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.

While Louisiana and other parts of the Gulf Coast are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Ida, Hurricane Larry, another monstrous storm, is stirring up dangerous waters up and down the entire eastern seaboard as it heads toward Bermuda.

Hurricane Larry has been knocked down to a Category 2 Hurricane from a Category 3, with maximum winds clocked at 110 mph as the storm churns 425 miles southeast of Bermuda, leaving that area with a Tropical Storm warning.

key-west-81664_1920-1-300x199On Wednesday night, Tropical Depression Mindy made landfall as a tropical storm in St. Vincent Island, Florida. The storm brings winds of as high as 35 mph and is expected to cause an estimated 6 inches of rainfall across the Florida Panhandle as well as parts of southern Georgia and South Carolina.

WalletHub named Tampa the 9th fastest growing city in the United States in 2020, which means tourism and revenue are up in the area, but this also means rush hour traffic can be a nightmare to contend with. 

At Whittel & Melton, our Tampa Bay Car and Truck Accident Lawyers know full well that there is no realistic way to completely avoid traffic. However, there are some tips we can offer to help you spend less time sitting in heavy traffic, which may help you have a better day.  

Steering clear of traffic reduces your chances of being involved in a car accident significantly, which is just one benefit. If you have been involved in a car accident in the Tampa Bay area then we urge you to get in touch with us to learn more about what we can do to help you file a personal injury claim for damages. 

miami-2690191_1920-300x200The good news is that there are some great strategies that you can implement when you are aware of the traffic patterns and can act accordingly. 

The more you understand about Tampa’s population growth, the more you can understand why traffic is such an issue. 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 highways that have become a bear to navigate during peak travel times throughout the day. While there are many benefits to minimizing your time spent in traffic and thus in your vehicle, the main one is that the less amount of time you are on the roads the less likely you are to be involved in a car accident. We know that it is not always possible to avoid a car accident, but we know that there are ways to reduce the odds of being involved in one. 

Read on to understand more about traffic in Tampa and how you can navigate it more effectively. 

Factors that Contribute to Growing Traffic in Tampa

Increasing Population

Florida dominates the growth trend as an entire state, and Tampa Bay is growing every single day with more people setting up residence here. Over the past 9 years Tampa’s population growth rate remains pretty consistent ranging from 0.63% to 2.45%, adding around 2,199 to 8,817 people every year. There are numerous workers and entrepreneurs moving here every year to take advantage of the many job opportunities, which contributes to the strong population growth. 

Construction Projects

Tampa has its fair share of construction projects that result in lane closures, street closures, etours, and of course, delays. You can register for alerts to be sent to your phone or email each day so that you can have an update about traffic patterns before you leave your house every morning. 

Some of the construction projects in Tampa include:

  • Dale Mabry Highway Roadway Lighting Maintenance at W. Humphrey Street
  • Hillsborough County Bridge Maintenance Repair US 41, SR 60 and US 301
  • I-275 (Howard Frankland Bridge) New southbound bridge between Pinellas and Hillsborough counties
  • I-275 Widening from I-4 to north of US 92 (Hillsborough Ave.)
  • I-275, I-4, I-75 Wrong-way Detection Installation in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties
  • I-75 Ramp Reconfiguration and Interchange Modification from south of MLK (exit 260) to I-4
  • Independence Parkway Repaving of SR 589 (Veterans Expressway) Ramps
  • SR 580 (Hillsborough Ave) Median Safety Improvements from Memorial Hwy/Sheldon Rd to Himes Ave
  • SR 582 (Fowler Avenue) Intersection Improvements (Multiple Locations)
  • SR 583 (56th St) Roadway Lighting Maintenance from Hillsborough Ave to Puritan Rd
  • SR 60 (Kennedy Blvd) Safety Enhancements and Pedestrian Improvements from West Shore Blvd to MacDill Ave
  • US 301 Median Safety Improvements from Falkenburg Road to Sligh Avenue
  • US 92 (Hillsborough Ave) Highway Lighting from 56th St and I-4
  • US 92 (Hillsborough Avenue) Mid-block Crosswalk between Central Ave and 56th Street

By knowing these locations and the traffic patterns, you can plan alternate routes and help yourself have a better commute. 

