Citrus County Personal Injury Lawyers | Whittel & Melton, LLC | Inverness, Crystal River

The Citrus County Personal Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are committed solely to assisting injury victims and their families attain justice. We represent clients throughout Inverness and Crystal River in every type of personal injury matter, varying from car accidents, motorcycle collisions and medical malpractice. When someone else’s negligence contributes to the death of a loved one, we can pursue a wrongful death claim on the family’s behalf. Our team of capable trial attorneys can make sure your rights and interests remain protected from start to finish. With Whittel & Melton, you can be certain all of your questions will be answered and that your recovery will be maximized.

Don’t Face the Judge Alone! Beverly Hills, Lecanto, Homosassa, Dunellon

Many questions surface after an accident. Do I need to contact my insurance company? What if an insurance adjuster calls me? Who is going to pay for my medical expenses? Will I have to go to court? What is my case worth? How will I take care of my family while I’m out of work? These questions cannot be ignored after you are involved in an accident. At Whittel & Melton, we can help you and your family members obtain the answers you are looking for.

Personal injury law can be challenging, and attempting to handle your injury or wrongful death claim alone can further complicate matters and result in unfair or inadequate compensation. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an accident throughout Citrus County, we can help. Your initial consultation is always free, and you will not pay us any fees unless we recover compensation for you. Contact Whittel & Melton today.

Proudly Serving Clients in Inverness, Crystal River, Beverly Hills, Lecanto, Homosassa, Dunnellon, Hernando, Sugarmill Woods, Citrus Springs and Floral City.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in the state of Florida and ordered federal aid to supplement recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Hermine.

Hermine, the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005, dumped several inches of rain on Florida and caused major flooding issues.

The president’s action makes federal funding available to affected people in Citrus, Dixie, Hernando, Hillsborough, Leon, Levy, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help residents and business owners recover.

Federal funding also is available to state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofits on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities. That’s in place for Citrus, Dixie, Franklin, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Pasco, Pinellas, Suwannee, Taylor and Wakulla counties.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance Thursday by registering online or calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing- or speech-impaired.

The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7am to 9pm seven days a week until further notice.

Our Citrus County Hurricane & Storm Damage Claims Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you file a claim with your insurance company to cover property damage. We will work to make sure you receive the full and fair compensation you deserve if your insurance claim was unfairly denied, delayed or underpaid. We will do whatever it takes to help you recover what you deserve.

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According to new data recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic fatalities increased by 7.2 percent in 2015 compared to 2014. Sadly, 35,200 people died last year in motor vehicle related deaths.

The federal agency breaks the country up into 10 different regions for the purposes of analyzing data. Reports from 2015 show that Florida had a total of 2,494 traffic deaths in 2015 .

Every type of motor vehicle accident fatality saw a surge, including:

  • Truck accident fatalities – 4% increase
  • Rollover accident fatalities – 5% increase
  • Driver accident fatalities – 6% increase
  • Passenger accident fatalities – 7% increase
  • Motorcycle accident fatalities – 9% increase
  • Fatal crashes involving young drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 years of age – 10% increase
  • Pedestrian accident fatalities – 10% increase
  • Bicycle accident fatalities – 13% increase

The NHTSA believes the main cause this rise in accidents is due to human error or choice, a factor found in a staggering 94 percent of the crashes.

The agency is taken a serious stance on finding new ways to help combat against distracted driving, drowsy driving, drunk and drugged driving, failure to use seat belts, speeding, and safety protections for cyclists and pedestrians.

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Labor Day weekend is next week! This is the official mark that the end of summer is near. Most Americans have a three-day weekend to celebrate how hard they work the rest of the year, which is a great break from the usual 5 day work week. With more time off, comes more vacations. Many people plan short trips, outings, and/or parties to ring in the holiday with their families and friends. As we know, with food, fun, friends and family comes the risk of accidents and injuries over the upcoming LDW.

Drunk drivers increase over holiday weekends, so it is important to be aware of this so that you can work to prevent injuries whenever possible. If you are injured or someone you love is killed by a drunk driver, you should discuss your legal options with our Citrus County Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible following the accident.

Holidays are known for an increase in drunk drivers on the roadways and the accidents that result from intoxicated drivers can deliver catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. Holiday gatherings usually involve alcohol and, during long holiday weekends like Labor Day, many people day drink and continue the party into the evening hours. No matter what you are doing, you should never get behind the wheel of a car after having too much to drink. Sadly, not every driver makes the responsible decision, which is why drunk driving accidents and injuries happen.

