Tampa Bay Injury Attorney Blog

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Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyers Serving Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota Counties Whittel & Melton, LLC

Accidents caused by other people's negligence are by their very nature, unplanned. It's for this reason that when an accident happens, victims may find themselves bridled with injury, pain and financial losses, not knowing which way to turn.

Being involved in an accident can be one of the most unsettling and devastating times in a person's life. During this time, having a seasoned attorney on your side, looking out for your best interest, can be the difference between becoming whole or struggling with pain and financial loss for years to come. If you are a victim of an accident, who you select as your attorney is the most important decision you need to make.

We are here to help.

The Tampa Bay Personal Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton guarantee that our clients receive the personalized attention they deserve. Our first priority is doing everything in our power to fight for full and fair compensation for your injury and loss.

Our Pinellas and Hillsborough County personal injury practice involves every type of injury case-- from serious car or motorcycle accidents to slip and falls to premises liability. The first step we take with our prospective clients is to schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts of the case. Our St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyers then will offer advice about options to seek financial recovery following a serious accident, catastrophic injury or the wrongful death of a loved one. We represent clients on injury claims arising from of a wide range of incidents and accidents. Click any area to the left to learn more about the scope of our practice.

If you have been in an accident, we don't think that you should have to suffer unnecessarily just because you were involved in an accident and are awaiting resolution to your case. While we cannot take the pain away, many times, we are able to refer you to Doctors who will treat and manage your pain, even if you don't have health insurance.

We Stand with You.

Most importantly, at Whittel & Melton, you can be confident that we will stand behind you and your case. Once we commit to representing you, we will never put you or your claim on the back burner, and we are available by phone 24 hours a day.

We promise to aggressively pursue the parties and insurance companies involved in your case to obtain justice for you and your loved ones. Through financial settlement or trial, we will prepare your case to achieve maximum compensation. You will never be responsible for any attorney's fees unless and until there is a successful financial recovery for your damages. Simply put, we will not be satisfied until you are.

We are proud to help accident victims throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota Counties – including Tampa, Brandon, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida.

Please call us at anytime. We are available 24 hours a day. (813) 221-3200, (727) 823-0000, (866) 608-5529.

Can you believe that Labor Day weekend is next week? Sadly, that means that summer is coming to an end. If you are like most Americans, you will have a three-day weekend to celebrate all your hard work this year. While you may be planning a trip to the beach or hanging back to relax at the pool with friends and family, just know that with all gatherings, the risk for injuries increases over holiday weekends.

If you are injured or someone you love is killed in a boating or swimming pool accident, you should discuss your legal options with our Tampa Bay Watercraft & Boating Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible following the accident.

We know that many Floridians favorite pastime over Labor weekend is to head out and enjoy the water on one of the last summer weekends. The waterways and public pools can be crowded this LDW, and crowds can increase the hazards, including drowning or near-drowning accidents.

If you are heading out with friends and family to spend the weekend on beaches, lakes and rivers, put safety first. Boats, jet skis, tubes, and other water sports equipment are fun, but they can be dangerous. Most people tend to listen to music and drink when on the water, which can cause everyone to get distracted and ignore safety measures. Another thing to remember is that drunk, distracted, or inexperienced boat drivers can often be involved in boat crashes that can injure passengers.

Keep in mind, anytime water is involved, there is always the risk of serious drowning incidents or other catastrophic injuries.

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A Tampa man was arrested and charged with DUI after a head-on traffic crash late Saturday night.

Deputies believe the 36-year-old crashed head-on into another vehicle while driving southbound in the northbound lanes on Anderson Road near Hoover Boulevard at approximately 11:15 p.m.

One person suffered minor injuries and was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital.

The man was suspected of being under the influence and a breath test was submitted resulting in a BAC of .173/.168.

The man was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence (over .15) and No Valid Driver’s License.

The Tampa area has seen an unusually high number of wrong way collisions recently. Sometimes knowing what to do in these situations can be the difference between life or death. The following tips can help you and your loved ones stay safe on Tampa highways.

