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.

If you are out strolling along Gulf Boulevard along the beaches anytime soon, you will see some new signs touting pedestrian safety.

There’s more walking along the main beach thoroughfare than anywhere else in Pinellas County, so local agencies want to make sure both drivers and pedestrians remain aware of each other.

As part of the plan to keep safety a priority for walkers and bikers, the local rotary club has produced signs and fliers saying: “SAFETY, a shared responsibility.”

According to the Rotary Club of Gulf Beaches, there are two pedestrian related deaths each year and at least a dozen injuries. That’s in addition to the numerous pedestrian-related car crashes.

Fall is officially upon us, and while Florida temperatures may only drop slightly, the days are getting shorter, so it is important to take a few extra precautions.

Here are a few pedestrian safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Stay Visible: It is getting darker earlier, so make sure drivers can see you walking – especially at night. Try to only walk in well-lit areas.
  • Stay Alert: Stay on high alert when walking. Put your phone away and make sure that you are keeping your eye on your surroundings. You should always make sure that you can hear what is going on around you. Avoid wearing headphones when you’re walking so that you can hear cars around you.
  • Walk In Designated, Safe Locations: Always use crosswalks when they are available and make sure that you cross at a safe time. Stay away from busy roads that put you at a higher risk of suffering an injury.
  • Avoid Drunk Walking: We all know to avoid drinking and driving, but drinking and walking can be dangerous, too. Alcohol reduces your inhibitions, reflexes and awareness of your surroundings. You want to be fully alert when walking to prevent any unnecessary accidents and/or injuries.

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The Coast Guard rescued four boaters Saturday morning after their boat capsized 12 miles west of Johns Pass.

According to the Coast Guard, four Clearwater residents were saved after one of the men on board called 9-1-1 when he realized his 29-foot boat had begun taking on water just after 5:18 a.m.

The dispatcher was able to tell the caller to ‘don their life jackets,’ before communications were lost. A Coast Guard boat crew from St. Petersburg and an aircrew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Clearwater responded.

The helicopter arrived on scene at 6:20 a.m. and hoisted all four out of danger. They were all wearing their lifejackets.

No injuries were reported.

This case is an example of how important it is to have working radio communications and life jackets aboard your vessel. Thankfully, these boaters were prepared for the worst and were able to immediately call for help, and were able to be rescued swiftly and without any injuries.

Florida actually has more boating accidents every year than any other state. Many of these accidents occur because people fail to realize the dangers of operating a watercraft and do not understand the proper nautical safety laws and protocols. Our Tampa Bay Boating Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know that education is crucial to limiting boat accidents.

It is important that you contact us if you or a loved one were involved in a boating accident. Maritime laws can be complicated, and we can help you comply with filing deadlines and all other requirements.

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A 55-year-old man was killed Wednesday evening in a crash in Fort Meade.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the two-vehicle crash occurred at 6:15 p.m. on County Road 630 just east of County Road 555.  

Authorities believe a tan 2005 Chevrolet pickup truck being driven by a 27-year-old man was traveling eastbound on CR 630 when, for unknown reasons, went into the westbound lane.

The truck hit a white 1996 Dodge Dakota pickup truck being driven by 55-year-old man, which was heading westbound.

When the 55-year-old saw the oncoming truck in his lane, he attempted to brake and avoid the collision but was unable, officials said. He was not wearing a seatbelt, according to officials, and died at the scene.

The other driver and his 24-year-old passenger had to be extricated from their truck.

Both were airlifted to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, where they are listed in serious condition.

The investigation is ongoing.

Although it can be tempting to drive without buckling up, Florida law requires everyone to wear a seat belt. Here are a few things you should know about Florida’s seat belt law:

  • All passengers under 18 years old must wear a seatbelt or be otherwise restrained by a child car seat.
  • All passengers in the front seat must wear a seat belt.
  • Children 3 and younger must be secured in a federally approved child-restraint seat.
  • Children 4 through 5 must be secured by either a federally approved child restraint seat or safety belt.
  • The Driver is responsible for buckling up children.

Unfortunately, even if you are wearing your seatbelt, you can get injured or killed in a car accident. However, by wearing a seatbelt, you are less likely to be severely injured. If you are the victim of a an auto accident in Polk County or the surrounding areas, our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help.

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A man on a jet ski has been killed in a crash near a Captiva Island resort.

Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a statement that the crash happened Monday night near South Seas Resort.

Officials believe the  victim’s watercraft hit a pole and he was thrown into the water. The man was wearing a life vest.

It is unclear at this time if the man was a guest at the resort.

In a study conducted by the University of Florida, researchers found that jet ski accidents result in much more significant injuries than other types of boating mishaps. The most common jet ski injuries include head injuries and serious trauma to the chest and abdominal areas. Most of these injuries happen when a jet ski hits an object causing the rider to be thrown into the object or another vessel.

If someone you love has been involved in a jet ski accident, you and your family may be entitled to recover money for:

  • Wrongful Death
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Medical bills

With the assistance of our Tampa Bay Watercraft Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton, we can help you recover maximum compensation for your losses. If your loved one was lost in a jet ski accident, no amount of money will be able to  restore your family, but it can help cover economic losses to provide for your family now and in the future.

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With Hurricane Matthew looming in the tropics, it is a very good idea to make sure to prepare your home ahead of time for potential effects.

It’s uncertain what Hurricane Matthew will bring to the Tampa Bay area, but the first thing you should do is review your insurance policy to ensure everything is up-to-date. Our Tampa Bay Hurricane & Storm Damage Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge you to do this to be proactive.

