Articles Posted in Car Accidents


The Fourth of July is quickly approaching, and fun activities are in store for those in Crystal River and the surrounding areas such as fireworks, boating, swimming, grilling, and more. As the long weekend nears, it is extremely important for people to be aware of the dangers that could arise and how they can potentially be on the hook for any liability when injuries happen. Our Citrus County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton encourage everyone to prepare themselves for the dangers that could arise this holiday weekend so that everyone can stay safe this Fourth of July.

Blue-Red-White-Fireworks-Independence-Day-Greeting-Fourth-of-July-Facebook-Post-300x251Fireworks Safety in Crystal River

Fireworks can be dangerous, and even deadly. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported fireworks were involved in about 15,600 injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2020. Accidents involving fireworks that happen on your property could mean that you are liable for any mishaps. Do not allow anyone to come on your property and shoot off fireworks or sparklers in an unsafe way as you (the homeowner) could be held accountable for any property damage or injuries, like serious eye injuries, burns, and hearing loss.

Drinking and Driving in Crystal River

The Fourth of July holiday usually goes hand in hand with drinking with friends and family. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that from 2015 to 2019, 1,339 drivers were killed in car accidents over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Of those, 38% of the drivers that were killed were found to be driving drunk.

Remember, that when you choose to drink and get behind the wheel of a car, you can be liable for a crash that you cause. If you plan to consume alcohol over the Fourth of July, then plan a sober ride home. If you host a party where a guest is overserved, then you can be held liable if someone happens to them, so make sure that you take away car keys from someone who is inebriated and that you have alternative transportation planned for guests or a place where they can sleep it off.

Boating Safety in Crystal River

Boating accidents over the Fourth of July holiday weekend increase substantially. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary reports that the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day, account for over one-third of all boating accidents and deaths annually.

If you take people out on your boat this holiday weekend and an accident result from negligence, then you can be held liable. This is why you must take all necessary precautions when heading out on the water:

  • Always wear a life jacket and have enough life jackets that fit all of your guests
  • Never drink and operate a boat
  • Make sure your radio is properly working
  • Make sure your boat is in proper working condition
  • Always be on the lookout for other boats and any debris in the water

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In 2018 there was a 60% increase in the number of elderly drivers on the roadways since 2000. While this might seem like an insignificant statistic, the truth is that older drivers (65+) are at an increased risk of being involved in a fatal crash. In 2018, nearly 7,700 seniors (aged 65+) were killed in car crashes throughout the United States, and another 250,000 were treated in emergency departments for car crash-related injuries. This breaks down to more than 20 adults killed every single day, and other 700 injured.

How to Have a Conversation with Your Elderly Loved One About Driving

While most seniors feel like taking their driving away is a loss of freedom, is your elderly loved one has been in a few car accidents lately or had a close call, them it might be time to have a conversation with them about handing over their car keys. Even if your loved one has not had any accidents, it might still be a good idea to discuss their options moving forward. We know that these conversations are not easy ones to have, but necessary. Our Citrus County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton strongly encourage you to have these discussions in order to keep everyone in your household safe. It is best to not be confrontational in these situations and use “I” rather than “You” when expressing what you think is best.

motorist-4178353_1920-300x199Identify What the Problems Are with Your Elderly Driver

Elderly drivers often experience new aches and pains, vision loss, and delayed reaction times, all of which can negatively impact their ability to operate a vehicle safely. There are a few good ways to avoid some of the most common problems associated with elderly drivers, such as:

  • If your elderly driver is having problem with their vision, then it may be an option to only have then drive during the daytime when all weather conditions are clear.
  • If your elderly driver has expressed having anxiety during rush hour traffic times, then help them adjust their schedule so that they avoid peak traffic times.
  • If your elderly driver is having memory problems and forgets where they are going when driving, then they may need to drive only if they have a buddy riding shotgun who can take over the wheel if need be.
  • If your elderly driver can no longer get in and out of their car safely or without pain, then they may need swivel or swing-out parts that can assist them in getting in and out of their car easier. There are many devices that you can buy and install that can help with this.
  • If your elderly driver is having problems moving their head or turning their neck when driving, then they may need an additional backup mirror or wider mirrors.

