Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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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Two females riding a motor scooter were killed in a crash Saturday afternoon, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

It happened at about 4:30 p.m. at Florida Avenue and Garland Court.

Troopers said two people were on a motor scooter traveling westbound on Garland Court when it tried to turn left onto Florida Avenue and entered the path of a Chevy pickup truck.

Both occupants of the scooter were ejected. One died at the scene of the crash, and other later died at Tampa General Hospital.

No further information is available at this time.

Many people believe that because motor scooters are small and do not go very fast, that these types of accidents do not deliver serious injuries. However, when motor scooter accidents occur, injuries can be as minimal as scrapes and bruises and as severe as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma and even death.

Motor scooters are light and slow, which makes motor scooters even more dangerous on the roads because there are times when they cannot keep up with the flow of traffic. This not only poses a danger to the operator and the passenger of the motor scooter, but also to the other drivers  sharing the road.

If you or someone you love has been harmed in a motor scooter accident in the Tampa Bay area, our Tampa Bay Injury & Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you act against the at-fault party and hold them accountable for their negligent actions. We will make sure that you are afforded all of the relief you deserve.

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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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A 49-year-old Tampa Bay area woman has been charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident following a wrong-way crash at Gunn Highway and Isbell Lane just before 9 p.m. Monday.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the woman was driving a Jeep Wrangler south in the northbound lanes of Gunn Highway when she encountered a Nissan Altima.

The Altima swerved into the painted median to avoid the crash with the woman, but was struck on the passenger side by the Jeep.

The front axle of the Jeep Wrangler snapped, and the vehicle eventually came to a stop in the road near North Mobley Road.

Deputies arrived and found the woman sitting in a gray sedan across from the Jeep. Her wallet was located on the Jeep’s front passenger seat and her flip flops were under the Jeep’s brake pedal. Deputies said the woman smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech, bloodshot, watery eyes and was unable to stand on her own.

Deputies said field sobriety tests were not conducted due to the woman’s extreme level of intoxication. She refused to provide breath samples. She was transported to the Orient Road Jail and charged with driving under the influence with property damage and leaving the scene of a crash with property damage.

According to the Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles, the majority of wrong-way collisions result in vehicles being hit head-on – 81% of all wrong-way fatalities are head-on collisions.

Tampa Bay is one of the worst areas for wrong-way crashes. A study by the Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles found Florida had 1,490 wrong-way crashes and 96 fatalities in 2015. According to the report, three Tampa Bay counties made the top 10 list of most wrong-way driving crashes in the state: Hillsborough ranked fourth, Pinellas placed sixth and Pasco took eighth.

In Tampa Bay specifically, 2014 was a particularly deadly year for wrong-way crashes. A Christmas Day wrong-way crash that killed three people in Pinellas County and there were at least eight other reports of wrong-way drivers that year.

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Yes, you can and our Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you. Unfortunately, what comes along with being the No. 1 destination for retirement migration in the United States is a Florida Nursing Home and Elderly Care business community that has a history of being labeled as broken, dirty, criminal, grossly negligent, reckless, and careless. Generally speaking, the financial and human demand of the senior citizens in our state has never been adequately met by a business community with satisfactory staffed facilities that operate with policies and procedures to allow the elderly the dignity of quality medical and human care in the later years of their life.

As has been done so many times in the past, this week another personal representative has filed a lawsuit in Pinellas County, this time against a Treasure Island nursing home facility, alleging negligence led to the death of a resident.

As reported, a personal representative of the deceased filed a complaint Nov. 13 in Pinellas Circuit Court against Cross Terrace Rehabilitation Center, alleging violation of a resident’s rights.

According to the complaint, during the deceased woman’s residency at Cross Terrace Rehabilitation Center, she suffered from physical abuse and neglect, leading to her death Sept. 20, 2015.

The personal representative alleges Cross Terrace Rehabilitation Center failed to timely and appropriately protect the deceased from abuse and/or neglect and failed to timely and appropriately document the mental and physical abuse and/or neglect she suffered.

No one should ever lose a loved one because of negligence or abusive treatment in a nursing home. Sadly, this happens across the country and especially our state every single day.

If you have concerns about the level of care and treatment of your loved one, speak up.  Each day is a blessing, especially for our elderly.

In addition to the legal accountability for a wrongful death (which could translate equally in both civil and criminal court), there are financial consequences that the nursing home owners, management and/or staff members may be responsible for.  In a wrongful death caused by negligence and/or abuse, surviving family members may be eligible to recover financial compensation for their loss as survivors pursuant to the Wrongful Death Statute in Florida.

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