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.
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With the legalization of marijuana gaining momentum across the United States, a new study suggests that the common use of marijuana can have negative outcomes.

Researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health report that fatal car crashes involving marijuana use tripled during the previous decade, accounting for much of the overall increase in drugged-driving traffic deaths.

jointReports indicate that one out of nine drivers involved in fatal collisions would test positive for marijuana – a trend that if continued would overtake alcohol to become the most common substance involved in deaths related to impaired driving.

This study was performed  using crash statistics from six states, including California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and West Virginia. Researchers found that “drugged driving,” predominantly from marijuana, increased from 16 percent of fatal traffic deaths in 1999 to 28 percent in 2010.

What is noteworthy about the study too, is that there are many drivers who drive under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana at the same time. The study concluded that when a motorist drives under the influence of alcohol, the risk of a fatal crash is 13 times greater than a sober driver. However, when a motorist gets behind the wheel under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, the risk increases to 24 times that of someone sober.

It is important to take into account that driving after using any drug, including marijuana, is similar to consuming alcohol and then driving. Both marijuana and alcohol are drugs that have the ability to impair one’s capability of driving safely by slowing down reaction times and hindering judgments. Drugs and alcohol alike affect vision, making drivers more easily distracted, as well as creating amplified risky behavior in drivers.

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A Homosassa toddler drowned Sunday morning while he and his family were visiting friends in Dunnellon, according to deputies.

The parents of the 19-month-old boy were visiting friends and staying in a trailer located on the property.

According to deputies, the family was sleeping in the living room when the father awoke the mother around 9:15 a.m. asking where the child was. The parents began searching for the missing child.

child in lakeThe father eventually found the boy lying unresponsive in the lake behind the property.

The father began performing CPR on the boy on the dock. Rescue crews arrived at the scene and took over the CPR efforts and the boy was taken to Seven Rivers Hospital.

The boy was pronounced dead about two hours after his parents called for help.

The autopsy results are pending, but authorities do not suspect any foul play.

In the state of Florida, children are placed at a high risk for drowning-related injuries and death due to the various lakes, canals, ponds, rivers and other bodies of water that are present in virtually every Florida community. Approximately half of all drowning incidents occur at lakes, rivers and even oceans because these bodies of water, as well as the surrounding areas, are less controlled. If you or a family member has been harmed in a lake drowning or near-drowning accident, a Citrus County Drowning Accident Attorney at Whittel & Melton can explore what happened and help you take appropriate legal action.

Perhaps the most important thing that can be done to prevent a drowning tragedy is to designate a responsible adult to supervise children in the water and all children playing near water. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye so it is very important for the adult in charge to stay alert and avoid partaking in any other activities while watching children swim. Factors that contribute to drowning accidents often include swimming in natural water settings like rivers, lakes or oceans, lack of supervision and insufficient barriers such as pool fencing. Moreover, alcohol use is a leading cause of unintentional drowning in both adolescents and adults.

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A 66-year-old Inverness woman was killed last week after trying to cross U.S. 41 near Mossy Oak Drive around 8 p.m.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the woman stepped into oncoming traffic and was struck by  Ford Ranger driven by a 72-year-old Floral City woman.

The woman suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision.

The driver of the Ford Ranger suffered no harm.

night drivingAccording to reports, the driver of the Ford said she could not see the deceased pedestrian in the low-light conditions.

Charges are pending against the at-fault driver.

The crash caused U.S. 41 to be closed for an extended period of time.

As a pedestrian, you never expect to be struck by a car, truck or SUV. However, these types of accidents happen every day. Sadly, a collision between a pedestrian and a motor vehicle of any kind can have devastating consequences. The reality is that pedestrians have no protection against the force of a moving automobile, and the impact of a crash can deliver life-altering injuries such as spinal cord trauma, disfigurement, paralysis, traumatic brain injuries and even death. If you or someone you care for has been hit by a moving vehicle in Inverness or the surrounding area, it is best to speak with a Citrus County Auto Accident Attorney at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible so that we can begin pursuing just compensation for your losses.

