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 Tropical Storm Nicole knocks out your power, you want to make sure that you and your emergency generator are ready.

A portable generator can be your best mechanical friend if you have lost power during a hurricane or storm, but it can also cause serious harm if you do not know what you are doing.

isolated-g138d25ac3_1920-300x300It is critical that you know how to use a generator properly. Here are some tips to help you use a generator safely:

DO:

  • Start your machine and run it for a short period of time periodically throughout the year, so you know that the machine is working properly and ready to go when you need it.
  • Check the oil frequently.
  • Have fresh fuel on hand to power your generator. If your generator runs on gas, then you will need to plan for about 21 gallons a day for it to operate 24 hours.
  • Check your generator’s capacity before you power any devices. If your combined wattage for devices that you are powering exceed the capacity of your generator, then this is a recipe for disaster.
  • Make sure your extension cords are heavy-duty and properly grounded.
  • If you want to connect an emergency generator to your home’s main electrical system, then make sure you hire a qualified technician to install a transfer switch.

DON’T:

  • Keep a running generator in your garage or inside your home. Generators need to be at least 15 feet away from enclosed structures as they emit odorless carbon monoxide exhaust fumes that can be deadly.
  • Keep fuel stored in your home or garage near appliances, like a water heater, furnace, or any other potentially combustible appliances.
  • Power a generator directly to your home’s electrical box as this is a fire hazard.
  • Run a generator in rain. Electrical panels that get wet could not only damage the machine, but deliver an electric shock.
  • Refuel a generator when it is running. If fuel spills on a hot motor, then this can spark and explosion or fire.

If you have any power outages or downed power lines in your area, then you can report them to Tampa Electric (TECO) at 1-877-588-1010. You can also report storm debris, fallen trees, and street flooding to the City of Tampa at 1-833-TPA-INFO (872-4636).

Continue reading

There is a plethora of benefits associated with walking, including the physical/health aspect, but also personal, environmental, and social benefits. Walking can lead to more community engagement which can improve local economies and lead to more vibrant and livable areas, and even create cleaner, quieter, and safer streets.

81-200x300Unfortunately, there were 6,516 pedestrians killed in the United States in 2020. This breaks down to 125 pedestrian deaths a week or 18 pedestrians a day. In 2020, a pedestrian was killed every 81 minutes and injured every 10 minutes.

In 2019, Florida had the second highest number of pedestrian fatalities – 713. California took the top spot with 972 pedestrian deaths and Texas came in third with 649 pedestrian deaths.

The numbers do not lie – pedestrian accident deaths are a huge problem in the U.S. Here are some more key statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • There were 6,205 pedestrian deaths in 2019, a 2.7% decrease from the 6,374 pedestrian deaths in 2018.
  • In 2019, around 76,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents, a 1% increase from the 75,000 pedestrian injuries in 2018.
  • In 2019, a pedestrian was killed every 85 minutes and injured every 7 minutes.
  • In 2019, pedestrian deaths accounted for 17% of all traffic deaths.

Every person is a pedestrian at some point in time, so it is vital for everyone to understand the rules of the road for pedestrians and drivers. With Daylight Savings Time coming to an end, we will see it getting darker earlier, which only increases the risks for pedestrians. The majority of hit and run pedestrian accidents happen at night or during low-light hours.

Important Safety Reminders for Pedestrians:

  • Walk on sidewalks or paths when they are available.
  • If there is no sidewalk or path available to use, then walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic.
  • Do not become distracted by eating or texting or talking on a phone, or even listening to a podcast or music on your headphones. Do not let anything take your eyes or ears off the road.
  • If you are walking somewhere at night, exercise extreme caution and never assume that a motorist can see you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach you.
  • Drivers expect to see pedestrians and crosswalks or intersections, so cross streets here whenever possible. If one is not available, then find a well-lighted area and pause for a gap in traffic that is a large enough window to allow you to cross the street safely. As you cross, always continue to watch for traffic.
  • Make yourself visible by wearing bright clothing during the day. At night, wear reflective clothing and use a flashlight
  • Refrain from using drugs or alcohol when walking.

