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.

A 42-year-old Lecanto woman was killed Monday afternoon in a motorcycle crash in Inverness.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the woman was killed after the motorcycle she was riding on was struck by a vehicle on State Road 44 near south Tighe Drive.

The crash occurred at 5:30 p.m. when the driver of a Ford F-150 pickup truck attempted to make a U-turn on State Road 44. As the truck completed the U-turn, the motorcycle collided with the passenger side door.

The 55-year-old motorcycle driver suffered serious injuries and was transported to Ocala Regional Hospital. The woman riding as a passenger later died at the hospital.

No one in the Ford suffered any harm.

The crash is currently under investigation.

Motorcycle accidents result in a much higher rate of severe injuries than wrecks that involve only passenger vehicles. On that same note, motorcyclists are significantly more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than passenger-vehicle occupants, even if the motorcyclist is wearing a helmet.

Despite the fact that motorcyclists face greater physical risks than other drivers, bikers have the same entitlements as other motorists, and this includes the right to pursue legal action if they are harmed in an accident that is the direct result of another person’s negligence.

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It is officially October and Halloween is just a few weeks away. While Halloween can be full of spooks and fun, the real nightmare of this holiday is the threat that it poses to trick-or-treaters. For those under the age of 18 years old, the risk of being fatally hit by a vehicle on Halloween, compared to any other day of the year, more than doubles.

The scary statistics for pedestrians on Halloween doesn’t end there. Studies show that the majority of the fatal traffic accidents involving pedestrians on Halloween occur between 6pm and 9pm. The hour between 6 and 7 is the deadliest. On that same note, less than 1 in 3 pedestrian accidents involving children on Halloween occur at intersections or crosswalks.

As you and your family get ready for Halloween fun this year, our Citrus County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to remind you of a few safety tips.

Halloween Safety for Children & Pedestrians

  • Make sure you and your trick-or-treaters always stay on the sidewalk or in designated pedestrian areas. If you must walk somewhere where there are no paths, make sure you walk facing oncoming traffic, as far away from traffic as possible.
  • Make sure your children know to be careful around parked cars and driveways, as vehicles could start moving at any time.
  • Before venturing out to trick-or-treat, make sure your crew understands how to safely cross the street – only cross at designated areas when you have the right-of-way and drivers see you.
  • Make sure an adult accompanies all children younger than 12 when trick-or-treating.
  • The fall means it gets dark earlier, so give children flashlights or glow sticks so they are visible, and they can see, as it gets dark. Another good idea is to apply reflective tape on their costumes and/or treat bags.

Halloween Safety for Drivers

  • Always keep a watch out  for children, especially when driving in residential areas and  around schools.
  • Try to remember to drive at least 5 mph slower in areas where there are children trick-or-treating and be prepared to step on the brakes at any time as kids can run into traffic at any time. Excitement levels are high on this night!
  • Don’t drive drunk or distracted. Stay alert!

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One person was killed Wednesday in a mobile home fire in Dunnellon.

According to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and Crystal River Fire Department, the fire broke out just after 11 a.m.

Fire officials believe a man was sleeping in the home when the fire broke out, but he managed to escape through a window. Another person became trapped in the home and could not escape.

The man who escaped told officials he tried to help the other person, but could not save that person due to the flames.

The survivor was taken to an area hospital as a precaution.

By the time firefighters arrived, the home was almost completely engulfed in flames.

The mobile home has been declared a total loss. The state fire marshal’s office is investigating the fire.

Around 22,000 fires occur in mobile homes annually, killing 500 people and injuring 1,000. Sadly, fire death rates for mobile homes are two times higher than those in other types of dwellings. The leading cause of mobile home fires are faulty electrical and heating equipment.

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A Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone, issued as a replacement for the recalled version of the device, exploded this morning during boarding of Southwest Airlines Flight 994 in Louisville, according to reports.

While no injuries were reported, the incident generated enough smoke to force the evacuation of the plane and cancel the flight to Baltimore.

The phone was apparently a replacement for the Galaxy Note 7 phones Samsung recalled in mid-September.

Samsung issued the following statement:

“There is no evidence that this incident is related to the new Note7. We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause.”

The Galaxy Note 7 caused minor damage to the plane’s carpet, where the phone was dropped. The incident comes in the wake of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission formally recalling 1 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones last month. According to the CPSC, Samsung received 92 reports of batteries overheating in the US, resulting in 26 instances of property damage.

Companies have an obligation to consumers to put out safe products for use. Fortunately, no one was harmed in this incident. However, serious burn injuries could have easily occurred. When a product is defective, like the Galaxy Note 7, there can be multiple responsible parties, including the manufacturer, the wholesaler or distributor, and often the retailer of the product.

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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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