Articles Posted in Tampa Bay Auto Accident Lawyer

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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A Good Samaritan died Sunday morning when he was struck while trying to help a man who had been injured in a previous traffic crash on I-75, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The 59-year-old man died at the scene.

A 31-year-old woman was one of the drivers taken to Tampa General Hospital in serious condition. Another 24-year-old driver was taken to St. Joseph’s South with minor injuries.

The third driver, a 32-year-old man, was taken to Tampa General with minor injuries. Troopers said he had been drinking.

The crash happened about 4:39 a.m. on southbound I-75 at about Milepost 254 in Hillsborough County.

Troopers said the third driver was driving a 2018 Toyota Tacoma south on I-75 when, for an unknown reason, he stopped in the inside travel lane. The first driver was driving a 2003 Buick LeSabre, and was unable to see or stop in time and collided with the Tacoma. Both vehicles came to rest in the travel lanes.

The Good Samaritan, who had been driving south on I-75, stopped and extricated the third driver from the wreckage and moved him to the inside shoulder to provide medical aid, troopers said.

The second driver, who was driving a 2010 Toyota Camry, failed to see the Tacoma and the LeSabre. The Camry collided with the Tacoma, which rotated and hit the Good Samaritan, killing him.

After the impact between the Camry and the Tacoma, the Tacoma burst into flames.

Charges are pending, troopers said.

According to the Florida Good Samaritan Act, “any person, including those licensed to practice medicine” who willingly, and in good faith, provides emergency care or treatment to another in an emergency situation shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of such aid or treatment.”

This story highlights the need to exercise caution when rendering aid during a car crash. While helping others when they are injured is something most people want to help with, it is equally important to take your own safety into account first and foremost before putting yourself in harm’s way.

Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have compiled a list to help Good Samaritans stay safe and still help crash victims:

  • Park a safe distance from the crash. We recommend parking at least 100 feet from the crash site, so that first responders have room to work. This also allows you to assess the scene from a good distance to make sure that your own safety is not at risk.
  • Use your hazard lights to tell oncoming traffic that they should proceed with caution.
  • Call 911. Never make the assumption that someone else has notified 911 of the accident.
  • Assess the situation from a distance, and look for victims who may have been thrown from their vehicles and any other hazards, such as leaking fuel, broken glass and downed power lines.
  • Assist victims only if it is safe to do so. You can approach victims, but don’t attempt to move them unless the car is on fire or there’s some other imminent danger. Sometimes just talking to them, calming and reassuring them that you’ve called 911 is a big help.

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The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a crash involving a vehicle leaving the roadway in the Feather Sound area and striking two pedestrians on the adjacent sidewalk, killing one of them, according to reports.

Investigators believe the crash occurred around 5:02 p.m. The driver of the vehicle reportedly failed to negotiate a turn while driving west on Feather Sound Drive.

As a result, the man’s vehicle reportedly left the road and drove onto the sidewalk, where it struck two pedestrians, a 67-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman. The vehicle continued into a ditch before striking a concrete retaining wall.

The 67-year-old man was killed at the scene as a result of the crash, troopers said. The woman sustained minor injuries and was not hospitalized.

The driver sustained serious injuries and was transported to a local hospital.

No further information has been released at this time.

According to the National Highway Traffic Association, a person is harmed in a pedestrian accident every 8 minutes. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, it is very important to obtain legal counsel as soon as possible. It is common for insurance companies to try to place the blame on pedestrians, or make lowball payout offers. Your best defense from unethical practices like this is to consult with our Tampa Bay area Pedestrian Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton. We know the law and have extensive experience negotiating with insurance companies.

It is important to not wait too long after the accident to file a claim. Sadly, we see this a lot where victims wait too long to speak with an injury attorney and due to statutes of limitations on injury and wrongful death claims, are no longer able to file a claim. The sooner you pursue legal action for your pedestrian accident, the greater your chance of receiving full and fair compensation.

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A passenger in a taxi was killed and several others were hurt in a chain-reaction crash Sunday afternoon in which alcohol played a factor, according to St. Petersburg Police.

The crash happened at 38th Avenue N and 49th Street N and closed parts of the intersection for hours.

A 2009 Crown Victoria operating as an Express Taxi, was heading south on 49th Street N with a passenger, when the taxi rear-ended a 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe that was stopped at 38th Avenue N.

The Tahoe was pushed into and hit two vehicles: a 2017 Ford Escape and 2017 Chevrolet SS. The Escape then struck a 2014 Kia Optima, and the Optima was pushed into a 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe, police said.

Three people in various vehicles other than the taxi were taken to hospitals for non life-threatening injuries.

The occupants of the taxi were not wearing seat belts, according to police investigators. They incurred serious injuries and were taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, where the passenger died.

