Articles Posted in Tampa Bay

The victim of a dog attack in Clearwater is is suing the dog’s owners for alleged negligence and liability.

The male victim filed a complaint on Aug. 16 in the Pinellas Circuit Court, alleging that the dog owners failed to provide their guests with a safe environment.

According to the complaint, the man alleges that he was invited by the dog owners to enter their home on April 17 when he allegedly was attacked by their dog and suffered bodily injury, pain, disfigurement, mental anguish and medical expenses.

The man hold the dog owners responsible for allegedly failing to warn him of the potential risks of serious injury and for allegedly failing to properly supervise the dog.

Every 75 seconds, someone in the U.S. is bitten by a dog. Last year, more than 830,000 dog attack victims required emergency medical care. Under Florida law, the dog’s owner can be held legally responsible for bite injuries even if the dog has never bitten before or exhibited dangerous behavior.

If you or someone you know was hurt in a dog attack, there is a good chance that the dog’s owner will be held liable for the harm incurred. This means that they will likely be required to pay for medical bills, future treatments, lost income, plus monetary damages for your pain and emotional suffering as a result of the dog attack.

Our Clearwater Dog Bite Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have seen the types of life-changing wounds suffered by dog bite victims, including permanent scarring and disfigurement and loss of limbs. We understand the trauma associated with these injuries, which is why we work attentively to help dog bite victims recover full and fair compensation for their suffering.

Continue reading

A pedestrian was killed early Monday after being struck by two vehicles on a major Tampa street.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the crash happened on Hillsborough Avenue near 50th Street.

Troopers said the pedestrian was struck in the eastbound lanes just before 3 a.m.

Both eastbound and westbound Hillsborough Avenue were closed for several hours after the crash.

Authorities have not released any further information as of yet.

The Governors Highway Safety Association shows that the number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents increased 11 percent last year, to nearly 6,000. That’s the biggest single-year increase in pedestrian fatalities ever. It is also the highest number in more than two decades. The National Safety Council reported that traffic deaths overall went up 6 percent nationwide in 2016.

In Florida alone, we saw 301 pedestrian deaths from January 2016-June 2016, an 8.7 percent jump from 2015, which yielded 277 pedestrian deaths.

After speeding and the failure to yield, distractions are the number three cause of pedestrian fatalities, particularly due to electronic devices. Drivers distracted by their devices are a well-documented, rising cause of traffic fatalities.

Vehicle speeds are also a factor. According to reports, if a pedestrian is struck at 20 miles an hour, they have a 10 percent chance of dying. If they are struck at 40 miles an hour, they have an 80 percent chance of dying. According to the GHSA, 74 percent of pedestrian fatalities happen at night, and 72 percent of those killed were not crossing at intersections. Another significant factor is alcohol. The GHSA reports that 15 percent of pedestrians killed each year are hit by a drunk driver.

Continue reading

A pedestrian who was struck by a truck Tuesday afternoon has died from her injuries.

Tampa police believe the 26-year-old Tampa woman was hit as she attempted to cross Nebraska Avenue just south of Hillsborough Avenue around 4:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Police said the truck was traveling eastbound on Hillsborough Ave. and was turning right on Nebraska when Hufford reportedly walked into the side of the truck.

The driver of the truck has yet to be charged.

Pedestrian crashes are on the rise throughout the United States. In fact, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 6,000 pedestrians were killed nationwide in 2016, which is a vast increase from the 5,400 fatalities that occurred in 2015.

In many Tampa Bay area pedestrian crashes, the negligent actions of drivers are to blame for pedestrian fatalities, including driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, making illegal turns, and failing to obey all traffic laws and signals. Our Tampa Bay Pedestrian Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to remind everyone that in order to pedestrians to stay safe on our roadways, you must be vigilant, especially at busy intersections or during night time when accidents are more likely to take place.

Continue reading

An 18-year-old man was killed in a motorcycle crash early Monday morning.

Troopers said the motorcyclist crashed into a Pinellas County school bus and died from the injuries he sustained.

The crash occurred just before 7 a.m. at 49th Street N. and 58th Avenue N. in Pinellas County.

Troopers said the man was speeding down 49th Street N. changing lanes multiple times. A school bus transporting seven children to Sawgrass Elementary School was traveling southbound on 49th Street N. and turned east onto 58th Avenue N. well ahead of the motorcycle, which was traveling northbound on 49th St.

Troopers said the man came upon the intersection and changed lanes again to pass another vehicle, and collided with the right rear corner of the school bus on the east side of the intersection.

The man was ejected from his bike and died at the scene.

Troopers said no one on the bus was injured during the crash.

Helmets, protective gear, and making sure to follow all motorcycle safety practices and precautions are all various ways motorcyclists can avoid sustaining injuries in motorcycle crashes. However, motorcyclists share the road with hundreds of larger, heavier vehicles at any given time. All it takes is one mistake from a driver to cause a tragic accident.

Accidents between motorcycles and larger, heavier vehicles rarely end well for the motorcyclist. If the motorcyclist does survive the collision, they usually suffer catastrophic injuries.

Establishing fault in a motorcycle accident can often be a challenge. Auto insurance companies will do everything in their power to try and claim that the motorcyclist was at fault, but that just simply is not always the case. Even the safest of motorcyclists are always at risk due to careless drivers sharing the roadway.

If someone you love was taken from you in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages. While this cannot bring your loved one back, it can help make sure you are financially taken care of so that you can grieve properly.

Continue reading

St. Petersburg police are investigating an early morning traffic crash that sent one person to the hospital with serious injuries.

The crash occurred around 12:41 a.m. at Central Avenue and 45th Street in St. Pete.