Important Safety Reminders for Drivers:

  • Pedestrians could be anywhere, and they may not be walking where they should be or hard to see, so keep an eye out for them especially at night and in bad weather conditions
  • You should always stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.
  • Do not pass vehicles that are stopped at a crosswalk as they may be stopped for pedestrians that you cannot see.
  • Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Follow the posted speed limits, and always slow down when pedestrians are present.
  • Make sure you are focused when driving and slow down your speed in school zones and neighborhoods where there may be children present.

Continue reading

Lonnie Kilpatrick is the namesake for the Lonnie Kilpatrick Central Pacific Relief Act, a man who has a disturbing story of missed diagnoses and a denial of benefits that outlived him.

Kilpatrick served in Guam where toxic herbicide was sprayed during the Vietnam War. He went from being diagnosed with osteoarthritis to having metastasized bone cancer all over his body, resulting in his death shortly after a heartbreaking interview pleading for Congress to take action 2018.

His nudge to Congress for help is what lead to the elements that were incorporated into the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022.

This is also known as the Pact Act, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on August 10, 2022.

The Pact Act expands coverage to veteran service members and their families exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Likewise, 23 additional conditions caused by burn pit exposure will be covered under the law that also added six new Agent Orange exposure areas – Guam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, American Samoa and Johnston Atoll.

297569160_5455916297784919_7868226634536247334_n-300x300While the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is just one part of the comprehensive PACT Act, this new law focuses on providing monetary relief to those service members and their families that suffered four decades of contaminated water exposure at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base in North Carolina.

There is now a two-year window of time from the date of signing (8/10/2022) for those who suffered harm from the toxic Camp Lejeune water to pursue financial compensation through a lawsuit filed only with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

This new opportunity for legal action can help all those affected by the contaminated Camp Lejeune water to recover disability benefits, medical expenses, lost wages, counseling and other mental health services, and pain and suffering.

If you are suffering from any of the following or lost a loved one who suffered from any of the following medical conditions, you should explore your options for pursuing legal action:

  • Internal organ damage
  • Renal toxicity
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Scleroderma
  • Cardiac Defects
  • Tooth loss
  • Tooth decay
  • Bladder cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphomas
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Female infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Still birth
  • Neural tube defects
  • Oral cleft defects (cleft lip)
  • Low birth weight
  • Childhood hematopoietic cancers
  • Declining memory
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dementia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Fatigue
  • Poor motor functions
  • Insomnia
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Hyperactivity
  • Anxiety
  • Fear of being injured

Continue reading

Insurance companies in America often market themselves as businesses who are looking out for you, but the truth is that these corporations are really looking out for their bottom line – making trillions of dollars annually from people like you paying your insurance premiums and then denying valid claims, rejecting various coverages, and increasing their premium costs.

Car-Insurance-Promotion-Instagram-Post-1-300x300The American Association for Justice (AAJ) conducted their own research into insurance companies by combing through court documents and interviewing former insurance company employees to narrow down the 10 worst insurance companies in America. Here are the rankings:

