Articles Posted in Premises Liability

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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Road construction is officially underway in downtown Inverness, which is causing headaches for many drivers.

The plan is to resurface State Road 44 between Highland Boulevard and Cherry Avenue. Before that can happen, drainage improvements must be made.

State transportation officials say all the work should wrap up by the summer of 2016 and that the resurfacing work will be done at night. The cost of the project is about $1.8 million.

Speed and driver distractions are the main factors involved in traffic accidents occurring in road construction areas. When drivers fail to take note of reduced speed limits or the redirected flow of traffic, collisions involving traumatic injuries can easily occur due to the sheer fact that there is nothing a motorist can do to avoid the collision in the work zone.

Our Citrus County Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are very familiar with the dangers construction zones pose to motorists. Depending on the nature of the accident, a legal claim for damages may be pursued against various parties who may be responsible for the accident including:

  • Driver of the at-fault vehicle
  • Local governmental entities
  • Construction companies
  • Safety inspection companies

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While we all know that it is very unsafe to text and drive, distracted walking is on the rise and reports show that pedestrians who text are to blame.

According to Ohio State University researchers, using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the number of cell-phone-related walking injuries more than doubled to 1,500 from 2005 to 2010.  

In 2012, University of Washington researchers studied more than 1,100 pedestrians at 20 Seattle intersections and found that about a third of the people were walking distractedly – meaning they were walking while talking, listening to music, or typing an email.

Likewise, the Georgia Department of Transportation studied 20 busy intersections throughout Georgia and found that nearly half of pedestrians were distracted while crossing the street. Electronics accounted for most of the lack of focus, with 26 percent of people wearing headphones, 15 percent texting, and 13 percent talking on the phone. Another six percent engaged in multiple distractions, such as texting and listening to music.

The researchers from all of the studies above found that distracted walkers took one to two seconds longer to cross the street and they also failed to look both ways before they leapt into the roadway with oncoming traffic.

Walking can be a great form of exercise, but certainly not when it results in injury. Something you might not know is that walking is not as healthy when done in conjunction with a phone. Pedestrians who walked with their cell phones experienced less of the health benefits of walking, according to Australian researchers. Focusing on a cell phone changes your gait and makes it difficult to walk straight.

According to Pew Research Center data from 2014, more than half of all adult cell phone users have bumped into something or someone due to distracted walking. That rate increased to 71 percent for 18- to 24-year-olds.

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A 2-year-old boy was found dead Friday after he drowned in a pond in the backyard of a Dunnellon home.

According to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, the boy’s mother and her boyfriend were outside around 1:30 p.m. at a home on W. Dunedin Road when the toddler walked away and wandered into the backyard.

The couple noticed the boy was missing and went to look for him. They found him floating in the pond in the backyard.

Once officials arrived at the scene, they performed CPR on the boy. He was transported to Seven Rivers Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

5517512071_e66e7722e7_zDeputies are still investigating the incident, but said nothing appears suspicious at this time.

This tragic event is one that could easily have been avoided. Young children are especially vulnerable to the danger of drowning. In fact, statistics show that 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. Infant and toddler drowning deaths throughout the state of Florida and the United States are increasingly common, so it is very important that all children be accompanied by an adult when they are near a body of water.

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The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission recently issued a press release regarding the $1.825 million civil penalty facing major appliance manufacturer LG.

According to the CPSC, LG Electronics Tianjin Appliance Co., Ltd., and LG Electronics USA Inc., agreed to pay a maximum of $1,825,000 civil penalty in association with a failure to report defects in certain dehumidifier models.

The CPSC alleges that LG intentionally failed to report a defect and an unreasonable risk of serious injury with several models of dehumidifiers, even though it is required by federal law. These defective dehumidifiers caused fires and resulted in millions of dollars worth of damage.

The CPSC claims that certain LG model dehumidifiers were manufactured with defective fans. The defective fans 8424100963_ff79994001_mcaused the machines to overheat, smoke, melt or catch fire. The CPSC warns that these dehumidifiers pose a serious fire and burn hazard risks to consumers.

Under federal law, LG should have reported this defect to the CPSC immediately, but did not. Reports indicate that LG was receiving complaints about the faulty machines as early as 2003, but a recall was not initiated until 2012. During this time period, there was more than $7 million worth of property damage and injury expenses to consumers.

Many of these flawed dehumidifiers were also sold under the Kenmore brand name.

On top of the $1.8 million civil penalty, LG has also agreed to maintain a compliance program designed to increase safety for consumers. The compliance program must address the following:

  • Confidential employee reporting of compliance concerns to a senior manager with authority to act
  • Effective communication of compliance policies and procedures, including training
  • Senior management and responsibility for, and general board oversight of, compliance
  • Requirements for record retention

Manufacturers are required by law to make sure their products are safe for consumers. When these products are not safe, manufacturers also have a duty to report any and all defects. This includes initiating recalls to protect consumers from known hazardous and defective products.

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A group of Citrus County deputies have been declared heroes after they saved a little boy who almost died in a family pool.

173587681_fb272e2cd1_zReports indicate that deputies were called to a Crystal River home July 4th weekend to help revive a 4-year-old boy who ended up in the family pool. The family was able to pull the boy out, but he didn’t have a pulse.

One of the deputies started doing CPR, and the boy got a pulse back as other deputies arrived. They eventually got him coughing and breathing again.

The boy spent the night in a local hospital and was released the next day.