Police said a Volkswagen, driven by a 22-year-old woman was driving northbound on 45th St. and stopped at a stop sign at Central Ave. The Volkswagen began to make a left hand turn and drove into the path of a Yamaha traveling eastbound on Central Avenue.

Police said the Yamaha, driven by a 25-year-old man, crashed into the rear driver side of the Volkswagen.

The man was thrown from his bike and was transported to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg with life-threatening injuries. Officials said he is considered to be in critical condition.

The driver of the Volkswagen was transported to Bayfront with minor injuries. A passenger in her vehicle was treated and released at the scene.

Officials claim both drivers were found to have signs of impairment by alcohol. Criminal charges are pending the results of blood tests, officials said.

When a drunk driver is on the road, they place everyone sharing the roadway with them in danger. Motorcyclists are exceptionally vulnerable to drunk drivers. They have less protection than other motorists and they are harder to identify by intoxicated drivers.  

Motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than those utilizing a passenger car, which means that roughly 11 percent of all traffic accidents in the US involve a motorcycle.

Drunk driving accidents can result in serious injuries and even wrongful death. If you or someone you care for was the victim of a drunk driving accident while on a motorcycle, you need to seek the legal counsel that you deserve to recover damages from the at-fault party. Our St. Petersburg Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you through your case and assist you with determining what your options are.

Continue reading

A customer is suing Outback Steakhouse of Florida LLC for allegedly taking insufficient measures to prevent injuries.

The woman filed a complaint on June 29 in the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida – Pinellas County, alleging that Outback failed to maintain its floors in a reasonably safe condition.

According to the complaint, the woman alleges that she was a customer at the an Outback in Clearwater on Aug. 13, 2014 when she slipped and fell on a foreign substance on the floor. She allegedly sustained injuries, pain and suffering, hospital and medical expenses, lost wages and mental anguish.

The woman holds Outback responsible for allegedly creating a dangerous condition on its premises and for failing to provide warning signs around the area where she fell.

If you suffer an injury from a slip and fall or trip and fall accident at a restaurant, you should follow these first steps:

  1. Do not delay in seeking out medical treatment. Get medical care right away!
  2. Do not sign anything from the restaurant’s management or their lawyers or insurance company until you have retained your own legal counsel.
  3. Call Whittel & Melton at 727-823-0000 to get the legal help you need right away.

The injuries sustained in a slip and fall or trip and fall at a restaurant can be serious and potentially permanent, with skyrocketing financial costs. You shouldn’t have to worry about money at a time like this, but many slip and fall or trip and fall victims do because they might be unable to work and provide for their families. Medical expenses are just another strain to your finances. Even if you have insurance, your co-pays will add up quickly when you pay out of pocket for every test, follow-up appointment, medical treatment, medication, therapy session, and whatever else your injury requires.

Continue reading

Florida authorities said three teenagers – one 14-year-old and two 16-year-olds – stole a sport utility vehicle, sped away from officers and died in a fiery, violent crash early Sunday morning.

The 4:30 a.m. crash happened in Pinellas County.

A fourth teen in the SUV, who is 14, survived and is hospitalized.

All the teens all had criminal histories – including one who had gotten out of jail on July 31.

Reports indicate that a Ford Explorer and a Chrysler Sebring were stolen from a Clearwater car dealership Thursday. Both vehicles were spotted by deputies early Sunday morning. Deputies tried to apprehend the drivers of the cars, but didn’t pursue them. The sheriff’s office’s pursuit policy generally does not allow deputies to chase stolen cars.

Deputies believed the teens were using the stolen cars to commit burglaries. At one point, they set up a perimeter to try to catch the teens, but a deputy spotted the vehicles outside of the perimeter.

According to reports, the cars were in a “cat and mouse” game with each other, accelerating and slowing down, hitting speeds of 100 mph or more.

The deputy that spotted them did not initiate a high-speed chase, but the Explorer continued at about 100 mph when it hit another vehicle, caught fire and went airborne. The Explorer also hit a billboard pole.

The driver hit by the Explorer suffered minor injuries, reports indicate.

Officers found the Chrysler Sebring and arrested the two in that car; one is 16 and the other 18.

Drivers in the state of Florida are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) and a minimum of $10,000 property damage liability (PDL)  insurance. Sadly, many drivers fail to abide by this law and drive without insurance. When someone is injured in a car accident with someone who does not have insurance or does not have adequate insurance, things can become quite difficult  for the injury victim.

Continue reading

A man was killed and a woman hospitalized after a Sunday afternoon incident at the Courtney Campbell Causeway boat ramp.

According to Tampa Fire Rescue, two people were in a boat that hit something in the water.

No further information was immediately available.

Even if you are operating your boat safely and carefully, it is sometimes impossible to avoid an accident. Our Tampa Bay Boating Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have guided many Tampa Bay area residents through boating accident cases. The injuries sustained during a boating accident can be severe, which can create a stressful scenario for you and your family. We want to help you through this difficult time.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Fourth of July weekend is here! This is a holiday that brings thousands of boaters to the water. More boaters means more boats and people on the water, more alcohol, and an increased risk of accidents and arrests for Boating Under the Influence (BUI).

Keep in mind that police will be on the lookout for drunk boaters this holiday weekend. With that said, you should practice safe boating habits and make sure that you are vigilant about the safety of everyone on board your vessel.

Studies show that the majority of boating accidents occur between the months of June, July and August, on Saturday or Sunday, between 12pm and 6pm. The majority of boating accidents involve operators between the ages of 20 and 40. In the state of Florida, it is required that anyone born after Jan. 1, 1988 must have completed a boater education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), or passed an approved equivalency exam before operating a boat with an engine of more than 10 horsepower.

Contact Information