Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

A 26-year-old Inverness man was killed early Monday in a motorcycle crash.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the biker was killed just before 2 a.m. in a crash on West Fort Island Trail in Crystal River.  

Troopers said the man was traveling westbound on his 2015 Yamaha motorcycle when he failed to negotiate a left curve in the roadway. The motorcycle traveled onto the grass shoulder and collided with a tree.

Authorities did confirm the man was wearing a helmet. He died at the scene.

Riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating, giving you a huge sense of freedom. They can also be very dangerous, often resulting in serious injuries and even death. The lack of protection motorcycles offer to riders leaves drivers exposed to their surroundings, so serious injuries from motorcycle accidents are a common occurrence.

There are many causes of motorcycle accidents, including negligent driving, traffic violations, speeding, and distracted driving. There are other factors that may be out of a driver’s control, such as wet roads, inclement weather, vehicle failures, and roadway defects.

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While you may think all children’s toys are safe, you’d be wrong. While there is some regulation on kid’s toys, there are many toys stocked on department store shelves that need to be avoided this year.

“World Against Toys Causing Harm” (WATCH) is non-profit organization that aims to educate the public about dangerous children’s products. Since 1973, WATCH has released their annual 10 Worst Toys list. The toys on this list have been labeled as having the highest potential to cause injuries or death to children.

Our Citrus County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are dedicated to making sure everyone knows about possible dangers, and that includes any hazardous products.

Please take a look at this year’s 10 worst toys list:

  1. Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddles Family: This toy is sold at Target and Amazon. It has earned its place on the WATCH list because some packaging reads that this product is OK for ages 2+ with no warnings for choking hazards, while other packaging says 3+ with a choking hazard warning. This is causing a higher potential for choking injuries.
  2. Kids Time Baby Children’s Elephant Pillow: This toy is sold on Amazon. It made the WATCH list because it has has no warnings on the product despite the fact that the website for the toy states the pillow should only be used by an infant if an adult is present. It has a suffocation hazard. This product is in violation of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act which states, “Infant pillow[s]” and “any other similar article[s]” which are “intended or promoted for use by children under one year of age” have been banned.
  3. Slimeball Slinger: This toy is sold at Toys R Us and Amazon. It made the WATCH list because the product says that the “ammunition” can be fired over 30 feet. Any objects travelling that far and fast can cause serious eye injuries. The warning on the product reads: “Never shoot at any person or animal…”
  4. Banzai Bump N’ Bounce Body Bumpers: This toy is sold at Walmart, Amazon, Ebay and Sears. It is on the WATCH list because children ages 4 and up are encouraged to wear these and run into each other, and in the picture, with no protection, despite the warning on the box that reads, “To avoid risk of serious injury or death: …This product does not provide protection. Impact hazard may present; protective equipment (for head, elbows, knees, hands, etc) should be worn (not included).”
  5. Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700 Blaster: This toy is sold at Walmart, Target, Amazon and Kmart. It is recommended for ages 14+ but has no safety warnings. This product is on the WATCH list because it encourages “precision battling” and “intense head-to head competition”. Eye injuries are a serious risk with this toy.
  6. The Good Dinosaur Galloping Butch: This toy is sold at Walmart, Amazon and Toys R US. This toy is on the WATCH list because the toy has a “hazard” for puncture wound injuries, therefore WATCH feels that there is a huge potential for these injuries.
  7. Peppy Pups: This toy is sold at Toys R US. It has no warnings on the packaging, however is on the WATCH list because of possible strangulation injuries. The industry’s standard for strings on crib toys is 12 inches. However since this product is 2+ the cord, which measures 31 inches is allowed.
  8. Flying Heroes Superman Launcher: This toy is sold at Toys R Us, Amazon, Walmart, Sears, Ebay and BigW. The warning on the packaging states, “Never aim at eyes or face”. This toy is on the WATCH list for the potential for eye and facial injuries.
  9. Baby Magic Feed and Play Baby: This toy is sold at Toys R Us, Amazon and Sears. It has no warning labels, however this toy is on the WATCH list for its potential for ingestion injuries. The interactive spoon is thin and hard and could constrict a child’s airway.
  10. Warcraft Doomhammer: This toy is sold at Toys R Us and Amazon. The warning label states, “Not suitable for children under 36 months, choking hazard.” This toy is on the WATCH list for the possible blunt impact injuries it could cause, as 6-year-olds are encouraged to use the heavy rigid hammer based off of weaponry in the “Warcraft” movie.

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Thanksgiving is a very happy holiday for most, but on the flip side – it is also one of the deadliest. Across the United States, the fatal traffic accident death rate increases each year over the four-day holiday weekend.

According to the NHTSA, almost half of the traffic fatalities that happen on Thanksgiving involve alcohol. In 2012, there were reportedly 764 fatalities. Around 40 percent of passengers killed during the Thanksgiving holiday were involved in collisions with drunk drivers. Another 60 percent of passengers were not wearing their seat belts. There were another 50,000 non-fatal car crashes over the holiday as well.

AAA has estimated that 46.9 million Americans will travel fifty or more miles from their home for this 2016 holiday – Wednesday 23-Sunday 29. This is a 0.6 percent increase of travelers compared to last year.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is viewed as the worst day to travel. Wherever you are are heading to this Thanksgiving, our Citrus County Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton recommend leaving early in the morning to avoid any high traffic areas. We urge you to drive safe, and plan ahead for your Thanksgiving travels.

