Articles Posted in Premises Liability

One child dies every two weeks and one consumer is injured every 15 minutes when a piece of furniture or a television falls over onto them, according to the CPSC.

As we all know, children will climb anything to reach an item that they want. However, the results of children climbing on furniture and TVs can and end in tragedy.

According to a new CPSC study, when a television falls from an average size dresser, it can actually fall with the force of thousands of pounds. That is a dangerously hard blow for anyone to take, especially for a young child.

48373333_76a2ce362f_zResearchers with the CPSC conducted 38 drop tests simulating a tip-over of both cathode ray tube and flat screen TVs on top of furniture. Researchers concluded the following:

  • The impact energy is generally much greater for a CRT TV than a flat screen. However, both had forces that can cause serious injury on impact.
  • For acceleration of the TV, the impact was between 73 Gs and 240 Gs.
  • For CRT TVs, the impact force was up to 12,700 pounds of force.
  • For flat screen TVs, the force was up to 2,098 pounds of force.

With an impact force that matches thousands of pounds, no child can overpower falling TVs or furniture. Fortunately, the CPSC’s new “Anchor It” campaign demonstrates simple and low-cost steps that can prevent tip-over incidents.

The CPSC urges consumers to ponder four important questions before buying a new flat screen TV:

  • Where will the old TV be placed?
  • How will you secure the old TV in its new location?
  • Will the new TV be mounted?
  • How will you secure the TV if you are not mounting it?

A secured TV is mounted to the wall or anchored to furniture with straps, brackets, or braces to prevent the TV from sliding. Our Citrus County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge you to secure your TV’s properly to prevent a deadly accident. It is equally important to remember to keep items that might tempt kids to climb, like toys and remote controls, away from the top of the TV and furniture. Store these items out of sight or in a secure area.

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Around 125,000 bean bag chairs are now under recall by Comfort Research. The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued the recall due to the fact that children are at risk of suffocation and entrapment since the bean bag’s zipper can be opened, allowing children to crawl inside and potentially choke on the chair’s foam beads.

The polystyrene-filled bean bag chairs recalled feature a single zipper on a vinyl cover and measure about 88 to 98 inches in diameter. The following colors and patterns have been recalled: black, hot pink, lime, purple, royal blue, ruby red, and baseball, basketball, football and soccer ball. The bean bag’s have a cover seam with a tag sewn in that reads “Made By Comfort Research” and “100% Polystyrene.”

16031717726_708bb2efe6_zThe bean bag chairs were manufactured in U.S. and China by Comfort Research, LLC of Michigan. At this time, there are no known incidents or injuries related to the recall.

The recalled bean bag chairs sold for $30 to $40 at retailers such as Burlington Coat Factory, Kroger, Meijer and other retail stores nationwide and online at Amazon, Bean Bag Company, Groupon, Kohls, Target, Toys R Us, Walmart, Wayfair and other online retailers from January 2010 through October 2013.

Comfort Research and CPSC urge anyone who owns one of these bean bag chairs to take them away from children and call Comfort Research about how to restrict the zipper.

You can contact Comfort Research toll-free at 844-578-8933 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or online at and click on the Product Recall link for more information.

Bean bag chairs have a history of harming children. In the 90s, the CPSC received reports that 5 children died from suffocation inside bean bag chairs and another 27 were injured. That is why this recall is being taken so seriously. The recall in the 1990’s resulted in an industry investigation, which lead to 12 million bean bag chairs being taken off the market. More than a dozen manufacturers were involved in that specific recall effort.

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The holidays are usually when loved ones and family members come together to share great food and company. With the holidays in full swing, parties and celebrations are in abundance, and while these can be joyous occasions, there are many holiday hazards that can affect this special time of year, including personal injuries.

262810485_0497847bca_zOur team of Citrus County Personal Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have compiled a few tips on how to avoid the most common injuries that plague many household every year throughout the holiday season.

  • Candles can easily result in a burn injury or house fire. The best thing you can do when it comes to reducing your risk of a burn injury is to to substitute wax candles with battery-powered flameless candles. If you do make the choice to stick with real wax candles, make sure you do not leave them unattended when lit.
  • When cooking, wear fitted clothing so that your clothes have less chance of catching fire. Keep hot foods and liquids away from the edge of the counter. Children and pets can easily knock these items over, resulting in injury. Lastly, to decrease the risk of burn injuries and fire, never leave a hot stove or oven unattended.
  • Prepare yourself for an emergency by checking to make sure that your smoke detector is functioning and have a fire extinguisher nearby so that you can quickly and safely put out any fire.

Don’t Let Slips, Trips & Falls Ruin Your Festivities

  • Holiday decorations that use electrical cords and strings of lights can lead to slips, trips and falls. Avoid slip and falls and trips and falls in your home this holiday season by running wires and cords behind furniture or along the walls and securing them down.
  • Secure rugs inside your home by placing adhesive backings onto them so that they stay grounded to the floor.

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A Citrus County teenager drowned last week while diving with friends off the Hernando County coast.

According to investigators, the teen and his friends were about 17 miles off the coast when he dove in the water and never came back up for air.

