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.

A Tampa man died Monday after he was involved in a single-vehicle crash on I-275 in Pinellas County.

The crash occurred at 4:43 p.m. on northbound I-275 at mile marker 26 in Pinellas County.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 20-year-old Tampa woman was driving a 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier north on I-275. She was making several lane changes when she lost control and drove onto the grass median, which caused the Cavalier to overturn several times.

A 20-year-old male passenger was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, where he died later that day from his injuries.

The woman sustained minor injuries. She was ticketed for careless driving.

It is critical to pay attention to your driving habits and patterns as well as those of the motorists around you to make sure you do not behave carelessly behind the wheel. Driving carelessly can cause serious accidents and injury to you, passengers in your vehicle and others around you.

Some of the most common examples of careless driving are:

  • Texting & driving
  • Drifting between lanes
  • Assuming right-of-way
  • Not signalling when changing lanes or turning
  • Tailgating
  • Not stopping at intersections
  • Failure to stop for emergency vehicle
  • Improper lane change
  • Making an improper turn
  • Speeding

Defensive driving tactics are a vital part of being a cautious driver. In order to avoid driving carelessly, make sure to:

  • Signal before you turn
  • If changing lanes, signal then wait to make sure the other drivers see you before passing
  • Come to a complete stop at all stop signs
  • Do not let passengers take your attention off of the road
  • Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road
  • Follow the speed limit
  • Avoid using electronic devices or cell phones
  • Never tailgate –  give the driver in front of you plenty of room

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A 62-year-old man died Sunday when he crashed into a car on U.S. 301 in Palmetto.

Palmetto Police believe the motorcyclist struck the rear of a Hyundai sedan just west of Canal Road at 8:30 p.m. The man was not wearing a helmet and died from his injuries at the scene.

The driver of the sedan, and her passenger, a four-year-old boy, were not injured in the incident.

The crash investigation closed westbound U.S. 301 between Canal Road and 12th Street East for approximately 3 hours.

No further information is available at this time.

Motorcycle accidents often result in severe injuries, and as this case shows, sometimes death for the biker and any passengers. The lack of protection that a motorcycle provides its riders is a big factor as to why collisions lead to such tragedies. Not wearing a helmet usually only increases a biker’s risk for suffering a life-altering injury or death as a helmet equips a rider with an extra layer of protection in the event they are thrown from the bike.

The following are 4 reasons you should wear a helmet when on a motorcycle:

  • It Reduces Your Risk of Head Injuries
  • It Makes you Easier to See
  • It Protects you from Road Debris
  • It Protects you from the Elements

When considering a helmet, make sure to look for the DOT or SNELL sticker inside or outside the helmet. This sticker means that the helmet adheres to the safety standards of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and/or the Snell Memorial Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to research, education, testing and development of helmet safety standards.

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One person died and two others were injured in a two-vehicle collision at 22nd Avenue South and 34th Street in St. Petersburg early Saturday morning.

According to authorities, at about 3:30 a.m. Saturday, a 2010 Audi A4 was traveling southbound on 34th Street South. A 2000 Ford SUV was also headed southbound on 34th Street, and had stopped for the traffic signal at 22nd Avenue South.

The Audi was traveling at a high rate of speed and failed to stop. It slammed into the rear end of the Ford SUV, propelling the Ford into a 2006 Honda, which was also was stopped for the red traffic signal.

The Ford caught fire. The driver was pulled out of the vehicle by a passerby as the interior went up in flames.

All three drivers were taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg for treatment. The Audi driver was pronounced dead at the hospital. The other two drivers were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Speed was a factor in the severity of the crash, according to police. It is unknown at this time if the Audi driver was impaired – toxicology reports are pending.

Speeding is one of the top causes of auto accidents. Speed limits exist for a reason –  to keep those sharing the roadways safe. Engineers consider many factors when determining posted speed limits, such as the roads characteristics, shoulder conditions, grade, etc. The numbers they come up with matter and are heavily researched, which is why drivers should obey these rules. Sadly, many drivers ignore speed limits, which is why countless auto accidents occur each year that result in injuries or deaths.

Anyone who causes harm to others due to speeding can be held liable for all damages the victim(s) suffer. Our St. Pete Auto Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton understand that car accidents are terrifying tragedies that can result in severe damages and injuries to those involved. Accidents that are caused by another driver’s negligence can only intensify these situations. We can immediately investigate the cause of your crash and identify all crucial pieces of evidence that can determine exactly what happened.

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Two motorcyclists, a driver and passenger were injured in a crash in Clearwater Thursday night.