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A 42-year-old Lecanto woman was killed Monday afternoon in a motorcycle crash in Inverness.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the woman was killed after the motorcycle she was riding on was struck by a vehicle on State Road 44 near south Tighe Drive.

The crash occurred at 5:30 p.m. when the driver of a Ford F-150 pickup truck attempted to make a U-turn on State Road 44. As the truck completed the U-turn, the motorcycle collided with the passenger side door.

The 55-year-old motorcycle driver suffered serious injuries and was transported to Ocala Regional Hospital. The woman riding as a passenger later died at the hospital.

No one in the Ford suffered any harm.

The crash is currently under investigation.

Motorcycle accidents result in a much higher rate of severe injuries than wrecks that involve only passenger vehicles. On that same note, motorcyclists are significantly more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than passenger-vehicle occupants, even if the motorcyclist is wearing a helmet.

Despite the fact that motorcyclists face greater physical risks than other drivers, bikers have the same entitlements as other motorists, and this includes the right to pursue legal action if they are harmed in an accident that is the direct result of another person’s negligence.

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One person was killed Wednesday in a mobile home fire in Dunnellon.

According to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and Crystal River Fire Department, the fire broke out just after 11 a.m.

Fire officials believe a man was sleeping in the home when the fire broke out, but he managed to escape through a window. Another person became trapped in the home and could not escape.

The man who escaped told officials he tried to help the other person, but could not save that person due to the flames.

The survivor was taken to an area hospital as a precaution.

By the time firefighters arrived, the home was almost completely engulfed in flames.

The mobile home has been declared a total loss. The state fire marshal’s office is investigating the fire.

Around 22,000 fires occur in mobile homes annually, killing 500 people and injuring 1,000. Sadly, fire death rates for mobile homes are two times higher than those in other types of dwellings. The leading cause of mobile home fires are faulty electrical and heating equipment.

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According to new data recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic fatalities increased by 7.2 percent in 2015 compared to 2014. Sadly, 35,200 people died last year in motor vehicle related deaths.

The federal agency breaks the country up into 10 different regions for the purposes of analyzing data. Reports from 2015 show that Florida had a total of 2,494 traffic deaths in 2015 .

Every type of motor vehicle accident fatality saw a surge, including:

  • Truck accident fatalities – 4% increase
  • Rollover accident fatalities – 5% increase
  • Driver accident fatalities – 6% increase
  • Passenger accident fatalities – 7% increase
  • Motorcycle accident fatalities – 9% increase
  • Fatal crashes involving young drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 years of age – 10% increase
  • Pedestrian accident fatalities – 10% increase
  • Bicycle accident fatalities – 13% increase

The NHTSA believes the main cause this rise in accidents is due to human error or choice, a factor found in a staggering 94 percent of the crashes.

The agency is taken a serious stance on finding new ways to help combat against distracted driving, drowsy driving, drunk and drugged driving, failure to use seat belts, speeding, and safety protections for cyclists and pedestrians.

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Labor Day weekend is next week! This is the official mark that the end of summer is near. Most Americans have a three-day weekend to celebrate how hard they work the rest of the year, which is a great break from the usual 5 day work week. With more time off, comes more vacations. Many people plan short trips, outings, and/or parties to ring in the holiday with their families and friends. As we know, with food, fun, friends and family comes the risk of accidents and injuries over the upcoming LDW.

Drunk drivers increase over holiday weekends, so it is important to be aware of this so that you can work to prevent injuries whenever possible. If you are injured or someone you love is killed by a drunk driver, you should discuss your legal options with our Citrus County Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible following the accident.

Holidays are known for an increase in drunk drivers on the roadways and the accidents that result from intoxicated drivers can deliver catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. Holiday gatherings usually involve alcohol and, during long holiday weekends like Labor Day, many people day drink and continue the party into the evening hours. No matter what you are doing, you should never get behind the wheel of a car after having too much to drink. Sadly, not every driver makes the responsible decision, which is why drunk driving accidents and injuries happen.

The increased risks for drunk driving are recognized by government agencies and law enforcement, which is why they will ramp up their efforts to deter and catch drunk drivers this LDW. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’ campaign “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” is in full effect through September 5th this year, spreading safety awareness and increasing law enforcement presence to try to prevent drunk drivers. These efforts cannot prevent all drunk driving, so please be aware of this as you are out and about during LDW.

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A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows new data that concludes when speed limits are raised, fatal accidents also increase. Forty-one states were analyzed over a period of twenty years from 1993 to 2013. During this study period, 33,000 auto accident deaths occurred.

The study took into consideration various factors when analyzing their results, including alcohol consumption, the number of drivers between the ages of 16 to 24 per capita, the state’s geography and the types of roadways traveled.

It was determined that the number of fatalities rose 8 percent per 5 mph increase on interstates and freeways.

In 1973, Congress established a 55 mph maximum speed limit. This was not done actually imposed for safety reasons, though. Rather, it was enforced because there was a fuel shortage at the time. In 1987, the limits were raised to 65 mph on rural interstates and in 1995, states could enforce their own limits. Currently, six states have allowed speeds of up to 80 mph, and in Texas, drivers can legally drive at 85 mph on certain roads.

In Florida, speed limits on state highways up to the following maximums: 70 mph on Interstates, 65 mph on a four-lane divided highway outside an urban area (with a population of 5,000 or more), and 60 mph on other state highways.

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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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