Articles Posted in Manatee County Auto Accident Attorney

A Winter Haven man became the third person to die in a vehicle crash in Polk County over the weekend after a pickup truck turned in front of his motorcycle Saturday night, according to authorities.

The 56-year-old man and his 54-year-old wife were riding a Honda south on Spirit Lake Road around 7 p.m. approaching 2nd Street when the crash occurred.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, a 27-year-old Winter Haven was driving a Dodge pickup truck south on Spirit Lake and turned left at 2nd Street and into the motorcycle’s path.

The motorcycle hit the truck, ejecting both riders. The pair were taken to Lakeland Regional Health, where the man later died. The wife was hospitalized in stable condition.

The truck driver and two children in the truck were wearing seat belts and were not injured.

Speed, impairment or distraction were not factors in the crash, according to deputies.

Earlier Saturday, another motorcycle crash claimed the life of a Davenport man.

Just after noon, the man was traveling east on County Road 547 near U.S. 27 when it struck a Ford Focus driven by a man who was leaving a convenience store parking lot. The biker was thrown from the motorcycle and died at the scene, the sheriff’s office said.

Saturday morning, a 47-year-old Plant City man was killed in a three-vehicle crash on County Line Road.

Around 7:30 a.m., the man’s Dodge Neon and a tractor-trailer driven by a 52-year-old Alabama man were traveling south, side-by-side, on County Line Road near Drane Field Road, the sheriff’s office said.

The Dodge drifted into the lane of the semi, struck the right front of the truck and shot into the northbound lanes. It then collided with a northbound Dodge Charger driven by a 36-year-old Mulberry man, deputies said.

When emergency personnel arrived on scene, the driver of the Dodge Neon did not have a pulse. He was taken to Lakeland Regional Health where he was pronounced dead, deputies said.

When a loved one is killed in an auto accident, the family has enormous grief to deal with as well as wrongful death insurance claims. Our Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton understand that you need time to grieve without the added stress of dealing with insurance companies and others who want to settle your wrongful death claim as soon as possible.

While this is a difficult time for your family, make sure you take your time with wrongful death claim. You need to determine the full extent of your financial losses as well as understand the need for pain and suffering compensation. When there are dependents involved, such as children, a spouse, other family members, their needs should also be taken into account in a wrongful death settlement.

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For most, Labor Day weekend symbolizes the unofficial end of summer. As a three-day weekend, this gives many Americans the chance to celebrate with friends and family one more time before fall comes around and the weather gets cooler. Whether you plan on taking one last road trip for a weekend getaway or staying home and celebrating with family and friends, the Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you and your loved ones to stay safe!

Labor Day Weekend has a high rate of preventable accidents, injuries, and deaths, both on the roadways and at homes across Tampa Bay and the rest of the country. To help you and your loved ones stay safe this holiday weekend, our Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers have compiled a few helpful safety tips:

  • Roadway Safety AAA anticipates that nearly 35 million Americans will travel this Labor Day weekend. With this many people on the road, it is very important to remember roadway safety, obey traffic laws and to always stay alert and avoid distractions when behind the wheel.
  • Vehicle Safety – Along with obeying the rules of the road, it is equally important to make sure your vehicle is safe for travel. Check your vehicle’s fluids, brakes and lights before going on a trip. It is recommended to take your vehicle in for a quick inspection before you head out of town. If you have an older vehicle, you may want to consider renting a car with up-to-date safety features for your road trip.
  • Water & Pool Safety Because Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer, pool parties and water activities are common. Make sure that all children are always supervised around and in the water.
  • BBQ Safety Tips – Labor Day weekend and barbecues go hand in hand. If you are planning on an outdoor grilling party, make sure that your grille is properly cleaned to avoid grease fires. Also, make sure to grill in a safe area away from structures, furniture and other flammable hazards. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and have a safety plan ready in place your barbecue goes awry.
  • Drink Responsibly – Holiday weekends, like Labor Day, see some of the highest rates of alcohol-related accidents and injuries than any other time of year, especially on roads and highways. If you plan on drinking, please do so responsibly and plan a safe ride home. Remember, police will be on high alert for motorists driving under the influence, so do not drink and drive.

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Slick roads are what caused a semi-truck to travel over a bridge in Manatee County and dive into the water.

Fortunately, a Good Samaritan saw the whole thing and came to the driver’s rescue.

After the crash, the truck was crushed, sinking and leaking diesel fluid.

The 29-year-old New Jersey driver survived the crash with minor injuries.

The Good Samaritan was on his boat during the mishap and managed to get the driver out of the truck right in time.

6304888398_e40c4ebcb2_zThe truck’s cab is completely crushed and the entire vehicle remains submerged in the Manatee River.

Florida Highway Patrol does not believe alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Millions of cars and trucks travel throughout Florida’s roadways and the rest of the country each year, resulting in thousands of accidents that cause serious injury or death. Many factors can contribute to auto accidents, and wet and slippery roads are a major contributor.

The following are a few easy steps drivers can take to avoid driving errors that lead to accidents and property damage.