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A 17-year-old Inverness teen riding an ATV an hour after sunset on March 10 was killed when he was hit from behind by a car on a county road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers claim the teen was not wearing a helmet and did not have working lights on his ATV while he was travelling west on Citrus County Road 581 around 8:39 p.m.

ATVA 38-year-old Hernando woman was travelling in the same direction as the teen just west of Woodcrest Avenue when she rammed into the back of the ATV, troopers said.

The 17-year-old died at the scene. According to the FHP, the woman was not harmed.

No charges have been filed.

All-terrain vehicles, otherwise known as ATVs or 4-wheelers, are popular recreational vehicles for people of all ages, but the reality is that they are risky automobiles for all riders and passengers. Each year, hundreds of deaths and thousands more injuries occur due to ATV-related accidents. As with motor vehicle accidents, some of these incidents can be blamed on acts of negligence, which means accident victims or their families may be entitled to financial compensation for their losses.

Many ATVs can reach speeds as fast as 55 MPH and can weigh as much as 500 pounds. As the speed and size increases in these vehicles so does the risk of suffering an injury. The reality is that most ATV deaths and injuries can be prevented by wearing property safety equipment, like  helmets and goggles. An estimated 75 percent of all ATV accidents result in catastrophic injuries to the head, brain and spinal cord. Injuries of these natures can require lengthy treatment periods or even be permanent.

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A motorcyclist was killed Thursday after he was involved in a collision with another vehicle in Homosassa.

The crash occurred at 11:14 p.m. Wednesday on U.S. 19 near West Miss Maggie Drive.

The Florida Highway Patrol claims the 33-year-old motorcyclist was traveling south in the outside lane of U.S. 19 when a 2014 Chevy Impala pulled out of a parking lot and into his path.

motorcycle accident

A 33-year-old motorcyclist was killed Thursday after he was involved in a collision with another vehicle in Homosassa.

The man swerved to avoid hitting the Impala, which caused his motorcycle to overturn. He was transported to Bayonet Point Regional Medical Center, where he died from his injuries the following day.

According to officials, charges are pending in this case.

Fatal motorcycle accidents involving the wrongful death of a loved one can be hard to understand and accept. A wrongful death means an accident or incident was caused by the negligence or recklessness of another person. In most cases, the person that caused the accident can be held liable for damages suffered by the family of the deceased. A Citrus County Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you and your family understand how to pursue a wrongful death claim and make sure your rights are protected.

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A new Clinical Pediatrics study shows that shopping cart injuries are on the rise, sending more than 24,000 children under the age of 15 to hospital emergency rooms every year.

This translates to 66 children per day suffering injuries due to shopping carts.

The new study highlights the number of shopping cart-related head injuries that have continued to increase, leaving researchers to believe that the current voluntary standards for shopping cart safety are not adequate.

The study shows that the number of concussions and closed head injuries are on the rise.

Shopping cart injuries are on the rise, sending more than 24,000 children under the age of 15 to hospital emergency rooms every year.

Shopping cart injuries are on the rise, sending more than 24,000 children under the age of 15 to hospital emergency rooms every year.

While falls from a shopping cart accounted for the most common cause of injury, the head was the most commonly injured part of the body, representing 78.1 percent of injuries. Over the course of the study period, soft tissue injury was the most common kind of head injury. However, the number of concussions and internal head injuries rose consistently between 1990 and 2011, increasing from 3,483 injuries to 12,333 injuries.

The Clinical Pediatrics study suggests that the current safety standards for shopping carts are not enough to protect kids from injuries. As it exists now, shopping cart safety standards are voluntarily implemented by manufacturers. While certain safety changes were made in 2004, the number of injuries has not declined, but has actually had an opposite effect.