Learn Peak Traffic Times in Tampa 

When you are able to understand the peak times and traffic patterns, it can become a great deal easier to navigate Hillsborough and Pinellas County traffic. 

The “Rush Hour Rampage” in Tampa is from 7:30 and 9:30 am and again from 3:30 to 7:30 pm. During these times, it is best to avoid Hillsborough Ave and popular I-275 exits.

Back Roads Might Increase Your Travel Time 

While you might think that taking the back roads will shorten your commute, you’d be wrong. There are over 130 main roads in Pinellas County that have smart technology, like Ulmerton Rd. and U.S. 19, so if you are traveling with traffic the green lights actually last longer. Smaller roads like Belcher Rd. or Bellaire Rd. have shorter green lights, which means more time waiting.  

Follow Speed Limits 

The “InSync” smart traffic signals are timed to work with speed limits, so if you are going too fast or too slow then you could hit more red lights. 

Talk to Your Boss About Working from Home 

Even if you can work a few days from home, this could help you avoid a few days of traffic. Start by asking your boss to work 1-2 days from home to show that you can be just as productive at your home office as at your work office. If you can show that you are able to be as productive, if not more, then they may be more inclined to let you work more days from home or even full time at home. 

You could even ask to work off peak hours so that you avoid rush hour traffic, like 10:00am to 7:00pm or 6:00am to 2:00pm.

Take Advantage of Public Transportation

Tampa boasts many different options for getting around, such as bikes and buses. Tampa has Coast Bikes available and numerous hubs to park them located around the city. Tampa also has various scooters to rent, such as Lime, Bird and Spin. Tampa also has a pirate water taxi, the Downtowner ride share service, the Hart bus, Zipcar, and the Teco Line Streetcar

Avoiding Traffic Means Hours of Your Life Back 

Rush hour traffic can add hundreds of wasted hours to your life. By taking advantage of some of the options we have outlined above, you will see lots of time saved and value added back to your life. You will also minimize your risk of being involved in a traffic accident.  Continue reading

A man riding a bicycle Monday morning was hit and killed by a vehicle in Largo, according to police reports. 

The vehicle vs. bike accident occurred just before 6 a.m. on Starkey Road and East Bay Drive. Police pronounced the biker dead at the scene. 

The Largo Police Departments Traffic Homicide Unit responded to the crash site and is currently conducting an investigation into the tragedy. 

Police did release that they believe the man’s bicycle had no tail light and that alcohol was not a factor in the crash. The driver of the vehicle did remain at the crash site, so it will be determined once a full investigation is conducted whether or not the driver will face any charges. 

biking-1721469_1920-300x175No one ever expects to be involved in a bicycle crash or even a pedestrian accident. The aftermath of these serious accidents can affect victims and their families for a long time. If you survive a crash like these, you may find that the physical and emotional recovery process is a lengthy one and you may be unable to enjoy your life in the same ways as you did before the accident. On top of this, you might be struggling to keep up with your medical bills due to not being able to work. Our Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are leaders in the field of pedestrian and bicycle law and are advocates for cyclists throughout the state of Florida.

We know that now more than ever bikes have become a very popular year-round mode of transportation for residents and visitors alike in Florida. We also know that regardless of how careful pedestrians and bicyclists are, they can easily become the victims of a crash caused by negligent motorists. That is why we remain committed to protecting the rights of bikers and pedestrians throughout the Tampa Bay area. 

We have seen all kinds of accidents in our years of work protecting the rights of injured bicyclists and pedestrians. We know how even the safest of bikers and pedestrians can have encounters with angry drivers who have struck them intentionally, opened their doors in their paths, or even passing too closely or driving too closely. Serious and fatal accidents can happen even in communities that have bike lanes that are in place to protect bikers and provide them with more visibility to drivers. 

Florida law is clear when it comes to pedestrian and bike laws: bicyclists have the same rights to use the roads as drivers of motor vehicles. The law also provides that drivers of motor vehicles are to exercise caution when sharing the roads with pedestrians and bikers to avoid hitting them. Sadly, despite laws protecting bikers and pedestrians, many unnecessary injuries and deaths occur every year because of distracted or inattentive drivers. 