Discuss Ways to Stay Active Without Having a Car

If you have decided that your elderly driver needs to have their keys taken away, then encourage them to remain active. Older adults that can no longer drive might begin to suffer from depression or isolation, so come up with some alternative ideas to help them keep up with their normal routine:

  • Call on neighbors, friends, or other family members to help shuttle your loved one to their frequented places, like the coffee shop, grocery store, or a friend’s house.
  • You can introduce your loved one to public transportation, like buses.
  • Another option for non-drivers is to use a rideshare app to schedule a ride when they need one. Uber and Lyft can be great alternatives to driving yourself.

Review Safe Driving Strategies with Your Elderly Driver

All of us on the road, not only elderly drivers, should implement safe driving habits to keep everyone safe in the event of an accident. Some of these safe driving habits include:

  • Wearing your seatbelt at all times. If your seatbelt is uncomfortable then adjust the shoulder mount or pad. Do not drive any distance without buckling up properly.
  • Limit your distractions. Put phones and other devices away before travelling anywhere.
  • Keep a safe distance between your car and others on the roadway at all times.
  • Driving during daylight hours is always best, especially for elderly drivers with some vision impairment. Many have difficulty seeing at night and the glare of headlights can only make vision problems worse.
  • Inclement weather like snow, fog, rain, or snow can be dangerous for all drivers. Elderly drivers should wait for weather conditions to improve before heading out.
  • Elderly drivers should avoid busy highways as merging can be difficult and busier highways mean more drivers, which can increase their stress levels and quickly lead to them becoming overwhelmed and at an increase of being involved in a car crash.
  • Elderly drivers often take a lot of medications. Some prescription pills come with recommendations to not drive when under their influence, but others do not. Review and read all medications your elderly driver may take and ask the pharmacist if you are unsure of whether it is safe for your loved one to drive while taking them.

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american-flag-4231733_1280-300x169Labor Day weekend is associated with the end of summer, which is why most Americans opt to celebrate with family gatherings and other sun social events. Even though this year is a little different considering we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Safety Council still says traffic will be congesting the roadways and fatalities from collisions will still happen. 

Memorial Day through Labor Day is considered the deadliest season for traffic fatalities. In fact, preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that during the 3-day Labor Day weekend for 2019 there were 448 fatalities. The U.S Department of Transportation has reported that since 1982, more fatalities on the roads over Labor Day weekend are the result of drunk or drugged drivers. Distracted drivers, fatigued drivers, and motorists operating their vehicles on unfamiliar roadways are also the main factors that contribute to Labor Day weekend car accidents. 

Our Citrus County Car Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want you to be safe as you head out driving anywhere this holiday weekend. Whether you are road tripping to another state or just staying close by, we want you and your loved ones to remain accident and injury free this Labor Day weekend. We urge you to remember the following safety tips no matter how close or far you are traveling this weekend.  

Never drink and drive. We already noted that drunk or drugged driving is a leading cause of Labor Day weekend car crashes, so please do not get behind the wheel of a car if you have consumed alcohol or are under the influence of any drugs – this includes prescriptions and over the counter meds that are labeled dangerous if driving. Designate a safe driver for the evening, use Uber or Lyft, call a taxi, or stay put until you are safe to drive home. 

Don’t drive late at night or during the early morning hours. Regardless of your sobriety, stay off the streets between midnight and 3 a.m., as this is when most DUI accidents occur. 

Get your vehicle checked by professionals, to ensure it is in good working condition. You do not want your car to break down during a road trip, so save yourself a headache. Your car needs general maintenance checks regularly, so get your oil changed, have your tires checked, etc. 

