have suffered from any of the above-mentioned injuries/illness, then you may be eligible to recover financial compensation. We strongly urge you to call our Phillips CPAP/BiPAP/ASV Device Recall Lawyers at Whittel & Melton today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online for a free consultation so that you can find out more about whether or not you have a claim for compensation.

What Machines Have Been Recalled?

  • DreamStation ASV
  • DreamStation ST, AVAPS
  • SystemOne ASV4
  • C Series ASV, S/T, AVAPS
  • OmniLab Advanced Plus In-Lab Titration Device
  • SystemOne Q series
  • DreamStation CPAP, Auto CPAP, BiPAP
  • DreamStation Go CPAP, APAP
  • Dorma 400, 500 CPAP
  • REMStar SE AutoCPAP

What Should I Do If I Have Used/Using One of These Devices?

Many military veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and obesity, which are two leading causes for sleep apnea. For years, many vets have used CPAP or BiPAP machines to help them breathe while sleeping, and now the recall has made these products defective. If you have used a sleep apnea machine, then you may be wondering what to do next. There are several things you can do right now, the first being to sign an online petition for the VA to improve their quality control measures. Second, register with Philips Respironics so that you can be eligible for a replacement device when they are available (this could take up to a year). And perhaps the most important step to take is to contact our Phillips CPAP/BiPAP/ASV Device Recall Lawyers at Whittel & Melton today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online so that we can begin helping you formulate a strategy for building a claim for damages.

While most recalls advise patients to stop using the defective product or drug, this recall is different. If you are currently using one of the machines listed above, then you should contact your doctor about whether or not it is in your best interest to stop using the machine.

What About My Disability Benefits?

We understand that as a veteran you have fought long and hard for your benefits. You may be concerned that you will lose these benefits if you stop using the device prescribed. However, this recall is unique and your benefits will not be affected if you stop using your CPAP or BiPAP machine. The same is true if you have applied for benefits and have a pending application. Continue reading

Hurricane Ida brought destruction to Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, leaving millions without power for what is projected to be weeks, wreaking havoc on homes and business properties, and weakening the societal infrastructure that is needed to keep things running safely and smoothly. This has left many wondering what’s next? It is important to be prepared for what Mother Nature has in store for the coming weeks for the Atlantic and Southeastern states.

Hurricanes are named alphabetically at the start of every hurricane season in June. The names are always predetermined by the National Weather Service. The letter “I,” is the ninth letter of the alphabet and the ninth storm of the season that typically occurs at the end of September. 2021 has been an active storm season, but Hurricane Ida occurred roughly a month ahead of schedule and was one of the most powerful storms the United States has seen. It now joins the ranks of other powerful “I” storms, 2004’s Ivan and 2017’s Irma, which is one that Floridians remember well.

A look back at 2020 shows that this was also an active hurricane season, bringing 30 named storms, 14 hurricanes (7 major hurricanes), 11 named storms hitting the U.S. coastline, and then Greek letters being used for names as the busy hurricane season came to a close.

key-west-86025_1920-300x199Taking a peek back at the previous years of storms shows a disturbing trend: an increase in named storms and an intensity that is ferocious. Hurricane Ida went from a Category 1 Hurricane to a Category 4 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale too quickly for most to develop a plan of action to protect themselves and their property from the storm that intensified from 85 mph to 150 mph in less than 24 hours. With that said, Floridians are urged to not only prepare for more storms, but more storms that are dangerous forced that could end in great destruction.

Storm names remaining for the 2021 season are: 

  • Larry
  • Mindy
  • Nicholas
  • Odette
  • Peter
  • Rose
  • Sam
  • Teresa
  • Victor
  • Wanda

What Do You Do After a Hurricane?

After surviving a powerful storm, don’t be shocked when your own insurance company denies your claim. Your insurance company may have a laundry list of reasons they provide as to why your claim will be delayed or outright denied. Continue reading

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