Articles Posted in Tampa Bay Auto Accident Lawyer

A 29-year-old Lakeland man was killed Thursday in a multi-vehicle crash on State Road 60 at the intersection with Grape Hammock Road in Lake Wales.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the 2:45 p.m. crash involved four vehicles, including two semis, which resulted in significant diesel fuel and oil on the roadway and debris.

Deputies said a silver 2012 Volkswagen car being driven by the man Lakeland was heading westbound on SR 60 just west of Grape Hammock Rd at a high rate of speed when it began to hydroplane, as it was raining heavily at the time.

The VW went into the eastbound lane and bounced off of a 2019 red Kia Sorento. The VW rotated and was then struck by an eastbound 1986 Kenworth semi truck pulling a trailer, causing significant damage and killing the Lakeland man.

The semi exited the roadway and came to a rest in a ditch, with the trailer still in the eastbound lane.

Another semi heading westbound struck some debris from the crash and came to a controlled stop.

None of the other drivers were injured.

Hydroplaning happens when road conditions are wet and the surface of the asphalt becomes slippery. The combination of moisture and oil residue on roadways can result in a very slippery surface. For drivers experiencing this, the tires of their vehicle can become separated from the road surface by a thin layer of water, and they can experience a loss of steering, as well as a loss of braking ability and vehicle control. A hydroplane crash can be catastrophic, as this case shows, and affect multiple vehicles and cause significant injuries and property damage.

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A 7-year-old boy is in critical condition at the hospital after he was hit by an SUV in Clearwater Tuesday night.

Emergency crews responded to a call at an apartment complex in the 2200 block of Nursery Road a little after 7:30 p.m. Upon arrival, officers on scene were told the boy was riding a bike in the parking lot of the apartment complex when he rode into the path of a Nissan Armada, which ultimately hit the child.

The driver remained on scene and is cooperating with the investigation, according to officials in Clearwater.

The boy was taken to Bayfront Health in Saint Petersburg and is in critical condition, according to officials.

When drivers fail to take proper safety precautions and check all areas surrounding their vehicle, parking lots can be the site of very serious or even deadly pedestrian or bicycle accidents. Larger vehicles, especially SUVs and trucks, have several blind spots, so driver’s must pay extra attention to their surroundings. There are far too many preventable accidents that occur every day when driver’s do not take a few extra seconds to check out the area before beginning to drive.

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A woman, who caused a crash that killed three after she suffered a seizure, was in a wheelchair at her pretrial hearing Monday morning.

In August of 2017, prosecutors say the woman was driving over 100 miles per hour when she slammed into a Hyundai, killing a man, his wife and their 8-year-old daughter.

Investigators say the woman did not stick around after the crash. She fled the scene, but did not make it far.

Police caught up with the woman a couple of miles from the crime scene.

While being questioned by detectives, she allegedly said she takes anti-anxiety medication for her seizures.

She was emotional after the crash, even breaking down during a bond hearing.

Fleeing the scene of an accident, or hit and run, is a very serious criminal offense. Under Florida state law, drivers are required to stop and exchange information or render assistance when they are involved in an accident that causes property damage or bodily injury. Even though it is against the law to leave the scene after an accident, data from the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety shows that 11% of all car accidents involve hit-and-run drivers.

When a driver flees the scene of an accident, they leave behind victims without taking any responsibility for their actions. Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton regularly file personal injury and wrongful death claims on behalf of those injured or killed in hit-and-run accidents. We can answer any questions you may have regarding your legal options following an incident involving a fleeing driver.

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A bill to make texting while driving a primary offense in Florida is closer than it has ever been to the governor’s desk.

The Florida Senate voted 33 to 5 Thursday to pass the House version of the bill, (HB 107) substituting it for the Senate version, which was broader and prohibited using any wireless communication device.

However, the Senate added an amendment to the House bill that would ban the use of any wireless device while in school zones or work zones. The Florida House will now have to decide what to do with the amended version of the bill.

The bill is the closest Florida has ever gotten to allowing law enforcement to pull over drivers for texting while driving. Currently, texting while driving is a secondary offense, which means officers need another reason to pull over a driver in order to cite them for texting while driving.

If the bill passes the Florida Legislature and is signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, it would go into effect on July 1.

Texting while driving has been identified as the most dangerous form of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 480,000 drivers use cell phones while driving every day. These devices create a huge potential for injuries and fatalities to drivers, passengers, and everyone else sharing the road.

