Articles Posted in Premises Liability


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.

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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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The Coast Guard is currently searching for a Floral City man who fell off a Carnival Victory cruise ship Wednesday morning in the Gulf of Mexico near Cuba.

Officials said the 23-year-old man went overboard from the eighth deck of the cruise ship around 3 a.m.

The ship was 33 miles northwest of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba.

The cruise ship and the Coast Guard have launched several searches for the man.

In a statement the Coast Guard said, “The ship’s command immediately began taking actions to turn the ship around and begin search and rescue operations.”

The cruise ship is based year round in Miami and was traveling between Key West and Cozumel on a four-day cruise.

Cruise ship accidents, injuries and deaths are handled differently than personal injury cases that occur on land. Because these happen at sea, different laws apply. Our Citrus County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know how dealing with unexpected catastrophes can be. It is imperative to think clearly in times of duress and understand your legal rights.

If you or a loved one has been harmed on a cruise and think that the cruise line is responsible, you need to act fast and retain legal help. Time is of the essence in these cases. It is best to act before time constraints keep you from making a legal claim.

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A water main break has lead to a portion of Truman Blvd in Beverly Hills to be closed until further notice.

Yesterday, Nov. 14, a water main break caused a huge hole in front of 11 Truman Blvd. A vehicle that had been stuck in the hole has since been removed.

Crews are stilling working to repair the hole and a detour has been put in place. Truman is shut down from S. Washington St. to S. Barbour St.

Officials are asking drivers to avoid this area.

Holes in the roadway can cause a variety of different damages to a vehicle, not to mention cause accidents that result in serious injuries. Typical damages to a vehicle include:

  • Tire blow outs
  • Under carriage damage
  • Fender damage
  • Cracked rim
  • Total loss of vehicle
  • Airbag deployment

Roads are supposed to be properly maintained so they are suitable for driving and free from defects, sinkholes, potholes, etc. Additionally, drivers should be warned when such dangers exist in order to minimize their exposure. Multiple parties can be at fault for any damage related to a hole in the road, and our Citrus County Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help with your claim. We can make sure you recover financial compensation for your damages.

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It is officially October and Halloween is just a few weeks away. While Halloween can be full of spooks and fun, the real nightmare of this holiday is the threat that it poses to trick-or-treaters. For those under the age of 18 years old, the risk of being fatally hit by a vehicle on Halloween, compared to any other day of the year, more than doubles.

The scary statistics for pedestrians on Halloween doesn’t end there. Studies show that the majority of the fatal traffic accidents involving pedestrians on Halloween occur between 6pm and 9pm. The hour between 6 and 7 is the deadliest. On that same note, less than 1 in 3 pedestrian accidents involving children on Halloween occur at intersections or crosswalks.

As you and your family get ready for Halloween fun this year, our Citrus County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to remind you of a few safety tips.

Halloween Safety for Children & Pedestrians

  • Make sure you and your trick-or-treaters always stay on the sidewalk or in designated pedestrian areas. If you must walk somewhere where there are no paths, make sure you walk facing oncoming traffic, as far away from traffic as possible.
  • Make sure your children know to be careful around parked cars and driveways, as vehicles could start moving at any time.
  • Before venturing out to trick-or-treat, make sure your crew understands how to safely cross the street – only cross at designated areas when you have the right-of-way and drivers see you.
  • Make sure an adult accompanies all children younger than 12 when trick-or-treating.
  • The fall means it gets dark earlier, so give children flashlights or glow sticks so they are visible, and they can see, as it gets dark. Another good idea is to apply reflective tape on their costumes and/or treat bags.

Halloween Safety for Drivers

  • Always keep a watch out  for children, especially when driving in residential areas and  around schools.
  • Try to remember to drive at least 5 mph slower in areas where there are children trick-or-treating and be prepared to step on the brakes at any time as kids can run into traffic at any time. Excitement levels are high on this night!
  • Don’t drive drunk or distracted. Stay alert!

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A summer without multiple trips to the pool just would not make sense. It’s hot in Florida, so cooling off poolside is a MUST!

With everything good, comes some bad, and unfortunately, pools can be danger zones for kids. Fortunately, the following safety tips can help you and your youngsters stay cool and safe.

Adult Supervision Is A Must!

Kids need to be monitored 24/7 by an adult anytime they are near water. Teenagers do not count, so make sure an adult is keeping an eye on the children. Turning your head, even just for a minute, could be disastrous. Practice the 10/20 rule: Check the pool every 10 seconds and make sure you are close enough to get to a child in distress within 20 seconds if needed.

Safety Devices Are Not Foolproof

Children can easily fall off pool floats and those “water wings” can puncture and deflate. Life jackets are best, but they should be replaced when they are torn or worn and no longer fit.

Make Sure Your Cell Phone Is Fully Charged & Close By

Having a phone handy could save a life if a medical emergency arises. On a side note, having your address posted in a spot that is easily accessible for guests can help should an emergency operator need it.

Kiddie Pools Should Be Emptied After Each Use

Small children can easily drown in shallow water. They lack the upper body strength to pull themselves up. If you leave a kiddie pool full of water in the backyard, or anywhere near the house, a child could fall in and drown.

Install A Fence And Gate Around Larger Pools

A fence with a gate makes it a lot harder for small children to gain access to the pool unsupervised. With that said, remove any stacked lawn chairs or anything that can be used to climb over the fence – children can be very resourceful!