Can I Be Found Responsible for My Own Bicycle Crash? 

As we mentioned before, bikers have rights when they are out on the roads in Tampa Bay and elsewhere in Florida. On that some note, cyclists also have legal responsibilities they must abide by just like drivers of motor vehicles. So to answer this question, yes, bikers can be held partially liable for causing an accident that resulted in their injuries. This is known as contributory negligence, and means that the biker in question may have contributed to their own crash in some way. While a police officer may write up an accident report naming you partially at fault, or an insurance adjuster working on your accident claim may make this determination, this does not mean that you are actually at fault. It is important to work with a injury attorney after your accident so that they can advocate on your behalf and make sure your rights and responsibilities are fully protected. 

Bicyclists and pedestrians alike are usually left to suffer serious injuries that can last extended periods of time. Medical bills can be overwhelming and they may be unable to get back to work right away. Our Tampa Bay Pedestrian and Bicyclist Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you build a strong case in order to recover the financial compensation you need and deserve following a serious bicycle or pedestrian accident. 

We fully understand that many residents of Tampa choose to cycle or walk to work or even engage in these activities daily for their health or to participate in recreation activities with their families. If you’ve been injured by a careless driver, you deserve to have experienced legal representation to uphold the laws that make our roads accessible to all. 

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The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has reported that a 12-year-old boy from Plant City died in a car crash in Mulberry just after midnight on Sunday. 

There were three others injured in the vehicle crash, including a 14-year-old boy. 

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office believes that Toyota Corolla driven by a 30-year-old man collided with a Nissan pickup truck driven by a 42-year-old man. 

Reports from the crash indicate that the driver of the truck and the 12-year-old child were ejected from the vehicle, and that the Corolla caught fire. 

Officials reported that bystanders successfully pulled the 14-year-old boy from the truck, who suffered a broken collar bone and was taken to Lakeland Regional Health for his injury. 

After Polk County deputies and fire rescue located the 12-year-old child in the middle of the highway unresponsive, he was airlifted to St. Joseph Hospital in Tampa. He later died from his injuries. 

The driver of the pickup truck is listed in critical but stable condition and being treated at Lakeland Regional Health for a broken neck and leg. 

The driver of the Corolla suffered a broken leg. Upon his release he was arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter, several counts of DUI with serious injuries, and driving without a valid driver’s license. 

Deputies did mention that no one in the truck was wearing a seatbelt. The driver of the Corolla was wearing a seatbelt, according to reports. 

police-850054_1920-300x212The PCSO Traffic Homicide Unit shutdown the roadway for five hours while they investigated the scene. 

The crash still remains under investigation. 

Losing a spouse, partner, child, or other relative or family member in a car crash due to the reckless actions of a drunk driver is a horrific experience to have to endure. If you have lost a loved one in a DUI crash in the Tampa Bay area, a wrongful death lawsuit is a way to achieve justice from the responsible driver of the accident as well as recover financial compensation to help you move forward from this tragic loss. 

Drunk Driving Sobering Statistics in the U.S. 

Drunk driving is entirely preventable, but still one of the top causes of car accidents throughout the United States. The statistics below show just how serious of a problem DUI-related collisions are. 

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nearly 30 people are killed every day from DUI car accidents in the United States, which adds up to one death every 50 minutes. 
  • In 2018, drunk driving fatalities were responsible for 29% of all car crash fatalities, according to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.
  • According to the NHTSA, 10,511 people died in drunk driving crashes involving a driver who had a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit in all 50 states of 0.08%. 
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that drivers under the influence of both legal and illegal drugs make up about 16% of all car crashes. 
  • The CDC also reported that in 2016 there were 1,233 traffic deaths among children 0-14 years in age. Of those, 214 or 17% involved a driver operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim? 

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim filed by surviving family members of a deceased person that seeks to hold the at-fault party responsible for their loved ones death. The grounds of a wrongful death claim can exist when a person dies because of another person’s negligent actions. When carried out successfully, a wrongful death lawsuit can provide surviving family members with financial compensation known as damages. 

