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 49-year-old Tampa Bay area woman has been charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident following a wrong-way crash at Gunn Highway and Isbell Lane just before 9 p.m. Monday.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the woman was driving a Jeep Wrangler south in the northbound lanes of Gunn Highway when she encountered a Nissan Altima.

The Altima swerved into the painted median to avoid the crash with the woman, but was struck on the passenger side by the Jeep.

The front axle of the Jeep Wrangler snapped, and the vehicle eventually came to a stop in the road near North Mobley Road.

Deputies arrived and found the woman sitting in a gray sedan across from the Jeep. Her wallet was located on the Jeep’s front passenger seat and her flip flops were under the Jeep’s brake pedal. Deputies said the woman smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech, bloodshot, watery eyes and was unable to stand on her own.

Deputies said field sobriety tests were not conducted due to the woman’s extreme level of intoxication. She refused to provide breath samples. She was transported to the Orient Road Jail and charged with driving under the influence with property damage and leaving the scene of a crash with property damage.

According to the Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles, the majority of wrong-way collisions result in vehicles being hit head-on – 81% of all wrong-way fatalities are head-on collisions.

Tampa Bay is one of the worst areas for wrong-way crashes. A study by the Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles found Florida had 1,490 wrong-way crashes and 96 fatalities in 2015. According to the report, three Tampa Bay counties made the top 10 list of most wrong-way driving crashes in the state: Hillsborough ranked fourth, Pinellas placed sixth and Pasco took eighth.

In Tampa Bay specifically, 2014 was a particularly deadly year for wrong-way crashes. A Christmas Day wrong-way crash that killed three people in Pinellas County and there were at least eight other reports of wrong-way drivers that year.

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Yes, you can and our Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you. Unfortunately, what comes along with being the No. 1 destination for retirement migration in the United States is a Florida Nursing Home and Elderly Care business community that has a history of being labeled as broken, dirty, criminal, grossly negligent, reckless, and careless. Generally speaking, the financial and human demand of the senior citizens in our state has never been adequately met by a business community with satisfactory staffed facilities that operate with policies and procedures to allow the elderly the dignity of quality medical and human care in the later years of their life.

As has been done so many times in the past, this week another personal representative has filed a lawsuit in Pinellas County, this time against a Treasure Island nursing home facility, alleging negligence led to the death of a resident.

As reported, a personal representative of the deceased filed a complaint Nov. 13 in Pinellas Circuit Court against Cross Terrace Rehabilitation Center, alleging violation of a resident’s rights.

According to the complaint, during the deceased woman’s residency at Cross Terrace Rehabilitation Center, she suffered from physical abuse and neglect, leading to her death Sept. 20, 2015.

The personal representative alleges Cross Terrace Rehabilitation Center failed to timely and appropriately protect the deceased from abuse and/or neglect and failed to timely and appropriately document the mental and physical abuse and/or neglect she suffered.

No one should ever lose a loved one because of negligence or abusive treatment in a nursing home. Sadly, this happens across the country and especially our state every single day.

If you have concerns about the level of care and treatment of your loved one, speak up.  Each day is a blessing, especially for our elderly.

In addition to the legal accountability for a wrongful death (which could translate equally in both civil and criminal court), there are financial consequences that the nursing home owners, management and/or staff members may be responsible for.  In a wrongful death caused by negligence and/or abuse, surviving family members may be eligible to recover financial compensation for their loss as survivors pursuant to the Wrongful Death Statute in Florida.

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A 22-year-old man has been charged in a hit-and-run Tuesday morning that left a pedestrian critically injured.

The man was booked into the Pinellas County jail and charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury and careless driving.

Police said the 59-year-old woman was crossing Drew Street in a crosswalk when she was struck by a car driven by the man, who was making a left turn from southbound Fort Harrison onto eastbound Drew Street.

Police said he initially stopped and called 911, then left the scene after telling fire rescue workers he had found the woman laying in the street.

The man was later tracked down by officers and he admitted to striking the pedestrian. He said he was distracted by looking at his phone trying to pick out music when he made the turn and hit the woman. He added that he was scared and left the scene.

The victim was transported to Bay Front Hospital with serious injuries.

Cell phones keep us connected, and some people need to be connected at all times, even when driving. Conversations, texts, playlists, emails just cannot wait long enough for the driver to reach their destination. It is no wonder that accidents involving distracted drivers are on the rise. If you or someone you know has been injured in a distracted driving accident, speak with our Clearwater Auto Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton so that we can advise you of your legal rights and how to obtain just compensation for your injuries.