Clearwater Police and Clearwater Fire & Rescue were called to Belcher Road and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard just after 9 p.m. to assist with the accident involving a car and two motorcycles.

Both motorcyclists went to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, along with the 72-year-old driver of the Toyota Prius that was involved.

An 87-year-old passenger in the Prius was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital.

None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening at this time.

According to police, the motorcycles were travelling westbound on Gulf-to-Bay as the car was attempting to turn left from Gulf-to-Bay onto Belcher.

Both motorcyclists were wearing helmets at the time of the collision.

Motorcycle accidents often result in terrible injuries and in many cases, death. Fortunately, the bikers involved in this crash are not suffering life-threatening injuries, according to reports. It appears that both bikers were wearing helmets at the time of the collision, which is always a good idea because wearing a helmet only adds more protection to riders.

It makes a lot of sense to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. In fact, a helmet may save your life or prevent you from suffering a horrible injury in the event of a crash. And, if you happen to be involved in a collision, wearing a helmet will save a significant amount of time and worry connected with resolving any claim arising from the accident since helmet use is associated with a safe, responsible motorcyclists.

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Two Tampa men have invented a device aimed at saving children from hot car deaths after becoming tired of reading more and more news stories regarding these tragedies.

They are currently looking for investors for their device they named Sense a Life.

According to the men, Sense a Life alerts parents and caregivers to safely remove children from a vehicle immediately upon leaving the vehicle themselves.

Sense a Life uses two sensors: one under the child car seat that senses weight and one installed near the driver’s side door. When the door opens and a child is in the car seat, a voice alert reminds the driver to take the child out.

The user also receives an alert on their phone. If ignored for a certain amount of time, the alert can also be sent to a second parent or guardian.

The men plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign in April to take the device to production.

The entrepreneurs hope to market the product to individuals directly or to car and child car seat manufacturers.

For more information, go to sensealife.com or visit them on Facebook at facebook.com/sensealife.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 30 children died from heat strokes in cars in 2014. Experts say it is the second most common cause of death for children under the age of 14, second only to crashes.

This device could be the answer to preventing the high number of deaths associated with child heatstroke deaths in hot cars. Time will tell if this device is a solution, but our Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are very happy to see strides being taken towards eliminating unnecessary deaths.

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A pedestrian was killed Saturday night in Brandon after being hit by a Jeep , according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident happened around 11:30 p.m. along Parsons Avenue South.

Deputies believe the 44-year-old pedestrian crossed Parsons Ave. into the direct path of a Jeep for unknown reasons.

The woman was struck and thrown to the east shoulder of the roadway. She died at the scene.

The driver, a 30-year-old woman, told investigators she did not see the pedestrian until she was right in front of the vehicle.

Investigators believe the woman may have been intoxicated at the time.

No other details have been released.

Drivers who have consumed alcohol and then get behind the wheel of a car are more likely to make poor decisions and less likely to adjust to any abrupt changes in traffic conditions. Alcohol can affect your judgment, impair your motor functions and alter your depth perception, which is why a good amount of Tampa Bay DUI crashes result in very serious or fatal injuries.

If a drunk driver has killed someone you love, it is imperative to act quickly in order to ensure that they are held responsible for your losses. When a loved one is killed, the surviving family members may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

It is important to understand that even if the driver responsible for your loss is convicted for drunk driving, it will not automatically result in a financial settlement. Our Tampa Bay Pedestrian Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will help protect your rights and make sure that you are offered fair and full compensation for your losses.

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A 26-year-old man is dead after he was hit by a drunk driver while riding his motorcycle in Tampa.

The crash happened at 12:34 a.m. on Dale Mabry Highway near the intersection with Cypress Street.

Police the victim, from Wesley Chapel, was riding his 2002 Yamaha motorcycle south when a 1997 Chevrolet pick-up truck made a left turn in front of him.

The man was declared dead at the scene. Police said Wednesday was his 26th birthday.

The driver of the truck, a 37-year-old Tampa man, showed signs of impairment, so police arrested him on charges of DUI manslaughter. His blood was drawn and submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

When a motorist makes the choice to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they place everyone sharing the roadway with them in serious danger. While a DUI is a criminal offense that is punished in criminal court, this does nothing to compensate motorcycle accident injury victims or the families of those who have lost loved ones in these types of accidents.