Generally speaking, fatalities that are caused by the reckless or careless actions of another person can warrant a wrongful death claim. The essential elements that comprise a wrongful death claim in the state of Florida include:  

  1. Duty of care: For a DUI wrongful death claim this means that the drunk driver has a responsibility to follow all traffic laws, which means not operating their vehicle while intoxicated. 
  2. Breach duty of care: The duty of care must first be proven to exist and then it must be demonstrated how that duty was breached. For a DUI matter, the driver getting behind the wheel of a car under the influence of drugs or alcohol will demonstrate that they breached their duty of care. 
  3. Causation: It must be demonstrated that the breach of duty of care is what resulted in the wrongful death. In a DUI-related death, it would need to be shown that a drunk driver’s actions are what lead to the death of another person. 

While no amount of money can undo what happened or bring a loved one back, damages can help surviving family members achieve some sense of justice. The following types of damages may be recovered in a wrongful death claim:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Any medical bills related to the accident 
  • Lost wages 
  • Loss of benefits 
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Punitive damages may be available in certain cases, which are intended to punish the at-fault party for their intentional or severely negligent actions. 

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2020 is one of the most active storm seasons ever in the waters around the State of Florida, the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea.

key-west-81664_1920-1-300x199STORM DEDUCTIBLE CONFUSION?!

Florida Property insurance policies typically have two deductibles. A standard deductible for most losses; and a hurricane deductible. The standard “Other Perils” deductible is for pretty much anything covered by the policy, such as fire, pipe bursts and appliance related water damage claims, or windstorms, etc. The hurricane deductible only applies to named Hurricanes. The last major hurricane to hit Florida was Hurricane Michael in the panhandle on October 10, 2018; and more recently in the western portions of the Florida panhandle for Hurricane Sally on September 16, 2020, and Hurricane Zeta on October 28, 2020. Hurricane deductibles are typically 2 or 3 percent of the limit of the insurance for the home which is a lot higher than the standard deductible for all other claims. The Eta storm of November 2020 started off in South Florida counties like Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County as a Tropical Storm (not a hurricane). But as storms in Florida do, things changed, and the weather system chased west back into the Gulf of Mexico where it was reclassified as a Hurricane for a short period of time before heading back to the Nature Coast across Florida again as a Tropical Storm.

DON’T GET FOOLED BY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY!

First, an insurer may rush to slap a hurricane deductible on your claim when it should not apply because a Tropical Storm is not a hurricane. Second (and this is really the most important!), Insurers in Florida have often told their customers after a storm that unless they absolutely know that their damage is more than their hurricane deductible, then they should not even put in a claim. There are many reasons why this is terrible advice and a bad business practice by insurance companies. As the policyholder, it is not your job to know the exact amount of damage you have in the weeks following a severe storm. You also may discover that the storm caused much more damage than you initially thought or could see in the days following the hurricane. Many Floridians have fallen for the insurers gambit only to attempt to make their claims later on and be told its too late to make the claim.

If you believe you have Hurricane or Tropical Storm damage from any of these strong weather systems that brought havoc to Florida, please call us and we can assist you in determining which deductible applies, assist you with determining the actual extent of the damage to your home, and provide needed guidance through the process with your insurance company.

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A single-vehicle crash that happened on Sept. 29 has left a 16-year-old boy dead and four other teens suffering serious injuries. 

The 16-year-old passed away Monday night, according to St. Petersburg police. The other four teens that were involved in the wreck are recovering from their injuries at home.

The crash happened just before 11 p.m. while the 16-year-old teen was behind the wheel of a 2003 Mazda. Police believe he was driving recklessly as well as speeding when he crashed into a curb, hydroplaned, and ultimately struck a tree. 

Firefighters arrived at the scene to remove the teen driver from the vehicle and transport him to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg hospital to treat his life-threatening injuries. 

Another 16-year-old boy was transported to the same hospital with critical injuries. Two other teen boys, 16 and 17, were also treated at that same hospital for minor injuries. 

Police also believe a 14-year-old girl was riding in the same vehicle with the teen boys, but have not said if she was injured. 

Police did say that none of the teen’s involved in the wreck had a driver’s license. 

