Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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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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A 16-year-old Port Richey teen was killed and three of his friends were injured in a fiery collision Friday afternoon in Port Richey, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The teen was driving a 1996 Dodge Caravan south on Lake Forest Circle around 3 p.m. when he lost control of the minivan on a curve near Forest Lake Drive. The van exited the roadway and smashed into a tree, according to troopers.

The FHP said the minivan caught on fire and was engulfed in flames.

car fireThe driver suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Two 16-year-old passengers and one 17-year-old were transported to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.

One of the 16-year-olds, who was the front seat passenger in the Dodge Caravan, was transferred to Tampa General Hospital because of the severity of her injuries, according to troopers.

Reports indicate that the girl may not walk for a few months because her legs were so severely burned. She suffered a broken femur, dislocated knee and a broken ankle.

A Good Samaritan rescued all three passengers from the burning vehicle.

If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury or death in an auto accident that involved a car fire, you may have grounds for a claim against the vehicle manufacturer in addition to any claim against other negligent parties involved in the collision. A Pasco County Auto Accident Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you determine if you have a valid claim and what steps you need to take next to obtain the justice you deserve. Despite how the fire started, we can pursue maximum financial compensation from all negligent parties who may have played a role in the collision.

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Federal safety officials are currently investigating a fatal New Port Richey church van crash in north Florida that involved the failure of a tire that was apparently part of a July 2012 product recall.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the tire involved in the crash, a two-year-old BFGoodrich Commercial T/A A/S, was part of a product recall initiated by BFGoodrich for roughly 794,000 tires.

The van from the First Baptist Church in New Port Richey was traveling on Interstate 75 near Lake City on Feb. 21 when its left rear tire blew out, causing the driver of the van to lose control of the vehicle. As a result of the crash, two adults were killed, while another adult and seven children were injured.

BFGoodrichThe NTSB will be examining the tire and reviewing the effectiveness of the recall process in order to determine whether or not the First Baptist Church ever received the safety recall notice.

Tire defects are not usually visible to the untrained eye and can pose the serious threat of tire failure, which can increase the amount of damage and number of injuries that occur during a car crash. Tire failure is extremely dangerous on the roadways as this particular case shows, due to the fact that it can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle, which often leads to serious car accidents. Moreover, tire failure increases the risk of vehicle rollovers, which poses more of a threat in larger, less stable vehicles like SUVs and vans.

If you or a loved one have suffered harm due to a defective tire, it is very important to make sure and keep that tire so that it can be thoroughly examined by experts to determine if the defect caused the accident. After a crash of this nature, you should speak to an injury lawyer as soon as possible so that the tire and other valuable evidence can be preserved and examined by experts right away.

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Two people were killed and several children were transported to the hospital with injuries after a church van from New Port Richey crashed in northern Florida Friday morning.

The First Baptist Church of New Port Richey van was apparently headed northbound on I-75 near the U.S. 90 exit when it blew a tire.

The 52-year-old driver lost control of the van causing it to overturn. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, several people were ejected from the van.

church vanThe driver and a 44-year-old female passenger were killed. A 14-year-old boy was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Another 14-year-old boy suffered serious injuries.

Several other children and one adult suffered minor injuries.

The pastor of the church released the following statement:

“The family and staff at First Baptist Church of New Port Richey is sad to report the loss of two of our dearly loved members in a traffic crash this morning. A group of our teens were traveling to Georgia for a youth retreat when one of the vehicles left the roadway and crashed. We are still praying for the recovery of a few of the teens who were also injured in the crash and are being treated in hospitals in north Florida. We ask that you respect the privacy of the family involved and continue to pray for healing.”

Passenger vans have a high center of gravity, and  therefore are at an increased risk of being involved in a rollover traffic accident. While some of these collisions  can be the result of poor vehicle design, faulty maintenance and even manufacturing errors, others are often caused by driver negligence. If you have suffered serious injuries or lost someone you love in a passenger van or other type of auto accident, you deserve to know your legal rights and options. A Pasco County Auto Accident Attorney  at  Whittel  & Melton can help motor vehicle accident survivors as well as family members who have lost loved ones in these types of accidents hold negligent parties liable and obtain the  full and fair financial compensation they need to move on from such a tragedy.

Most people that are injured in an automobile accident just want to recover as quickly as possible so that they can resume their normal daily activities. However, returning to the way things used to be may not be possible for everyone. Many auto accident injuries take months, years or even a lifetime of medical care and rehabilitative treatment. While filing a personal injury claim or pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can be stressful, a Pasco County Auto Accident Attorney can help you through the process so that you can achieve the most successful outcome. By holding reckless or careless parties liable, you can obtain monetary compensation to cover the costs of medical expenses, lost wages and other accident-related damages. Please call us today for a free consultation at 727-847-2299 to learn about your legal options.

