Articles Posted in Polk County Auto Accident Attorney

A 55-year-old man was killed Wednesday evening in a crash in Fort Meade.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the two-vehicle crash occurred at 6:15 p.m. on County Road 630 just east of County Road 555.  

Authorities believe a tan 2005 Chevrolet pickup truck being driven by a 27-year-old man was traveling eastbound on CR 630 when, for unknown reasons, went into the westbound lane.

The truck hit a white 1996 Dodge Dakota pickup truck being driven by 55-year-old man, which was heading westbound.

When the 55-year-old saw the oncoming truck in his lane, he attempted to brake and avoid the collision but was unable, officials said. He was not wearing a seatbelt, according to officials, and died at the scene.

The other driver and his 24-year-old passenger had to be extricated from their truck.

Both were airlifted to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, where they are listed in serious condition.

The investigation is ongoing.

Although it can be tempting to drive without buckling up, Florida law requires everyone to wear a seat belt. Here are a few things you should know about Florida’s seat belt law:

  • All passengers under 18 years old must wear a seatbelt or be otherwise restrained by a child car seat.
  • All passengers in the front seat must wear a seat belt.
  • Children 3 and younger must be secured in a federally approved child-restraint seat.
  • Children 4 through 5 must be secured by either a federally approved child restraint seat or safety belt.
  • The Driver is responsible for buckling up children.

Unfortunately, even if you are wearing your seatbelt, you can get injured or killed in a car accident. However, by wearing a seatbelt, you are less likely to be severely injured. If you are the victim of a an auto accident in Polk County or the surrounding areas, our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help.

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A fatal crash occurred Friday evening in Lakeland involving a motorcyclist colliding with a pickup truck.

Officials believe that at approximately 3:20 p.m., a 37-year-old man was traveling southbound on Combee Road. He was riding a 2006 Honda 1000RR motorcycle.

Around the same time, a 70-year-old woman driving a 2002 Ford F 150 was pulling out into Combee Road from the parking lot of the Babcock store near the intersection of Combee and Tanglewood Street.

Deputies believe the woman crossed westbound across Combee Road toward Tanglewood Street, where the bike collided with the truck’s passenger side. The impact from the collision was enough to spin the woman’s truck clockwise, so it came to rest facing north.

The man was thrown from his motorcycle by the collision and sustained critical injuries. He later died while being transported by first responders to Lakeland Regional Hospital.

The woman in the truck was not injured in the crash.

At this time, investigators do not believe impairment was a factor in the crash. It was noted that excessive speeds appear to be a factor.

The man was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

Motorcycle riders are more exposed when it comes to the road, which only increases their chances of suffering a serious injury in the event of a motor vehicle accident. What might not cause any damage to a car, could deliver devastating injuries to a motorcycle rider. Broken bones, burns, paralysis, and amputations are common injuries as a result of motorcycle accidents, especially when the accident involved high speeds.

Motorcycle accidents commonly occur due to the following:

  • Driver distractions
  • Failure to obey traffic signals
  • Failure to yield
  • Unexpected lane changes
  • Speeding

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A 53-year-old motorcyclist died in a crash with a truck early Monday morning.

It happened around 7 a.m. on Walt Williams Road and Walt William Loop.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 2014 Ford F-150 was traveling south on Walt Williams Road.

At the same time, the 53-year-old biker was traveling north on Walt Williams Road on a 2014 Harley-Davidson FXDB.

Troopers believe that as the Ford turned left into a business parking lot, it traveled into the path of the motorcyclist.

Troopers believe the motorcyclist applied the brakes and began to skid in an effort to avoid the collision, but the truck and motorcycle collided.

The biker was transported to Lakeland Regional where he later died from his injuries.

Regardless of how safe a motorcyclist is on the road or how much safety gear they are wearing, many motorcycle accidents result in death. These sudden, unexpected tragedies leave family members and other loved ones feeling lost, sad, confused and even angry.

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There were more than 1,400 wrong way crashes in FL in 2015, resulting in 1,454 injuries & 96 fatalities, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Wrong way driving collisions occur when a vehicle has failed to observe a posted traffic sign or pavement marking and proceeds in a lane travelling in the wrong direction.