According to the study, the most common shopping cart injuries happen when:

Kids fall out of the shopping cart – accounting for 70 percent of all injuries

Children run into or fall over the cart – accounting for 8 percent of all injuries

A shopping cart is tipped over – accounting for 6 percent of all injuries

Kids become trapped in the shopping cart – accounting for 6 percent of all injuries

The study’s researchers point out that while parents should always keep an eye on their children while in a store using a shopping cart, slight modifications to a cart’s design could protect kids from such dangerous injuries. Small things, like placing the child seat closer to the ground to avoid high falls and shopping cart safety belts could result in fewer injuries.

If your child has suffered a shopping cart-related injury, there are certain steps you can take. Under premises liability laws, store owners have a duty to make sure their store is relatively safe for all customers. This includes a responsibility to ensure their shopping carts are safe for use. In addition to the store owner, the shopping cart manufacturer could be liable for injuries if the cart was in any way defective. Defects can include errors in the manufacturing process, flaws in the shopping cart’s design or even ineffective warning labels that fail to highlight the cart’s risks.

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A 41-year-old Citrus County physician was killed in a wreck earlier this month involving his Hummer H3 and a tractor-trailer along a busy stretch of U.S. Highway 441 in Leesburg.

The doctor was travelling south when police believe he crashed into a semi-truck driven by a 53-year-old Wisconsin man who pulled out of a furniture store parking lot and into the path of oncoming southbound traffic around 6:38 p.m.

Following the deadly crash, the left and center lanes of southbound U.S. 441 were shut down for eight hours. The collision is currently under investigation by the Leesburg Police Department’s Traffic Unit.

State records show the man was a licensed doctor in Florida since August 2003. He was physician of the year at Citrus Memorial Hospital in 2010.

18-wheeler betch.jpgBusy roadways are frequent locations of auto accidents, including collisions with larger vehicles like semi-trucks. Tractor-trailers and large trucks weighing in excess of 80,000 pounds can easily overcome cars, SUVs, motorcycles, bicyclists and pedestrians, resulting in very serious accidents. Unfortunately, accidents between passenger vehicles and large trucks frequently result in catastrophic injuries, including head and traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma, burn injuries, broken bones and fractures, internal injuries and even death.

A Citrus County Truck Accident Attorney at Whittel & Melton can help you through the difficult time that follows a tragic accident. We understand how shocking and stressful it can be to you and your entire family to have someone suddenly taken from you in an auto accident, especially if it was not their fault. During this highly emotional time, you may be feeling confused and unaware of what to do. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a truck or tractor trailer accident in Inverness, Crystal River, Beverly Hills, Lecanto, Homosassa, Dunnellon, Hernando, Sugarmill Woods, Citrus Springs or Floral City, we can help you receive financial compensation for your losses.

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As a new year begins, it is important to highlight yet again how distracted driving still poses a major threat to other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2013, 3,328 people were killed in collisions as a result of a distracted driver. Sadly, whether people want to admit it or not, most partake in distracted driving behaviors on a daily basis. Distracted driving covers any type of activity that takes a driver’s focus away from the road. The most common form of distraction to drivers comes from cell phones.

When you use a cell phone while driving, even if using a hands-free device, you are four times more likely to be involved in a collision, according to the National Safety Council. In fact, cell phones are responsible for approximately 25 percent of all auto accidents. And it is not just talking on a cell phone that is a problem – texting while driving is a very dangerous behavior. The National Safety Council notes that the average driver takes his or her eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds to send or read a text message. If that doesn’t scare you enough, when the average driver averts their eyes from the roadway to text for that 4.6 seconds while travelling at speeds of 55 miles per hour, they have traveled the length of an entire football field. When put in these terms, it seems like a no-brainer that we should all put our cell phones down and refrain from texting while driving.