The increased risks for drunk driving are recognized by government agencies and law enforcement, which is why they will ramp up their efforts to deter and catch drunk drivers this LDW. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’ campaign “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” is in full effect through September 5th this year, spreading safety awareness and increasing law enforcement presence to try to prevent drunk drivers. These efforts cannot prevent all drunk driving, so please be aware of this as you are out and about during LDW.

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A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows new data that concludes when speed limits are raised, fatal accidents also increase. Forty-one states were analyzed over a period of twenty years from 1993 to 2013. During this study period, 33,000 auto accident deaths occurred.

The study took into consideration various factors when analyzing their results, including alcohol consumption, the number of drivers between the ages of 16 to 24 per capita, the state’s geography and the types of roadways traveled.

It was determined that the number of fatalities rose 8 percent per 5 mph increase on interstates and freeways.

In 1973, Congress established a 55 mph maximum speed limit. This was not done actually imposed for safety reasons, though. Rather, it was enforced because there was a fuel shortage at the time. In 1987, the limits were raised to 65 mph on rural interstates and in 1995, states could enforce their own limits. Currently, six states have allowed speeds of up to 80 mph, and in Texas, drivers can legally drive at 85 mph on certain roads.

In Florida, speed limits on state highways up to the following maximums: 70 mph on Interstates, 65 mph on a four-lane divided highway outside an urban area (with a population of 5,000 or more), and 60 mph on other state highways.

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A summer without multiple trips to the pool just would not make sense. It’s hot in Florida, so cooling off poolside is a MUST!

With everything good, comes some bad, and unfortunately, pools can be danger zones for kids. Fortunately, the following safety tips can help you and your youngsters stay cool and safe.

Adult Supervision Is A Must!

Kids need to be monitored 24/7 by an adult anytime they are near water. Teenagers do not count, so make sure an adult is keeping an eye on the children. Turning your head, even just for a minute, could be disastrous. Practice the 10/20 rule: Check the pool every 10 seconds and make sure you are close enough to get to a child in distress within 20 seconds if needed.

Safety Devices Are Not Foolproof

Children can easily fall off pool floats and those “water wings” can puncture and deflate. Life jackets are best, but they should be replaced when they are torn or worn and no longer fit.

Make Sure Your Cell Phone Is Fully Charged & Close By

Having a phone handy could save a life if a medical emergency arises. On a side note, having your address posted in a spot that is easily accessible for guests can help should an emergency operator need it.

Kiddie Pools Should Be Emptied After Each Use

Small children can easily drown in shallow water. They lack the upper body strength to pull themselves up. If you leave a kiddie pool full of water in the backyard, or anywhere near the house, a child could fall in and drown.

Install A Fence And Gate Around Larger Pools

A fence with a gate makes it a lot harder for small children to gain access to the pool unsupervised. With that said, remove any stacked lawn chairs or anything that can be used to climb over the fence – children can be very resourceful!

Curb The Alcohol

Pool parties and barbecues usually involve alcohol. Excessive drinking can cause your focus to fall away from supervising little ones.

Limit the Horseplay

Leave those cannonballs and backflips to the professionals. Kids can easily get hurt playing around and diving and trying out crazy tricks.

If you or a loved one is injured in a swimming pool accident, our Citrus County Swimming Pool Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help.

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Summer is here, and our Citrus County ATV Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want to warn parents about the dangers of children riding adult ATVs.

During the 2015 Memorial Day holiday weekend, there were at least 13 deaths and an estimated 2,900 emergency room treated injuries associated with ATV usage, according to reports gathered by the CPSC. Reports for the six Memorial Day holiday weekends from 2009 to 2014 show a total of more than 114 ATV-related fatalities.

While these all terrain vehicles are fun to tool around on, the fact is that they can be quite dangerous when not handled properly. The CPSC has released the following safety tips to keep children safe this summer:

  • Do not allow children to ride ATVs that are meant for adults. Children under the age of 16 should only operate youth model ATVs appropriate for their age.
  • Do not let children younger than 6 on an ATV.
  • Make sure children wear a helmet and other protective gear that fits them right whenever they are on an ATV.

The following safety tips will keep children and adults safe while using ATVs:

  • Avoid travelling on paved roads.
  • Do not operate ATVs with a passenger or ride as a passenger.
  • Always wear a helmet and other protective gear, including eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Drive at a safe speed and exercise caution when turning and crossing slopes.