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General Motors announced last week that they are  recalling nearly 780,000 vehicles due to an ignition defect that is responsible for the deaths of six people. The Pasco County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are urging drivers of Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s to pay close attention to these warnings.

Company officials are warning owners that faulty ignition switches installed in Cobalts and Pontiac G5s from the 2005 to 2007 model years sold in the US, Canada and Mexico can ultimately cause the engine to shut off without prior notice and disable the airbags. Thus far, the problem has resulted in 22 crashes that took place while the cars were travelling at high speeds off road. A total of six people have been killed as a result of this defect. Of those killed, all were either drivers or front-seat passengers. GM advises that there is a potential for more deaths to occur as long as these affected vehicles are on the roadways.

The 2007 Chevy Cobalt is among the 780,000 cars recalled by GM due to ignition defect responsible for six deaths.

The 2007 Chevy Cobalt is among the 780,000 cars recalled by GM due to ignition defect responsible for six deaths.

If you are an owner of one of the marked cars, please note that U.S. safety regulators warn that heavy key rings and bumpy roads or rugged terrains can activate the problem by moving the ignition switch out of the run position. When this happens, the engine and all electrical mechanisms, including the apparatus in control of deploying the air bags, instantly shut down.

GM issued the following media statement regarding the fatal collisions, saying that the crashes “occurred off road and at high speeds, where the probability of serious or fatal injuries was high regardless of airbag deployment. In addition, failure to wear seat belts and alcohol use were factors in some of these cases.”

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A motorcyclist was killed Tuesday morning after he was involved in a head-on crash on Paul Buchman Highway at Fredda Avenue in Zephyrhills.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the motorcyclist was travelling north and approaching a curve when he attempted to pass another vehicle in a marked no-passing zone.

Investigators claim that the motorcyclist drove into the path of a Hyundai Sonata heading south. The two vehicles collided nearly head-on around 6 a.m.

A motorcyclist was killed Tuesday after a head-on collision with another vehicle in Zephryhills.

A motorcyclist was killed Tuesday after a head-on collision with another vehicle in Zephryhills.

The biker, who was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, was ejected from his motorcycle and taken to Florida Hospital, where he died a short time later from his injuries.

The man’s identity has not yet been released.

Typically, head-on collisions are the most deadly types of all motor vehicle accidents, and head-on accidents between cars and motorcycles are no different. When the front of a passenger car slams into the front of a motorcycle, the sheer force alone is enough to kill the motorcyclist instantly in many cases, and usually results in minimal damage to the other vehicle involved.

In head-on collisions, size does matter. When two cars smash into each other, the brunt force of the accident can crush the steel frames of the two vehicles. Sadly, the damage to smaller and lighter motorcycles, as well as their unprotected riders, is generally far worse. In the United States, head-on collisions account for 10 percent of all traffic fatalities.

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More than 20 vehicles earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick+ for 2014, the equivalent of an actor being awarded an Oscar for a stellar performance in a film. Of those, 17 received the Top Safety Pick by simply meeting the crashworthiness standards. Officials with the IIHS this year established new and tougher criteria when it came to their safety ratings. In order to earn the title of a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle had to not only perform well in front and side tests, but roof strength as well as head-restraint tests were measured.

20 vehicles earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick+ for 2014.

20 vehicles earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick+ for 2014.

As auto accident attorneys, our Pasco County Injury Lawyers know that crashworthiness is one of the most important factors when selecting a new or used vehicle. IIHS tests assess two aspects of safety: Crashworthiness – how well a vehicle will protect its occupants in the event of a collision – and Crash Avoidance and Mitigation – technology that can thwart a crash or reduce its severity.

2014 Top Safety Pick+:

Small Cars

Honda Civic 4-door

Mazda built after October 2013

Toyota built after November 2013

Midsize Moderately Priced Cars

Ford Fusion

Honda Accord 2-door

Honda Accord 4-door

Mazda 6

Subaru Legacy

Subaru Outback

Midsize Luxury/Near-Luxury Cars

Infiniti Q50

Lincoln MKZ

Volvo S60

Large Luxury Cars

Acura RLX

Volvo S80

Small SUVs

Mazda-CX-5 built after October 2013

Mitsubishi Outlander

Subaru Forester

Midsize SUV

Toyota Highlander

Midsize luxury SUVs

Acura MDX

Mercedes-Benz- M-Class built after August 2013

Volvo XC60


Honda Odyssey

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A 20-year-old Lutz man was killed Wednesday morning after a driver executed a turn in front of his motorcycle, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The man, who has yet to be identified, was riding a Suzuki GSX-R600 west in the inside lane of County Road 54 around 7:05 a.m. At the same time, a 22-year-old Wesley Chapel woman was driving a 2001 Mazda 2 east on the road and had stopped in the left turn lane approaching Oakley Boulevard.


