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 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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A 29-year-old Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy was arrested and charged with DUI and leaving the scene of a crash after deputies say he caused an accident driving the wrong way.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the man was driving southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 at 3:30 a.m. Friday when his Ford Explorer struck a semi-truck.

The crash happened near the Hillsborough-Manatee county line. There were no injuries in the crash.

Troopers believe the man drove off in his heavily damaged SUV, but abandoned the vehicle on the inside shoulder of I-75 at Mile Marker 232. A short time after discovering the damaged vehicle, troopers apparently found the man on the west side of the roadway attempting to hide, authorities said.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office later confirmed the man is a District IV deputy, employed with HCSO since October 2011.

He has been suspended without pay pending an internal investigation.

When you are driving, there are few things more terrifying than seeing the headlights of another vehicle coming towards you head-on. A car driving towards you the wrong way can cause you to panic, whether you are on a road or interstate. Crashes frequently occur from wrong way driving and usually result in fatalities. Sadly, in the Tampa Bay area and the rest of Florida, these types of accidents seem to be on the rise.

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A 19-year-old man suffered critical injuries in a St. Petersburg crash Saturday night.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the crash took place on 28th Street North and 47th Avenue North just before 11 p.m.

Troopers believe a 1999 Toyota Corolla traveling northbound on 28th Street was slowing to make a left turn onto 47th Avenue when a GMC pickup truck crashed into the back of it.

The Corolla was knocked into the parking lot of the adjacent B&N Food Mart at 4700 28th Street North and struck an unoccupied Ford Explorer.

The GMC continued northbound after the second collision and came to rest in the intersection of 28th Street and 50th Avenue North.

The 19-year-old passenger in the Corolla suffered critical injuries and remains at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.

The driver of the Corolla, a 20-year-old Largo man, suffered serious injuries.

The driver of the GMC truck, a 40-year-old man, suffered minor injuries.

Troopers said charges are pending.

After an auto accident, taking care of your injuries should be your top priority. Most people injured in car crashes assume that because they have insurance that all of their injuries from the accident will be covered. However, the truth is that insurance companies are in business to make money, and even though your medical care is of the utmost importance, it is entirely possible that your insurance company won’t cover the full extent of your injuries.

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A Ruskin woman has been charged with driving under the influence after deputies believe she caused a crash going the wrong-way with a toddler in her vehicle.

On Monday night, two Hillsborough County deputies were traveling northbound in the inside lane of 50th Street South in the area of Habersham Lane when they say they saw a small sedan driving southbound in the northbound lane.

According to reports, they conducted an evasive maneuver to avoid a collision with the small sedan but ended up hitting a small blue pickup as a result. After checking on that driver, they made a U-turn and caught up to the small sedan as it was approaching the intersection of 50th Street South and Causeway Boulevard.

Deputies conducted a traffic stop on the 31-year-old woman, during which they observed several signs of impairment. Deputies also noted that there was a toddler inside the vehicle.

Child Protection investigators responded and took custody of the child.

The woman was arrested for DUI. She has multiple suspensions to her Florida driver’s license for prior DUI offenses, as well as several non-extraditable warrants from other jurisdictions.

Additional charges are pending.

While not all wrong-way accidents are caused by intoxicated drivers, many of them are. It is easy for an intoxicated driver to not see signs or to not realize the consequences of entering a one-way street in the wrong direction.

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One motorcyclist died and another was critically injured Saturday in an accident in Tampa involving both riders colliding with a van.

According to Florida Highway Patrol troopers, the accident happened just after 4 p.m. at North Florida Avenue and Palm Drive. Two bikers, one 19 and the other 20, were riding southbound on North Florida Avenue when a van driven by by a 69-year-old man pulled into the road from Palm Drive into the motorcycle’s path.

The man reportedly failed to see the bikers as he pulled into the roadway to make a left turn onto North Florida Avenue. The bikers were both traveling in the left lane at high rates of speed, and both struck the van, according to reports.

The 19-year-old suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene. The 20-year-old suffered serious injuries and was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Both riders were wearing helmets at the time of the crash.

The driver of the van was transported to Florida Hospital Fletcher and treated for minor injuries.

Charges in the case are pending the results of the investigation.

If you were involved in a motorcycle accident with a passenger vehicle, you stand little chance of escaping the accident without any injuries. Bikers that are clipped by larger vehicles are much more susceptible to bodily injuries and even death due to their direct exposure to contact and lack of protection.

The most common injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Broken Bones & Fractures
  • Road Rash
  • Catastrophic Spine & Neck Injuries
  • Wrongful Death

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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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