Map out your road trip. If you are driving to another state, plan your trip so that you are familiar with the route ahead of time. You want to try and familiarize yourself with the road map so that no surprises catch you off guard. Motorists driving through unfamiliar terrain can lead to serious auto accidents. The better prepared you are for your driving experience, the less likely you will have to panic if the GPS goes awry. You want your main focus to be on the road. 

Limit distractions while driving. Drivers who are distracted can cause fatal car accidents. Distracted driving is a huge problem, so please make your car a distraction-free zone and put your cell phone away, keep your passengers and children preoccupied, and focus your attention on the primary task of driving. 

Give yourself enough time to reach your destination safely. Traffic on Labor Day weekend is unpredictable, so give yourself plenty of extra time in case you get stuck in a traffic jam. Do not speed or engage in any reckless driving behaviors to try and reach your destination quicker. Be patient and drive defensively. 

Our Citrus County Car Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton Can Help Car Crash Victims

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Citrus County’s first 7-Eleven gas station/convenience store opened in Homosassa last week, but people have been talking less about Slurpees and more about the concrete barrier along West Cardinal Street that has changed the traffic pattern at the new store.

Numerous people have voiced complaints about the barrier.

Walt Eastmond, the county’s project manager, said the raised traffic separator allowing the right-in and right-out from both the new 7-Eleven and Circle K — almost directly across the street on Cardinal — was mandated for safety reasons. The idea was formed after a meeting with the county, 7-Eleven and the Florida Department of Transportation.

The 7-Eleven chain paid for it as part of its permit, Eastmond said.

“We had a safety issue that had to be addressed,” he said.

Eastmond said he’s had about two emails from folks questioning the barrier but that’s all. An employee at Circle K said some customers signed a petition to get the barrier removed and that it was delivered to County Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr., who represents that area. 

When asked about it Wednesday, Kitchen said he has enacted a new policy not to talk to the Citrus County Chronicle. County staffers later said they had not received a petition.

The biggest problem is apparently drivers going west on Cardinal who must now either travel through the Walmart parking lot and wind their way around to U.S. 19 to enter Circle K. They can also make a U-turn at U.S. 19.

A second 7-Eleven is being built about two miles south of the Cardinal site and will be located at 9335 U.S. 19, by the Publix-anchored Shoppes of Sugarmill Woods.

There is no date set for the grand opening of that location.

This story raises issues of design and parking lots. According to the Chronicle, the designers of this location made a decision about safety that may now be negatively affecting a nearby parking lot. Parking lots are obviously designed to handle the parking of cars, not the comings and goings of retail traffic.

With the holiday shopping season well under way, the danger of parking lots, including ingress and egress, is of special concern with accumulating traffic and more people in a hurry. Ingress refers to the right to enter a property, and egress refers to the right to exit a property.

Parking lots can be owned or controlled by businesses or by government entities. Whoever owns or is in control of a parking lot is responsible for that lot and must make sure it’s safe and maintained properly. If the owner of the parking lot fails to design or maintain a parking lot in a reasonably safe way, then the owner can certainly become liable for any injuries that occur as a result of their negligence.

Parking lot injuries can happen for numerous reasons, such as:

  • Negligent maintenance of the parking lot 
  • Negligent maintenance of the parking ramp
  • Negligent maintenance of sidewalks and stairways leading to the parking lot or ramp
  • Improper markings or traffic signals in the parking lot
  • Poor parking lot design resulting in blind spots
  • Poorly designed traffic flow patterns
  • Improper lighting
  • Lack of security

If a parking lot injury has left you suffering from injuries, then our Citrus County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you obtain financial compensation for your medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, emotional distress and other damages that resulted from your parking lot injury. First, we must show that the parking lot owner failed to live up to their duty of care. Then we must show that the duty was breached as a result of the parking lot owner’s failure to secure or maintain the lot. Last, we must show that the negligence of the parking lot owner was a direct cause of the harm that you suffered. We can help you gather all of the necessary evidence so that we can make a successful claim on your behalf.