A potential issue with Tampa Bay and severe weather is downed trees because of the extreme damage they can do to homes. It is best to get your trees trimmed and clear out any old branches or debris that could be dangerous with high winds and rain in order to prevent any damage to your house. It is also a good idea to have a roofer come out and inspect your roof for any potential problems.

The U-S weather service says Hurricane Matthew is the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic since 2007.

Now is the time to prep for the effects of Matthew. Call your insurance agent and verify what your policy includes, and what you should be doing if you have any damage. It is also a good idea to check into your flood insurance policy, and, if you don’t have one, look into getting one because even people in low-risk flood zones can see significant flooding from heavy rains associated with the hurricanes.

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A 45-year-old woman who drove the wrong way on a north Tampa roadway and caused a crash is now facing DUI charges.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the woman was driving westbound in the eastbound lanes on West Linebaugh Avenue just before 10 p.m. Friday.

Deputies believe the woman’s car then collided with another vehicle in the intersection of Linebaugh Avenue West and Race Track Road.  

Both drivers suffered minor injuries in the crash, but neither driver was transported to the hospital.

The woman was suspected of being under the influence and was subsequently evaluated and arrested for being impaired.

She is facing charges of DUI with property damage or personal injury.

Wrong way collisions occur when a driver is confused or just unaware of the road they are turning on. With that said, it makes sense that a good amount of these accidents involve drunk drivers.

Wrong way collision statistics are pretty staggering:

  • Nearly 360 people lose their lives every year in wrong-way collisions.
  • 22 percent of wrong way collisions resulted in fatalities.
  • Nearly 60 percent of wrong way drivers are impaired by alcohol.
  • Nearly 80 percent of wrong-way accidents occur at night (between 6pm and 6am).
  • Wrong-way accidents are more likely to occur on weekends.

Wrong way driving accidents are not the most common types of collisions, but they are certainly some of the most deadly. Wrong way accidents usually involve head-on collisions and frequently occur on high-speed roadways.

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A motorcyclist is in critical condition after a crash in Pinellas County ejected him from his bike.

According to the Pinellas Park Police Department, the 41-year-old was driving his motorcycle near the western entrance of the Home Depot on 73rd Avenue North when a car pulled out in front of him.

The man was launched from his 2000 Honda motorcycle.

He was not wearing a helmet. After the crash, he was taken to Bayfront. The other driver and his passenger did not suffer any injuries.

The motorcyclist suffered severe injuries. He remains in critical condition.  There are no criminal charges associated with this investigation, but officers said traffic citations are pending.

This article sheds some light on why it is so important to wear the proper safety gear on motorcycles. Even the most skilled riders cannot control the reckless and negligent actions of other drivers sharing the roadway.

The subject of whether a person should wear a motorcycle helmet comes up all the time. Some riders believe that they should have the freedom to ride without the constraints of wearing a helmet. Other riders recognize the dangers of riding without a helmet. Numerous studies have shown that a helmet can save a life. It can prevent a motorcyclist from brain damage and some severe neck injuries.

In the state of Florida, the law regarding motorcycle helmets is this:

A person over 21 years of age may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing a helmet if they are covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.

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A fatal crash occurred Friday evening in Lakeland involving a motorcyclist colliding with a pickup truck.

Officials believe that at approximately 3:20 p.m., a 37-year-old man was traveling southbound on Combee Road. He was riding a 2006 Honda 1000RR motorcycle.

Around the same time, a 70-year-old woman driving a 2002 Ford F 150 was pulling out into Combee Road from the parking lot of the Babcock store near the intersection of Combee and Tanglewood Street.

Deputies believe the woman crossed westbound across Combee Road toward Tanglewood Street, where the bike collided with the truck’s passenger side. The impact from the collision was enough to spin the woman’s truck clockwise, so it came to rest facing north.

The man was thrown from his motorcycle by the collision and sustained critical injuries. He later died while being transported by first responders to Lakeland Regional Hospital.

The woman in the truck was not injured in the crash.

At this time, investigators do not believe impairment was a factor in the crash. It was noted that excessive speeds appear to be a factor.

The man was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

Motorcycle riders are more exposed when it comes to the road, which only increases their chances of suffering a serious injury in the event of a motor vehicle accident. What might not cause any damage to a car, could deliver devastating injuries to a motorcycle rider. Broken bones, burns, paralysis, and amputations are common injuries as a result of motorcycle accidents, especially when the accident involved high speeds.

Motorcycle accidents commonly occur due to the following:

  • Driver distractions
  • Failure to obey traffic signals
  • Failure to yield
  • Unexpected lane changes
  • Speeding

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A 53-year-old motorcyclist died in a crash with a truck early Monday morning.

It happened around 7 a.m. on Walt Williams Road and Walt William Loop.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 2014 Ford F-150 was traveling south on Walt Williams Road.

At the same time, the 53-year-old biker was traveling north on Walt Williams Road on a 2014 Harley-Davidson FXDB.

Troopers believe that as the Ford turned left into a business parking lot, it traveled into the path of the motorcyclist.

Troopers believe the motorcyclist applied the brakes and began to skid in an effort to avoid the collision, but the truck and motorcycle collided.

The biker was transported to Lakeland Regional where he later died from his injuries.

Regardless of how safe a motorcyclist is on the road or how much safety gear they are wearing, many motorcycle accidents result in death. These sudden, unexpected tragedies leave family members and other loved ones feeling lost, sad, confused and even angry.

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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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