A St. Petersburg police spokeswoman said the crash remains under investigation.

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Teen Driving Facts 

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,255 teen drivers aged 15-19 were involved in fatal car accidents in 2017. 
  • Of the 3,255 teens involved in fatal car wrecks in 2017, 2,526 were killed. 
  • When compared to adults, teens are 10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision. 
  • Car accidents are still the leading cause of death amongst teens in the United States. 
  • The majority of fatal teen driving accidents happen within 6 months of the teen receiving their driver’s license.
  • Speeding accounts for 31% of all fatal teen auto accidents. 

Teen drivers, even though they may have their driver’s license, are usually not ready for the same driving responsibilities as adults. Their lack of experience, immaturity, and lack of skill are all factors for why teen drivers are involved in a higher rate of fatal collisions. Teen drivers make mistakes, become easily distracted, speed, and take unnecessary risks, especially when they have other teen passengers riding along with them. 

What You Can Do to Help Your Teen Driver Stay Safe Behind the Wheel 

As a parent or caregiver you should realize that you have more influence over your teen driver than you may think. Talk to your child about the dangers of drinking and driving, texting while driving, and engaging in other dangers when behind the wheel. Having healthy discussions about dangerous driving behaviors can deter your teen from making poor decisions when they are driving. 

You also want to lead by example. If you practice safe driving habits, the odds are that they will, too (hopefully). You can set aside time to take your teen driver out on the road to get in good practice. This is also good quality time spent together while teaching them some basic driving skills. Remember, your teen’s driving education starts at home with you. 

You can set boundaries and consequences when it comes to your teen driving. If you catch your teen talking or texting while driving, or breaking any other driving rule you have set, such as speeding, driving somewhere that is not allowed or having too many passengers in their car, then create consequences that will make them think twice about breaking another rule again. Limit where and when they can drive, take away their cell phone, etc. Teens need to be constantly reminded to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel at all times, every time they are behind the wheel. 

If your teen has been involved in an auto accident as a driver or passenger that was no fault of their own, then you could be entitled to financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are well equipped to handle teen driving claims, including any wrongful deaths that have resulted. There is no dollar amount that can undo a serious injury or bring back a lost child, but a personal injury or wrongful death claim can hold the negligent party accountable for their recklessness and prevent the same thing from happening to someone else. 

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A Tampa man was killed Monday after his van was involved in a crash with a semi truck on Fowler Avenue in Tampa Bay. 

The 58-year-old man behind the wheel of the van was travelling east on Fowler around 10:30 p.m. when he failed to navigate a curve in the road.  The Florida Highway Patrol said the van exited the roadway and crossed the median right into the path of a big rig that was heading north. 

The van became stuck under the semi truck and eventually came to a stop near the west shoulder of southbound 301. 

A 47-year-old woman was arrested and charged with her involvement in a hit and run collision with two motorcycles. 

Clearwater police said that the 47-year-old woman was charged with two counts of leaving the scene of a crash with injury.

The hit and run crash happened around 8:30 p.m. Friday evening on State Road 590 at Lucas Drive. Officers said the woman fled the scene immediately following the crash. 

summer-1412165_1280-248x300The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reminding people across the United States to drive sober as their high visibility enforcement has already begun and will continue through Labor Day. 

There will be an increase in the amount of law enforcement patrolling the roads through September 7. 

The latest data from the NHTSA shows that around Labor Day is one of the deadliest times to be on the road. There were 10,511 traffic fatalities in 2018 that involved a motorist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more. This accounted for 29% of all motor vehicle accident deaths for 2018. Another 7,051 fatal accidents involved drivers who had a BAC of .15 or more, which is nearly twice the legal limit in the state of Florida and most other states. 

Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to remind drivers the importance of staying sober behind the wheel. It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and even prescription or over the counter drugs, regardless of whether they are legal or illegal. Even in states where marijuana is legal, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of this drug. If a prescription drug or even an over the counter medication impairs a person’s faculties, then it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under their influence. 

