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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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According to CBS News reports and various other sources, Memorial Day weekend is the deadliest holiday for car accidents, followed by Labor Day and July 4. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports a yearly 312-fatality average on Memorial Day weekend over 2011-2015. This number does not even include the number of people who suffer injuries from car wrecks over the holiday period.

What makes Memorial Day such a deadly holiday? Many cite drunk driving and texting while driving as the main culprits, but the main contributing factor is simple: There are more drivers on the road on holiday weekends, which increases the risk of a crash.

While there is nothing you can do about more cars being on the roads for Memorial Day weekend, you can still make good choices when it comes to your own driving. Our Citrus County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want you to be safe out there, which is why we have compiled a few tips to help get you where you need to be safely:

  1. Distracted driving can be just as dangerous if not more than impaired driving, so put your phone down when behind the wheel.  
  2. Since we brought it up before, always refrain from driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  3. Follow the speed limit. Speeding causes more wrecks than we care to admit, but texting while driving and DUIs tend to steal the spotlight.

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Distracted driving takes the lives of nine Americans every single day, which is why the NHTSA has named April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This is done to educate motorists and draw attention to this national epidemic.

Distracted driving can be anything that takes your eyes, hands and or mind off the task at hand: driving. Talking to passengers, personal grooming and eating while driving are just a few. Other distracting activities include talking on a cellphone, adjusting a radio or using a personal navigation. The biggest source of distracted driving today is texting while driving.

Statistics show that at any given moment during the day, 660,000 drivers are using cellphones or other electronic devices while they are behind the wheel. The age group with the highest percentage of texting drivers is between 16 and 24. One in every four accidents that occur on the roads today was likely caused by a distracted driver.

Distracted driving continues to be a major factor in motor vehicle accidents today. If you have been involved in a crash caused by a distracted driver, our Citrus County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you prove liability so that you can recover compensation for your injuries, lost wages and other losses.

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Potholes that pop up can force drivers to pay a steep price.

The extreme temperature swings could make this year’s “pothole season” one for the record books according to a AAA study.

AAA has seen a 12% increase in flat tire calls in January 2018 as compared to 2017, as well as an increase in pothole-related roadside assistance calls compared to years past.

The study shows that pothole damage can cost motorists hundreds, even as much as a thousand dollars in repairs.

Potholes form when moisture collects in small holes and cracks in the road surface. The moisture expands and contracts when temperatures go up and down. This breaks up the pavement and, combined with the weight of passing cars, eventually results in a pothole.

To minimize vehicle damage from potholes, AAA suggests the following:

  • Inspect Tires – Tires should be properly inflated and have a healthy tread.
  • Inspect Suspension – Struts, shock absorbers, and other suspension parts should be in proper working condition.
  • Look ahead – Scan the road for potholes as you are driving. Being alert can mean that you have time to avoid a pothole, so it is important to limit distractions.
  • Slow Down – If a pothole cannot be avoided, reduce speed safely without braking abruptly.
  • Look out for Puddles – Puddles can disguise deep potholes.
  • Keep a Spare Handy – A quick fix for a tire blowout can be installing a spare. However, most new cars do not come with spare tires, so be prepared.

This time of year, drivers need to be wary of all the hazards that normally come with driving, but potholes as well. If you’re driving too fast, it could be hard to slow down to avoid hitting a pothole. If you’re driving at night a pothole in a dimly lit area can be a hazard that can easily sneak up on you.

Depending on the location of the pothole and the amount of traffic in the area, the safest thing to do may be to just hit the pothole instead of trying to pull off the road or into another lane, risking a collision with another vehicle. Fixing a bent tire rim or getting a new alignment will cost you far less than the medical costs and lost time at work due to injuries from a car crash.

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We are officially 1 month into 2018! With a new year, comes resolutions and vows for change. With that said, after the holidays, divorce filings increase. Most divorces come after the winter holidays and summer vacation, according to a U.S. study of 15 years of data from Washington state.

  • With January over, if you are one of those couples that has decided to call it quits, there are several things you can do that may make your divorce go smoothly, such as:
  • Give your social media accounts a rest. If you cannot deactivate altogether, then watch what you post since every little update can be used in the divorce proceedings.
  • Learn about the basics of divorce in Florida. Our Citrus County Family Law Attorneys at Whittel & Melton cna certainly walk you through everything and makes sure you understand the difference between a contested vs. uncontested divorce, answer questions about child custody and child support issues, and help you determine if your case involves spousal support or alimony.
  • Get your financial assets in order before starting the divorce process. Division of property and assets is a hotly contested issue in many divorces, so gather all documents related to you and your spouse’s financials like end-of-year pay stubs, the previous year’s tax return, bank statements, credit card bills and even credit reports. Ending a marriage is usually not easy, so we recommend for each person to focus on what they need to take care of themselves financially and emotionally during this process. Again, our Citrus County Divorce Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you prepare for filing for divorce.

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The holiday season us officially upon us and New Year’s Eve is around the corner, so you want to avoid a car accident! Drinking and celebrating with friends and family are holiday traditions. The goal is to enjoy yourself and get home in one piece. Sadly, along with Christmas, holiday and New Year’s Eve parties comes more drunk drivers on the roads.

New Year’s Eve is one of the most dangerous nights of the year for car accidents and drunk driving incidents. January 1 is one of the worst days for serious car accidents caused by drunk drivers.

5 New Year’s Eve Road Safety Tips

  1. Plan your night ahead of time. If you are planning to drink at a party, make plans to spend the night, call a cab services or schedule a ride with Uber or Lyft. Another option is to book a hotel within walking distance. You can also try to find a designated driver you can trust to stay sober and get you home safe.
  2. If you are hosting a party, offer your spare room, couch and floor to anyone who would like to stay overnight. You do not want an overserved guest to be involved in an accident. You can also make sure that there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available along with food to help your guests from getting too inebriated.
  3. If you suspect someone is driving drunk, call the police. If you witness someone speeding excessively or weaving on the road, pull over and call the police. By calling the police, you could end up preventing a fatal car accident.
  4. If you have no other way of getting home safe, just celebrate without the booze. Just think, you can spend New Year’s day without a hangover!
  5. If you are driving home, always drive with extra caution and care. You never know who you are sharing the road with, so be smart and drive defensively.

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