  1. ALLSTATE: Here is a perfect example of a company who markets itself as a business that places you in “good hands,” but instead of living up to that promise they tell employees to make low offers for claims and use their team of lawyers to scare off claimants from going after the full and fair compensation they deserve. The CEO, Thomas Wilson, has openly said that the company’s main priority is to increase the wealth of its shareholders. Wilson earned more than $16,300,000 in 2019, but injured policyholders got far less than what they rightfully deserved or nothing at all due to the company’s unfair tactics and ambiguous language in their policies designed to trick policyholders into thinking they have certain coverages and blindsiding them when tragedy strikes because their claims will be denied.
  2. UNUM: While you may not have heard of this disability insurance provider in the U.S., they are known for delaying and denying any claims presented to them, leaving those sick and injured with benefit denials. To break it down, Unum denied their own employee’s benefits following a diagnosis for multiple sclerosis. After three years of fighting with the company, the former employee sought legal counsel to get her valid claim accepted. Sadly, this just further drives home the point that you must get legal help to level the playing field with these insurance companies.
  3. AIG: This company has been nicknamed the “New Enron” because they have multiple charges of multi-billion-dollar corporate fraud. They are also known for creating all kinds of unfair hoops for claimants to jump through to try and get their rightful benefits and have used questionable schemes in court proceedings.
  4. STATE FARM: While this is the top-earning insurance company in the U.S., paying their CEO more than $8.5 million or more a year, they will go to any lengths possible to delay or deny very valid claims.
  5. CONSECO (Subsidiaries PENN LIFE and BANKER’S LIFE): This insurance provider allegedly uses bad faith insurance practices (unfair conduct that exceeds negligence) to keep their pockets lined with cash. Former employees have shared stories of false advertising and unethical policies that are aimed at taking advantage of senior citizens.
  6. ANTHEM (Formerly known as Wellpoint): You may know this insurance provider better from their Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans as well as others. They are notorious for cancelling policies of those battling chronic illnesses as well as pregnant women. Just like all the other insurance companies, Anthem is only out to protect their money, not their policyholders.
  7. FARMERS: This multi-million-dollar company has been ranked as one of the worse home and auto insurance providers in the U.S. by Consumer Reports and JD Powers & Associates. Reports have indicated that this company gives their employees bonuses and raises for partaking in unethical business tactics to meet their low payment standards.
  8. UNITED HEALTH: Much of this company’s success can be attributed to their partnership with AARP. They are known for creating obstacles for patients to get their medical care reimbursed, leaving them to find other ways to pay for their medical bills.
  9. TORCHMARK/GLOBAL LIFE: This insurance provider focuses its policies on southern states, likes Texas and Alabama. Former employers have provided information that apparently shows they charge higher premiums for minority customers when compared to white customers. They also have allegations of defrauding senior policyholders.
  10. LIBERTY MUTUAL: Another insurance company who uses shady and borderline illegal practices to keep the money rolling in. If you are seeing a pattern here, you are correct. Floridians should watch out for Liberty Mutual as they are known for abandoning policyholders after hurricane or tropical storms as well as refusing their renewals.

Continue reading

It is standard for all Americans to celebrate the Fourth of July with friends and family. Boating, swimming, grilling and watching fireworks is something many look forward to on this summer holiday. While there is much fun to be had, the activities that surround the Fourth of July can also be dangerous.

Red-and-Blue-Banner-Fourth-of-July-Facebook-Post-300x251

That is why you must plan for the unexpected to happen on this long weekend. Our Tampa Bay Holiday Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want to remind you to be safe this Fourth of July while celebrating in Tampa. Here are our top 5 safety tips for Independence Day:

  1. Let the pros handle the fireworks show: Fireworks injure thousands of people each year, most of them being children and teens. What many people fail to realize is that fireworks are quite dangerous and can easily result in severe burns, property damage and fires, and even death. Even sparklers, when lit, can reach temperatures of 1,800 degrees. We encourage you to let the professionals handle the fireworks and just sit back and enjoy them – all while staying injury free. If you must use some sparklers, then make sure you view what the State Fire Marshal has deemed legal for 2022.
  2. Avoid a grill injury: While you may be the grill master of your neighborhood, accidents can happen at any time. Grill injuries are actually quite common, affecting about 20,000 Americans annually. If you are going to be firing the grill up this Fourth of July weekend for hotdogs, hamburgers, steaks, or anything else, remember these important tips:
  • Wash your hands and all grilling equipment before you handle any food – this will help prevent the spread of germs.
  • Clean your grill before and after you use it to keep fat buildup (this can cause fires) at bay.
  • Check any hoses for holes or cracks that could make gas leak and be sure to open the grill lid before lighting it.
  • Never grill in enclosed spaces, like a garage or near trees or bushes as these areas can ignite fires.
  • Use a grill pad under your grill to help with splatters and keep your grill on a flat surface.
  • Keep pets, kids, and anyone drinking away from the grill to be safe.
  • Make sure the grill is properly shut off when it is not in use. Any spare propane tanks should be disconnected and stored in a cool place away from sunlight.
  1. Drink responsibly: The Fourth of July is a celebration, but you can party responsibly. If you are having guests over and serving beer and cocktails, make sure you have plenty of food and water to help assist with the metabolism of alcohol. Do not serve alcohol to any guests under 21 and take the keys away from anyone who has been overserved. You can have a guest room available, call a cab, or even download a rideshare app.
  2. Be safe when boating: If you are going to be on the water over the Fourth of July weekend in Tampa, then follow these tips:
  • Check weather conditions before you head out, like high winds, thunderstorms, or even severe heat (to avoid heatstroke).
  • Do not drink and operate a boat. On that same note, limit any passenger’s consumption of alcohol to prevent any unnecessary boating accident injuries.
  • Tell friends or family where you are going and when you will be back – this is just in case something goes awry.
  • Everyone on the boat should wear a lifejacket at all times on the boat and make sure that it fits properly.
  1. Be safe at swimming pools: The Fourth of July means that many people will be swimming in pools, beaches, or lakes, which is a great way to beat the high temperatures in Tampa. Drowning accidents are a leading cause of death in children under the age of 15. If you are going to be at a pool or swimming in any body of water this holiday weekend, please remember the following:
  • Always keep an eye on children in the water. Drowning and near drowning incidents can happen in seconds. Don’t ever assume that someone else is watching your child, even if a lifeguard is present – make sure you are alert.
  • Make sure no one runs around a pool, as children, teens, and adults can all slip and fall very easily.
  • If you have young children that are not able to swim or are not strong swimmers yet, then invest in flotation devices that are approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Never dive into shallow waters as this can lead to spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries.

