Articles Posted in Tarpon Springs Wrongful Death Lawyer

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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The Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to wish everyone throughout Tampa and the state of Florida a very happy Fourth of July! During this summer holiday period, many of us celebrate the time with friends and family. As with many other holidays, risks of accidents and injuries can increase during the Fourth of July weekend.

To help you keep yourself and your loved ones safe this weekend, we have compiled some helpful safety tips:

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving accidents, injuries and deaths always peak during Fourth of July weekend. If you plan on celebrating Independence Day with a few drinks, make sure to drink responsibly and plan for a ride. Make arrangements with friends or family, or call a cab or transportation service like Uber or Lyft. Remember, law enforcement officers will be out in full force this weekend looking to catch intoxicated motorists.

Fireworks Safety

4428561177_831c2f9269_zIf you plan to light off a few Sparklers or fireworks yourself, please remember these important tips:

  • Always follow instructions and supervise children. Never provide fireworks to small children.
  • Use fireworks in a safe area where they cannot harm others or damage property. This may be  a given, but never throw or point fireworks toward people, vehicles, structures, or flammable materials.
  • Do not light multiple fireworks at once and never attempt to relight a “dud” firework that failed to go off the first time.

Water Safety

Many Tampa Bay residents celebrate the Fourth at the beach, lake or by enjoying the water at backyard pool parties. When having fun near the water, make sure that safety is a top priority. Supervise children, use safety vests when on the water, drink responsibly and have a safety procedure set in place in the event of an emergency.

Grilling Safety

Use caution when barbecuing! Many people suffer injuries when cooking on charcoal and gas grills. Never grill indoors, supervise the grill when it is on, follow all instructions and never add lighter fluid when charcoal has already been ignited.

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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is encouraging motorists and roadway users to “Share the Road.”

Motorcyclist fatalities did actually increase in 2012. While bikers can protect themselves by wearing safety gear and practicing safe riding habits, ultimately, the other drivers sharing the roadway with them must also drive safely. Motorcyclists lack certain protections that cars have such as seat belts, steel cages and airbags, so they are truly at the mercy of other motorists.

Motorcycle Safety Facts

A speeding drunk driver collided with two people who were crossing 2nd Street N in downtown St. Petersburg early Saturday, killing one of them and critically injuring the other, according to police.

Shortly after 2 a.m., a 25-year-old St. Petersburg man was speeding on 2nd Street N in a rented Dodge Charger. The car ran a red light at Central Avenue and hit a 31-year-old Largo chef and a 28-year-old St. Petersburg man.

16378019070_ac997abb4a_zThe chef died at the scene. The other man, who was sideswiped and spun onto the pavement, was taken to a Bayfront Health St. Petersburg with life-threatening injuries. He has since been stabilized, according to reports.

The drunk driver fled the scene and was arrested at the nearby Push Ultra Lounge a short time later. The driver has been charged with DUI manslaughter, aggravated fleeing and eluding, leaving the scene of a crash involving death and DUI with serious bodily injury.

The man tried to escape while in custody in the breath testing center at police headquarters, but was quickly apprehended, police said.

The deceased was a chef at The Kitchen, a restaurant just west of 2nd Street on 1st Avenue N. His wife was nine months pregnant with the family’s second child, according to reports.

Police reported that the Dodge was seen speeding on 4th Avenue N after exiting I-175. DUI patrol officers spotted the car and tried to stop it as it slowed to turn south on to 2nd Street, but the car accelerated “at a very high rate,” indicating it was not going to stop.

The Dodge kept speeding southbound and ran a red light at 3rd Avenue N and then at Central, where the two men were crossing Central Avenue with a green light and a crossing signal, police said.

After hitting the pedestrians, the Dodge drove off the southwest corner of the intersection and struck two concrete light pillars, ripping off the car’s right front wheel. The car continued travelling along until coming to rest just before 1st Avenue S.

Drunk drivers cause more than 30 percent of fatal car accidents each and every year in the United States. When a drunk driver causes a loved one’s unnecessary death or injuries, a Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Lawyer at Whittel & Melton is needed to obtain compensatory and punitive damages for your losses.

