Articles Posted in St. Petersburg Premises Liability Attorneys


Two people were injured, one severely, when they were bitten by a group of five pit bulls running loose near a St. Petersburg home.

Officials said officers were called to the home on July 3 after the dogs were reported loose.

A 52-year-old woman was bitten on the leg while trying to help her neighbor.

The woman was hospitalized with severe injuries that required emergency surgery.

The dogs reportedly charged the officers when they tried to exit their patrol car. The officers used fire extinguishers to force the dogs back.

A Pinellas Animal Control officer who responded to the scene also had to fend off one of the dogs’ attacks.

Eventually, at a point where all five dogs had jumped back into the home, officers were able to trap them inside by closing the windows.

The dogs’ owner was not home at the time, but later helped the Animal Control officer load the dogs into a truck to remove them from the home. The owner, who just moved into the house a few days ago, according to neighbors, has not been charged, since police said there was no intent.

The dogs will be kept under quarantine for further investigation.

Dog bite attacks are a bigger problem than most people realize until an attack affects them personally. A dog attack can leave both physical and emotional scars.  The following statistics highlight the problem of vicious dog bites:

  • 20 percent of dog bite victims require medical attention.
  • According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical treatment for dog bites every year.
  • Unneutered male dogs are more likely to show aggression and are involved in 70 percent to 76 percent of reported dog bite incidents each year.
  • Pit bulls contributed to 64 percent of all fatal dog attacks last year.
  • 57 percent of fatal dog attacks involve more than one dog. A fifth of the attacks involve packs of four or more dogs.

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A Target shopper says he was injured in the Pinellas Park store because of a dangerous condition.

According to the man’s lawsuit, he suffered physical injuries that required medical care while shopping at Target on April 26, 2016. He is holding Target responsible because the store failed to warn him and other shoppers of the hazardous condition on its premises.

The man is seeking damages of more than $15,000 plus all legal fees.

What is a hazardous condition? There are several common types of dangerous property conditions that cause injuries, including:

  • Wet or slippery floors
  • Slick sidewalks and parking lots
  • Cracked or uneven sidewalks or walkways
  • Torn carpets
  • Uneven floors, stairs or entryways
  • Merchandise in store aisles
  • Faulty elevators or escalators
  • Poorly lit hallways, stairwells, walkways or parking lots
  • Inadequate security

Property owners have a duty to take reasonable safety precautions to ensure the safety of all potential visitors to their property. If you or someone you know has suffered any type of injury on someone else’s property, it is in your best interest to speak with a Tampa Bay Premises Liability Lawyer at Whittel & Melton.

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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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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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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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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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According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, 11,400 fireworks injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms during the month surrounding July 4th last year. A good amount of these injuries were reportedly from people misusing fireworks. The most common injuries happened from lighting fireworks too close to someone, lighting fireworks incorrectly and playing with lit or used fireworks.

Fireworks normally undergo arduous testing before they are sold to the American public, according to the National Council on Fireworks Safety. However, this does not mean that fireworks cannot be defective. Most fireworks-related injuries are not from defective products, though. Rather, most of these accidents are entirely preventable, and occur due to misusing these explosive devices.

fireworks betchFireworks can be fun, but it is also very important to use them safely. Follow these guidelines to decrease your chance of experiencing a fireworks-related accident:

  • Adhere to all fireworks laws in your area and avoid behaving recklessly. In Florida, consumer fireworks are illegal. Nonetheless, state lawmakers passed an exception to this rule allowing fireworks to be purchased by farms and fish hatcheries. In order for vendors to sell fireworks to the general public, all they have to do is have buyers sign forms saying they are actually purchasing under an agricultural exemption.
  • Follow all instructions on the label and do not try and alter the firework in any way.
  • If children are going to be around, always have adult supervision and never allow a small child to handle fireworks.
  • Have a source of water handy in case something goes wrong.
  • Alcohol and fireworks should not be combined. If you are going to be drinking, leave the fireworks displays to the professionals.
  • Ignite fireworks in a clear outdoor space. Check and make sure the area is not conducive to fires.
  • Soak all used fireworks with water before throwing them away.