P1160879His friends were able to locate him quickly and performed CPR, but it was too late. The teen was pronounced dead a short time later at Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center.

According to officials, autopsy results are pending, but foul play is not suspected.

Diving and drowning accidents occur every year in Florida communities. According to a US Coast Guard study, more than 4,500 boating accidents occur each year. In 2012, nearly 20 percent of these accidents resulted in fatalities. Drowning is in fact a leading cause of death from boating accidents in the open water, and diving only increases these risks. If you or someone you love has suffered from a diving, near-drowning or drowning accident, you should seek legal help immediately so that you can understand what steps need to be taken to protect your rights.

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The Fourth of July is almost here, and if one thing is for sure, it’s that Citrus County residents know how to throw an Independence Day bash. From backyard barbeques to parades to the Patriotic Evening in Inverness and the Independence Day Fireworks Display in Crystal River, there are parties, events, and commemorations galore in Citrus County to celebrate our nation’s birthday. But, with fun festivities there can also be dangers, which is why it is important to behave responsibly. While this is an enjoyable time of year for people of all ages, caution needs to be taken and attention to safety should be a high priority, especially around fireworks.

Fireworks displays can be beautiful and a very entertaining way to celebrate the holiday, however, it should be noted that these are not toys and should be handled appropriately. Too many people forget to remember that fireworks are in fact explosive devices that can result in serious personal injury if not handled correctly. While any one can be harmed in a fireworks accident, children are particularly at risk for serious burns or facial injuries as they are not mentally mature enough to recognize the risks associated with these explosives.

fireworks betchFireworks accidents are not uncommon. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200 people go to the emergency room every day in the month July each year with fireworks-related injuries. The most injured area of the body from fireworks accidents are the hands and fingers with 41 percent of injuries. It should be noted that this is usually the body part that comes into contact first with the firework, so if a person fails to pull away from the firework soon enough after lighting it or picks up a firework that is still lit, this area of the body is easily susceptible to injury. The next most injured areas of the body are the head, face and ears totaling 19 percent of injuries, the torso at 15 percent, legs at 13 percent, eyes at 12 percent and arms at 1 percent.

The type of fireworks used can also contribute to how serious the injury is. Sparklers reportedly cause 12 percent of all fireworks injuries whereas general firecrackers cause 23 percent of injuries. While many people think sparklers are harmless, keep in mind that these burn at average temperatures of 2000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt certain metals. With that said, no matter what types of fireworks are being used, understand that these are explosives that can harm you and those around you when not handled properly.

The good news is that fireworks injuries are entirely preventable. By following safety procedures and understanding that these explosive devices must be handled with care, many personal injuries can be avoided. Children should never be allowed to play with or ignite fireworks. Educate the young people around you about the dangers of fireworks and why they are not toys. Do not try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. While the firework could be a dud, it may just be slow to light off and could go off as soon as you touch it. The best thing to do in this scenario is to douse the firework with water.

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Officials are currently looking for a small dog that bit a woman Thursday in Beverly Hills.

The incident apparently occurred around 7 a.m. in the area of New Florida, California and Pennsylvania in Beverly Hills.

The dog has been described as a small black and white Shih Tzu-type dog. The woman who was attacked by the dog claims it is walked daily between 6:45-7:30 a.m. by a woman with another white Shih Tzu and a man in a motorized wheelchair.

shih tzuThe woman said the owner of the dog told her the pet was current on rabies vaccinations, but did not provide her with any veterinarian information so that she could follow up.

Anyone with information on this dog’s whereabouts is asked to call 352-746-8400 immediately. If the animal is not located, the woman will likely have to undergo a series of rabies shots.

Dog bites can lead to nerve damage and scars, which can be quite painful. On top of this, victims may suffer infections, including rabies. In these cases, the victim of the attack has the right to seek financial compensation for damages from the dog owner.

The main problem following a dog bite is simple infection. The saliva in dogs is known to contain many forms of bacteria. This bacterium or other pathogens shows up in about 85 percent of dog bite cases, according to recent studies. An estimated 4.5 million dog bites occur every year in the United States, and around 1 percent of these bites require hospitalization.

While rare, dog bites can result in rabies, which is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system. Rabies is a virus that can be found in all warm-blooded animals. When a person is bit by an animal, there is always a chance that rabies exists. While the incidence of rabies in humans is low, there are more than 30,000 people in the U.S. that undergo treatment for possible exposure to rabies every year. When rabies is left untreated, death is imminent.

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It is officially boating season and this week is National Safe Boating Week. What better way to kick off the start of boating season then to spend some time floating on Citrus County’s amazing waterways.

To help you and your family get in the mood for some H20 fun, check out these safety tips designed for preventing boating injuries:

  1. Never drink and boat! Drinking while boating can significantly increase the odds that you’ll be injured. In fact, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, boating under the influence increases the odds of a boating fatality by 34 percent. Also, it is against the law.

