Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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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A 61-year-old bicyclist was hit and killed on Hillsborough Avenue and Harney Road Sunday afternoon.

Troopers said the bicyclist was traveling eastbound in the westbound bike lane of Hillsborough Ave. when a Dodge traveling westbound changed lanes and collided with the bike.

The biker was ejected and suffered fatal injuries. He was transported to Tampa General Hospital where he later died.

He was not wearing a helmet.

The crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.

Bicyclists have little more than a helmet for a protection, so they are no match for a car. Sadly, bicyclists frequently do not survive collisions with cars and trucks. When bicycle accidents are the result of negligence, members of the victim’s family have the right to seek justice for their loved one through financial compensation for their loss.

While there is certainly no amount of money that can replace what has been lost, our Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton firmly believe that taking action is important. Not only does it allow the victim’s family to recover for the financial losses they have suffered, it may prevent the responsible party from harming anyone else in the future. We fight aggressively in these cases to ensure that justice is served.

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Multiple people were hit and injured Thursday morning in Tampa, including students at a bus stop, according to police.

The crash occurred at E. Bougainvillea Avenue and Marvy Avenue around 8 a.m.

Witnesses stated the vehicle was speeding on Bougainvillea Ave. before hitting the pedestrians on the south side of the street.

Police said two adults and three juveniles were transported to the hospital with serious injuries. One juvenile has been listed in critical condition.

Bougainvillea is currently shut down between N. 15 St. and N. 18th St.

Officials said the driver has been taken into custody and the investigation remains ongoing.

A driver may be speeding, distracted, intoxicated or just driving carelessly and cause a serious collision. Pedestrian vs. car accidents typically result in serious injuries to pedestrians. Injuries can include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries and even death.

Pedestrian accidents are often caused by a driver’s failure to obey the posted speed limit, as this case shows. If a motorist is speeding when a light turns red, the driver may not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting pedestrians. If a driver is speeding, the violent impact of the collision may throw the pedestrian into the air and cause their head or face to collide with the windshield or hood of the vehicle.  

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A driver was killed and a passenger injured in an early Friday crash in Hillsborough County.

It happened shortly before 2:30 p.m. on Falkenburg Road.

A Sheriff’s Office spokesman said a 30-year-old Lakeland resident was driving northbound and failed to noticed that Falkenburg Road ends at Interstate 4.

The vehicle struck a barrier wall head-on, authorities said.

The driver was not buckled up and died at the scene.

The passenger, a 34-year-old woman, was taken to Tampa General Hospital in stable condition.

Anyone who chooses to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle must exercise reasonable care to obey the traffic laws of the State of Florida and  take reasonable measures to avoid an accident. When drivers fail to do so, this may constitute negligence, which in turn could give rise to a claim for damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of income, and other damages resulting from the accident.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident because of the negligence or carelessness of another, you may be able to receive financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Florida law places time restrictions on when a claim, or a personal injury lawsuit, can be filed to recover damages from the car accidents so it is important to contact our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible after your accident. We will promptly investigate the accident and determine if you have a legitimate claim to recover for your damages.

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A 7-month-old girl died Friday after she was bitten by the family dog.

Clearwater Fire Rescue responded to a call at the Fairwood Avenue residence about 2:12 p.m. Friday.

Authorities said the girl was being taken care of by her grandparents when a mixed-breed dog bit her.

The girl was transported to Mease Countryside Hospital, where she later died.

As is customary in such cases, Clearwater Police are conducting an investigation, in conjunction with the Department of Children and Families.

The dog has been removed from the home and taken to Pinellas County Animal Services.

Dogs can bring much happiness into our lives as well as decrease stress. Americans own an estimated 70 to 80 million dogs as pets. The sad truth is that sometimes dogs bite, and the aftermath can be deadly. Millions of Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and some of these dog bites cause serious injuries.

Dog bite injuries are the second most frequent cause of visits to emergency rooms among children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dog bites are responsible for almost 340,000 emergency room trips each year for children 12 years of age and under. Most dog bites, 61 percent to be exact, occur at home or in a familiar place.

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Pinellas County has the highest bicycle fatality rate of any major metro area in the U.S., according to federal data. Its per-capita cyclist death rate for the past decade ranks No. 1 among the four counties in the Tampa Bay metro area.

In fact, Florida has by far the highest per-capita bicyclist death rate in the country.

The number of cyclists killed in motor-vehicle crashes nationwide hit 840 in 2016—the most recent data available—according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That was the most since 1991 and a 35% jump from 2010.

A range of likely reasons explains the rise in deaths, including more overall vehicular traffic and driver distractions, according to people who track transportation trends.

Texting drivers is a huge problem. Alcohol is yet another big factor. In 2015, 22% of fatally injured cyclists, and 12% of drivers in these crashes, had a blood-alcohol content level of at least 0.08, the legal limit for motorists in most states, according to the nonprofit Governors Highway Safety Association.

While cyclist death rates have risen in many states since 2010, the three with the most fatalities since then—Florida, California and Texas—account for about 40% of all cyclist deaths, according to NHTSA, despite having 27% of the nation’s population.

Florida’s numbers are bad even when compared with other warm-weather states. Its recent 10-year cyclist fatality rate was 6.2 deaths per 100,000 residents; that is 59% higher than the rate in Louisiana, the state with the second-highest level.

State transportation officials say they have made a concerted effort since 2014 to boost cycling safety. The Florida Department of Transportation changed its standard width for bike lanes from 4 to 7 feet and now recommends buffered or protected bike lanes. The agency launched a $100 million push in 2016 to better light 2,500 locations where the number of nighttime crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists was high.

The state agency also lowered speed limits in some places, officials said. Local police have stepped up education efforts on topics such as using lights at night and riding with the flow of traffic.

Cycling deaths in Florida fell to 116 in 2017, the fewest since 2010 and a significant drop from recent years, according to preliminary state data. But so far this year, bike fatalities involving motor-vehicles are trending higher: Through Sept. 23, the state said 95 cyclists had been killed in such accidents, putting it on track for about 130 for the year.

Six of those bicyclists died in Pinellas County, which includes the coastal cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

When a motorist is found to have caused a fatal bicycle accident, they may be liable in a wrongful death lawsuit. While not all fatal accidents are considered wrongful deaths, those that are caused by another person’s negligence are. In Florida, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by the family, usually the parents, spouse or children of the victim, and any blood relative or adoptive sibling who is “partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services.”

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