Motorists are encouraged to stay in the right lane to avoid a crash with a wrong way driver, especially at night and during transitional light times such as dawn and dusk. In most wrong way wrecks, vehicles are hit head-on, resulting in 81 percent of all wrong way fatalities. Head-on collisions are some of the most dangerous crashes, and sadly, result in the most fatalities.

The FLHSMV offers the following safety tips for drivers to avoid a wrong way driving crash:

  • Stay Right at Night to avoid crashes with wrong way drivers.
  • Call 911 right away to report wrong way drivers. If you see a wrong way driver approaching, you should reduce your speed right away and pull off the roadway.
  • Stay alert. Do not drive distracted and never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Learn and obey all traffic signs. If you drive past a wrong way sign, turn around immediately. When you see a posted red sign, think about what red traffic sign colors are for: “Stop.” “Do Not Enter.” “Wrong Way.” Orange is used for construction and maintenance warnings. Yellow is for a general warning and advisory of unexpected roadways conditions. Fluorescent Yellow Green is for added emphasis warnings of school, pedestrian and bicycling activities. White/Black are regulatory signs, such as “Left Lane Must Turn Left.” Green signs are for guide or directional information. Blue signs are for motorist services guidance and to identify parking spaces or disabled drivers. Brown signs are reserved for areas of public recreation, cultural and historical significance.

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The Fourth of July is the perfect time to enjoy food, fun, and maybe a few drinks with family and friends. Whether you’re attending a fireworks show or hitting the bars, Tampa is the perfect place to celebrate America’s Birthday.

The sad truth is that Independance Day is one of the most dangerous holidays of the year. Fireworks, hot grills, traffic, and other hazards can cause serious injuries or even death. Drunk driving rates spike over the July Fourth weekend.

The best way to prevent injuries and deaths this holiday weekend is to follow the below safety tips:

Do Not Drink And Drive

The best way to avoid a DUI collision is to stay sober if you will be getting behind the wheel of a car. Too many people believe they can operate a vehicle safely after a few drinks, but the truth is that driving under the influence puts your life, your passengers’ lives, and the lives of others sharing the road at risk, so do not chance it.  

Look Out For Possible Drunk Drivers

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, police use more than 100 visual cues to identify drunk drivers. Knowing the signs can help you to avoid a DUI crash. Some of the cues include:

  • Swerving
  • Almost hitting an object in the road
  • Stopping well before or after a stop line
  • Not using headlights at night
  • Using the wrong turn signal
  • Parking too far from a curb
  • Abnormal accelerating and braking patterns

Use Lyft Or Uber

Both Uber and Lyft operate in the Tampa Bay area. If you intend to drink or if your DD gets drunk, use a taxi or rideshare service to get to your destination. You can even split the fare with your friends. Even if you are riding alone, the cost of a ride home safe  is much cheaper than a DUI.

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A pedestrian was killed Saturday night in Brandon after being hit by a Jeep , according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident happened around 11:30 p.m. along Parsons Avenue South.

Deputies believe the 44-year-old pedestrian crossed Parsons Ave. into the direct path of a Jeep for unknown reasons.

The woman was struck and thrown to the east shoulder of the roadway. She died at the scene.

The driver, a 30-year-old woman, told investigators she did not see the pedestrian until she was right in front of the vehicle.

Investigators believe the woman may have been intoxicated at the time.

No other details have been released.

Drivers who have consumed alcohol and then get behind the wheel of a car are more likely to make poor decisions and less likely to adjust to any abrupt changes in traffic conditions. Alcohol can affect your judgment, impair your motor functions and alter your depth perception, which is why a good amount of Tampa Bay DUI crashes result in very serious or fatal injuries.

If a drunk driver has killed someone you love, it is imperative to act quickly in order to ensure that they are held responsible for your losses. When a loved one is killed, the surviving family members may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

It is important to understand that even if the driver responsible for your loss is convicted for drunk driving, it will not automatically result in a financial settlement. Our Tampa Bay Pedestrian Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will help protect your rights and make sure that you are offered fair and full compensation for your losses.

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Congress passed the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act in 2010. The law noted that hybrid vehicles are very quiet, especially when driven below 18 miles per hour. Due to this,  Congress required the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop regulations for noise alerts on these silent hybrid vehicles by January 2014. This deadline was then extended to November 2015, and then to March 2016. Auto makers are expected to have 18 months to comply with the new mandates once they are issued.

