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.

Citrus County authorities have released details about a baby killed by a family pet dog.

The incident happened two weeks ago at a home on West Ranchetta Street in Dunnellon.

According to the family, the pit bull jumped onto a bed next to a cradle where the girl was located and attacked the infant while the grandmother was in another room.

When family members realized what happened, the child’s grandfather began performing CPR on the child, and help was called.

The child was airlifted to a local hospital but died about 90 minutes later. The county’s Animal Control unit took control of the dog, which has been euthanized.

The death was ruled accidental.

According to reports, from 1982 to December 31, 2017, there were 389 reported deaths from a pit bull attack. In 2017, 12 different dog breeds caused fatalities, including Akita, Boxer mix, and German Shepherds. A 5-year study conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that 50.9% of dog bites to children were from pit bulls. The next most common occurrence was from Rottweilers at 8.9%.

Pit bulls are just a small fraction of the dogs that bite each year. With almost 80 million dogs in the US, it is important to be educated on proper dog safety, especially if you have children sharing the home with a dog.

All dogs can be dangerous, not just pit bulls. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a dog attack, you may be able to file a negligence claim against the owner of the dog. This includes someone who is keeping the dog, has the dog under their care or allows the dog to be on their personal premise.

Continue reading

Thanksgiving is almost here and millions of Americans will sit down for a festive and hearty meal. Americans consume billions of dollars of turkey every holiday season, with 88% of Thanksgiving meals including turkey on the menu. While turkeys are one of the most anticipated aspects of Thanksgiving, they can lead to serious problems in the kitchen!

Fire Hazards

The No. 1 turkey-related tragedy is fires. With so many dishes to prepare, many cooks find themselves easily distracted. If a turkey, or any other dish, is left unattended, it can overheat and catch fire, leading to danger. In order to prevent a meal mishap, the turkey and other dishes should be carefully monitored while they cook.

You should have a fire extinguisher on hand and know how to deal with different types of fires. Keep children and pets out of the kitchen while you cook, and stay focused on your tasks and timers.

Don’t Leave Out the Leftovers

Food poisoning can be a huge issue over the holidays. Most people want to relax and watch football after their large turkey dinner, but it is very important to put away the leftover food. If food is left out and uncovered, it can quickly pick up bacteria, which can lead to unpleasant illness after consumption. To prevent foodborne illnesses, all leftovers should be promptly refrigerated, and food that has been sitting out for more than two hours should be tossed.

For a successful Thanksgiving, take kitchen safety precautions, watch out for any recalled products, from contaminated meats to faulty ovens, and of course, remember to be thankful and enjoy your day with loved ones!

Continue reading

An 81-year-old man was killed in a head-on collision after his vehicle veered into the wrong lanes.

The 81-year-old Inverness man was traveling eastbound on East Gulf to Lake Hwy in his Honda Odyssey when for an unknown reason, his vehicle traveled into the westbound lanes.

Troopers said the Honda collided head-on with a Toyota Camry.

The crash occurred at about 7:25 p.m. on Saturday.

The 81-year-old man was transported to Citrus Memorial Hospital where he died from his injuries. The driver of the Camry was transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center in serious condition.

A head-on collision is when two vehicles meet nose-to-nose or front-end-to-front-end. This usually happens because one driver is travelling in the wrong direction, but these crashes can also happen at intersections. Head-on collisions, in particular, can be more serious than other car accidents due to the speed that the vehicles may be going right before the collision. Safety features such as airbags, restraint systems, and antilock brakes can mitigate damages, however, serious injuries can still result from these types of impacts.

The injuries that can result from a head-on collision can be very serious and even result in death. For this reason, it is crucial that a person injured in a head-on collision in Citrus County contact our Citrus County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton right away. We can prepare a strong case and to fight for the compensation that you or your loved ones deserve.

Continue reading

A 22-year-old woman from Crystal River was killed in an early-morning motorcycle crash Tuesday.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the woman died in a crash on West Fort Island Trail in Citrus County.  

Troopers said the woman was a passenger on a 2012 Yamaha motorcycle just after midnight when the driver failed to negotiate a sharp curve, went off the road and collided with a tree.  

The 30-year-old Homosassa man driving the motorcycle suffered critical injuries and remains at Bayonet Point Hospital.

The woman died at the scene.

Troopers said neither the woman nor the driver were wearing a helmet.

One in every five motorcycle crashes reported results in head or neck injuries. Head injuries are just as severe as neck injuries and are actually a lot more common. Research shows that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of neck or head injury. You are three times more likely to suffer an injury or death than those wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

Florida laws are more lenient when it comes to helmet rules. A person over 21 may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing a helmet if they are covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.

Continue reading

The attorneys and staff at Whittel & Melton wish you and your family a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend! We want to encourage you to enjoy your holiday weekend responsibly.