Our Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton work on a contingency basis for grieving families in order to help them cope with the legal and financial strains associated with a drunk driving death.

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Most people recognize that using a cell phone while driving can prove deadly. However, a new AAA study shows that cell phone use is hardly the only activity that may cause you to become involved in a serious auto accident.

The most recent research carried out by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concludes that most teens involved in crashes are guilty of distracted driving but, not all of these cases involve distracted driving associated with cell phone use.

According to AAA, distracted driving is a factor that is present in 6 out of all 10 accidents that are moderate or severe. Distracted driving among teens has only been associated with 14 percent of all teen driver crashes by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, so this new study may indicate that teens are much more likely to be involved in serious distracted driving crashes than we once thought.

According to the results of the study, the number one cause of distraction among teen drivers who are involved in crashes is talking to other passengers.

7838240744_a3b0aeaaa3_zThe study also found that out of the 1,700 videos of crashes involving teens recorded by in-vehicle event recorders, 58 percent of the crashes were caused by distraction. Here is the breakdown of the results: 89 percent of road-departure crashes were associated with distractions, while 76 percent of the rear-end collisions were caused by distractions.

While talking to passengers accounts for the highest number of crashes, cell phone use follows in second with 12 percent of all crashes involving teens. AAA also reports that 8 percent of the distracted driving crashes involving teens they researched were caused by personal grooming while driving and another 6 percent of collisions were caused by teens reaching for items inside the car.

This study is important because it highlights the dangers that teen drivers face on a daily basis. Creating awareness of these distractions could help safety advocates and lawmakers develop better solutions to the distracted driving problem.

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According to the National Highway Safety Administration, Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp. refuses to cooperate with the government’s investigation of its air bags.

The NHTSA announced on Friday that it will impose fines of $14,000 a day that will continue until key safety information is provided.

Here are the key points you need to know regarding the Takata airbag recall:

What The Problem Is. The inflators propelled by ammonium nitrate can explode with too much force, which can result in shrapnel ejecting onto drivers and passengers. At least six people have been killed and 64 injured worldwide due to the problem. Since 2008, 17 million vehicles have been recalled in the U.S. by 10 different automakers. Currently, only 2 million, or around 12 percent, have been fixed because of a lack of parts.

6864202642_54323b7ce3_zRecall Areas. Government investigators believe that too much exposure to moisture in the air can cause the inflator to build up excess pressure, which can shatter metal canisters meant to contain the explosion that inflates the bags. Driver’s side air bags have been recalled nationwide, however recalls of passenger side air bags have been limited to Florida, Puerto Rico, areas near the Gulf of Mexico including Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana, as well as Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii.

Takata’s Stance. Takata has challenged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s demand for a national recall of driver’s airbags. Despite that, automakers did it on their own. Takata claims that tests of 10,000 inflators does not show any reason for the recalls to be expanded.

What is Currently Being Done by the Government. The government has three different  groups testing the air bags: Takata, an independent contractor hired by the company and a group of 10 automakers. In order to force Takata into a national recall, the government must be able to explain what is going wrong with the airbags and why.

What You Can Do to Make Sure Your Air Bags Are Safe. While the air bags are still being tested, you can always check to see if your car has been recalled and get the repairs done as soon as possible. To check, go to and type in your 17-digit vehicle identification number, which is located on your dashboard near the driver’s side windshield. The site will tell you if there’s a recall, and if your car is affected, you should call your dealer right away.

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A Tampa man was killed Saturday night after he lost control of his scooter on Hillsborough Avenue and crashed into a power pole, authorities said.

The Florida Highway Patrol believes the 27-year-old was riding a Honda PCX150 west on Hillsborough east of Harney Road around 8 p.m. when he veered right and crossed two lanes of westbound traffic.

The scooter exited the roadway, turned into its side and struck a power pole and then a sign post. It came to rest at the entrance to Jasmine Plaza, 7031 Hillsborough Ave., according to troopers.