Continue reading

U.S. News ranked Tampa Bay as the #15 spot for the fastest-growing places in the U.S. for 2022-2023. The neighboring areas of Sarasota and Fort Myers took the #3 and #4 spots. Interestingly enough, Lakeland, Fl took the #2 spot on the list and Ocala, FL, Port St. Lucie, FL, Daytona Beach, FL, and Naples, FL, took spots 6-9 on the list. Melbourne, FL ranked #12, Jacksonville, FL ranked #14, and Orlando completed the list coming in at #25.

Florida is booming, and the Tampa Bay area is seeing exponentially more growth. More people means more traffic, which is something people want to avoid.

At Whittel & Melton, our Tampa Bay Car Crash Lawyers know that there is really no way to entirely avoid traffic, but we can offer some insight into how to avoid congested areas so that you can keep moving, avoid a collision, and get on with your day.

Tampa Bay Rankings from U.S. News

U.S. News took on the task of analyzing 150 metro areas in the U.S. to find the best places to live, basing their research on job markets, quality of life, the value of living there and the desire to live there. Here is how Tampa ranked:

#39 Best Places to Live

#6 Best Places to Retiredazzle-300x300

#6 Safest Places to Live

#5 Best Places to Live in Florida

And as we know, #15 in Fastest-Growing Places

Understanding the Population Growth in Tampa Bay

The 2022 metro area population of Tampa is 2,945,000, which is a 1.17% increase from 2021. Tampa’s population in 2021 was 2,911,000 – a 1.18% increase from 2020. In 2020, Tampa’s population was 2,877,000 – up 1.23% from 2019.

Interstate-275, I-4, I-75, SR 580, SR 582, SR 583, US 301, US 92, and Dale Mabry Highway are a few of the major stretches of roads and highways that have issues during peak travel times. Tampa’s worst times to be on the roads are from 7:30 am – 9:30 am and again from 3:30 pm – 7:30 pm.

Worst Intersections in Tampa

Below you will find a list of the 30 Worst Intersections in Tampa Bay, according to FDOT. If you can avoid these during rush hour travel times, you can keep yourself and anyone else in your vehicle a bit safer.

  1. US 19 @ TAMPA RD, PALM HARBOR
  2. US 19 @ GULF TO BAY BLVD, CLEARWATER
  3. US 19 @ CURLEW RD, PALM HARBOR
  4. US 19 @ DREW ST, CLEARWATER
  5. SR 60 @ S BELCHER RD, CLEARWATER
  6. US 19 @ EAST BAY DR, LARGO
  7. US 92 @ I 275, TAMPA
  8. SR 589 @ SR 580, TOWN ‘N’ COUNTRY
  9. SR 60 @ BRANDON TOWN CENTER DR, BRANDON
  10. SR 582 @ 30TH ST, TAMPA
  11. US 301 @ GIBSONTON DR, RIVERVIEW
  12. US 92 @ CHEROKEE AVE, TAMPA
  13. US 301 @ PROGRESS BLVD, BRANDON
  14. US 19 @ PARK BLVD N, PINELLAS PARK
  15. CR 1 @ RIDGE RD, NEW PORT RICHEY
  16. DALE MABRY HWY @ WATERS AVE, TAMPA
  17. SR 574 @ I 275, TAMPA
  18. SR 574 @ I 275, TAMPA
  19. US 41 @ SR 54, LAND ‘O LAKES
  20. US 19 @ MAIN ST, DUNEDIN
  21. US 19 @ E TARPON AVE, TARPON SPRINGS
  22. SR 686 @ 34TH ST N,CLEARWATER
  23. SR 686 @ STARKEY RD, LARGO
  24. US 301 @ BIG BEND RD, RIVERVIEW
  25. SR 60 @ FALKENBURG RD, TAMPA
  26. I 275 @ E BUSCH BLVD, TAMPA
  27. SR 688 @ STARKEY RD, LARGO
  28. I 75 @ BIG BEND RD, RIVERVIEW
  29. CR 584 @ HANLEY RD, TOWN ‘N’ COUNTRY
  30. I-275 @ 22ND AVE N, ST. PETERSBURG

