Articles Posted in Inverness

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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Tens of millions of Americans travel over the long Thanksgiving weekend to spend time with family and friends –  nearly 51 million are expected to travel 50 or miles from home this year, AAA estimates.

All of the extra traveling and other activities at Thanksgiving lead to a higher number of cooking and car accidents. According to The American Red Cross, the additional cooking duties over Thanksgiving leads to a higher number of house fires. On a similar note, a higher number of travelers on the highways cause more traffic accidents. The National Safety Council estimates that 407 fatal traffic accidents occurred around the Thanksgiving holiday from 2008-2013.

Our Citrus County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you to have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving. To ensure that you and your loved ones stay safe over this holiday weekend, please consider the following simple tips.

FOR TRAVELING SAFELY

  • Anyone travelling in a vehicle should wear their seat belts.
  • Never drink and drive.
  • Do not drive tired.
  • Do not use your cell phone when driving for any period of time.
  • Do not speed.
  • Drive slowly in work zones and use extra caution.
  • On long trips, make sure that you rotate drivers every two or three hours.
  • Do not tailgate. It will not get you to your destination any faster, and it may cause a serious accident.
  • Turn on headlights when it starts to get dark and when you have to use your windshield wipers.

FOR COOKING SAFELY

  • Thanksgiving Day is the annual peak for home cooking fires. There were 1,760 home cooking fires in 2015 reported to U.S. fire departments.
  • Cooks should not wear loose clothing around the stove.
  • Use a timer to remind you that the stove is on.
  • Keep your pets and small children away from cooking areas.
  • Check that all smoke alarms are functioning.
  • Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen for an emergency.

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Two people were killed Tuesday night in a motorcycle crash in Lecanto.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 48-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman were killed when their 2008 Kawasaki motorcycle collided with a Chevrolet S10.

The crash happened on Homosassa Trail near West Granton Lane just before 7 p.m.

Troopers said a 72-year-old Lecanto woman was driving the Chevrolet northbound on Homosassa Trail and attempted a left turn onto Granton Lane as the Kawasaki was traveling southbound on Homosassa Trail.

The Chevy and motorcycle collided, ejecting the pair on the motorcycle. They both died at the scene.

The crash remains under investigation.

Motorcycle crashes usually result in very serious injuries, and sometimes death, to the driver and any passengers. These crashes usually happen because of a negligent car driver who was not aware a biker was on the roadway. In most motorcycle crash accidents, car drivers are distracted, inattentive, or careless behind the wheel and fail to take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe roadway for motorcyclists.

A car provides some sort of protection against injury in the event of a crash, whereas motorcyclists do not share this  luxury of protection. Because of this, the worst injuries are usually suffered by the motorcyclist and any passengers.

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Serious car accidents involving pedestrians are much more likely to occur on Halloween than other days due to a combination of increased pedestrian traffic, alcohol use and nighttime activities.

According to the NHTSA’s Halloween statistics:

  • 50% of pedestrians die from a drunk driving accident (33% on an average day).
  • 28% of crash victim fatalities are pedestrians (14% on an average day).
  • Approximately 20% of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween involve a drunk driver.
  • More than 50% of pedestrian fatalities occur between 4pm and midnight.

Our Citrus County Auto Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge both drivers and pedestrians to pay attention to what’s around you, particularly when going through intersections or crossing the street. Pedestrians should cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Always look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Put your electronic devices away and keep your head up and walk, don’t run, across the street.

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A 24-year-old pedestrian was killed in a hit and run Friday night in Citrus County.

The crash occurred around 10:20 p.m. at W. Southern Street and S. Fairlane Terrace.

Troopers said the woman was walking along the outer roadway edge, eastbound in the westbound lane along West Southern Street.

A vehicle traveling westbound on W. Southern St. struck the pedestrian and fled the scene, according to reports.  

The woman was airlifted to an area hospital and later died from her injuries.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Florida Highway Patrol at 813-631-4020.

If someone you love has been killed in a pedestrian or hit and run accident, you may not know where to turn next. Our Citrus County Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton work hard to protect the rights of pedestrians in hit and run accidents. We are ready to help you understand your options today.

One of the major concerns in hit and run and pedestrian accidents is insurance coverage. Most of these cases involve a pedestrian who has been struck by a negligent party without insurance coverage.

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A motorcyclist was killed Sunday night in Citrus County after troopers said the motorcycle overturned and was hit by an oncoming vehicle.

The crash occurred around 8 p.m. at US 19 and West Bentbow Path.

The 47-year-old was traveling southbound on US 19 on his bike, when for an unknown reason, he stopped in the roadway and the motorcycle fell over on his leg. Troopers said a GMC Acadia traveling behind the man was unable to avoid the overturned motorcycle and collided with him.

The man suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Acadia and his passenger did not receive any injuries.

According to the report, charges are pending.

As motorcycle riders share the roads with other motorists, collisions and wrecks are all too common. In many cases, the motorcyclist is not at fault and the other driver is liable for the crash and the biker’s injuries.

Our Citrus County Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton handle personal injury claims and wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of injured bikers and their families. We can help you aggressively pursue financial compensation for injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents caused by another driver’s carelessness.

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A murder charge has been filed against the 27-year-old man accused of killing a Citrus County woman during a hit-and-run crash in Sumter County.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the 27-year-old man was speeding away from police after a traffic stop in Wildwood Tuesday afternoon when he was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving a death, providing false information, felony murder, driving with a revoked license, as well as fleeing and eluding.

After the crash, investigators found an AK-47 rifle in the car.

He was also charged with felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Troopers also said they’re still looking for the second person who ran away from the scene that was riding in the car with the man, when the deadly crash took place at the intersection of State Road 44 and County Anyone with information about this case, including the whereabouts of the second person in the car, is asked to call the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office or the Florida Highway Patrol.

Any type of accidental death may qualify as a wrongful death — this includes car accidents caused by an unsafe driver, as is the case for this particular incident. A negligent or careless driver can be found criminally responsible for your loved one’s death, and you can also seek damages in what is called a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action unrelated to any criminal charges, which is brought by the decedent’s surviving family to collect financial compensation for damages, such as funeral expenses, loss of companionship, etc.

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