Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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A school bus was involved in an accident while on its way to school in Land O’ Lakes. No injuries were reported, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

According to school officials, the bus was transporting 11 students to Oakstead Elementary School at 9:30 a.m. when it was involved in the crash.

Another bus was sent to finish the bus route and pick up any students who were waiting to be taken to school.

school bus 414According to officials, the bus involved in the crash was able to continue on to school with the students once it was released by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

Millions of students ride school buses every single school day, leaving millions of parents to trust that their children will arrive at their destinations safely. They trust that the bus driver transporting their child is appropriately licensed and trained and that the bus is in satisfactory working condition. But as we all know, mistakes happen, and sometimes these mistakes result in serious school bus accidents.

At Whittel & Melton, our Pasco County Injury Lawyers represent the families of students who were injured or killed in school bus accidents. In school bus accident claims, our top priority is to obtain fair compensation for your damages as well protect other children from suffering a similar harm. That is why we conduct extensive investigations into the accident sites and rely on the help of experts to determine who caused the accident and why so that all negligent parties can be held legally liable.

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Even though the weather in Florida does not show it, summer is coming to an end. This Monday is Labor Day, and families and friends across the country will be gathering together over the long weekend to say goodbye to summer. Most people think of Labor Day weekend as their last chance to take a vacation, visit the beach or even just grill outdoors. The following safety tips can ensure that you have safe and fun Labor Day holiday.

Road Trip Safety Tips

  • Always have an emergency kit in your vehicle that contains flashlights, extra batteries, jumper cables, bottled water, a tool kit and a knife.
  • Tell someone who is not travelling with you about your travel arrangements. That way someone knows where you’re going, how long you will be away and what time you will be back.
  • Fasten your seatbelt! Make sure everyone in the car properly fastens their seat belts, and small children remain in their appropriate car seats.
  • Never drink and drive. Figure out a safe alternative home before you go anywhere.

Swimming Safety Tips

  • Check the weather and stay away from water during a lightning storm.
  • Don’t swim alone. Children should always be supervised by an adult when playing in or around water.
  • Emergency floatation devices should always be readily available. If taking your boat out, you should have enough life jackets for everyone on board.
  • Refrain from consuming alcohol while boating. You can be arrested for driving a boat while under the influence of alcohol.

7525573720_957c2abe23_mGrilling Safety Tips

  • Make sure your grill is set up in a safe location, away from houses, trees and any other flammable objects.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill.
  • Do not add charcoal starter fluid after you have already ignited the coals.
  • Wear gloves when grilling foods to prevent burns and always handle food in a safe manner.

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A four-month old baby who was struck by a car in Holiday on Saturday is on the mend, according to doctors.

He suffered bruises and road rash on his face, legs and arms.

His 17-year-old parents were also hit in the accident and suffered sprained ankles.

The couple spent Saturday afternoon in the park, and were heading home on foot pushing their baby in his stroller along Chatlin Road in Holiday, when out of nowhere, they were hit by a car.

7138315493_7a4c7e4499_m (1)The driver apparently stopped for a minute to make sure the family was alright. The baby’s father told the driver to call 9-1-1, but the motorist got in his car and drove away.

Neighbors nearby claim they heard tires screech and came running to help as they waited for ambulances.

Police are searching for the driver who they believe to be a young man in a blue Ford Crown Victoria.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Florida Highway Patrol at 813-631-4020.

Hit-and-run car accidents often leave pedestrians with serious, life-long injuries, and that’s if they survive the impact of the crash. Sadly, in many hit-and-run accidents, it is not uncommon to find a pedestrian left on the side of the road with life-threatening injuries after the driver of the car has fled from the scene of the crime without stopping to help or call for emergency assistance.

Leaving the scene of a pedestrian accident or a car accident without stopping to render aid is illegal. In many cases, the hit-and-run driver will leave the scene of the crash because they are guilty of other illegal acts, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving with a suspended license or even because there is a warrant out for their arrest.

If police and local authorities are unable to locate the person who hit you, it can be difficult to recover damages since the person responsible for your medical bills and other compensation cannot be found. In most cases those who flee the scene of an accident are uninsured, making collecting damages even harder.

