Articles Posted in Insurance

We all are aware that driving is a task that requires 100-percent of our concentration. Anything less and you risk being involved in a serious accident. Sadly, very few people follow this unwritten rule.

Whether it be texting and driving or driving drunk, new figures show that 87 percent of all drivers have admitted to risky behaviors while behind the wheel. The study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers are constantly distracted by technology, the lack of sleep or drugs and alcohol.

AAA broke down the study into different categories researchers considered to be unsafe behaviors: Distracted Driving, Drowsy Driving, Impaired Driving, Red-Light Running, Seat Belt Use, and Speeding.

According to the study that polled nearly 2,500 licensed drivers, most drivers think distracted driving is a bigger problem today than it was three years ago. Still, more than 2 in 5 drivers admitted to reading a text message or an email while driving in the past 30 days.

Nearly 70 percent of the drivers reported talking on a cell phone while driving.

Impaired driving was found also found to be quite prevalent among the drivers polled. More than 1 in 8 drivers admitted to getting behind the wheel when their alcohol level may have been near or above the legal limit.

Drunk driving crashes cost the country more than $50 billion each year.

Our Citrus County Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton hope this research influences drivers to eliminate their risky behaviors while behind the wheel. Not only will this save you money and the headaches associated with any legal action, but it could also save your life.

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Toyota issued a statement on Thursday regarding a recall for 2.9 million sports utility vehicles, including more than 1.1 million in the U.S., because of seat belts that might fail in a crash.

The recall covers RAV4 SUVS from the 2005 through 2014 model years, the RAV4 electric vehicle from 2012 through 2014, sold in North America, and the Vanguard sold in Japan from 2005-2016, the Japanese automaker said.

According to Toyota, it is possible that the belts in both second-row window seats could come in contact with a metal seat cushion frame in a severe frontal crash. If that happens, the belts could be cut and would not restrain passengers.

The company said it will add plastic covers to the metal frame at no cost to customers.

The recall also affects 625,000 vehicles in Europe, 434,000 vehicles in China and 177,000 in Japan.

It is universally known that the use of seat belts saves many lives each and every day. In fact, according to a study by James Madison University, when properly used, safety belts reduce the number of serious traffic injuries by 50 percent and fatalities by 60-70 percent.

And while the benefits of seat belts are undeniable, a defective seat belt can lead to disastrous consequences. If a person is involved in an accident with a flawed seat belt, and that belt fails at the moment of impact, serious injuries, including death, can occur. Sadly, seat belt defects are all too common, as this recall highlights.

Accidents involving defective seat belts can lead to various injuries, including bruises, lacerations, broken and fractured bones, brain injuries and wrongful death. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident, and you have reason to believe that a defective seat belt may have contributed to the injuries, you may have a legal right to financial compensation for the harm suffered. With that said, it is crucial that you explore all of your legal options as soon as possible as there are limitations placed on how long you have to pursue your legal rights.

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A 69-year-old Citrus County man was killed Wednesday when he was run over by his own truck, according to authorities.

The Homosassa Springs man was driving his 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 southbound on South Corbett Avenue just north of West Justice Court, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

At 12:23 a.m., for some reason, the man apparently got out of his vehicle while it was still in gear.

The truck then rolled backward and into the man.

Troopers said the man suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene.

A car accident can be one of the most traumatic events a person will ever experience. It can be a very confusing and emotional time for the injury victim and family members, especially if serious injuries or death are involved. The injuries sustained often require hospitalization and months of rehabilitation, which often results in hefty medical bills and lost income. If death is involved, surviving family members are forced to face many hardships, like funeral costs, emotional pain and suffering and financial strains. Recovering from a car accident is not just a financial burden, but an emotional challenge as well.

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A Dunnellon man was killed early Sunday morning in a single-vehicle crash in Crystal River.

The crash occurred at 12:29 a.m. on North Citrus Avenue near the intersection of West Red Valley Court.