The National Safety Council publishes a report called Injury Facts every year that gathers safety data from across the United States. This year’s report, released at the end of March,  showed some startling trends. The data, which looks at up to and including the year 2012, indicates that Americans face many safety hazards where they may not expect them.

texting driverCell phone use among drivers is still a serious risk, despite increasingly strict traffic laws. The NSC report shows that cell phones play a role in 26 percent of all motor vehicle accidents, which is an increase from the previous year. Of these accidents, nearly 5 percent involved texting and another 21 percent involved the use of hands-free or handheld phones while driving. While car accidents are still the leading cause of deaths amongst teens, the number of teens killed in crashes has decreased. In 2012, the highest rate of auto accidents occurred in July, while the lowest rate occurred in February. Furthermore, the three days surrounding New Year’s Day revealed the highest rate of alcohol-related collisions.

According to the NSC, poisonings were the leading cause of death in 18 states. This includes cases of accidental poisoning due to prescription painkiller overdoses. The state of Florida ranks 10th highest in the country for drug poisoning deaths involving painkiller overdoses.

Fall injuries among senior citizens across the U.S. are also on the rise. The NSC report concludes that the number of falls  has increased 112 percent since 1999. Unintentional injuries, including falls,  are costing more than $790 billion annually across the U.S.

In regards to workplace injuries, harm suffered to the head or central nervous system are the most costly workers’ compensation claims.

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A young Illinois man died from a broken neck Sunday after he fell from the back of a golf cart , reminding us that golf carts can be very dangerous.

The 20-year-old was found by police around midnight after falling out of golf cart. The driver of the cart and two other passengers were not injured, but police believe alcohol may have been played a role in the accident.

golf cartThis brings up two issues – the fact that golf cart accidents, just like other vehicle accidents, can lead to injuries and death, and that they can also lead to lawsuits.

Just like with auto accidents involving cars, trucks and SUVs, you do not have to be driving a golf cart to be killed or sustain a serious injury. Once a thorough investigation is conducted, the negligent parties involved in this incident could be held legally liable for damages regarding this man’s death.

For those who have been injured or lost someone close to them in a golf cart accident in Citrus County, a personal injury or wrongful death claim can seek the same damages you can obtain for a motor vehicle collision, including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

A variety of factors can determine if you may be able to file a golf cart personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, including the following:

Who was driving the golf cart when the accident occurred? Just like auto accidents, the driver in a golf cart collision is likely the liable party when it comes to injuries suffered by a passenger.

Who is the owner of the golf cart? If a golf course, country club or individual owns the cart and they failed to properly maintain the vehicle, it can be argued that they are legally liable for damages due to their negligence.

Who is the property owner of the accident site? If a golf cart accident takes place on private grounds, this opens the door to a potential premises liability claim. Most golf courses are on private land.

Were alcohol and/or drugs to blame for the crash? If it is found that an intoxicated golf cart driver is to blame for a crash, then whoever served him or her alcohol could potentially be at fault under Florida’s Dram Shop Liability Laws.

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A new Clinical Pediatrics study shows that shopping cart injuries are on the rise, sending more than 24,000 children under the age of 15 to hospital emergency rooms every year.

This translates to 66 children per day suffering injuries due to shopping carts.

The new study highlights the number of shopping cart-related head injuries that have continued to increase, leaving researchers to believe that the current voluntary standards for shopping cart safety are not adequate.

The study shows that the number of concussions and closed head injuries are on the rise.

Shopping cart injuries are on the rise, sending more than 24,000 children under the age of 15 to hospital emergency rooms every year.

Shopping cart injuries are on the rise, sending more than 24,000 children under the age of 15 to hospital emergency rooms every year.

While falls from a shopping cart accounted for the most common cause of injury, the head was the most commonly injured part of the body, representing 78.1 percent of injuries. Over the course of the study period, soft tissue injury was the most common kind of head injury. However, the number of concussions and internal head injuries rose consistently between 1990 and 2011, increasing from 3,483 injuries to 12,333 injuries.

The Clinical Pediatrics study suggests that the current safety standards for shopping carts are not enough to protect kids from injuries. As it exists now, shopping cart safety standards are voluntarily implemented by manufacturers. While certain safety changes were made in 2004, the number of injuries has not declined, but has actually had an opposite effect.

According to the study, the most common shopping cart injuries happen when:

Kids fall out of the shopping cart – accounting for 70 percent of all injuries

Children run into or fall over the cart – accounting for 8 percent of all injuries

A shopping cart is tipped over – accounting for 6 percent of all injuries

Kids become trapped in the shopping cart – accounting for 6 percent of all injuries

The study’s researchers point out that while parents should always keep an eye on their children while in a store using a shopping cart, slight modifications to a cart’s design could protect kids from such dangerous injuries. Small things, like placing the child seat closer to the ground to avoid high falls and shopping cart safety belts could result in fewer injuries.

If your child has suffered a shopping cart-related injury, there are certain steps you can take. Under premises liability laws, store owners have a duty to make sure their store is relatively safe for all customers. This includes a responsibility to ensure their shopping carts are safe for use. In addition to the store owner, the shopping cart manufacturer could be liable for injuries if the cart was in any way defective. Defects can include errors in the manufacturing process, flaws in the shopping cart’s design or even ineffective warning labels that fail to highlight the cart’s risks.

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