Pedestrian accidents are actually far more complicated than you might think. The insurance company is equipped with teams of highly trained adjusters and lawyers who will fight to protect their bottom line. Trying to take on these companies alone is never a good idea. The insurance company knows that you alone are no match for their team of professionals. A Pasco County Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can level the playing field and make sure the insurance company fights fair.

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A dirt bike rider and a pickup truck driver were killed Saturday night in Hudson following a three-vehicle crash.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 1996 Chevy Silverado pickup truck driven by a 72-year-old Hudson man and a 2006 Lifan G20-5 motorcycle ridden by a 29-year-old Zephyrhills man were traveling in opposite directions on Hudson Avenue when both vehicles approached a private drive at 11029 Hudson Avenue around 9:10 p.m. The truck apparently turned into the path of the bike, and the bike struck the right rear of the truck, according to troopers.

dirt-bike-209489_150The dirt biker, who was not wearing a helmet, was ejected onto the roadway.

As the driver of the Chevy Silverado got out of his truck and approached the injured biker, he and the biker were struck a 2007 Chevy Silverado driven by a 59-year-old Hudson man heading eastbound.

Both the biker and the 72-year-old man died at the scene. The 59-year-old was not injured.

As of now, no charges have been filed.

When a loved one dies, it can be an extremely difficult blow to recover from. If someone else’s negligence or carelessness caused or contributed to their death, it can be even harder. The ability to take care of your family as well as the security of your future comes into question. Taking care of children, paying household bills and all other payments can be tough to do while grieving a loss.

A Pasco County Wrongful Death Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you and your family find a solution to any financial strains in the case of a wrongful death. We can help you recover monetary compensation for lost income, funeral expenses, loss of companionship and mental and emotional anguish.

We will make sure that all negligent parties are held accountable for their actions. This can help you move forward with your life and keep you on track in the future.

Our personal injury and wrongful death attorneys will investigate the cause of your loved one’s accident, which means we will use experts to review all reports, medical records and witness statements to piece together an accurate assessment of what happened. We will even retain experts to evaluate how the death has affected you financially.

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Everyone loves celebrating the Fourth of July as this is a great holiday to spend time with friends and family. No matter what you plan on doing, traveling, attending a cookout, watching the fireworks or just relaxing around the house with those you love, this time of year is certainly enjoyable and should be taken advantage of. While the Fourth of July is certainly a fun-filled holiday, there is one thing that is not so wonderful about this day – drinking and driving.

accidentAlcohol-related collisions claim the lives of many Americans this time of year, and thousands more are injured in auto accidents by motorists who choose to get behind the wheel of a car after having too much to drink. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ranked the Fourth of July as the deadliest holiday of the year, even beating out New Years.

As Pasco County Auto Accident Lawyers, we know just how dangerous DUI-related crashes can be, and we want to we want to urge all Florida residents to be safe this holiday. Whatever plans you may have for the Fourth, if they involve alcohol, please keep the following tips in mind:

Before anyone starts drinking, select a designated driver. Make sure that all the members of your group are on the same page so that everyone can have a fun night and not worry about transportation. Select a safe method home, and if you have a designated driver, make sure they understand their responsibilities. The designated driver should steer clear of alcohol for the entire evening, not just drink less than everyone else.

Give your car keys to a sober person or party host. Many people think that they are fine to drive when they are actually not. If you are at a neighbor’s house or out with friends, give your keys to someone who you can trust. They can return your keys to you when they believe you are safe to drive.

Stay with your group and watch out for everyone. As the saying goes, there is strength in numbers. Watch out for your pals and make sure no one is tempted to drive home after drinking any amount of alcohol. If a friend is clearly intoxicated and tries to drive away, speak up and make sure you confront them. They may be angry for the night, but they will thank you the next day.

Drunk driving crashes can be quite tragic. Don’t risk your safety, or anyone else’s for that matter this Independence Day weekend. Should you or someone you love become injured in a car accident, please call us as soon as possible at 727-847-2299 or contact us online.

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A 9-year-old boy was killed and his mother and brother were seriously injured after they were struck by a car while walking their dog this morning on Bahia Loop at Turf Drive in Land O’ Lakes around 7:45 a.m.

According to the Florid Highway Patrol, a 21-year-old man was driving westbound on Bahia Loop approaching Turf Drive and failed to see the woman and her two sons walking their dog eastbound on Bahia Loop along the north edge of the roadway.