The Labor Day holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year. More vehicles on the road means that drivers face an increased risk of being involved in traffic accidents. Because of this, we want to remind you to stay alert and aware of your surroundings on the road at all times and drive defensively.

Here are a few other simple reminders that can help you arrive at your destination safely:

  • Put your phone away to limit distractions. You can keep your phone stored in your pocket, purse or glove compartment. Your eyes should be on the road at all times. Distracted driving is a careless and negligent act that could lead to a fatal car accident.
  • Always wear your seat belt, no matter how far or short your trip is. Seat belts save lives, and police officers will be on the lookout for those who are not buckled up this weekend.
  • Never drink and drive. If you are going to be consuming alcohol, designate a sober driver or call an Uber, Lyft or taxi before you leave for the night. Drinking and driving jeopardizes the safety of everyone sharing the road with you. DUI-related accidents are entirely avoidable, so steer clear of driving while intoxicated.

Continue reading

A 17-year-old Citrus High student and football player passed away Sunday from his injuries suffered after being struck by an SUV while he was walking on a Floral City-area roadway.

According to FHP, the teen and another 17-year-old female were walking east on East Stage Coach Trail at about 8:42 p.m. on Saturday, and were approaching the intersection with South Pleasant Grove Road.

The deceased was walking on the eastbound lane of East Stage Coach Trail, while the female was walking on the grass along the roadways’ southern shoulder, FHP’s report shows.

At the same time, a 37-year-old woman and her passenger, a 9-year-old girl, were in a Chevrolet Suburban that was traveling east on East Stage Coach Trail, nearing the teens, who the woman failed to notice.

The woman’s Suburban collided with the deceased, who paramedics transported to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson, where he died Sunday afternoon.

No one else was injured, but charges are pending, according to FHP.

A simple walk can turn into a tragic life-changing event if an SUV strikes you. Pedestrians hit by motor vehicles have the same rights as anyone else injured in an automobile accident. Any time a driver’s negligence results in injuries or death to a pedestrian, the pedestrian and/or their surviving family members are entitled to financial compensation for the suffering.

Just like other car crashes, pedestrians injured due to a negligent driver, are entitled to recover the cost of medical bills, lost earnings, and pain, suffering, and disability damages. In wrongful death cases, certain family members are generally entitled to damages for the loss of their loved one.

Continue reading

Two motorcyclists were killed recently in Citrus County.

The first crash involved a 50-year-old motorcyclist who was killed in a single-vehicle crash that occurred in the early morning hours of June 28 at SR 44 and S. Kensington Avenue.

Troopers said the man was traveling eastbound on SR 44 when, for an unknown reason, the motorcycle departed the roadway and overturned.

The man suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead on scene.

A passing FHP trooper on patrol discovered the crash around 7 a.m.

Another motorcycle crash occurred around 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 28 in Citrus County.

A 26-year-old male was killed after crashing into a fence at Crystal River Middle School.

Troopers said the man was driving a Harley Davidson motorcycle on 4th Avenue approaching the intersection of NE Crystal Street when he failed to stop at the intersection and continued into the property of Crystal River Middle School.

The man collided with an iron fence, and suffered fatal injuries.

Even when motorcycle riders exercise precautions while riding, injuries and wrongful death can still happen because of someone else’s negligence. Because of that, it is always important to remember these two safety tips when riding:

  • Wear a Helmet: Traumatic Brain Injuries are the number one cause of Motorcycle Accident Injuries. Wearing a properly fitting helmet may be the difference between injury or death.
  • Wear the Right Gear: You must keep your skin protected when riding a motorcycle. In the unfortunate event that you are thrown from the bike and skid across the pavement, severe skin damage and road rash can still occur even if you are wearing appropriate clothing.

Continue reading

Even though it falls on a Wednesday this year, AAA projects nearly 47 million Americans will travel somewhere for the holiday. If this forecast does in fact happen, it will set a new travel record. The Fourth of July is one of the most dangerous holidays to be on the road, and you can bet that state troopers will be responding to hundreds of accidents over this holiday week.

We know that not all accidents on the Fourth are related to motor vehicle incidents, so our Citrus County Injury Lawyers have compiled a list of the most common accidents and a few safety tips to remember.

Car Accidents

Our Citrus County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have helped numerous car accident victims recover compensation for their injuries. Some of the most common accidents stem from one of the following mistakes:

  • Distractions
  • Drunk driving
  • Tailgating or following too closely

Holiday weekends only increase these kinds of accidents. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, we urge you to first seek medical attention and then contact us right away. If you’re unsure if you have a valid case, we can walk you through the process and help you determine what to do next.

Firework Injuries

Fireworks and the Fourth go hand in hand. Our Citrus County Injury Lawyers want you to have fun over the holiday – but encourage you to do it safely!