  • Many wrong-way drivers are on the wrong-side of the road because they are intoxicated. If you have time to react, flash your lights to try and get their attention.
  • Swerve to the right to help avoid a collision with a wrong-way driver. You will often see wrong-way drivers entering the freeway veering to their right side of the road, or in the fast lane because they think it is the slower traffic lane. If you veer to your right this could prevent a terrible tragedy from occurring.
  • Stay alert, keep your head up, look ahead on the interstate at least a quarter of a mile so that you can give yourself time to try to see a wrong-way driver that could be coming your way.
  • Most wrong way collisions result in head-on crashes and sideswipe accidents. Always wear your seatbelt, as this could keep you alive in the event an unfortunate crash cannot be prevented.
  • Call the cops immediately If you see a driver going the wrong way! Try and report as many facts as you can, such as the year, make, model, location, direction, and license plate number, if possible.

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A man died and several others were injured in Manatee County after being involved in a multi-car collision just after 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

The crash occurred at 14th Street West and 53rd Avenue West.

Reports indicate that a 22-year-old woman driving a Dodge Charger made a left turn into the path of a 17-year-old driving a 2005 Chevy Silverado.

In the bed of the truck was a tire, which troopers believe launched into the air, smashing into the front of a Nissan Titan.

According to reports, the woman had a male passenger in her car who did not survive the accident. The passenger side of her Charger took the brunt of the impact. A 17-year-old passenger in her vehicle was also seriously injured. Her third passenger only suffered minor injuries.

Everyone else involved in the crash suffered minor injuries.

When a multi-vehicle crash occurs, there could be multiple parties to blame. It is important to determine fault in order to determine who is to blame for any injuries or tragic deaths. This must be done by conducting an investigation into the crash site to figure out exactly what happened.

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A motorcyclist was injured in a collision with a vehicle and transported to the hospital early Wednesday morning in St. Pete Beach.

The crash occurred at about 7:30 A.M. near the intersection of Gulf Boulevard and 55th Avenue in St. Pete Beach.

According to investigators, the 20-year-old biker was driving his Honda motorcycle southbound in the median lane of Gulf Boulevard approaching the intersection of 55th Avenue.

The driver of a 2005 Chrysler 300, 39, was making a left westbound turn into the entrance of the TradeWinds Island Resort located at 5500 Gulf Boulevard.

Investigators believe the man’s motorcycle hit the Chrysler 300, ejecting the motorcyclist from the bike and onto the roadway. He was transported to Bayfront Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Investigators do think that speed may have been a factor in the crash. There were no signs of alcohol involved, according to reports.

Speed is one of the main factors when it comes to motorcycle collisions. It is so important to always obey the posted speed limits as speeding can result in serious collisions leading to debilitating injuries, especially for bikers. Motorcyclists lack the protection of a vehicle, like other motorists, which means motorcyclists can easily suffer catastrophic injuries and the driver of the car, truck or SUV involved can walk away unscathed. A helmet can reduce your chances of a head and neck injury, but riders should also take extra precautions including wearing a face shield, closed-toe shoes, gloves, jackets and pants to protect against the abrasion of the road should you crash.

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A St. Petersburg tree trimmer is lucky to be alive after he was shocked by 7,200 volts of electricity.

In June, the man was working at a home on 25th Avenue North when his pole hit a power line.

The man was knocked unconscious and when he woke up he was still being shocked. He could not move his arms or legs so he used his mouth to get down to safety.

Firefighters airlifted the man to Tampa General Hospital.

The man spent a month in the hospital. He has had multiple surgeries and the shock has left him almost blind in one eye and unable to feel some of his fingers and his left leg.

Doctors say it’s a miracle he survived.

The man said he has emptied his savings to pay his medical bills and has more surgeries ahead of him. He is his family’s sole provider and will not be able to work again for at least another nine months.

A gofundme account has been set up to help with expenses.  

Electrical injuries are particularly frightening because they are unexpected. These accidents happen when there is contact between any part of the human body with a high enough level of electrical current to penetrate through skin and hair. This can be caused by faulty wiring anywhere, such as your house, construction and industrial work sites, landscaping, public buildings and tree trimming sites. Electrical injuries, as this case highlights, can cause burns, central nervous system damage, brain damage, and even death.  