Troopers believe the 47-year-old man was driving a 1990 GMC pickup truck north on North Citrus Avenue when, for unknown reasons, he left the road and drove onto the west shoulder.

The pickup truck overturned, and the man, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the truck, according to reports.

The man died from his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

States began enacting seat belt laws in 1985 requiring drivers and passengers to buckle up. While these laws were controversial at first, seat belt use has been increasing ever since. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as of 2012, the use of seat belts reached 86 percent.

Nonetheless, the National Safety Council claims some types of people are less likely than others to wear seat belts, including teenagers, commercial driver’s, men residing in rural areas, truck drivers, people driving at night and drunk drivers.

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Road construction is now underway in downtown Inverness, which can lead to some serious construction accidents.

The plan is to resurface State Road 44 between Highland Boulevard and Cherry Avenue, but drainage improvements must be made before any actual work can be done.

According to state transportation officials, all the work should wrap up by the summer of 2016 and that the resurfacing work will be done at night.

With construction starting up, it is important to touch on construction accidents and defects, like what you should do if you fall into an open pit or trench. A construction site accident can be extremely serious, and may cause permanent disability, loss of a limb, head injury, fractured or broken bones, amputation, scarring, and in the worst cases, wrongful death. These accidents usually result in hefty medical bills, and there may even be a long period of disability and lost wages, which can have a devastating impact on your finances. While worker’s compensation may pay for some of the medical bills and lost earnings, worker’s compensation will not fairly compensate an injured worker for permanent losses and disability stemming from a serious construction accident.

Common Types of Construction Site Accidents:

  • Highway construction accidents
  • Wrongful death
  • Roadway safety defects
  • Crane accidents
  • Anchor bolt failures
  • Scaffold accidents
  • Falls into unprotected holes
  • Safety code violations
  • Explosions
  • Improper site design or inspection
  • OSHA violations
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Slips and falls
  • Trip and falls
  • Open pits or trenches
  • Burns
  • Heavy equipment failures
  • Unprotected holes
  • Pedestrian construction accidents

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This Saturday, October 10, 2015, is National Motorcycle Ride Day. This is a day that is important for several reasons. While any Saturday in Florida is a great day to go out for a ride, the actual purpose of National Motorcycle Ride Day is to:

  • Unite all motorcyclists for a day solely dedicated to riding. While Florida does not technically have a motorcycle season due to our general year-round temperate climate, late fall and winter is approaching in other areas of the country, which means it is time to put the bikes away. However, the fun is not over just yet. National Motorcycle Ride Day is a day of celebration and adventure for all bikers, regardless of their experience or the type of motorcycle they own.
  • Support the motorcycle industry. John Dunlop developed the first practical pneumatic tire in October 1887, which was a significant step in making modern day motorcycles. Because of this, the date of National Motorcycle Ride Day was chosen to honor Mr. Dunlop and to encourage bikers everywhere to support the local motorcycle industry.

National Motorcycle Ride Day will continue to be celebrated annually on the second Saturday of October through at least 2020 for now. From all of us at Whittel & Melton, we hope that you have an enjoyable motorcycle ride this year and keep safety a top priority.

If you plan on riding your motorcycle on Saturday, or any other day, here are a few tips from the to keep in mind while out on the road:

  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.
  • Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed.
  • Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn.
  • Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
  • Ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers.
  • Never ride distracted or impaired.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued a press release announcing a commitment from 10 different auto manufacturers to include automatic emergency braking (AEB) on all new vehicles.

At first, AEB was only going to be optional or standard on more expensive car models, but due to pressure from the NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, this feature will be standard on all new cars from Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

Automatic Emergency Braking is a technology that is helpful in preventing rear-end collisions. It essentially works by warning the driving to apply the brakes when they either fail to apply the brakes or do not apply the brakes sufficiently enough. The system utilizes onboard sensors including radar, cameras and lasers to detect the possibility of a rear-end crash.