The drunk driver can actually be held financially liable for any injuries, damages and losses suffered by a victim or their family. Victims of motorcycle DUI crashes that survive often suffer severe physical injuries in addition to financial stress and emotional grief. Family members who have lost loved ones in drunk driving crashes might be struggling to pay the bills and provide for their families. Motorcycle DUI injury victims and the families of those killed can seek compensation for their losses, including medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, funeral expenses, future income and pain and suffering.

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Pinellas County sheriff’s investigators have cited a pedestrian for contributing to a crash that resulted in the death of a motor scooter operator in St. Pete Beach last month.

The crash occurred at the intersection of 70th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard in St. Pete Beach on Feb. 2.

According to investigators, the 18-year-old  pedestrian was crossing Gulf Boulevard from east to west at the intersection of 70th Avenue, and was not utilizing a crosswalk when he walked into the path of a motor scooter that was being driven by a 72-year-old man.

The pedestrian collided with the man’s motor scooter causing the biker to lose control and fall to the ground.

The motorcyclist was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The pedestrian sustained minor injuries as a result of the crash and refused medical attention.

The initial report indicated the man had suffered a heart attack following the crash. The Medical Examiner’s Office conducted their investigation and determined that the man’s death was caused by blunt trauma resulting from the crash. The manner in which he died was determined to be an accident.

The pedestrian received a Uniform Traffic Citation for failure to yield to the right of way for a vehicle.

Even though pedestrians do generally have the right-of-way, there are cases where they can be liable for a car accident. In a pedestrian vs. motor vehicle accident, the pedestrian can actually be to blame, either wholly or partially.

The following are the most common scenarios under which a pedestrian may be found at least partially at fault for an accident involving a scooter or other type of vehicle:

  • Jaywalking – crossing in the middle of the street, outside of a crosswalk
  • Crossing against the traffic signal – in the crosswalk but against a red “Do Not Walk” command
  • Entering a street or highway while intoxicated
  • Walking along highways, bridges, or causeways where pedestrian access is prohibited.

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Congress passed the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act in 2010. The law noted that hybrid vehicles are very quiet, especially when driven below 18 miles per hour. Due to this,  Congress required the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop regulations for noise alerts on these silent hybrid vehicles by January 2014. This deadline was then extended to November 2015, and then to March 2016. Auto makers are expected to have 18 months to comply with the new mandates once they are issued.

Sadly, in the meantime, pedestrians remain at risk. Pedestrian accidents have actually increased since 2009, and the fact that people cannot hear hybrid and electric vehicles approaching the same way that they can hear traditional gas-powered vehicles places pedestrians at a greater risk of becoming involved in an accident.  

Drivers should always keep a close watch out for all pedestrians, especially those who may be blind, distracted or need extra time crossing the street.

If you have suffered harm from a pedestrian accident in Tampa Bay, you may have the right to recover for your past, current, and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket expense related to the accident and pain and suffering.

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Officials said two toddlers nearly drowned in Clearwater over the weekend.

On Saturday, a 1-year-old boy was found face down in a 55-gallon drum of water, according to reports. The incident occurred sometime after 6 p.m. Saturday at a home located in the 2500 block of Highland Acres Drive.

According to investigators, the child was with his father in the backyard of the home. The boy wandered off while his father was working in the backyard and when the dad noticed the child was gone, he went to look for him.

The father found the baby face-down in the water, and he pulled his son from the water and performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

Dunedin Fire Rescue said the boy had a pulse and was breathing when they arrived. He was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital for life-threatening injuries.

Investigators believe the drum of water was partially buried in the ground and being used as a tilapia farm.

Second Toddler Found in Clearwater Pool

Police also reported that a 2-year-old boy was found in a backyard pool Sunday morning.

The incident happened at 10:30 a.m. at a house in the 2000 block of Buford Boulevard.

Police said that family members pulled the boy from the pool and administered CPR until Clearwater Fire & Rescue crews arrived. The firefighters were able to regain a heartbeat before taking him to Mease Countryside Hospital.

The toddler was later flown to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition.

Officials believe several people were at the house at the time of the incident. They think the child was in the pool for less than five minutes.

Private pools pose the greatest risks for drowning, especially for children that are too young to know how to swim. This is why it is critical for parents to accompany their kids when poolside or in the water at all times to prevent tragedies. At Whittel & Melton, our Tampa Bay Swimming Pool Accident Lawyers understand that no one can be completely vigilant 100 percent of the time. However, this is why restricting access to swimming pools as much as possible is essential. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a four-foot-high fence with a locking gate that should run around the entire perimeter of any backyard pool, at minimum. Unfortunately, builders and homeowners often fail to include this safety feature because a fence would ruin the look of a deck, patio or yard.

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