The man hit the 33-year-old mother and her 7 and 9-year-old sons.

dog walkThe mother and the 9-year-old were transported to Bayonet Point Hospital where the boy later died from his injuries.

The 7-year-old was airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he is currently listed in stable condition.

The dog was killed.

Most people are struck by cars when they are crossing a street, walking a dog, entering a crosswalk or biking or jogging on the side of the road. When a car strikes a pedestrian, there is a very high potential for serious bodily injuries.

Drivers that fail to exercise caution or choose to not follow traffic laws can be held liable for any injuries and damages suffered by pedestrians. Anytime a person has been hit by a motor vehicle, they are legally entitled to seek compensation from the negligent driver.

Pedestrian accidents are usually caused by negligent or reckless drivers who either do not see a pedestrian in enough time to stop safely or take their eyes off the road at an unsafe time. Despite Florida’s efforts to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents by enacting a law that requires all drivers to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, these accidents still occur all too frequently.

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It’s official, summer is now in full swing, and an increase in temperatures means more cars on the roadways. While Floridians may not have had to endure a harsh winter like some parts of the U.S., many drivers and families living in those colder states will be making a trek to Florida at some point to visit all the beautiful attractions our Sunshine State boasts. While making that long drive to the beach this summer, drivers can be faced with numerous distractions when travelling with a large group of excited children in warmer temperatures. Combine that with the increased amount of pedestrians and bicyclists on the streets in the summer months and there is a very real potential for disaster.

However, recent advancements in vehicle technology are working to make the roads safer for everyone. What was initially only available in luxury model vehicles, cameras, radar and braking systems are becoming more readily available in a variety of less expensive cars. These technology systems have the potential to prevent a  serious collision.

Crash prevention systems include the following features:

• Autobrake: When the front of a car gets too close to another object, the vehicle automatically applies the brakes.
• Forward Collision Warning: The driver is alerted via audible and visual warnings when he or she is getting too close to another vehicle or object.
• Lane Departure Warning: When a driver starts to drift into another lane, again audible and visual warnings will alert the driver of this error.
• Lane Departure Prevention: This feature will actually straighten the steering wheel and keep the vehicle from drifting into another lane.
• Adaptive Headlights: These will reposition themselves to follow and foresee any curves in the road.
• Blind Spot Detection: This uses cameras, lasers and radar to warn drivers of potential hazards in their blind spots.

BMW_X5_xDrive30d_(E70,_Facelift)_–_Heckansicht,_2._Juli_2011,_DüsseldorfThe Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently put several mainstream and luxury family cars to the test using their frontal crash prevention research. For every one of the sedans featured in the study, the vehicle’s autobrake was tested at both 12 and 25 miles per hour. The cars were then given a score based on the ability to slow down and avoid a crash with the object in front of the vehicle. In addition, vehicles were given extra points if they were outfitted with a forward collision warning.

Of these vehicles tests, four earned a perfect score, including The BMW 5-series, BMW X5, Hyundai Genesis and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The Buick Regal, Cadillac CTS, Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala all earned a “superior” rating.  Another 13 vehicles received an “advanced” rating, while three others earned a “basic” rating.

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Four people were seriously injured Monday night when a truck pulling a horse trailer and a sport utility vehicle collided on I-75 in Pasco County.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a semi-tractor trailering a horse trailer with four horses experienced a blow out just south of State Road 52 shortly after 7 p.m. The driver of the semi lost control of the vehicle, which then jackknifed into a 2000 Toyota SUV.

Troopers believe that the impact caused the SUV to flip multiple times.

horse trailerA total of four people, including the 36-year-old San Antonio truck driver and his 6-year-old son as well as a 56-year-old woman and a 10-year-old boy of Largo from the SUV, were seriously injured and transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa.

The four horses being transported did not suffer any harm in the accident.

A semi or tractor-trailer is a large truck whose vehicle weight is usually more than 10,000 pounds. Due to their extreme size, collisions involving large trucks are much more likely to result in very serious injuries and death than accidents only involving passenger vehicles. It is estimated that 10 percent of people injured in large trucking accidents die from their injuries.