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A baby remains in critical condition after a near drowning accident in Brandon on Saturday, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

Reports indicate that a 1-year-old baby was pulled from a backyard pool around 7:45 p.m. on Highview Circle, just north of Windhorst Road.

The infant was taken to Brandon Regional Hospital.

swimming poolNo further information is available regarding the baby’s condition or how the accident happened.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study that determined for every child that drowns, another four require emergency medical care for injuries suffered in near-drowning accidents. Near-drowning accidents can vary in severity, depending on a number of factors including the length of time the child is submerged, the temperature of the water, the type of water, the amount of water aspirated and the child’s medical condition before the accident occurred. Nearly one third of survivors will withstand moderate to severe brain injuries involving memory problems, learning disabilities and permanent loss of basic functioning.

Our Tampa Bay Swimming Pool and Drowning Accident Lawyers know that drowning accidents usually happen very quickly, often without warning. After being under water for two minutes, most children tend to lose consciousness, and brain injury usually occurs after a child has been submerged between four and six minutes. Children that survive near-drowning incidents with no neurological damage are usually found within two minutes of being underwater. Most drowning fatalities happen after a child has been submerged for more than 10 minutes.

Depending upon how severe the injuries are from a near-drowning accident, your loved one may require around the clock medical care, physical therapy, cognitive therapy, occupational therapy and other medical attention. The monetary costs associated with this level of medical treatment can be overwhelming to a family that is dealing with the emotional trauma that comes along with a near-drowning accident.

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A 1-year-old girl survived a near-drowning accident in a backyard pool Saturday morning, according to officials.

The incident occurred just before 10 a.m. at a home at 5401 Westchester Blvd. in unincorporated Pinellas County near St. Petersburg.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office reports that the child’s caregiver was preparing her home for a family get-together while the child was outside in the fenced-in backyard with a family friend. The caregiver ventured outside and realized the girl was not with the friend and located her in the in-ground pool.

poolThe girl was taken out of the pool and transported to a local hospital by ambulance with non-life threatening injuries.

According to deputies, the near-drowning appeared to be accidental and no charges are pending at this time.

Nearly ten people die in drowning accidents every day throughout the United States. Another 5,000 more are hospitalized each year with near-drowning injuries. Sadly, a large number of drowning and near-drowning victims are children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of one and four. Likewise, drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 14.

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging everyone to “Deck the Halls” safely this holiday season. An estimated 15,000 people will be injured this holiday season based on the number of people sent to emergency rooms across the nation last November and December. The worst of the injuries reported involved slip and falls from holiday decorating, stepping on ornaments, back injuries, ladder catastrophes and lacerations.

Hundreds of people fall off ladders every holiday season in their attempts to decorate. Ladders are supposed to be set up in a non-congested area with a 75 degree angle. Metal ladders should never be set up near electrical equipment. Sadly, ladder accidents often result in severe personal injuries or death. Last year, the CPSC reported that there were 20 injuries due to ladder accidents that resulted in a whopping $16 million in property damage.

Fires are another big problem during the holiday season. Fire departments across the country reported about 200 Christmas trees that were ignited from 2009 through 2011. These fires resulted in 70 deaths, 680 injuries and about $308 million in property damage, according to the CPSC. The number of fire-related incidents has been on the rise since 2009, resulting in about 12,000 more ER visits annually.

xmas tree betch.jpgThe CPSC urges everyone to follow these simple guidelines to prevent a holiday disaster this year:

• Discard any light sets with bare wires, broken sockets or that are damaged.

• Blow out candles when no one is in the room.

• Make sure your ladder is in good condition before using it.

• Keep your Christmas tree away from any heat sources.

• Watch out for children around the Christmas tree, as they could become injured from ornaments or sharp objects on or around the tree.

• Keep wrapping paper out of the fireplace as it can ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

Any problems with consumer products that lead to accidents or injuries should always be reported to This is how the government tracks injuries from defective products so that recalls can be issued when enough injuries are reported.

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