  • Reduce Speed:  Reducing your speed to below the speed limit can help prevent loss of traction from water, or even ice on the roadways. This is especially important to do on winding roads, inclines and declines.
  • Increase Braking Distance: When roads are slick or wet, braking distance must be increased. Hard braking can result in loss of traction as well as loss of control. This effect is heightened in larger, heavier vehicles, like tractor trailers and semis.
  • Stay Alert: Drivers must pay attention to road problems, traffic signals and signs, especially when facing poor road conditions. When there is inclement weather, it is important to avoid sudden steering or braking.

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The Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to wish everyone throughout Tampa and the state of Florida a very happy Fourth of July! During this summer holiday period, many of us celebrate the time with friends and family. As with many other holidays, risks of accidents and injuries can increase during the Fourth of July weekend.

To help you keep yourself and your loved ones safe this weekend, we have compiled some helpful safety tips:

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving accidents, injuries and deaths always peak during Fourth of July weekend. If you plan on celebrating Independence Day with a few drinks, make sure to drink responsibly and plan for a ride. Make arrangements with friends or family, or call a cab or transportation service like Uber or Lyft. Remember, law enforcement officers will be out in full force this weekend looking to catch intoxicated motorists.

Fireworks Safety

4428561177_831c2f9269_zIf you plan to light off a few Sparklers or fireworks yourself, please remember these important tips:

  • Always follow instructions and supervise children. Never provide fireworks to small children.
  • Use fireworks in a safe area where they cannot harm others or damage property. This may be  a given, but never throw or point fireworks toward people, vehicles, structures, or flammable materials.
  • Do not light multiple fireworks at once and never attempt to relight a “dud” firework that failed to go off the first time.

Water Safety

Many Tampa Bay residents celebrate the Fourth at the beach, lake or by enjoying the water at backyard pool parties. When having fun near the water, make sure that safety is a top priority. Supervise children, use safety vests when on the water, drink responsibly and have a safety procedure set in place in the event of an emergency.

Grilling Safety

Use caution when barbecuing! Many people suffer injuries when cooking on charcoal and gas grills. Never grill indoors, supervise the grill when it is on, follow all instructions and never add lighter fluid when charcoal has already been ignited.

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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is encouraging motorists and roadway users to “Share the Road.”

Motorcyclist fatalities did actually increase in 2012. While bikers can protect themselves by wearing safety gear and practicing safe riding habits, ultimately, the other drivers sharing the roadway with them must also drive safely. Motorcyclists lack certain protections that cars have such as seat belts, steel cages and airbags, so they are truly at the mercy of other motorists.

Motorcycle Safety Facts

A speeding drunk driver collided with two people who were crossing 2nd Street N in downtown St. Petersburg early Saturday, killing one of them and critically injuring the other, according to police.

Shortly after 2 a.m., a 25-year-old St. Petersburg man was speeding on 2nd Street N in a rented Dodge Charger. The car ran a red light at Central Avenue and hit a 31-year-old Largo chef and a 28-year-old St. Petersburg man.

16378019070_ac997abb4a_zThe chef died at the scene. The other man, who was sideswiped and spun onto the pavement, was taken to a Bayfront Health St. Petersburg with life-threatening injuries. He has since been stabilized, according to reports.

The drunk driver fled the scene and was arrested at the nearby Push Ultra Lounge a short time later. The driver has been charged with DUI manslaughter, aggravated fleeing and eluding, leaving the scene of a crash involving death and DUI with serious bodily injury.

The man tried to escape while in custody in the breath testing center at police headquarters, but was quickly apprehended, police said.

The deceased was a chef at The Kitchen, a restaurant just west of 2nd Street on 1st Avenue N. His wife was nine months pregnant with the family’s second child, according to reports.

Police reported that the Dodge was seen speeding on 4th Avenue N after exiting I-175. DUI patrol officers spotted the car and tried to stop it as it slowed to turn south on to 2nd Street, but the car accelerated “at a very high rate,” indicating it was not going to stop.

The Dodge kept speeding southbound and ran a red light at 3rd Avenue N and then at Central, where the two men were crossing Central Avenue with a green light and a crossing signal, police said.

After hitting the pedestrians, the Dodge drove off the southwest corner of the intersection and struck two concrete light pillars, ripping off the car’s right front wheel. The car continued travelling along until coming to rest just before 1st Avenue S.

Drunk drivers cause more than 30 percent of fatal car accidents each and every year in the United States. When a drunk driver causes a loved one’s unnecessary death or injuries, a Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Lawyer at Whittel & Melton is needed to obtain compensatory and punitive damages for your losses.

Our Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton work on a contingency basis for grieving families in order to help them cope with the legal and financial strains associated with a drunk driving death.

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According to police, a 2-year-old boy was killed after a Winter Haven woman who was drunk crashed an SUV loaded with passengers.

The Florida Highway Patrol believes the 24-year-old woman drove her vehicle onto a shoulder in Manatee County on Saturday afternoon. The vehicle went airborne, overturned several times and crashed into several trees.

The accident killed the 2-year-old Winter Haven boy, who police said was not wearing a seatbelt or child restraint. The driver, two adult passengers and a 6-month-old boy were seriously injured. Seven other children suffered minor injuries.