Curb The Alcohol

Pool parties and barbecues usually involve alcohol. Excessive drinking can cause your focus to fall away from supervising little ones.

Limit the Horseplay

Leave those cannonballs and backflips to the professionals. Kids can easily get hurt playing around and diving and trying out crazy tricks.

If you or a loved one is injured in a swimming pool accident, our Citrus County Swimming Pool Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help.

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Summer is here, and our Citrus County ATV Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want to warn parents about the dangers of children riding adult ATVs.

During the 2015 Memorial Day holiday weekend, there were at least 13 deaths and an estimated 2,900 emergency room treated injuries associated with ATV usage, according to reports gathered by the CPSC. Reports for the six Memorial Day holiday weekends from 2009 to 2014 show a total of more than 114 ATV-related fatalities.

While these all terrain vehicles are fun to tool around on, the fact is that they can be quite dangerous when not handled properly. The CPSC has released the following safety tips to keep children safe this summer:

  • Do not allow children to ride ATVs that are meant for adults. Children under the age of 16 should only operate youth model ATVs appropriate for their age.
  • Do not let children younger than 6 on an ATV.
  • Make sure children wear a helmet and other protective gear that fits them right whenever they are on an ATV.

The following safety tips will keep children and adults safe while using ATVs:

  • Avoid travelling on paved roads.
  • Do not operate ATVs with a passenger or ride as a passenger.
  • Always wear a helmet and other protective gear, including eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Drive at a safe speed and exercise caution when turning and crossing slopes.

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A Homosassa man was killed early Sunday when he was hit by a car while walking along U.S.19.

The Florida Highway Patrol believes the 22-year-old was walking along the edge of the southbound lanes of U.S.19 at 2:15 a.m. when he was hit by a 1999 Ford Explorer.

According to troopers, the driver of the Explorer failed to stop at the scene of the crash. The owner of the Explorer surrendered the vehicle to the FHP on Sunday afternoon but no arrest has been made yet.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call FHP at 813-631-4020.

Car accidents can be absolutely devastating. Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when it is unexpected and unnecessary. After such a tragedy, it can help to know that someone is being held accountable, which is why hit-and-run accidents can be especially hard to deal with.  

Our Citrus County Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will fight to get you the financial compensation you deserve. In cases where a driver has fled the scene of an accident, we will exercise every effort to identify the at-fault party. What happens most often with these types of accidents is that a driver flees the scene if they were driving a stolen car, were drunk, had outstanding arrest warrants, lacked a valid driver’s license or legal status, or does not have insurance. Regardless, there is never a valid excuse to leave the scene after an accident has occurred.

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A Citrus County toddler drowned Saturday evening in Inverness.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office said the 14-month-old girl was found in a small pond adjacent to her home in the 6000 block of north Dawson Drive.

Deputies believe the child’s father was inside the home taking a nap when she wandered off.

After waking from a nap, he found the toddler in a small manmade pond just outside the opened front door.

When paramedics arrived, the father was trying to revive the girl. She was pronounced dead a short time later.

At this time, no charges have been filed. However, an investigation is ongoing.

This is a devastating tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with this child’s family right now. Accidental drownings like this occur every day across the United States, and sadly, most of these drownings can easily be avoided. Young children are especially vulnerable to the danger of drowning. In fact, one in four drowning victims are children under the age of 16. Parents, as well as pond and pool owners must take all necessary precautions to ensure child safety. With infant and toddler drowning deaths becoming increasingly more common, it is absolutely crucial that all children be accompanied by an adult when they are near any body of water.

Our Citrus County Swimming Pool & Drowning Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are quite familiar with the laws surrounding drowning, swimming, and other water accident cases. It can be difficult to prove negligence in drowning cases, but working with an experienced injury lawyer can result in establishing liability in these cases.

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With Halloween weekend quickly approaching, your Citrus County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want parents to be aware of some simple safety tips that will help prevent child injuries. Halloween is actually one of the top holidays that result in pediatric emergency room visits, which is why these tips are so important.

Children under the age of 12 should always be accompanied by an adult when Trick-or-Treating. If your children are old enough to go out by themselves, make sure they stick together in a group and travel on populated and familiar streets, making sure to stay on sidewalks, obey traffic signals and only cross the street at designated crosswalks.

It is also a good idea for children going out by themselves to have a cell phone in case of an emergency and a flashlight for increased visibility on dark streets and sidewalks. Pedestrian safety is very important on Halloween. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children are four times more likely to be in a pedestrian car accident on Halloween than on any other night of the year.

While costumes are essential for Halloween, parents should make sure their children’s costumes are flame-retardant, bright colored, or glows in the dark, or has reflective strips, and is the right length to prevent trips and falls. Accessories like swords, knives, and wands should be made of soft and flexible material without sharp edges to prevent serious injuries. Eye trauma from sharp objects and serious burn injuries from flammable costumes are common occurrences on Halloween, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Parents should consider using non-toxic, hypoallergenic face paint instead of masks for costumes. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision, which can be dangerous to kids walking along dark streets.

And finally, one of the most important safety tips concerning Halloween – do not allow your children to eat unwrapped candy. Parents should inspect children’s candy bags at the end of the night and throw any items that are not factory wrapped, unwrapped, look suspicious, or appear to be homemade.

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