Since most motor vehicle crashes, especially rear-end collisions, are due to driver error, this system could potentially create a drastic reduction in certain types of wrecks. Studies have shown that AEB technology can reduce insurance injury claims by as much as 35 percent.

In addition to the AEB initiative, the NHTSA has also been working to further the development of advanced safety technologies, like vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2V) and autonomous driving capabilities.

The IIHS and the NHTSA will make an announcement when car shoppers can expect to see AEB systems on all new cars.

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A wrong-way driver was killed in a crash that seriously injured another driver Saturday night in Inverness, according to reports.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the wrong-way driver, a 76-year-old Dunnellon man, was driving a 2001 Nissan Xterra east in the inside westbound lane of State Road 44 around 11:30 p.m.

The Nissan collided with a Chevrolet Cruz travelling westbound after crossing Kensington Avenue.  

The wrong-way driver was killed on impact and pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Chevy Cruz, a 44-year-old Homosassa man, was taken to Ocala Regional Hospital with serious injuries.

Drivers who cause accidents by driving the wrong way place other drivers sharing the road or highway in terrifying situations. When wrong way drivers speed they leave other drivers with very limited options to avoid a severe accident that causes critical or fatal injuries.

Our Citrus County Auto Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help those in Inverness and the surrounding areas that have been injured by wrong way drivers. We can pursue maximum financial compensation from all sources of insurance coverage, including the other driver’s policy, your own policy and the liability of third parties when applicable. When your injuries are serious, every single dollar will be needed to cover medical bills, lost income and future medical care needs.

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A Beverly Hills woman was killed in a crash on County Road 491 in the Pine Ridge-Beverly Hills area Friday night.

According to authorities, the 54-year-old woman was a passenger in a 1999 Dodge Intrepid being driven by a 50-year-old Lecanto man around 8:40 p.m.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the man was heading north on CR 491, north of Hampshire Boulevard, when he lost control of the car, traveled onto the east shoulder and over-corrected. The car rotated back across the road and traveled into the southbound lane, where it crashed into a 2012 Toyota Rav4.

The woman was taken to Citrus Memorial Hospital, where she later died. The driver was taken to another hospital with serious injuries.

2708402741_e5f2071f91_zAn adult and child in the Rav4 suffered serious injuries. The driver of the Rav4 and another passenger had minor injuries.

When drivers feel their vehicles slipping out of control, they will often panic as they sense danger. The problem with this response is that it triggers an almost involuntary physical reaction that places drivers and passengers at an even greater risk than the reason for the correction.

Instead of letting instincts take over, drivers must try to remain calm and not allow their reflexes to place them in greater danger. Drivers should try to do the following:

  • Attempt to gradually slow down, even if it means driving on the shoulder for a period of time.
  • Steer into skids caused by slippery roads
  • Don’t hit the brakes as this can cause the car to rollover

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A Citrus Springs man died from injuries he suffered after his motorcycle was rear-ended earlier this month, according to troopers.

The crash occurred at 8:33 p.m. on W. Country Club Boulevard at the intersection with N. Deltona Boulevard.

The 78-year-old biker was stopped at a stop sign on West Country Club Boulevard when a 2003 Infiniti G35 hit the rear of his 2009 Suzuki motorcycle, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The man was taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center, where he died from his injuries.

15849242659_110cf9957a_zAccording to troopers, charges are pending.

A rear-end crash can be especially traumatic for motorcyclists, who lack the protections that driver and passengers have inside a car, SUV or a truck. In many motorcycle accidents, insurance companies will try to argue that the motorcycle rider was at least partially at fault. Sadly, motorcyclists are stereotyped as people who are careless and reckless, when that is certainly not accurate in all situations.

A rear-end accident, in most cases, is entirely the fault of the driver who rear-ends the motorcycle. A driver who causes such an accident may be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, texting while driving, or distracted by something else. Even if the facts clearly display the biker was not at fault, the victim or the victim’s family may need a legal advocate who can negotiate a fair settlement or take the case to trial if need be.

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