Sadly, in the meantime, pedestrians remain at risk. Pedestrian accidents have actually increased since 2009, and the fact that people cannot hear hybrid and electric vehicles approaching the same way that they can hear traditional gas-powered vehicles places pedestrians at a greater risk of becoming involved in an accident.  

Drivers should always keep a close watch out for all pedestrians, especially those who may be blind, distracted or need extra time crossing the street.

If you have suffered harm from a pedestrian accident in Tampa Bay, you may have the right to recover for your past, current, and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket expense related to the accident and pain and suffering.

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A motorcyclist was killed in a crash in Clearwater on Friday morning.

According to reports, a 22-year-old was driving a motorcycle eastbound on Belleair Road at a high rate of speed east of Belcher Road when he collided with a 2001 Buick Century, driven by 78-year-old man, who was pulling out of a driveway.

The biker was ejected from the motorcycle, and died at the scene.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are more than 200 people who are killed every year in the United States and another 17,000 injured in backover accidents. Backover accidents happen when a driver is backing up their vehicle and hits an object, pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist, etc. that they did not see, usually because of a blind zone in the vehicle. SUVs and trucks are notorious for having blind spots, and their increasing popularity has only resulted in more reports of backover fatalities. Trucks and SUVs are responsible for a whopping 60 percent of backover tragedies.

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A Seminole woman was killed Saturday evening when she was hit by an SUV while riding her bicycle.

The crash occurred just before 7 p.m. on the east side of the 8600 block of Seminole Boulevard.

The 68-year-old woman was riding her bicycle on the sidewalk when a 2003 Ford Expedition pulled out of the Florida Mobile Home trailer park, preparing to turn right, according to reports.

Deputies believe the driver of the Expedition did not see the woman and hit her.

The woman was taken to Largo Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Neither alcohol nor speed appear to be factors in the crash, according to deputies.

The investigation is ongoing.

When in an accident with an automobile, bicycle riders are at an increased risk for serious injuries. Any motor vehicle can cause serious, catastrophic injuries to an unprotected bike rider.

Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are dedicated to helping bicycle riders who have been injured as a result of a vehicle operator’s negligence.  Bicycle accidents most often occur due to:

  • Driver failing to stop for a bicycle rider at a crosswalk
  • Vehicle failing to stop at a stop sign
  • Distracted driver on the cell phone or texting while driving
  • Sideswiped by a vehicle making a turn at an intersection
  • A vehicle turning into a driveway
  • A vehicle backing out of a driveway
  • Being struck while riding on a sidewalk

Our Tampa Bay area personal injury lawyers at Whittel & Melton have extensive experience in representing bicycle accident victims. We are very familiar with the complicated laws that govern bicycle use in the state of Florida. We understand that many insurance companies are quick to place the blame on the the bicycle rider, which is why we fight aggressively to stand up for your rights.  

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If you are like most Americans, you will be celebrating Halloween this weekend. Halloween is quite a fun holiday, providing you with the opportunity to dress up in a unique costume and eat a lots of candy! Halloween is known by children for its trick or treating, and for good reason. This year alone, Americans are projected to spend $2.1 billion on Halloween candy!

Around 41 million trick or treaters between the ages of 4 and 15 are expected to be out on the streets this Halloween. And while Halloween is a spooky fun holiday, it is important to not forget the list of potential dangers that can arise. Serious injuries can occur, ranging from pedestrian accidents, dog bites and even slip and falls or trip and falls. The following safety tips can ensure that you and your family and friends stay safe this Halloween while out and about in the Tampa Bay area.

Tips for a Safe Halloween

  1. Carry a flashlight with you while stomping through the streets. A flashlight can warn motorists that you are on the road and help illuminate your walking path so that you can clearly see ahead and avoid a trip and fall accident.
  2. Put reflective tape on your children’s costumes, and even their candy bags, so that they can easily be seen at night. You want to make sure your children are as visible as possible when out trick or treating. Accidents usually occur when drivers cannot see children.
  3. Make sure your child can walk in his or her costume and that it is not too long. You may need to hem or trim the bottom of the costume to avoid any unnecessary falls.
  4. Never let your child go out trick or treating alone. Make sure your kids are in a group and escorted by a parent or guardian.
  5. Remind children to stay away from dark houses.
  6. Inspect all candy before you let your children dig in.

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