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There were more than 1,400 wrong way crashes in FL in 2015, resulting in 1,454 injuries & 96 fatalities, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Wrong way driving collisions occur when a vehicle has failed to observe a posted traffic sign or pavement marking and proceeds in a lane travelling in the wrong direction.

Motorists are encouraged to stay in the right lane to avoid a crash with a wrong way driver, especially at night and during transitional light times such as dawn and dusk. In most wrong way wrecks, vehicles are hit head-on, resulting in 81 percent of all wrong way fatalities. Head-on collisions are some of the most dangerous crashes, and sadly, result in the most fatalities.

The FLHSMV offers the following safety tips for drivers to avoid a wrong way driving crash:

  • Stay Right at Night to avoid crashes with wrong way drivers.
  • Call 911 right away to report wrong way drivers. If you see a wrong way driver approaching, you should reduce your speed right away and pull off the roadway.
  • Stay alert. Do not drive distracted and never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Learn and obey all traffic signs. If you drive past a wrong way sign, turn around immediately. When you see a posted red sign, think about what red traffic sign colors are for: “Stop.” “Do Not Enter.” “Wrong Way.” Orange is used for construction and maintenance warnings. Yellow is for a general warning and advisory of unexpected roadways conditions. Fluorescent Yellow Green is for added emphasis warnings of school, pedestrian and bicycling activities. White/Black are regulatory signs, such as “Left Lane Must Turn Left.” Green signs are for guide or directional information. Blue signs are for motorist services guidance and to identify parking spaces or disabled drivers. Brown signs are reserved for areas of public recreation, cultural and historical significance.

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The Fourth of July is the perfect time to enjoy food, fun, and maybe a few drinks with family and friends. Whether you’re attending a fireworks show or hitting the bars, Tampa is the perfect place to celebrate America’s Birthday.

The sad truth is that Independance Day is one of the most dangerous holidays of the year. Fireworks, hot grills, traffic, and other hazards can cause serious injuries or even death. Drunk driving rates spike over the July Fourth weekend.

The best way to prevent injuries and deaths this holiday weekend is to follow the below safety tips:

Do Not Drink And Drive

The best way to avoid a DUI collision is to stay sober if you will be getting behind the wheel of a car. Too many people believe they can operate a vehicle safely after a few drinks, but the truth is that driving under the influence puts your life, your passengers’ lives, and the lives of others sharing the road at risk, so do not chance it.  

Look Out For Possible Drunk Drivers

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, police use more than 100 visual cues to identify drunk drivers. Knowing the signs can help you to avoid a DUI crash. Some of the cues include:

  • Swerving
  • Almost hitting an object in the road
  • Stopping well before or after a stop line
  • Not using headlights at night
  • Using the wrong turn signal
  • Parking too far from a curb
  • Abnormal accelerating and braking patterns

Use Lyft Or Uber

Both Uber and Lyft operate in the Tampa Bay area. If you intend to drink or if your DD gets drunk, use a taxi or rideshare service to get to your destination. You can even split the fare with your friends. Even if you are riding alone, the cost of a ride home safe  is much cheaper than a DUI.

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It’s summer! That means it is time to get to the pool and cool off with friends and family. There are pool parties, family gatherings and just pure summer fun all centered around the pool. Tampa can get pretty toasty in the summer months, so you and the kids are bound to take a dip in the pool a few times, if not daily.

Swimming pools are awesome, but they can also present some hazards to kids. However, if you follow the safety tips listed below you can stay cool and safe.

An Adult Needs To Supervise Kids At All Times!

Kids have to be monitored 24/7 by an adult whenever they are near water. Some parents are OK with passing this responsibility off to a teen babysitter, but we urge you to reconsider. Teens can get distracted way easier than adults. Looking away or stepping away from the pool for even a few minutes can prove deadly. It is best to follow the 10/20 rule: Check the pool every 10 seconds and make sure you are close enough to get to a child in distress within 20 seconds.

Install A Fence And Gate Around Pools

Pools should be enclosed with a fence and a gate. This makes it a lot harder for small children to gain access to the pool unsupervised. Children can find ways around gates and fences, so try to keep anything they can stack to climb over the fence out of their reach.