A person is considered intoxicated when their BAC is .08 or higher in the state of Florida. The truth is that DUI-related accidents and fatalities occur quite regularly on our roads and highways. According to the NHTSA, there were 3,133 people killed in car accidents in the state of Florida in 2018. Of those, 814 were the result of a drunk or impaired driver. In 2017, Florida had 3,116 motor vehicle fatalities with 841 attributed to intoxicated motorists. 

Liability in DUI Car Accidents 

Victims of DUI collisions as well as family members who have lost a loved one in a DUI crash can file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover financial compensation for their losses. It must be demonstrated that the driver acted negligently, and a BAC over the legal limit of .08 is evidence of negligence, which can find them liable for any damages they caused. 

In certain DUI-related cases, another party can be found at-fault or partially responsible for the collision: 

  • An adult who provides a person under the age of 21 with alcohol could be held responsible for damages caused by the driver. 
  • An employer could also be deemed at-fault if their employee has too much to drink at a work function and then gets behind the wheel of a car. 
  • If an intoxicated driver does not have car insurance, the victim of a crash may be able to seek damages through their own insurance policy for uninsured/underinsured motorist claims. 
  • The state of Florida also has what is called dram shop liability laws which applies to establishments, bartenders, and even social hosts that sold or provided alcohol to a person who then became too impaired and caused a DUI-related crash. 

Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton Can Help 

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed by a driver who was operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you need to get legal help from a personal injury or wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know how painful these accidents can be, which is why we will do everything we can to fully investigate the accident and provide you with the honest feedback you need to understand your legal rights for recovering financial compensation. We will be there with you through every step of the recovery process and fight for what is fair.  

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mustang-1279781_1920-300x200The Florida Highway Patrol has confirmed that a Plant City man has been arrested on a vehicular homicide charge after a fatal crash Monday night. 

The 18-year-old Plant City man was apparently racing another driver when the accident happened on State Road 60 near Cassels Road. 

Reports indicate that the man was driving a yellow 2018 Ford Mustang around 10:25 p.m. when he smashed into a black 2015 Mercedes-Benz C250 which was driven by a 33-year-old man of North Lauderdale. 

An arrested report shows that the two were racing when the driver of the Merceded was killed. 

Both men were driving their cars east on the four lane highway when they began racing. The driver of the Mustang was speeding and changing lanes, and almost struck a third vehicle, according to reports. 

This is when he lost control of his car and barrelled into the Mercedes, causing both cars to be pushed onto the south shoulder. The Mustang hit an embankment, and ultimately flipped onto its roof. The Mercedes rolled until it stopped in the south shoulder. The man was killed upon impact, according to reports. 

The driver of the Mustang suffered serious injuries. He was arrested on Tuesday at Brandon Regional Hospital. An hour later he was booked into jail. Records show that at the time of the fatal collision he was out on pretrial release for being arrested on a DUI charge in June. 

Street racing is very dangerous and can ultimately result in death, as this case shows. While the driver that caused the accident is now facing criminal charges, it is important to point out that the family of the deceased victim can also file a wrongful death suit against the at-fault driver. A wrongful death lawsuit is different from a criminal suit as it allows the victim’s loved ones to seek financial compensation for their loss. Our Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help those who have lost their loved ones pursue just compensation for the pain and suffering they have endured. 

In order to be successful in a wrongful death civil suit, it must be demonstrated that the at-fault person’s negligence caused the other person’s death. For this case purposes, drivers must follow the rules of the road. When they do not, this is a violation of the law, which points to negligence. 

Even in cases where the deceased is found to be partially at fault for the accident that caused their death, surviving family members may still be able to recover compensation as long as the other person is found to be more at fault. When this happens, the person’s fault will be deducted from the total amount of the financial award. 

Wrongful death damages can include loss of consortium (loss of benefits from the deceased), loss of future income, loss of companionship, funeral and burial expenses, and pain and suffering. 

Our Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you understand your legal rights following the death of a loved one from an accident that was not their fault. We can explain how these cases work and advise you on the best way to proceed. We do like to remind family members and loved ones that the time to act is now. Wrongful death cases do have a limited time frame placed on them, called a statute of limitations. In the state of Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of death. Once the statute of limitations expires, you will not be able to recover financial damages from the at-fault party. 

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