Road Construction Projects in Tampa for 2022

  • I-275 (Howard Frankland Bridge) New southbound bridge between Pinellas and Hillsborough counties
  • I-275 Capacity Improvements from north of I-4 to north US 92 (Hillsborough Ave)
  • I-275, I-4, I-75 Wrong-way Detection Installation in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties
  • I-4 ITS Communication System from I-275 to Polk County line
  • I-75 Ramp Reconfiguration and Interchange Modification from MLK (Exit 260) to I-4
  • SR 582 (Fowler Avenue) Intersection Improvements (Multiple Locations)
  • SR 597 (Dale Mabry Highway) Lighting Improvements at Various Intersections
  • SR 60 (Adamo Drive) Intersection Freight Improvements at N 34th Street
  • SR 60 (Kennedy Blvd) Safety Enhancements and Pedestrian Improvements from West Shore Blvd to MacDill Ave
  • US 92 (Dale Mabry Hwy) Drainage Improvements from Neptune St. to Henderson Blvd.
  • US 92 (Gandy Bridge) over Old Tampa Bay
  • US 92 / Dale Mabry and SR 574 / MLK Blvd – Lane closures for Spring Training Traffic

Take Advantage of Public Transportation in Tampa Bay

Both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties utilize public buses and trolley systems. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, known as HART, has public buses running through all of Tampa and the greater Hillsborough County. There is also the TECO Line Streetcar that has routes between downtown Tampa and Ybor City. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) has a public bus system catering to St. Petersburg and Clearwater. The Pinellas County trolley system – the Suncoast Beach Trolley – operates between downtown Clearwater and St. Pete Beach. Continue reading

tampa-g3c4b10e68_1920-300x240Tampa Bay traffic is a nightmare. The financial site Wallethub conducted a 2020 study ranking Tampa Bay as the 9th fastest growing metro area in the country, so it comes as no surprise that traffic is such a headache. More people = more traffic.

Last summer, the auto insurance site Quote Wizard placed Tampa at #4 on their list of the worst areas in the country for traffic crashes.

Now, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay has found the 30 worst intersections in the Tampa Bay area using data from FDOT from 2015-2019.

Below you will find some of the worst intersections in the Tampa Bay area for 2022, including Riverview, Brandon, Largo, and of course, U.S. Highway 19 – the stretch of highway that is responsible for 4,842 traffic collisions out of a total of 13,864 in Tampa Bay.