11064883376_6771bd6c4a_z (1)The female driver was charged with DUI manslaughter and other counts.

An estimated one-third of all traffic fatalities involve drivers whose abilities have been significantly diminished by drinking alcohol. In fact, it is estimated that two in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives.

The sad truth is that drunk drivers choose to be irresponsible and negligent. Every single time a drunk driver chooses to get behind the wheel, he or she puts everyone else on the road at risk of serious injury or death. A Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorney at Whittel & Melton knows how dangerous these reckless drivers are and will fight to get maximum compensation for injury victims who have suffered harm because of the selfish acts of drunk drivers.

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According to the National Highway Safety Administration, Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp. refuses to cooperate with the government’s investigation of its air bags.

The NHTSA announced on Friday that it will impose fines of $14,000 a day that will continue until key safety information is provided.

Here are the key points you need to know regarding the Takata airbag recall:

What The Problem Is. The inflators propelled by ammonium nitrate can explode with too much force, which can result in shrapnel ejecting onto drivers and passengers. At least six people have been killed and 64 injured worldwide due to the problem. Since 2008, 17 million vehicles have been recalled in the U.S. by 10 different automakers. Currently, only 2 million, or around 12 percent, have been fixed because of a lack of parts.

6864202642_54323b7ce3_zRecall Areas. Government investigators believe that too much exposure to moisture in the air can cause the inflator to build up excess pressure, which can shatter metal canisters meant to contain the explosion that inflates the bags. Driver’s side air bags have been recalled nationwide, however recalls of passenger side air bags have been limited to Florida, Puerto Rico, areas near the Gulf of Mexico including Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana, as well as Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii.

Takata’s Stance. Takata has challenged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s demand for a national recall of driver’s airbags. Despite that, automakers did it on their own. Takata claims that tests of 10,000 inflators does not show any reason for the recalls to be expanded.

What is Currently Being Done by the Government. The government has three different  groups testing the air bags: Takata, an independent contractor hired by the company and a group of 10 automakers. In order to force Takata into a national recall, the government must be able to explain what is going wrong with the airbags and why.

What You Can Do to Make Sure Your Air Bags Are Safe. While the air bags are still being tested, you can always check to see if your car has been recalled and get the repairs done as soon as possible. To check, go to https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/ and type in your 17-digit vehicle identification number, which is located on your dashboard near the driver’s side windshield. The site will tell you if there’s a recall, and if your car is affected, you should call your dealer right away.

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Two teenagers skateboarding fun turned tragic Sunday when one of them was killed.

According to police, one of the 15-year-old boys got into his mother’s 2003 Mercedes sedan and drove it down Atwood Avenue N while his other 15-year-old friend held onto the right rear corner and sped along on his skateboard.

This type of skateboarding trick is called “skitching.”

3695427669_c7d4440301_zPolice believe the teen driving accelerated with the other boy holding on to the rear. The pair traveled only a short distance before the boy let go of the car, became unstable and fell to the ground, striking his head.

Bystanders performed CPR, and emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene. The teen was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, where he was pronounced dead at 8:37 p.m., about 2 1/2 hours after the accident happened.

The risk of injury associated with skateboarding tricks like skitching far out-weigh the thrill than can be achieved. Skitching presents a high risk of serious injury and even death to those that partake in this activity. There are numerous things that can go wrong from these types of accidents, such as being pulled under the vehicle, being hit by another car on the road or  as this case shows, even just losing control and hitting pavement.

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Spinal Cord Trauma
  • Broken Bones and Fractures
  • Nerve Damage
  • Facial Disfigurement
  • Death

When a child is injured due to his own negligence, there is usually no recourse or available compensation for injuries suffered. The Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know how devastating serious injuries to children, or worse death, can be on families and parents.

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A 38-year-old Gibsonton man was killed Wednesday evening while walking along the northbound shoulder of U.S. Highway 41.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the man was struck by a vehicle at 6:18 p.m.

Troopers believe the man was not using an available sidewalk when he was hit by a Ford Focus driven by a woman who claims she did not see the victim.

9146013475_4d501c2d94_zThe man was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he later died from his injuries. The woman was not injured.

As of now, no charges have been filed.

If an innocent person is killed because of somebody else’s negligent, careless or deliberate actions, it is only fair to hold that party responsible for the victim’s death. While every case has a unique set of facts, if negligence is found to be a factor in the collision, then the family of a pedestrian accident victim may be justified in filing a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver who caused the fatality.

It is important to note that anytime a person travels on foot near a roadway, they are assuming some amount of risk by doing so. There are several thousand pedestrians who are killed in motor vehicle collisions every year in this country, and even more are injured in pedestrian accidents each year.

One of the most common causes of tragic pedestrian accidents is distracted driving. Motorists can become distracted when behind the wheel in numerous ways, including talking on cell phones, texting, eating food and even applying makeup. The simple act of changing stations on a car radio can be enough to distract a driver to the point where they fail to take notice of a serious traffic situation directly in front of them.

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