Florida state law defines hit-and-run accidents, or leaving the scene of an accident, as a criminal offense when the driver fails to stop and identify him or herself to the involved parties. If there are serious injuries, property damage or death, the driver must remain at the scene.

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A 61-year-old bicyclist was hit and killed on Hillsborough Avenue and Harney Road Sunday afternoon.

Troopers said the bicyclist was traveling eastbound in the westbound bike lane of Hillsborough Ave. when a Dodge traveling westbound changed lanes and collided with the bike.

The biker was ejected and suffered fatal injuries. He was transported to Tampa General Hospital where he later died.

He was not wearing a helmet.

The crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.

Bicyclists have little more than a helmet for a protection, so they are no match for a car. Sadly, bicyclists frequently do not survive collisions with cars and trucks. When bicycle accidents are the result of negligence, members of the victim’s family have the right to seek justice for their loved one through financial compensation for their loss.

While there is certainly no amount of money that can replace what has been lost, our Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton firmly believe that taking action is important. Not only does it allow the victim’s family to recover for the financial losses they have suffered, it may prevent the responsible party from harming anyone else in the future. We fight aggressively in these cases to ensure that justice is served.

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Multiple people were hit and injured Thursday morning in Tampa, including students at a bus stop, according to police.

The crash occurred at E. Bougainvillea Avenue and Marvy Avenue around 8 a.m.

Witnesses stated the vehicle was speeding on Bougainvillea Ave. before hitting the pedestrians on the south side of the street.

Police said two adults and three juveniles were transported to the hospital with serious injuries. One juvenile has been listed in critical condition.

Bougainvillea is currently shut down between N. 15 St. and N. 18th St.

Officials said the driver has been taken into custody and the investigation remains ongoing.

A driver may be speeding, distracted, intoxicated or just driving carelessly and cause a serious collision. Pedestrian vs. car accidents typically result in serious injuries to pedestrians. Injuries can include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries and even death.

Pedestrian accidents are often caused by a driver’s failure to obey the posted speed limit, as this case shows. If a motorist is speeding when a light turns red, the driver may not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting pedestrians. If a driver is speeding, the violent impact of the collision may throw the pedestrian into the air and cause their head or face to collide with the windshield or hood of the vehicle.  

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A driver was killed and a passenger injured in an early Friday crash in Hillsborough County.

It happened shortly before 2:30 p.m. on Falkenburg Road.

A Sheriff’s Office spokesman said a 30-year-old Lakeland resident was driving northbound and failed to noticed that Falkenburg Road ends at Interstate 4.

The vehicle struck a barrier wall head-on, authorities said.

The driver was not buckled up and died at the scene.

The passenger, a 34-year-old woman, was taken to Tampa General Hospital in stable condition.

Anyone who chooses to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle must exercise reasonable care to obey the traffic laws of the State of Florida and  take reasonable measures to avoid an accident. When drivers fail to do so, this may constitute negligence, which in turn could give rise to a claim for damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of income, and other damages resulting from the accident.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident because of the negligence or carelessness of another, you may be able to receive financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Florida law places time restrictions on when a claim, or a personal injury lawsuit, can be filed to recover damages from the car accidents so it is important to contact our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible after your accident. We will promptly investigate the accident and determine if you have a legitimate claim to recover for your damages.

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A 7-month-old girl died Friday after she was bitten by the family dog.

Clearwater Fire Rescue responded to a call at the Fairwood Avenue residence about 2:12 p.m. Friday.

Authorities said the girl was being taken care of by her grandparents when a mixed-breed dog bit her.

The girl was transported to Mease Countryside Hospital, where she later died.

As is customary in such cases, Clearwater Police are conducting an investigation, in conjunction with the Department of Children and Families.

The dog has been removed from the home and taken to Pinellas County Animal Services.

Dogs can bring much happiness into our lives as well as decrease stress. Americans own an estimated 70 to 80 million dogs as pets. The sad truth is that sometimes dogs bite, and the aftermath can be deadly. Millions of Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and some of these dog bites cause serious injuries.

Dog bite injuries are the second most frequent cause of visits to emergency rooms among children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dog bites are responsible for almost 340,000 emergency room trips each year for children 12 years of age and under. Most dog bites, 61 percent to be exact, occur at home or in a familiar place.

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Pinellas County has the highest bicycle fatality rate of any major metro area in the U.S., according to federal data. Its per-capita cyclist death rate for the past decade ranks No. 1 among the four counties in the Tampa Bay metro area.