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Memorial Day weekend is here and this marks the unofficial start of  summer! The three-day weekend is generally filled with family activities, parties with friends and, of course, road trips! Lots of these events involve alcohol, and with a high number of drivers on the roadway this weekend, getting behind the wheel after drinking can have devastating consequences.

The risk of being involved in a car accident increases significantly around holidays. The National Safety Council reports that there has been an 11.5 percent average increase in fatal traffic accidents during the Memorial Day weekend over the past six years, compared to other summer weekends. According to the NSC, there could be more than 400 car accident fatalities and another 43,500 injuries that require medical attention this weekend. In 2010, there were 397 deaths over Memorial Day weekend and 40 percent were alcohol-related.

If you keep a few simple safety tips in mind, you can avoid injuries, and keep you and your family safe this Memorial Day weekend:

  • Refrain from using your cell phone to talk or text while driving.
  • Always buckle up, regardless of how far or short your trip is! Make sure all backseat passengers are buckled up, too.
  • Obey posted speed limits, and don’t rush to get to your destination.
  • Do not drive while distracted or drowsy. Drowsy driving can actually be just as dangerous as drunk driving.
  • If you plan on drinking, have a plan on how to get home safe. Remember, even a small amount of alcohol can impair your judgment and affect your reaction time.

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A Homosassa man died Monday morning after he lost control of his motorcycle in Floral City, according to reports.

The crash happened at 9:05 a.m. on East StageCoach Trail at the intersection of South Zanmar Drive.

Troopers believe the 65-year-old was riding a 2006 Honda motorcycle east on Stage Coach Trail when he failed to negotiate a curve in the road.

The bike exited the road and traveled onto the shoulder, then overturned, ejecting the man.

He was taken to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, where he died from his injuries.

Balance is critical when it comes to operating a motorcycle. Most bikes have both front and rear brake controls, however, motorcycles can corner quickly, which is why you should avoid using brakes during a turn. Braking and turning can result in you losing control of your motorcycle, so it is best to brake and slow down before executing a turn. Once you are actually turning, you should accelerate through it.

If you are injured after losing control of your bike, or for any other reason, you should speak with a Citrus County Motorcycle Accident Lawyer. We can try our best to help you obtain financial compensation for your injuries. If you have lost a family member in an unexpected collision, we can investigate the facts to see whether you can file a wrongful death claim for damages. We can determine what caused the accident and link any responsible parties to your potential lawsuit.

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A Homosassa man was killed early Sunday when he was hit by a car while walking along U.S.19.

The Florida Highway Patrol believes the 22-year-old was walking along the edge of the southbound lanes of U.S.19 at 2:15 a.m. when he was hit by a 1999 Ford Explorer.

According to troopers, the driver of the Explorer failed to stop at the scene of the crash. The owner of the Explorer surrendered the vehicle to the FHP on Sunday afternoon but no arrest has been made yet.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call FHP at 813-631-4020.

Car accidents can be absolutely devastating. Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when it is unexpected and unnecessary. After such a tragedy, it can help to know that someone is being held accountable, which is why hit-and-run accidents can be especially hard to deal with.  

Our Citrus County Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will fight to get you the financial compensation you deserve. In cases where a driver has fled the scene of an accident, we will exercise every effort to identify the at-fault party. What happens most often with these types of accidents is that a driver flees the scene if they were driving a stolen car, were drunk, had outstanding arrest warrants, lacked a valid driver’s license or legal status, or does not have insurance. Regardless, there is never a valid excuse to leave the scene after an accident has occurred.

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A Crystal River woman was killed Tuesday in a traffic crash on U.S. 19 in Citrus County.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the crash happened just north of the Citrus-Hernando County line.

No further details regarding the crash have been released at this time.

While it is not known right now what caused this accident, most auto accidents result from driver negligence or recklessness. Some of the most common careless driving behaviors that result in accidents include:

  • Speeding
  • Aggressive driving
  • Distracted driving: cell phone use, texting, eating and drinking, use of GPS, use of radio, reading a map or written directions, daydreaming, etc.
  • Driving while extremely tired or fatigued
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs
  • Failing to use turn signals
  • Failing to yield right-of-way
  • Running red lights and stop signs
  • Making unsafe lane changes

Every year, more than 100,000 people are killed due to someone else’s negligence. The families of those who have lost a loved one due to wrongful death often suffer emotional, mental and financial injuries after such a tragedy.  

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