Intersections Total Crashes Total Fatalities Severe Crashes Pedestrian and Bike Injuries
1.US 19 @ TAMPA RD, PALM HARBOR 642 2 13 2
2. US 19 @ GULF TO BAY BLVD, CLEARWATER 660 0 13 8
3. US 19 @ CURLEW RD, PALM HARBOR 613 2 13 8
4. US 19 @ DREW ST, CLEARWATER 591 0 8 13
5. SR 60 @ S BELCHER RD, CLEARWATER 542 3 7 18
6. US 19 @ EAST BAY DR, LARGO 542 1 13 11
7. US 92 @ I 275, TAMPA 536 0 7 3
8. SR 589 @ SR 580, TOWN ‘N’ COUNTRY 531 1 10 3
9. SR 60 @ BRANDON TOWN CENTER DR, BRANDON 513 2 9 8
10. SR 582 @ 30TH ST, TAMPA 501 1 4 5
11. US 301 @ GIBSONTON DR, RIVERVIEW 487 1 17 6
12. US 92 @ CHEROKEE AVE, TAMPA 469 0 7 2
13. US 301 @ PROGRESS BLVD, BRANDON 467 1 11 6
14. US 19 @ PARK BLVD N, PINELLAS PARK 463 0 6 7
15. CR 1 @ RIDGE RD, NEW PORT RICHEY 450 1 40 7
16. DALE MABRY HWY @ WATERS AVE, TAMPA 436 3 5 18
17. SR 574 @ I 275, TAMPA 427 1 9 8
18. SR 574 @ I 275, TAMPA 419 0 9 0
19. US 41 @ SR 54, LAND ‘O LAKES 414 2 21 5
20. US 19 @ MAIN ST, DUNEDIN 401 0 3 5
21. US 19 @ E TARPON AVE, TARPON SPRINGS 388 0 8 4
22. SR 686 @ 34TH ST N,CLEARWATER 386 3 15 4
23. SR 686 @ STARKEY RD, LARGO 385 0 11 17
24. US 301 @ BIG BEND RD, RIVERVIEW 375 0 19 10
25. SR 60 @ FALKENBURG RD, TAMPA 374 2 7 4
26. I 275 @ E BUSCH BLVD, TAMPA 374 0 3 0
27. SR 688 @ STARKEY RD, LARGO 370 0 10 17
28. I 75 @ BIG BEND RD, RIVERVIEW 369 1 22 0
29. CR 584 @ HANLEY RD, TOWN ‘N’ COUNTRY 368 1 5 14
30. I-275 @ 22ND AVE N, ST. PETERSBURG 368 0 12 3

Continue reading

David Gwynn, Florida’s regional transportation secretary, said that the state is looking to make the 13 mile stretch of highway from Tampa to Pasco County safer by installing three traffic signals at dangerous, crash-prone intersections.

The state is also researching how to widen the U.S. 301 due to the high number of accidents as well as future projections showing as many as 49,300 vehicles using the road by 2040.

Gwynn told the Hillsborough Transportation Planning Organization last week that when he drives U.S. 301 from Tampa to meetings in Pasco County that he finds himself often speeding just to keep up with other motorists sharing the highway and prevent them from erratically passing him.

Shortly after sharing the state’s plan – just 16 hours later – a four-vehicle crash happened on U.S 301 just before 3 a.m. killing two people and leaving two others with serious injuries. The accident caused the road between Zephyrhills and the Temple Terrace area to be closed off for over six hours.

According to state data, 16 people have died and another 338 have been injured in 464 crashes on U.S. 301 for a five-year span ending in 2019. This crash rate is twice the statewide average for similar roadways.

From 2015-2019, there were 24 head-on collisions on the highway, with speeding being identified as the main issue. Gwynn said that impatient drivers try to maneuver dangerous passing techniques that can result in serious crashes.

Pasco-County-Car-Accident-Lawyers-1-300x300The plan to turn the two-lane road into a four-lane divided highway between State Road 56 in Pasco and Fowler Avenue is in the study stage, according to reports. There is no money currently budgeted for this estimated $199.5 million job.

There are also concerns about the speed limit and whether it should be reduced to 45 mph.

Head-on crashes happen when two cars strike each other from the front straight on. These are some of the most dangerous types of auto accidents, due to the fact that when two cars smash each other head-on this doubles the force of the impact. Imagine you are travelling at 60 mph on the highway and are struck by another car head-on travelling at the same speed of 60 mph. This is now the equivalent of a crash at 120 mph.

If you have been the victim of a head-on crash in the Tampa Bay area, that was no fault of your own, or if you have lost a loved one in a head-on smash up, then you need to enlist the help of a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. You want to make sure that you fully protect your rights, which includes your right to seeking financial compensation for your losses as a result of the accident you were involved in. Our Tampa Bay Car Crash Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you. We can walk you through your case and what to expect. We have a long history of working with injury victims and their families in Tampa Bay and throughout the state of Florida.

The more serious your injuries following a car accident, the more money you should be able to recover from the at-fault driver. The driver who caused the collision, or rather, their insurance provider, should be the ones to cover all of your mounting medical bills (both now and in the future), lost wages due to missing time from work, pain and suffering, or even wrongful death if your loved one was killed in the collision. Continue reading

The number of people racing through the active crosswalk of 5th Avenue North at 25th Street North has more than just the neighborhood buzzing with complaints. It now has the attention of Real Time Traffic Expert Chuck Henson.