distracted driver betch.jpgUsing our cell phones is not the only form of distracted driving. There are many other actions that can be added to the list of distracted driving, such as fiddling with radio dials, eating or drinking, applying makeup, talking to others, checking on children in the back seat and even searching for a destination on your GPS. While these activities may seem harmless, they actually place you and others sharing the roadway with you at an increased risk for becoming involved in a collision. By allowing yourself to become distracted while driving, you are more likely to break simple traffic rules like driving through a red light or stop sign, speeding, failing to use your blinker, making an illegal U-turn, stopping short, and the list just goes on. There are three main types of distractions that have been noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – visual, manual and cognitive. Visual distractions are the obvious ones that take your eyes off of the road. Manual distractions cause your hands to be removed from the wheel while driving and cognitive distractions take your mind off the at-hand task of operating your vehicle.

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With Christmas right around the corner, many children will be waking up Christmas morning to a new skateboard, bicycle or even a scooter under the tree. Equally as important to unwrap is a new helmet to use with their new wheels.

Helmets often get overlooked, but the reality is that they can help prevent catastrophic injuries. Nearly 50 percent of children under the age of 14 are hospitalized for bicycle, in-line skating and skateboard-related injuries and diagnosed with a brain injury, but by using a proper helmet, many of those injuries could have been prevented. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, wearing a helmet while riding a bike can reduce the risk of a head injury by as much as 85 percent.

Helmets come in all different shapes and sizes. Different sports and activities require various types of helmets. It is important to pick out the proper type of helmet for the activity your child will be taking part in. Equally as important is to make sure the helmet fits and is worn properly. If not, then it will offer less protection. A helmet should fit comfortably, but also be snug. The helmet should sit level on your child’s head, not too far forward or back. Moreover, a well-fitting helmet should not move in any direction when adjusted and fastened properly.

child helmet betch.jpgHelmets should always be maintained and kept in decent shape. Even though helmets are designed to take blows, they should be replaced if you have been involved in a serious accident. Many sporting goods shops will inspect helmets for free, so if you are in doubt about the shape of your helmet, take it in to the professionals.

As a parent, you should make sure to set a good example for your kids. When you are riding your bike with your children, wear a helmet so that they can see that wearing one is the right thing to do. Not only will you be leading by example, but you will protect yourself at the same time. Be firm with your kids about wearing a helmet at all times when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard. Start them at an early age so that they understand that helmet use is important when they are “on wheels,” so that they continue this safe behavior as they get older.

Watch out for your children’s safety. Death and traumatic brain injuries can happen unexpectedly. Taking unnecessary risks only increase these odds. This Christmas, when your kids want to take their new skateboard, bike or scooter out for a first ride, make sure they have on a properly fitting helmet.

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A three-year-old who went missing from his Inverness home earlier in the day was discovered in a canal near his home on Tuesday.

According to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were dispatched to the boys home on Apopka Dr. after the toddler was reported missing. Once they arrived at the house, the three-year-old child had been pulled from the canal.

Officers performed CPR on the boy and he was transported to Citrus Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Deputies are currently investigating this tragedy to determine exactly what happened.

canal 2 betch.jpgMany Florida homes are located near lakes, rivers, beaches, canals and swimming pools. Being so close to the water makes drowning accidents particularly common. When children are not properly supervised, they are especially susceptible to drowning. In fact, drowning is the leading cause of death among toddlers between the ages of 1 and 4. When a drowning accident takes place, brain damage can occur in a matter of minutes due to lack of oxygen. Sadly, when a person suffers brain damage the results are often fatal or can lead to a lifetime of serious physical impairments.

A drowning death can occur virtually anywhere, from swimming pools at hotels to wave pools at theme parks. Any type of accidental drowning death should be fully investigated. In many cases, drowning fatalities could have been prevented. While dealing with the aftermath of a drowning death can be devastating, and no amount of money can replace what you have lost, you still may need to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to recover any financial losses as well as hold all responsible parties accountable for their negligent actions.

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