The truth is that most drivers underestimate the time it takes for a car accident to happen. When you are travelling 55 mph, in a matter of just five seconds – the approximate amount of time it takes to read a text – you will have travelled the entire length of a football field. Serious collisions can happen in as little as three seconds.

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Lawmakers, law enforcement and families who have faced the danger of distracted driving firsthand are urging all Florida drivers to put the phone down while behind the wheel.

At least 233 Floridians were killed by distracted drivers in 2018, according to data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The Florida Highway Patrol says, on average, distracted driving accounts for more than 1,000 crashes in our state every week.

Under current Florida law, texting while driving is only a secondary offense. That means drivers can’t be pulled over for texting alone.

Some, are trying to change that, and Florida’s laws could soon change.

Even though Florida does have a statewide texting ban in place, many people continue to engage in the behavior. Distracted driving is defined as any activity that could take a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. While texting behind the wheel is considered the most dangerous distraction, others include:

  • Talking on the phone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to or interacting with passengers
  • Personal grooming
  • Reading maps
  • Watching videos
  • Adjusting a radio or other audio player
  • Using a navigation system

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A driverless bus for tourist pickups on Clearwater Beach is in the planning for testing on Mandalay Avenue, according to the city.

The City Council agreed during a recent work session to write a letter of support for the demonstration of a 12-passenger, self-driving vehicle along Mandalay. The letter will be included in an application for a federal grant to run the project.

The federal government in December announced $60 million in grants to entities that test the “safe integration of automated driving systems” into the nation’s road systems.

The proposed test, a collaboration between the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, engineering firm Stantec and the city, would run between October and January, before the height of the winter tourist season kicks in.

The proposed one-mile test route would run a loop from the Pier 60 area north on Mandalay to Juanita Way. A technologist monitoring the onboard systems can grab the wheel to go around stopped delivery vehicles and avoid other mishaps.

Onboard cameras will constantly record surrounding traffic and all incidents.

The Clearwater police and fire departments are on it on the project, too and have discussed using a lot adjacent to Fire Station 46 at 534 Mandalay Ave. to serve as a staging area for the vehicle, which resembles a small, square bus.

The location provides electricity to recharge the vehicle at night and access to wireless Internet, which lets researchers download data collected by the vehicle’s systems during the day.

Wifi is vital to the driverless vehicle trials on public roadways. Two competing systems are being tested in the country: One would have driverless vehicles depending on sensors along the route to guide them; the other system constantly downloads data into the vehicle to avoid collisions and make such decisions as where to turn and where to stop.

There are limits to the vehicle’s abilities, however.

It runs about 12 mph, and to ensure it runs all day without a recharge, the route it follows can’t be longer than a mile and it also can’t negotiate the traffic circle on Clearwater Beach.

The buses can still get in accidents. That’s what happened on the first day the Navya bus was tested in Las Vegas, according to city officials.

A delivery truck driven by a human driver backed into the shuttle just a few hours after a city ceremony launching the test in November 2017.

According to extensive media reporting on the incident, no one on the bus or in the truck was injured. Las Vegas Metro Police cited the delivery truck driver, and said the French-built, self-driving vehicle was not at fault. City officials wrote that the “shuttle did what it was supposed to do, in that its sensors registered the truck and the shuttle stopped to avoid the accident.”

Driverless cars or autonomous driving vehicles are no longer a thing of the future. They were designed with  cameras, sensors, artificial intelligence and algorithms to replace human drivers and eliminate human error, which is one of the leading causes of truck accidents, car accidents and bus accidents. However, like everything else, nothing is perfect and these driverless cars can be involved in collisions. Because driverless car accident lawsuits are relatively new, these claims involve thorough investigation to determine liability and a tenacity to initiate a new venture when it comes to pursuing justice for accident victims.

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A 48-year-old man was arrested on Sunday for a deadly hit-and-run crash that occurred on March 16, in downtown St. Petersburg.

According to police, a Ford F-150 truck was traveling northbound on 28th Street North crossing Central Avenue when it hit a pedestrian.

The pedestrian, identified as a 74-year-old man, suffered serious injuries and died on March 28 at Bayfront Health.

Officials said the driver of the truck failed to return to the scene after a witness told him he struck a pedestrian.

Police were able to catch up with the driver more than 35 blocks away, however, he was not arrested until March 31.

He has been charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death.