The crosswalk has been compared to playing a game of “Frogger,” where you press the ‘walk’ button and expect cars to stop for pedestrians, but they do not.

Due to the fact that St. Petersburg High School is located right at this intersection, the reason for concern is more than validated.

The St. Petersburg Police Department has reported that there have been 58 crashes between 21st Street and 34th Street just within the past five months. Three of these resulted in fatalities.

Untitled-design-2-300x300Interesting Fact: For the month of February, the intersection of 34th Street and 5th Avenue North was ranked as the second worst intersection in St. Petersburg.

With so many accidents occurring at this popular crosswalk, our Tampa Pedestrian Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to offer up a few tips that can help keep everyone using the roadways safer. These simple steps only take five seconds, and could very well save a life.

Pedestrians

  1. Always cross at the marked crosswalk.
  2. Look left and right and make sure the roadway is clear before walking, regardless of if there is a signal that says you are “OK” to walk.
  3. If you see a vehicle approach, make eye contact with the driver in an attempt to make sure they see you before you walk.
  4. Look before you walk past stopped vehicles, even if they have waved you to go ahead. You need to make sure ALL lanes are clear before proceeding.

Drivers

  1. ALWAYS yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk and an intersection.
  2. Make sure you are prepared to stop at all marked crosswalks. Keep your eyes open and slow down at crosswalks.
  3. Look out for skateboarders, bikers, etc. as they can approach crosswalks much faster than those on foot.
  4. Come to a complete stop at crosswalks and intersections and make sure there are no pedestrians present before continuing on.
  5. Wait until pedestrians have crossed completely before you resume your travel.
  6. Do not pass another vehicle that is slowing down or stopping at a crosswalk.

Continue reading

Tampa, and the entire Sunshine State, is known for its relatively warm year-round climate. Intense heat not only burn you while on your bike, but can easily lead to you becoming dehydrated without even realizing it and resulting in heat exhaustion/injury. The key to preventing a heat injury is to be prepared. The following tips from our Tampa Bay Motorcycle Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you face the heat:

  1. Dont-Sweat-It-300x300Stay hydrated. You must drink water and keep your body hydrated. Many Florida riders opt for a camelback or other hydration pack for their rides so that they can sip on their water without stopping their bike. Drink more than you think you need to ensure proper hydration. Remember, sports drinks are no substitute for H2O, but can be added along with for electrolytes.
  2. Steer clear of caffeinated beverages and alcohol. Sugary sodas may sound good, but caffeine is a diuretic, which means this pulls more water out of your body. Alcohol and biking are not a good mix, for many reasons, so it is best to refrain from drinking alcohol and biking.
  3. Give your body time to recoup. Your body can only take so much heat, so make sure you get rest and cool down. Recognize the warning signs of heat stroke, like cramps, flushed skin, nausea, dizziness, headaches, intense sweating, and extreme tiredness.
  4. Wear the right gear. Head-to-toe gear can prevent injuries from a crash, but also prevent heat injuries. When you ride in warmer temps, it is best to stay covered in mesh or moisture wicking material. Technology has provided riders with cool gadgets to fight of the heat, such as cooling vests, wrist bands, and collars that absorb water into moisture-retaining fabric so that your body can keep cool for hours.
  5. Wear sunscreen. Extreme heat means intense sun exposure that can easily burn you in minutes. You want to wear sunscreen with SPF of 30 or greater on exposed skin every time you ride in the sun to stop burns.

Fatigue can creep up on you easily when riding in extreme heats, so make sure you are protected when traveling through Tampa in the warmer temps. Don’t wait until you have extreme thirst to drink some water, as you are already dehydrated at this point. Your body loses tons of water when you sweat, so you need to replenish these lost fluids before fatigue sets in.

If you start to feel any symptoms of heat exhaustion while on your bike, then it is best to pull over and rehydrate. It is also a great idea to rest until you have recovered from dehydration.

Our Tampa Bay Motorcycle Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton cannot stress this enough: Never ride your bike if you feel groggy, disoriented, or weak. The Florida heat is no joke! Continue reading

Contact Information