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Prom season is here, which is a very exciting time in your teen’s life. Unfortunately, the months of April, May, and June are the most dangerous times for high school students.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. Texting or using social media while driving is quite common among teen drivers. Of the 3,166 people killed in distraction-related crashes in 2017, 229 were teens 15 to 19 years old.

To help reduce teen deaths and injuries and encourage safe driving, our Citrus County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want to encourages high school students to make safe driving choices.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has some great tips for both teens and parents to keep prom night safe.


Pay Attention: Avoid distractions in the car and save the #JustDrive. Save the selfies for prom.

Slow Down: Speeding was a factor in about one-third of all fatal crashes involving teen drivers. Faster speeds are especially dangerous for young drivers as this cna limit driver reaction times. Follow the speed limit and get to your destination safely.

Stay Alert: Prom and after parties can go pretty late, so get home before the exhaustion hits or stay with a friend so you can avoid driving drowsy.

Buckle Up: Nearly half of young drivers who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2017 weren’t wearing seat belts. Every time you get in the car, buckle up.

Drive Sober: You must be 21 to legally drink, so alcohol should not be an issue, but if you have gotten your hands on some alcohol, then hand your keys over. Get a sober driver to take you home.


Hire a Ride: Many parents choose to get their teens a chauffeur for the night to ease the worry of inexperienced teen drivers on the road. Talk to other parents and see if splurging for the night is something you all can do.

Set the Rules: If your teen insists on driving to prom, then sit down and discuss safe driving practices and what is expected of them behind the wheel.

Open Your Home: Prom night goes late. Encourage your teen to have friends sleep over to keep them off the roads. Some snacks and non-alcoholic beverages can make for s fun and sober after prom party.

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A 77-year-old man was killed and a 74-year-old woman was seriously hurt Sunday when their vehicle turned into the path of a pickup truck, troopers say.

The crash happened at about 11 a.m. on U.S. Highway 19 at the intersection of Turkey Oak Drive in Citrus County.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers say a 2012 Subaru Outback was headed south on U.S. Highway 19 when it tried to turn left onto Turkey Oak Drive, but traveled into the path of a 2000 Dodge Ram.

The passenger of the 2012 Subaru Outback was pronounced dead at the scene; the driver was taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center with serious injuries.

The driver of the Dodge Ram and her 6-year-old passenger were not hurt.

All four people were wearing seat belts, troopers said.

While you can’t control what careless or reckless motorists do, you can take control of your life after a collision causes injury or the death of a loved one. The road to recovery starts by contacting our Citrus County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton who will protect your rights, seek the financial compensation you deserve and ultimately help to relieve any additional stress.

We will conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine if another person is liable for your suffering. Once the at-fault party is identified, we can aggressively pursue financial compensation for you.
We will start by visiting the accident scene to gather evidence and take photographs. We will talk to witnesses, obtain the police report, and even bring in an expert to reconstruct the accident. We will handle all the complex issues to make the process simple and straightforward for you. Our goal is to handle everything on your behalf so that you can focus on your health and healing.

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A 19-year-old was killed in a motorcycle accident early Sunday morning in Citrus County.

The crash occurred shortly after midnight at E. Gulf to Lake Highway and S. Lois Terrace.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a Mercury Marquis traveling westbound on E. Gulf to Lake Highway attempted to turn left at S. Lois Terrace and entered the path of a motorcycle.

The motorcycle ended up colliding with the right rear side of the Mercury, causing fatal injuries to the motorcyclist.

Troopers said the 19-year-old died at the scene.

The driver of the Mercury was not injured in the crash, however the passenger was seriously injured and transported to Ocala Regional Hospital.

The crash, which is still under investigation, caused the road to be shut down until 3:40 a.m.

According to the report, charges are pending.

Motorcyclists lack the same protections as a passenger vehicle, so they are exposed to the elements. When they are thrown from their bikes or pinned in a crash, it is common for them to suffer catastrophic injuries, such as:

If someone you love has been killed in a motorcycle accident, you should contact our Citrus County Motorcycle Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton to determine whether a wrongful death action can be taken against the negligent driver.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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