Articles Posted in Sarasota County Injury Lawyer

Can you believe that Labor Day weekend is next week? Sadly, that means that summer is coming to an end. If you are like most Americans, you will have a three-day weekend to celebrate all your hard work this year. While you may be planning a trip to the beach or hanging back to relax at the pool with friends and family, just know that with all gatherings, the risk for injuries increases over holiday weekends.

If you are injured or someone you love is killed in a boating or swimming pool accident, you should discuss your legal options with our Tampa Bay Watercraft & Boating Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible following the accident.

We know that many Floridians favorite pastime over Labor weekend is to head out and enjoy the water on one of the last summer weekends. The waterways and public pools can be crowded this LDW, and crowds can increase the hazards, including drowning or near-drowning accidents.

If you are heading out with friends and family to spend the weekend on beaches, lakes and rivers, put safety first. Boats, jet skis, tubes, and other water sports equipment are fun, but they can be dangerous. Most people tend to listen to music and drink when on the water, which can cause everyone to get distracted and ignore safety measures. Another thing to remember is that drunk, distracted, or inexperienced boat drivers can often be involved in boat crashes that can injure passengers.

Keep in mind, anytime water is involved, there is always the risk of serious drowning incidents or other catastrophic injuries.

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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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It’s summer! That means it is time to get to the pool and cool off with friends and family. There are pool parties, family gatherings and just pure summer fun all centered around the pool. Tampa can get pretty toasty in the summer months, so you and the kids are bound to take a dip in the pool a few times, if not daily.

Swimming pools are awesome, but they can also present some hazards to kids. However, if you follow the safety tips listed below you can stay cool and safe.

An Adult Needs To Supervise Kids At All Times!

Kids have to be monitored 24/7 by an adult whenever they are near water. Some parents are OK with passing this responsibility off to a teen babysitter, but we urge you to reconsider. Teens can get distracted way easier than adults. Looking away or stepping away from the pool for even a few minutes can prove deadly. It is best to follow the 10/20 rule: Check the pool every 10 seconds and make sure you are close enough to get to a child in distress within 20 seconds.

Install A Fence And Gate Around Pools

Pools should be enclosed with a fence and a gate. This makes it a lot harder for small children to gain access to the pool unsupervised. Children can find ways around gates and fences, so try to keep anything they can stack to climb over the fence out of their reach.

Safety Devices Can Malfunction

“Water wings” and life jackets can deflate, puncture, etc. Don’t rely on these to help your youngsters. Teach your kids to swim or enroll them in swimming lessons.

Keep A Fully Charged Cell Phone Nearby

Accidents can happen in mere seconds. Having a phone close could save a life if a medical emergency arises. It is also a good idea to have your address clearly listed on spot that guests can easily find in case an emergency occurs when you are not there and the emergency operator needs it.

Empty Kiddie Pools After Every Use

Children can drown in very small amounts of water because they  do not have the upper body strength to pull themselves up. Leaving a kiddie pool filled with water near the house could be disastrous as kids can easily fall in and drown.

Watch Your Alcohol Intake

Pool festivities often involve alcohol. Just keep this mind: drinking can cause your focus to drift away from the main task at hand, which is watching the little ones swimming or playing near the pool.

Nix The Horseplay

Don’t let kids play too rough or try to perform any crazy tricks. Cannonballs and backflips should be left to the professionals.

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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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Who is responsible for your injury after a slip and fall or trip and fall accident? That depends. There are numerous factors when it comes to determining fault, but most importantly is where you fell, and whether it is public property, a business, or a residence.

Premises liability law establishes when residential and business owners are responsible for injuries that occur on their property. If you fall in a store or on some area of their property, like the parking lot, then the store could be liable for your injury if the injury was caused through its negligence. On that same note, if you are a guest in someone’s home and you suffer an injury as a result of the owner’s negligence, the homeowner may be liable.

How To Prove Your Claim

In order to be successful in a slip and fall or trip and fall case, you must show that there was a dangerous condition that the property owner was aware of or should have been aware of. The owner failing to remedy the dangerous condition caused you harm and it was foreseeable that someone could get hurt from it. In other words, there has to be a negligent party. If you just happened to slip, trip or fall for no apparent reason, then there may not be a responsible party other than yourself, which obviously creates an impossible burden for your claim. In the end, our job as lawyers is to investigate not only the mechanism of injury, learn how it could be avoided and determine if an insurance policy was paid for with the intent of compensating you for your injuries. Unfortunately, all the “good hands” in the world won’t start dialing your house most likely unless we call them first.

However, if you were harmed due to a real hazard, who you name in your lawsuit will depend on the details of your slip, trip or fall. If you were hurt at a retail store in the mall, there may be multiple parties, including the store, mall management, a security company, and possibly other entities.

When you fall at a residential property, the liable party is usually the property owner. If you are hurt in a rental and the tenant is responsible for handling repairs, then that person could be to blame.

When it comes to injuries on municipal properties, sidewalks and parks, it can be tricky to establish fault, but there is sometimes someone to blame for it, possible even the city or state.

Call A Tampa Bay Premises Liability Lawyer at Whittel & Melton – 727-823-0000

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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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A Bradenton man riding a scooter was killed Sunday night after being hit from behind by a SUV on State Road 70, according to reports.

The 41-year-old man was riding a scooter east on State Road 70 near the I-75 interchange around 7:20 p.m. when a Jeep Liberty changed lanes behind him and crashed into the scooter, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

The man was thrown from the scooter and transported to Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, where he later died.

The driver of the Jeep, an 18-year-old, was cited for careless driving, according to the FHP.

The most common scooter and moped injuries are fractures, broken bones, back and spine injuries, and head trauma. While some of these injuries can heal with time, others can have permanent, life-changing effects. In some tragic cases, scooter accidents can result in wrongful death. Scooter and moped riders should always wear helmets when operating their vehicles. However, even when riders use their safety equipment and drive defensively, they are still among the most vulnerable drivers on the road due to the lack of protection that these motor vehicles provide compared to passenger vehicles.

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