Truck accidents are also different than those involving smaller non-commercial vehicles because semis are usually hauling dangerous or extremely heavy cargo, such as machinery, construction materials, flammable or explosive products or as this case shows, even large animals. In a high-impact collision, such cargo can cause an extraordinary amount of damage. Even if a semi-trailer is empty, it can still be quite dangerous as high winds can make it difficult for the trailer to be controlled.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced recently that a new regulation will require all vehicles under 10,000 pounds to have backup cameras by 2018.

A law passed by Congress in 2007 instructed the NHTSA to develop regulations by 2011, however there have been numerous delays since then. A lawsuit filed in September 2013 pursued a court order instructing the government to issue the final rule mandated by the 2007 law.

A lack of rear visibility in motor vehicles causes a large number of pedestrian injuries and deaths every year. Children face the greatest risk for harm in these types of accidents due to the fact that they are smaller and are more difficult for drivers to see when they are directly behind a vehicle.

rear backup camThe NHTSA determined that backover accidents cause around 15,000 injuries and 210 deaths annually. Of these accidents, 31 percent involve children under the age of five and 26 percent involve adults over the age of 70.

The new regulation will require all new vehicles to have backup cameras installed beginning on May 1, 2016, with full compliance expected by May 1, 2018. Cameras must be able to show a 10-foot by 20-foot area behind the vehicle. The NTHSA estimates the cost per vehicle to install a camera will be $45, or $142 to install a full system. It  is estimated that this new regulation will save 58 to 69 lives per year.

Congress ordered the NHTSA to make a rule requiring backup cameras in the Cameron Gulbransen Kids and Cars Safety Act of 2007. The bill was named after a 2-year-old child who was killed after his father accidentally backed over him in 2002. The child’s father failed to see him in the rearview or side view mirrors of his SUV. The bill required the NHTSA to issue a preliminary regulation within 18 months and have a final rule decided within thirty months of the bill’s enactment. The NTHSA’s final deadline was in February 2011, but there were delays in making sure the final policy was actually achievable.

If you or someone you care about has been injured or killed in a Pasco County car backover accident, it is vital to speak with a Pasco County Auto Accident Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton to determine what your legal options are so that you can obtain just financial compensation for what has happened.

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A 65-year-old Dade City woman was killed and three others were injured in a traffic accident involving a school bus on Wednesday afternoon in Pasco County.

Reports indicate that three vehicles were involved in a school bus crash that took place on U.S. 301 in Pasco County around 3:05 p.m.

Investigators believe a 2008 Smart Car driven by a 61-year-old Dade City woman was stopped at a red traffic signal southbound on U.S. 301 at Morningside Drive when it was rear-ended by a Pasco County school bus, also travelling southbound on U.S. 301.

school bus 414According to officials, the impact of the collision sent the 61-year-old’s car through the intersection and into the center median. She was flown by Bay Flight to Lakeland Regional Hospital.

At that same time, the 65-year-old woman was heading eastbound on Morningside Drive in a 2000 Chevrolet Malibu. She was entering the intersection of U.S. 301 when her vehicle was struck broadside by the school bus.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Two children in the woman’s car, a 14-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy, were taken by Pasco County Fire Rescue to Florida Hospital in Zephyrhills for treatment.

The operator of the school bus and a male aide on board did not suffer any injuries.

According to reports, no children were on the school bus at the time of the collision.

The investigation is still pending, but no charges have been filed at this time.

There is no indication that alcohol played a role in the accident.

School bus, city bus and commercial bus accidents can all result in severe injuries and even death to innocent drivers, passengers and pedestrians. While these types of accidents may appear to be the same as other motor vehicle collisions, it is important to note that the laws are different depending on the type of bus that caused the crash. Because of the various laws governing these types of accidents, most people need a personal injury or wrongful death lawyer that can help them pursue claims arising from bus accidents.

Buses, including city buses, school buses and even tourist buses, are all classified as “common carriers” under Florida law. This means that the operators of must use the highest degree of care to ensure passenger safety. Moreover, these vehicles must be safe to transport passengers to and from their destination, and drivers are held to a higher standard than regular vehicle drivers.

Accidents involving drivers, passengers or pedestrians that were hit by school buses can be complex as these cases usually present many unique challenges. Depending on if the bus is owned by a local school district or a private entity, there could be multiple potential parties that can be held accountable for the collision. A Pasco County Auto Accident Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can fully investigate the cause of your accident and help you recover the full and fair compensation needed so that you can move on from this tragic accident.

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