Sadly, many people are injured or killed in hit and run accidents every year throughout the Tampa Bay area. The driver causes a collision, knows they are at fault, and flees the scene in the hopes of avoiding the serious consequences of causing an accident. Our Pinellas County Pedestrian Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help if you or a loved one has been the victim of a hit and run accident.

After fleeing the scene of an accident, a hit and run driver, when found, is subject to both criminal penalties and civil liability. Even if the at-fault party is never identified, victims of hit and run accidents or their families may be able to recover compensation from their own insurance companies.

Uninsured motorist (UM) insurance covers injuries caused by unidentified hit and run drivers. We can help you use UM insurance to secure financial compensation for medical costs, property damage and other losses.

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The family of a woman hit and killed by a garbage truck last year has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Tampa.

The complaint asks a circuit court to find the municipality liable for the negligence of its truck driver.

The 65-year-old woman was on her morning walk on Davis Islands when she was killed by a waste management truck that was backing up in an alley.

The complaint outlines that the truck was reversing without working backup lights, and that there were no beepers or alarms that might have helped the woman know it was coming.

The lawsuit asserts that as a result of the accident the woman’s family had to pay medical and funeral expenses, and suffered “mental pain and suffering” because of her death.

Wrongful death cases allow families to seek financial compensation from the negligent party for damages suffered after the loss of a loved one. Generally, family members who are entitled to bring a wrongful death lawsuit include a surviving spouse and/or surviving children.

Wrongful death claims can be complex in the state of Florida, which is why we urge family members interested in pursuing compensation to seek competent legal representation from our Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton. Without an experienced lawyer on your side, you are likely to receive far less than you are owed. If you choose to settle with the insurance companies involved, you may be barred from pursuing any future claims.

Our team at Whittel & Melton has several decades of experience representing the families of wrongful death victims in the Tampa Bay area. If you choose to work with us, we will make sure that you receive the just compensation you deserve.

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A 17-year-old skateboarder is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after being hit by a car on Saturday morning, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Before 7 a.m., the female teen was using the bicycle lane on Providence Lakes Road in Brandon and riding her skateboard when she was hit by a red Volkswagen Passat, according to reports.

The teen was taken to Tampa General Hospital.

The driver stayed at the scene and was not harmed.

It is unknown if the skateboard or the driver crossed the line separating the bicycle lane and the traffic lane.

Investigators do not believe speed, alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash, according to police.

The investigation into the crash is still ongoing.

Motorists have a duty to be on the lookout for any dangers. Sometimes motorists are distracted or are not expecting pedestrian traffic and may strike a skateboarder. This does not mean fault lies with the skateboarder. When a car hits a skateboarder, the driver may be held liable for the injuries that result. Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you determine who is at fault for the accident and whether you can seek compensation for damages.

Broken bones, sprains, strains, brain injuries (TBIs), spinal cord injuries, and even death are all common after a skateboard vs. car accident. Hospital bills can quickly add up, and insurance companies may even try and blame the entire accident on the skateboarder. This is why you need to seek the help of a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to make sure your rights are protected.

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A scooter rider was seriously injured early Tuesday morning in a crash that closed the southbound lanes of Interstate 75 near Fletcher Avenue for an hour, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The 32-year-old scooter driver was slowly operating the scooter in the southbound outside lane at about 6 a.m. when he was struck from behind by a 2011 Toyota Sienna. The driver was attempting to pass the scooter, troopers said.

The impact threw the man from the scooter, troopers said, and he landed on outside grass shoulder.

He was taken to Tampa General Hospital for treatment of what was reported to be serious injuries, troopers said. The Toyota driver was not injured in the crash.

Both were cited. The scooter driver received a citation for impeding traffic while the driver of the Toyota was cited for careless driving, the Highway Patrol said.

Careless driving is defined as failing to drive a vehicle in a careful and practical manner. Careless driving can include:

  • Tailgating
  • Failing to yield properly
  • Improper passing of another vehicle
  • Improper lane changing
  • Running a red light
  • Speeding
  • Failure to stop for an emergency vehicle
  • Making an improper turn

Driving carelessly can result in a serious car accident. Sometimes motorists drive carelessly with the intent of not getting caught and other times motorists do this without even realizing what they may be doing. Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton urge you to take the following precautions to avoid driving carelessly:

  • Always use a turn signal when changing lanes or making a turn
  • Obey all traffic signals and signs
  • Avoid being distracted by a mobile device
  • Do not drive aggressively and tailgate the vehicle in front of you

It is up to all motorists sharing the road to drive properly, so when even just one person fails to follow the rules of the road, serious accidents can occur.

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