Every year, there are news stories about someone who has seriously been injured by fireworks. Whether you were at a fireworks show or at someone else’s home, the property owner has a responsibility to keep everyone safe from harm.

Keep in mind Florida’s laws on fireworks: Under Florida law, only sparklers, approved by the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, are legal for consumer usage. It is illegal to use exploding and/or flying fireworks in Florida, which include: shells and mortars, multiple tube devices, Roman candles, rockets and firecrackers.

If you’ve been injured in a fireworks accident, the first thing you need to do is get medical attention. After that, call us and we can look into your injury case and see if you are able to recover financial compensation for medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages.

Pool Injuries

It’s Florida, so it would not be summer without a trip to the pool. Maybe, you have one in your backyard. It’s important to adhere to all posted pool rules for your own safety. It’s also important to always have adult supervision, because accidents do happen.

If you or a family member has been injured in a swimming or slip and fall accident at a swimming pool, give us a call as we may be able to help you file a personal injury claim.

Continue reading

While it is great news to hear that a full 100 percent of Citrus County’s nine nursing homes are in compliance with the state’s emergency power mandate that went into effect June 1, of the county’s 24 assisted living facility (ALF) providers, just 14 have complied, according to the latest data from the state Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).

These new emergency guidelines mean that if another hurricane rolls through cutting power to those facilities, they will have enough back-up power — such as an on-site generator — to provide staff and residents 96 hours worth of air conditioning.

For the entire state of Florida, AHCA data shows 100 percent compliance among all 684 statewide nursing homes. And 1,722 out of the state’s 3,097 ALFs have met the mandate’s requirements, for a 55.60 percent compliance rate.

Gov. Rick Scott proposed the emergency power plan rule following the deaths last year of a dozen elderly people in a Hollywood Hills nursing home during and in the weeks following Hurricane Irma. The Florida Legislature passed rules mandating that those facilities verify they have installed a working generator or alternate backup power source by June 1, the start of hurricane season.

Florida is one of the first states in the nation to require emergency generators at all nursing homes and ALFs.

Facilities that fail to comply are subject to fines or sanctions of up to $1,000 a day and revocation of their license to operate in Florida.

As of June 15, 524 nursing homes and 1,027 ALFS filed extensions to complete these requirements.

Under the rules, extensions can be granted for reasons including construction or delays in delivery, zoning, or regulatory approvals, provided the facility submits alternative cooling plans that can keep residents at safe temperatures for 96 hours. Obtaining an extension means that the facilities are still in compliance with the law, despite not having the backup power fully in place or not inspected.

Facilities that have filed extensions must have plans that include:

  • Bringing a temporary generator onsite during power outages
  • Contracting for priority fuel replenishment during a power outage
  • Moving residents to common areas that can be cooled with an existing generator
  • Evacuation if needed

AHCA said it will cost Florida nursing homes more than $186 million to comply with the generator requirement. The agency based its estimates on information provided from the nursing home industry, which said the costs for a generator at a 120-bed facility would be $315,200. Using those figures, AHCA estimated the average cost per bed at $2,626.66.

The 2018 hurricane season has begun and continues until November 30. The peak season occurs between mid-August and late October.

As we know all too well in Florida, hurricanes are powerful systems with winds of 74 miles per hour or higher. When hurricanes or tropical storms make landfall, they bring heavy winds and rain as well as massive flooding. Lack of preparation is extremely dangerous for those who live in a hurricane’s path, so it is good thing that the AHCA is strongly enforcing these new requirements for nursing homes and ALFs.

Losing electricity in a storm with the size and strength of a hurricane like Hurricane Irma that swept through in 2017 can be common. However, facilities should have back-up systems and plans so their residents are safe. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or died as the result of a nursing home’s or an ALF’s negligence before or after a hurricane, you may have grounds for a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Continue reading

There are a number of construction projects taking place on Citrus County roads right now.

The traffic light at Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center and U.S. 19 will soon be functional. The Florida Department of Transportation currently has that signal in flash mode.

A little further north, a new light is also slated for U.S. 19 and County Road 488.

Work also continues on the Halls River Bridge with construction still on track to be completed by the end of the year.

One project that is delayed is the widening of U.S. 19 in Homosassa. FDOT says the project has experienced some setbacks due to weather and underground utilities.

These projects bring up a great topic that our Citrus County Auto Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton would like to address – accidents during highway and roadway construction.Road construction is a fact of life for people in Florida, and Citrus County is no exception. Speed and driver distractions are primary factors involved in traffic accidents in road construction areas. When drivers fail to take into account reduced speed limits or notice a change in traffic flow, collisions can easily happen as there is nothing a motorist can do to avoid a collision in a congested work area.

In roadway and highway accidents, there can often be multiple parties that share liability. Our thorough investigation and preparation is necessary to determine who is at fault for your accident and prove that liability in court.

Continue reading

Contact Information