Safety Devices Can Malfunction

“Water wings” and life jackets can deflate, puncture, etc. Don’t rely on these to help your youngsters. Teach your kids to swim or enroll them in swimming lessons.

Keep A Fully Charged Cell Phone Nearby

Accidents can happen in mere seconds. Having a phone close could save a life if a medical emergency arises. It is also a good idea to have your address clearly listed on spot that guests can easily find in case an emergency occurs when you are not there and the emergency operator needs it.

Empty Kiddie Pools After Every Use

Children can drown in very small amounts of water because they  do not have the upper body strength to pull themselves up. Leaving a kiddie pool filled with water near the house could be disastrous as kids can easily fall in and drown.

Watch Your Alcohol Intake

Pool festivities often involve alcohol. Just keep this mind: drinking can cause your focus to drift away from the main task at hand, which is watching the little ones swimming or playing near the pool.

Nix The Horseplay

Don’t let kids play too rough or try to perform any crazy tricks. Cannonballs and backflips should be left to the professionals.

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Each year, numerous accidental deaths occur when children are left inside hot vehicles. Since 1998, an average of 37 US children have died every year from being left inside hot cars. A good amount of these were caused by lack of attention and could have been prevented. In these cases, vehicular heatstroke can be a wrongful death case.

According to statistics from 1998 to present, children left inside cars are the result of three primary circumstances:

  • In 54 percent of cases the child was ‘forgotten’ to be in the car.
  • In 29 percent of cases, kids were playing unattended inside a car without the knowledge of the caregiver.
  • In 11 percent of cases, the child was intentionally left inside the car generally while the adult ran an errand.

Within minutes of being left inside a hot vehicle, a child is in serious danger. The following tips can help you prevent making a lethal mistake:

  1. Never Leave A Child Alone In A Car. Sadly, 53 percent of all the children who died from vehicular heatstroke were under the age of 2. Some of this is because caregivers/guardians did not want to disturb sleeping infants or deal with unbuckling car seats for a “quick stop.” The truth is that even a few minutes can be fatal. The inside of a car can heat up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit in less than ten minutes on an average summer day.
  2. Heatstroke Can Happen In Minutes. Heatstroke can happen in a child when their core body temperature reaches around 104 degrees and becomes lethal at 107 degrees. A child’s core temperature can spike three to five times faster than adults, so heatstroke can happen in temperatures as low as 57 degrees and in shaded areas. Symptoms that a child is reaching dangerous heat levels include disorientation, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness.
  3. Give Yourself A Reminder. Most cases of child deaths in cars involve forgetting the child was even in the car. You can prevent this by setting reminders and insisting that caregivers set reminders that there is a child in the back. Place something you need in the backseat so that you are trained to look in the back seat every time you exit the car, even if you don’t have a child with you.

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A man on a scooter was killed early Tuesday by a car that had run a red light in Clearwater.

According to Clearwater Police, the crash occurred at 1:45 a.m. at the intersection of Belcher Road and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard.

Police believe the 55-year-old Palm Harbor man was on a scooter traveling northbound on Belcher Road when he was struck by a westbound 2006 Chrysler Sebring that ran the red light on Gulf-to-Bay.

The impact of the collision pushed the scooter into the side of a 1995 Lincoln Town Car that was also heading north on Belcher.

The scooter driver died at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.

Police have identified the driver of the car that ran the red light and believe the driver showed signs of impairment.

The driver was arrested and booked into the Pinellas County Jail on charges of driving with a suspended or revoked license in an accident involving death or serious bodily injury.

The driver of the Town Car suffered minor injuries.

Due to the increased use of mopeds and scooters, we have seen many more accidents, crashes, injuries and even fatalities. Lots of Floridians opt to travel by moped or scooter because of the pretty much warm year-round climate, which makes sense as these vehicles have much better gas mileage compared to cars, truck and SUVs.

A recent Florida study found the following to be common factors in scooter accidents resulting in serious injuries and wrongful death: lack of a helmet, the speed of the moped or scooter, the speed limit in the area of the accident, and the amount of traffic in the area.

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