Articles Posted in Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Lawyer

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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One person was killed in a multi-vehicle crash involving a Pinellas County deputy in Pinellas Park.

Officials said a Chevy Equinox and a Pinellas County deputy patrol vehicle were stopped at a red light at the intersection of 126th Avenue North when a Buick LeSabre, traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of 66th Street N., collided head-on with the Chevy.

The collision caused the Chevy to hit the deputy vehicle before rolling onto the driver’s side.

The driver of the Buick, a 28-year-old woman, was transported to the hospital for life-threatening injuries and was later pronounced deceased.

The driver of the Chevy and the Pinellas County deputy were also transported the hospital for minor injuries.

Officials said impairment appears to be a factor in the crash.

No other details have been released. The investigation remains ongoing.

Wrong-way collisions are not an anomaly in the Tampa Bay area. The Tampa Bay area is one of the worst areas for wrong-way collisions. In fact, a study by the Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles found Florida had 1,490 wrong-way crashes and 96 fatalities in 2015. Three Tampa Bay counties made the top 10 list of most wrong-way driving crashes in the state: Hillsborough was fourth, Pinellas was sixth and Pasco was eighth.

Sadly, an overwhelming number of wrong-way collisions are related to the use of alcohol or drugs. Drivers are more likely to disregard traffic control devices or fail to notice signs that mark the entrances to one-way streets when they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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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 man has been arrested on DUI charges after an overnight Interstate 4 crash involving a motorcycle.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 23-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a crash on I-4 just east of State Road 574.

Troopers said the crash happened at 1:45 a.m. when the motorcycle and a 2018 Dodge Ram truck were both traveling eastbound on I-4.

Authorities said the motorcyclist tried to overtake the truck but collided with the back of the truck. The motorcyclist was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he died.  

Following the crash, the truck left the scene and turned northbound on Interstate 75 then turned back southbound on I-75 until stopped by troopers near milepost 268.

The 39-year-old was arrested on charges of leaving the scene of the crash, driving with a suspended license, and DUI.

Drunk drivers have delayed reaction times and impaired judgement, which makes them a huge risk to motorcyclists sharing the roadway. Our Tampa Bay Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are committed to keeping the roads and highways in the Tampa Bay area safe for motorcyclists. We know that injured riders often suffer significant physical, emotional and financial burdens, and we can help to lift these stresses by obtaining the financial compensation you deserve.

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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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A 36-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a fatal hit-and-run crash that happened in January.

The 36-year-old is charged with leaving the scene of a crash without rendering aid and driving with a suspended license, among other charges.

The crash happened January 17 off Charlie Taylor Road near U.S. Highway 92 in Plant City.

A 57-year-old was hit by a 2006 Hyundai Tucson, according to the Plant City Police Department. He died at the scene.

The vehicle was recovered in Lakeland and impounded.

Police said a follow-up investigation led them to the man, who was located in Connecticut. He returned to Florida, was interviewed by police, and arrested.

He was taken to the Orient Road Jail.

The AAA Newsroom recently released a report titled “Hit-and-Run Deaths Hit Record High,” that shows there have been approximately 682,000 hit and run accidents every year since 2006. That’s a shocking daily average of roughly 1,868 hit and run crashes in the United States. When spread across the year, that figure amounts to nearly six deaths every day. The highest fatality rates were found in Florida, Louisiana, and New Mexico.

Our Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have handled numerous auto accident claims involving fatal hit and run crashes. We have extensive experience with uninsured driver claims, so we evaluate the crash to determine whether financial compensation may be available through UM/UIM (Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist) coverage, which many Florida drivers elect to carry in addition to mandatory insurance coverage like PIP (Personal Injury Protection).

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A 66-year-old motorcyclist in Westchase has died after a van struck him Saturday morning, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

According to deputies, the motorcyclist was driving a 2007 FJR motorcycle on southbound Race Track Road at the intersection of Countryway Boulevard.

The man reportedly stopped behind a silver Nissan Rogue at the intersection around 9:10 a.m., when the driver of a white Chrysler Town and Country van approached, striking both the motorcyclist and the Rogue.

The Sheriff’s Office said the motorcyclist was thrown from the motorcycle into the middle of the intersection.

He was airlifted to St. Joseph’s main hospital and was pronounced dead.

Deputies do not believe alcohol was a factor in the deadly crash.

Motorcycle accidents can happen anywhere, and they can happen for many different reasons. In many cases, a driver’s negligence or recklessness is directly responsible for causing a motorcycle accident. Many drivers simply fail to pay adequate attention to motorcyclists sharing the road. This can deliver devastating consequences to a motorcyclist involved in an accident.

After a serious motorcycle accident has left you or a loved one seriously injured or killed, our Tampa Bay Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can review the details of the accident free of charge and discuss whether you are entitled to seek financial compensation. Once we have all the facts, we can help you understand what the best steps to take next are.

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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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