Police said “alcohol played a role in the crash” but didn’t provide more specifics.

The investigation is ongoing, and charges are pending, they said.

Drunk drivers remain the biggest cause of traffic fatalities both in Florida and the U.S. Nearly 11,000 people, about one-third of the nation’s 37,000-plus traffic fatalities, died in 2016 and 2017 due to drivers operating under the influence of alcohol.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a drunk driving accident, you are entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and property damage. In the event that a loved one was killed by an intoxicated driver, you may also be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim.

Our St. Petersburg Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have considerable experience helping victims of motor vehicle accidents, including those that were the result of drunk driving, pursue legal action for damages. We will conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the accident, including scouring accident reports and police records, in order to determine the responsible party and if drugs or alcohol were a factor.

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A pedestrian was hit and killed Tuesday evening while crossing Hillsborough Avenue.

The crash occurred around 7 p.m. east of Orient Road.

Troopers said the 31-year-old man from Jacksonville walked into the path of a Chevy pickup truck and was hit.

The pedestrian died at the scene.  

According to the report, no charges are pending at this time.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Florida ranked number two overall in the number of total pedestrian deaths in 2017. Florida is also the fifth worst for pedestrian deaths when the rankings were adjusted for population.

The total number of Floridians hit by cars increased from 2016 to 2017: 299 pedestrians were hit from January through June of 2016, compared to 303 in 2017. Per 100,000 people, Florida came in fifth, behind Arizona, New Mexico, Delaware, and Louisiana. Florida’s ranking of 1.43 deaths was only 0.05 points behind number two New Mexico (0.48).

While these statistics are alarming, they also show just how vulnerable pedestrians are to cars sharing the roadway. Pedestrian accidents can easily result in catastrophic injuries such as paralysis, broken bones, permanent disability and even death. Our Tampa Bay Pedestrian Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton routinely help pedestrian accident victims receive compensation for the pain and suffering they have experienced in addition to compensation for medical bills, disability, lost wages and wrongful death of a family member.

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Another bill has been filed for the 2019 legislative session that would allow law-enforcement officers to pull over motorists for texting or talking on hand-held cell phones while driving.

Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, filed a measure (HB 107) on Monday that would prohibit drivers from talking on cell phones that are not hands-free devices and would make enforcement a “primary” offense.

Currently, texting while driving in Florida is illegal, but it is enforced as a “secondary” offense. That means motorists can only be cited if they are stopped for other infractions, such as running stop signs or speeding.

Under Toledo’s bill, police would be able to stop motorists for texting or talking on hand-held cell phones.

A Senate bill (SB 76) similar to Toledo’s new proposal has been filed by Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, for the 2019 session, which starts in March.

Under the Toledo and Simpson bills, drivers would be able to communicate on hands-free devices.

Also, motorists would be allowed to use hand-held devices for such purposes as reporting emergencies, getting safety-related information or for navigation. Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, also has filed a similar measure (HB 45) for the 2019 session.

Driving safely on busy Tampa Bay roads can be challenging under ideal circumstances, but it is impossible to do when you’re distracted. Driving while texting, talking on the phone, eating, or reading has become disturbingly common. Engaging in these unsafe driving practices behind-the-wheel can lead to drivers causing serious, even fatal, auto accidents.

Distracted driving can be deadly. Many experts suggest that cell phone distractions are the single biggest reason that fatal accidents on US roads has increased over the past three years.

Victims of distracted driving accidents deserve compensation for the injuries they suffer. If you’re a Tampa Bay resident who has been hurt in a distracted driving crash, our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you get the compensation you deserve.

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Local leaders, and lawmakers, will meet on Monday afternoon in Tampa to announce new legislation aimed at making roads safer.  

The proposed legislation was written in response to a Tampa family’s pleas to crackdown on distracted driving.  

On September 25, 2016, a family was stopped in a traffic jam on Interstate 75 when a distracted driver slammed into the back of their SUV going more than 100 miles per hour.  

Investigators say that driver was so absorbed in his phone that he never looked up and did not even attempt to brake.  

The impact of the crash killed their 9-year-old son instantly.

The family will join Representative Jackie Toledo on Monday, along with Hillsborough County School officials and local law enforcement officials, to introduce a bill that strengthens the policy on distracted driving.

Distracted driving is a serious problem, not only in Tampa, but across the country. Distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives in 2016 alone, according to the NHTSA. Another 391,000 were injured in distracted driving crashes.

Texting, talking, checking social media, or inputting an address in your GPS are all forms of distracted driving. When you take your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, you put yourself and everyone else sharing the road with you at risk.

Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are passionate about holding drivers responsible for the consequences of distracted driving in car accidents. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a collision caused by a distracted driver, we can help with your lawsuit.

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