The man was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

11380944554_c33b00efc4_zA person operating a scooter or a pedestrian struck by a scooter may sustain a wide range of injuries after becoming involved in an accident. Even minor injuries can have a serious impact on your life or the life of a loved one. Scooter accidents can result in various injuries, including:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Contusions
  • Lacerations and Road Rash
  • Disfigurement
  • Broken Bones and Fractures

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Two teenagers skateboarding fun turned tragic Sunday when one of them was killed.

According to police, one of the 15-year-old boys got into his mother’s 2003 Mercedes sedan and drove it down Atwood Avenue N while his other 15-year-old friend held onto the right rear corner and sped along on his skateboard.

This type of skateboarding trick is called “skitching.”

3695427669_c7d4440301_zPolice believe the teen driving accelerated with the other boy holding on to the rear. The pair traveled only a short distance before the boy let go of the car, became unstable and fell to the ground, striking his head.

Bystanders performed CPR, and emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene. The teen was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, where he was pronounced dead at 8:37 p.m., about 2 1/2 hours after the accident happened.

The risk of injury associated with skateboarding tricks like skitching far out-weigh the thrill than can be achieved. Skitching presents a high risk of serious injury and even death to those that partake in this activity. There are numerous things that can go wrong from these types of accidents, such as being pulled under the vehicle, being hit by another car on the road or  as this case shows, even just losing control and hitting pavement.

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Spinal Cord Trauma
  • Broken Bones and Fractures
  • Nerve Damage
  • Facial Disfigurement
  • Death

When a child is injured due to his own negligence, there is usually no recourse or available compensation for injuries suffered. The Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know how devastating serious injuries to children, or worse death, can be on families and parents.

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A 7-year-old boy suffered serious injuries after being struck by a minivan on Saturday night, according to Tampa police.

Witnesses told police they saw the boy run across Main Street around 5 p.m. with several other children. The boy was crossing the street when a gray 2015 Dodge Journey Minivan traveling west passed the intersection of N. Rome Ave and hit him.

The driver of the minivan, a 28-year-old man, apparently stopped and attempted to give the boy CPR.

Tampa police have not released any additional information regarding what led up to the crash or the boy’s injuries.

The boy was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital.

492917705_2d7fe88425_zPolice did say there are no signs of impairment due to drugs or alcohol of the driver and speed is not a factor in this crash.

The crash remains under investigation at this time.

Most young children do not fully understand the dangers associated with street crossings. Children tend to travel in groups or pairs and may become distracted while talking with friends or chasing others into the street, and they often do not realize they are in the way of oncoming traffic.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around one-fifth of traffic fatalities among children ages five to nine years old are pedestrian traffic accidents. Children who are hit by an automobile and survive could potentially suffer very serious injuries, including brain damage, internal injuries, broken bones, disfigurement and loss of motor skills. It is quite rare for children hit by cars to walk away unscathed.

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A 38-year-old Gibsonton man was killed Wednesday evening while walking along the northbound shoulder of U.S. Highway 41.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the man was struck by a vehicle at 6:18 p.m.

Troopers believe the man was not using an available sidewalk when he was hit by a Ford Focus driven by a woman who claims she did not see the victim.

9146013475_4d501c2d94_zThe man was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he later died from his injuries. The woman was not injured.

As of now, no charges have been filed.

If an innocent person is killed because of somebody else’s negligent, careless or deliberate actions, it is only fair to hold that party responsible for the victim’s death. While every case has a unique set of facts, if negligence is found to be a factor in the collision, then the family of a pedestrian accident victim may be justified in filing a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver who caused the fatality.

It is important to note that anytime a person travels on foot near a roadway, they are assuming some amount of risk by doing so. There are several thousand pedestrians who are killed in motor vehicle collisions every year in this country, and even more are injured in pedestrian accidents each year.

One of the most common causes of tragic pedestrian accidents is distracted driving. Motorists can become distracted when behind the wheel in numerous ways, including talking on cell phones, texting, eating food and even applying makeup. The simple act of changing stations on a car radio can be enough to distract a driver to the point where they fail to take notice of a serious traffic situation directly in front of them.

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