In fact, Florida has by far the highest per-capita bicyclist death rate in the country.

The number of cyclists killed in motor-vehicle crashes nationwide hit 840 in 2016—the most recent data available—according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That was the most since 1991 and a 35% jump from 2010.

A range of likely reasons explains the rise in deaths, including more overall vehicular traffic and driver distractions, according to people who track transportation trends.

Texting drivers is a huge problem. Alcohol is yet another big factor. In 2015, 22% of fatally injured cyclists, and 12% of drivers in these crashes, had a blood-alcohol content level of at least 0.08, the legal limit for motorists in most states, according to the nonprofit Governors Highway Safety Association.

While cyclist death rates have risen in many states since 2010, the three with the most fatalities since then—Florida, California and Texas—account for about 40% of all cyclist deaths, according to NHTSA, despite having 27% of the nation’s population.

Florida’s numbers are bad even when compared with other warm-weather states. Its recent 10-year cyclist fatality rate was 6.2 deaths per 100,000 residents; that is 59% higher than the rate in Louisiana, the state with the second-highest level.

State transportation officials say they have made a concerted effort since 2014 to boost cycling safety. The Florida Department of Transportation changed its standard width for bike lanes from 4 to 7 feet and now recommends buffered or protected bike lanes. The agency launched a $100 million push in 2016 to better light 2,500 locations where the number of nighttime crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists was high.

The state agency also lowered speed limits in some places, officials said. Local police have stepped up education efforts on topics such as using lights at night and riding with the flow of traffic.

Cycling deaths in Florida fell to 116 in 2017, the fewest since 2010 and a significant drop from recent years, according to preliminary state data. But so far this year, bike fatalities involving motor-vehicles are trending higher: Through Sept. 23, the state said 95 cyclists had been killed in such accidents, putting it on track for about 130 for the year.

Six of those bicyclists died in Pinellas County, which includes the coastal cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

When a motorist is found to have caused a fatal bicycle accident, they may be liable in a wrongful death lawsuit. While not all fatal accidents are considered wrongful deaths, those that are caused by another person’s negligence are. In Florida, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by the family, usually the parents, spouse or children of the victim, and any blood relative or adoptive sibling who is “partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services.”

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Residents are urging the Florida Department of Transportation for a traffic light at the intersection where two teens were killed this past weekend.

FDOT says it has already taken measures to make that intersection safer and has plans to do more in about five years.

Lakewood Ranch High School students and families are coping with the loss of 17-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy who were killed in a crash on Saturday.

Troopers said the 17-year-old was making a left hand turn onto Pope Road in the Greyhawk Landing community and didn’t see a pickup truck that crashed into their car.

Residents have complained about the dangerous intersection on State Road 64 for a couple of years.

FDOT says it added a “directionalized medium” — white posts — that prevent people from turning left onto State Road 64. That change was made earlier this year.

There were 17 accidents last year at that intersection and have been seven so far this year.

The FDOT also plans to add a roundabout in 2023.

Each year the Federal Highway Administration reports approximately 2.5 million intersection accidents. Most of these collisions involve left turns. Across the United States, 40 percent of all crashes involve intersections, the second largest category of auto accidents, led only by rear end collisions.

Street intersection car accidents can result in serious personal injuries including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, broken bones, burn injuries, internal injuries and even wrongful death. Head-on collisions, T-bone crashes and rear-end collisions are all possibilities at street intersections.

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The Florida Highway Patrol is currently investigating a fatal crash involving a motorcycle colliding with a school bus in Pinellas County Tuesday afternoon.

Investigators said the crash occurred at the intersection of 62nd Avenue North and 28th St. North. The bus was traveling west on 62nd Avenue, while the motorcycle, driven by a 21-year-old man, approached the intersection from the opposite direction.

When both vehicles reached the intersection, the bus driver turned the bus left onto 28th St. North, driving into the motorcyclists path, according to investigators. The motorcycle struck the right side of the bus, and the 21-year-old suffered fatal injuries in the collision.

None of the students or staff on board the bus were injured.

Motorcycle accidents are unfortunately far too common. School buses are larger vehicles sharing the road, so one small mistake on behalf of the driver can easily result in serious injuries and even death to motorcyclists involved in collisions.

Our Tampa Bay area Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton investigate bus accidents aggressively, and we will work to make sure you and/or your surviving loved ones get the full and fair compensation for serious injuries or wrongful death. Sometimes just settlements can be achieved through negotiations out of court, but we are not afraid to try the case in court. Our goal is to make sure you and your loved ones are taken care of financially in the future for the suffering endured.

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