Near drowning injuries can be devastating for a family. These accidents can cause serious injuries that can involve a lengthy recovery or permanent disability, both of which have a huge impact on the victim as well as the family.The consequences of a near drowning accident can affect the victim’s respiratory system, and being deprived of oxygen can result in mild to serious brain damage.

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More house fires occur over the Fourth of July weekend than at any other time during the year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Likewise, more burn injuries happen during this time as well. This Fourth of July, help protect the safety of those you love and your home and belongings by focusing on fireworks safety.

The NFPA recommends skipping backyard fireworks entirely and just attending a professional show. However, the National Council on Fireworks Safety says that it is possible to make backyard fireworks a fun and safe part of your Independance Day celebrations. If you are planning to set off fireworks on the Fourth, please keep these tips in mind:

  • Know the Laws. Review state and local laws about fireworks so you can ensure your display follows them. Consumers who do not possess a special permit for fireworks in Florida are only able to use fireworks that fall into the category known as “sparklers.” This includes items more commonly known as: Sparklers, Fountains, Snakes and Glow Worms. Make sure to read all the information on the packaging for the fireworks you purchase, and brush up on fireworks safety practices so you can better protect your home and loved ones. If you are not sure whether a particular firework is approved for consumer use, the Florida Fire Marshall publishes a full list of legal sparklers each year.
  • An Adult Should Always Supervise. A responsible adult should be supervising all activities that involve fireworks. Children should be kept at a safe distance from the place where fireworks will be lit, and another responsible adult or adults should be designated to supervise them.
  • Have a Plan Set in Place in Case of Emergency. Before you light off any type of fireworks, make sure you have a spot chosen that is clear and a good distance away from buildings, trees and other flammable items. Have a fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby before you begin lighting fireworks. It is also suggested to have a first aid kit and charged cell phone nearby as these items can become lifesavers in an emergency.

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The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the drowning of an 11-month-old boy.

The baby died in the bathtub at a home on Glen Acres Terrace in Homosassa.

According to reports, emergency responders were called to the home on Thursday. The boy was transported by air to a local hospital, where he died two days later.

No other details regarding the incident have been released at this time.

3140284252_684e873310_zMore than 43,000 children are hurt in bathtub accidents of some kind each year. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, children under a year old most often drown in bathtubs, buckets or toilets.

The following are CPSC statistics:

  • Children drowning in bathtubs account for almost two-thirds of the 459 reported drowning deaths in the home between the 4-year period between 1996 and 1999.
  • Most bathtub deaths occur when the caregiver is not present with the victim.
  • In at least 29 of the 292 bathtub drowning deaths reported to CPSC between 1996 and 1999, the victims were using bath seats.
  • In 222 of these cases, there was no adult supervision.

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Nursing home abuse can be hard to detect. If your loved one needs nursing home care, then you need to make sure you have some questions answered before you decide on a facility. This can be a tough choice since you obviously want the nursing home to provide your loved one with the type of care you would give them.

Your Checklist

The National Center on Elder Abuse lists eight facility criteria that relate to risk prevention in nursing homes. Based on this information, when you are visiting a facility, you will likely want to inquire about the following:

  1. The facility’s abuse prevention policy. While abuse is unpredictable, it is more likely to occur and to go unreported in nursing homes that lack formal policies.
  2. Staff training. Ask about how staff is trained and what the facility’s procedures for ongoing training are. Make sure that qualified trainers are being used for education.
  3. Pre-screening for staff before they are hired. Many nursing homes are in a hurry to fill vacant positions due to the needs of the facility. However, regardless of how busy the facility is, proper background checks must be performed before any staff is hired.
  4. 4528902198_5a83f53eaf_zObserve if the staff seemed stressed. Ask for a tour of the facility and watch not only the person showing you around, but also pay attention to the attitude and demeanor of other staff members.
  5. Observe the staff to patient ratio and ask about the turnover rate. A stable workplace may be safer than one that is always going through staffing changes.
  6. Do your research and review any complaints. If the facility has a history of complaints, this could be a concerning trend.
  7. The culture of the nursing home. Keep your eyes and ears open to everything. How do staff members talk to residents? How do residents respond to staff members? Is the care staff and managers present and aware of what is going on?
  8. Note the physical appearance of the nursing home. Observe if it is clean and bright or run down and outdated. Staff that takes pride in their place of business and management that puts money into the nursing home may be an important indicator.

Moreover, never be intimidated to ask about any specific concerns that you notice on a facility visit. You should also voice any and all concerns that you have based on your loved one’s physical or mental condition.

Understand that safety is not guaranteed anywhere. Appearances can be deceiving, and despite a nursing home not having any of the risk factors listed above, there may still be a nursing home worker who is negligent or abusive.

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall last week of Elmira Hydraulic residential hydraulic elevators last week after these products were sold with a significant defect – the elevator can actually operate while the gate door is open, posing a crushing hazard.

7197347554_833ca52c66_mThese elevators have been installed in many homes with multiple floors.

The distributor, Coastal Carolina Elevators, received three reports of incidents with the elevators, including a catastrophic brain injury to a 10-year-old boy from Baltimore, Maryland, according to reports.

Dangerous products manufactured and sold for use in home environments where young children are expected to be living and playing account for numerous deaths and injuries every year. Our Citrus County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge parents and caregivers to always be on the lookout for dangers in the home. It is very important to carefully inspect the operation of home appliances and products. Never assume that just because a product is made or sold in the United States that it is automatically safe. As this case demonstrates, the required safety standards are not always followed by manufacturers.

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