A Pasco County Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you with the difficult task of filing a wrongful death claim after a fatal accident.

Troopers believe the woman waited for a westbound van to pass through the intersection, then turned left driving straight into the path of the motorcycle.

The motorcycle collided with the right side of the vehicle, ejecting the rider. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Troopers said charges against the woman are pending.

Wesley Chapel has a wonderful year-round climate, for the most part, and a beautiful landscape making motorcycle riding a very popular activity for daily transportation or even for just recreation. While an enjoyable activity, motorcycle riders must share the roadway with other motorists, who often fail to notice them. Unfortunately, when other drivers act carelessly, it can lead to devastating accidents that result in severe injuries or even death.

When a loved one is taken from you due to the negligence of another person, compensation may be the furthest thing from your mind. Regardless, the responsible party should be held liable for your losses. While the financial and emotional burdens associated with a fatal motorcycle accident can be almost too much to bear, you may be able to obtain justice and a sense of closure through a wrongful death lawsuit. If your loved one’s death was caused by another person’s negligence or recklessness, then you can pursue legal action against the at-fault party for several types of damages, including:

  • Funeral and Burial Costs
  • Hospital Bills and Other Medical Expenses
  • Loss of Companionship
  • Loss of Consortium
  • Loss of Income and Benefits
  • Pain and Suffering

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A Zephyrhills man was killed early Monday morning in a single-vehicle collision after he was ejected from a car that spun out of control and flipped off a Pasco County road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The man died in the 3:36 a.m. crash that took place on County Road 535 just south of Otis Allen Road. The 48-year-old was a passenger in a 2003 Chevrolet Impala driven by a 42-year-old Zephyrhills woman.

The woman was driving the vehicle as she traveled south on County Road 535. She was attempting to maneuver a curve when she lost control and the car turned clockwise.

According to FHP, the Impala rotated counterclockwise after the woman over corrected.
The Impala then traveled to the west shoulder of the road where it overturned several times and then became airborne.

The 48-year-old man, who wasn’t wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle. The vehicle eventually came to a stop near a fence next to the road.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

passengers.jpgThe driver and another passenger, a 66-year-old Zephyrhills man, were transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center where they are listed in serious condition. According to FHP, both were wearing seat belts.
Investigators are currently looking into whether not alcohol played a factor in the crash.

The accident remains under investigation.

When you make the decision to get into the passenger seat of a car, truck, van, SUV or other vehicle, you trust that the person driving will exercise great care and make your safety a top priority for the entire duration of the trip. Anytime an auto accident occurs and you are a passenger, it can be a traumatizing experience knowing that you had no control in how the situation played out. If you have been injured as a passenger in a car crash, you should not be left to suffer the brunt of hefty medical bills and other expenses on top of your physical pain. From minor injuries to severe injuries like traumatic brain injuries, paralysis or even death, a Pasco County Auto Accident Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can make sure you or your loved ones receive just compensation.

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A Pasco County Sheriff’s Deputy suffered serious injuries in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day after a hit-and-run driver smashed into his police cruiser. Investigators claim they have several people in custody for the accident.

The accident happened at State Road 54 and Loury Drive around 4:20 a.m. Police believe a Ford F-150 pickup truck swerved into oncoming traffic and slammed into
Deputy Darren Hill’s cruiser head-on. The 29-year-old deputy was airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital with two broken legs.

Hill was able to trigger an emergency alert signal in his vehicle after the crash.

Investigators immediately began searching for the driver of the truck, who fled the scene on foot.

police car betch.jpgHill, who will celebrate his second anniversary as a Pasco deputy on January 9, is expected to make a full recovery.

According to investigators, the events that led up to Wednesday’s early-morning crash involve a 25-year-old man, his wife, his brother and his brother’s wife.

The 25-year-old man was apparently hosting New Year’s party at his Land O’Lakes home when he got into an argument with his wife. He allegedly got behind the wheel of the red Ford F-150 and drove away, planning to go to his brother’s house. However, on his route to his brother’s, police believe he swerved into oncoming traffic, hitting Deputy Hill’s vehicle.

The man got out and made the rest of the trek to his brother’s house on foot. Police noted that the man sustained only minor injuries after the crash.

The man’s brother and his brother’s wife then allegedly transported him back to his Land O’Lakes home where the party had taken place.

According to police, the three family members were “extremely” uncooperative with detectives.

Ultimately, the man’s wife, his brother and his brother’s wife were arrested and charged with obstruction.

FHP troopers located the driver and took him into custody.

Hit-and-run drivers can further complicate an already stressful situation. Fortunately, in this situation, the driver was identified. However, in many hit-and-run auto accidents, the driver is not identified. This does not mean you are left with zero options. In these scenarios, you might be able to obtain financial compensation for your injuries through underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage on your car insurance policy. You will still need to make sure your car insurance company acts in good faith regarding your claim, which can be difficult.

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