Pasco County Personal Injury Lawyers | Whittel & Melton, LLC | New Port Richey, Dade City

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you may already be dealing with the pressure associated with your family’s wellbeing. The claims process for an injury can be overwhelming, so it is normal to feel scared and unsure of what to do next. While you may be tempted to accept the insurance company’s initial offer just so you can put the matter behind you, the reality of the situation is that you may be entitled to much larger compensation than the insurance company wishes to let on.

Don’t Face the Judge Alone! Zephyrhills, Land O’Lakes, Hudson, Holiday, Lutz, Trinity

As Pasco County Personal Injury Lawyers, we are more than familiar with the measures some Florida auto insurance companies will stoop to in order to settle claims in their favor. We focus on helping individuals and their families suffering from accidents related to auto collisions, motorcycle and ATV accidents, electrical contact, slip, trip and falls and medical malpractice. We represent regular, hard-working people who have become injured either on the job or as a result of the carelessness of another person or company. Our main goal is to see that you receive the greatest financial security for your family so that you have the peace of mind that your loved ones will be taken care of throughout this difficult time.

No matter how complex the case, the Pasco County Personal Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have the staff, legal resources and experience to take on your injury matter in New Port Richey, Dade City, Zephyrhills, Land O'Lakes, Hudson, Holiday, Lutz, Trinity and Wesley Chapel.

If your or a family member has suffered from a serious injury, give our Pasco County Personal Injury Lawyers a call today. You can review our practice areas pages here to see the various injury cases we handle. Your consultation is always free, and by contacting us you will speak to one of our personal injury attorneys who will supply you with a detailed legal assessment of the merits of your case. We work on a contingency basis, meaning you will pay no fees unless and until a financial recovery for damages is collected for you.

Navigate our web site and explore our blog to see if the information posted can shed some light on the legal issues you may be dealing with and to learn more about our firm, our attorneys, and why you can trust us with your case. Once you decide that your situation demands personal representation from experienced counsel familiar with the Pasco community, contact us to see how we can help resolve your injury matter.

There are many nursing homes in the state of Florida and throughout the United States that provide excellent care to the elderly, but there are also many other facilities that do not properly care for elderly residents in their care. Our seniors deserve to be cared for properly and with respect and dignity, but sadly this is not always the case.

Seniors who are neglected or abused can suffer from serious injuries or even wrongful death. Our Pasco County Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are here to help advocate on behalf of any nursing home residents who are being mistreated. We know that placing your loved one in a nursing home can be a difficult decision as well as a strain on your finances. These facilities are costly and you likely did your due diligence to find the best facility that fits into your budget. Finding out that your loved one was harmed in a nursing home can be absolutely devastating.

wrist-watch-ga9fedbe05_1920-1-300x125Top 5 Nursing Home Injuries

  1. Falls: There are roughly 1.6 million residents in nursing homes throughout the country and nearly half of these residents suffer from a fall every year. Of those, about one in three falls more than once a year. One in 10 elders suffer serious injuries after a fall. How do you know if negligence resulted in a fall at a nursing home? Look for signs of unsafe equipment, understaffing, and environmental hazards.
  1. Pressure ulcers or Bedsores: These happen when a nursing home resident stays in the same position for too long placing increased pressure on the skin. These wound usually develop on the heels, ankles, tailbones, and hips. Residents who cannot move on their own must be turned over and shifted consistently to reduce any pressure that could lead to bedsores. If your loved one has developed bedsores, then this is usually a sign of negligence due to overworked and understaffed facilities.
  2. Infections: There are about 400,000 nursing home residents who die every year due to developing an infection. Nursing home staff should be aware of their residents’ conditions and do everything they can to protect their residents from infections. The most common infections residents of nursing homes can suffer from include:
  • COVID-19
  • Flu
  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory infections
  • Soft tissue infections
  • Skin infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  1. Medication Mistakes: Many nursing home residents need multiple medications daily. A good amount of nursing homes have at least 100 residents, so mix-ups and mistakes can happen easily, but when they do, it can be deadly. Negligent facilities must be held accountable for their reckless and careless actions when seniors in their care suffer as a result.
  2. Broken Bones and Fractures: Aging causes bones to weaken and become more brittle. They elderly are at heightened risk for hip and neck fractures. In fact, around 300,000 seniors are hospitalized every year for hip fractures – most of which are women. Many residents of nursing homes are there because they can no longer care for themselves independently, but when nursing home staff do not properly assist their residents, then injuries leading to broken bones and fractures can easily occur.

Our Pasco County Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence Lawyers at Whittel & Melton Can Help Continue reading

There are an estimated 18 million Americans who suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that can be dangerous and disrupt a person’s ability to breathe normally while sleeping. In the past, those diagnosed with sleep apnea would be prescribed a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP machine) that can pump air into a person’s lungs continuously as they sleep at night. These machines provide a more restful night of sleep for users and also make sure that the right oxygen levels are maintained.

In June 2021, the Philips CPAP recall affected roughly four million devices in the United States. Users of these defective devices were left to suffer by not using their device or continue using them at an added risk. Philips has issued statements that they will replace or fix all their defective devices, but have said that it will take until September 2022 to get the job done.

pillows-g979174480_1280-300x200This situation is less than ideal for CPAP users, and for some it can be life- threatening. Now there is a new study that has emerged linking sleep apnea to increased complications or death from COVID19.

COVID-19 and Sleep Apnea

Research from the Cleveland Clinic shows that sleep apnea increased the risks of severe COVID19 and death. The study found the following:

  • Patients suffering from sleep apnea in the study who contracted COVID19 were 31% more likely to suffer from serious complications needing hospitalization
  • Patients suffering from sleep apnea in the study who contracted COVID19 were 31% more likely to die

In May of 2021, another study conducted at Kaiser Permanente in California found that sleep apnea patients had a higher infection rate of COVID19. The study also found that the longer patients used an assisted breathing device through the night, the less likely they were to contract COVID19.

Philips CPAP Recall

Philips recalled millions of their CPAP devices, BiPAP and ventilator machines in June 2021 following complaints that their devices had foam particles breaking down, resulting in users inhaling and ingesting these toxins that could cause short and long-term health issues.

The following machines have been recalled:

  • E30 (Emergency Use Authorization)
  • DreamStation ASV
  • DreamStation (ST, AVAPS)
  • SystemOne (ASV4)
  • C Series (ASV, S/T, AVAPS)
  • OmniLab Advanced Plus (In-Lab Titration Device)
  • SystemOne (Q Series)
  • DreamStation (CPAP, Auto CPAP, BiPAP)
  • DreamStation GO (CPAP, APAP)
  • Dorma 400,500 (CPAP)
  • REMStar SE Auto (CPAP)
  • Trilogy100
  • Trilogy 200
  • A-Series BiPAP Hybrid (A30) – not marketed in the United States
  • A-Series BiPAP V30 (Auto)
  • Garbin Plus, Aeris, LifeVent
  • A-Series BiPAP A40
  • A-Series BiPAP A30

Class actions lawsuits have been filed against Philips seeking compensation for injuries and illnesses, lost wages, emotional and physical suffering.

Contact Our Pasco County Phillips CPAP Device Recall Lawyers at Whittel & Melton Continue reading

The damage from Hurricane Ida is still being felt by those in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast as they are still without power, water, and unable to get necessary supplies for what could be days or even weeks. Many are still not able to return back to their homes. With the peak of hurricane season being September 10 and continue through November, there are still more storms that could affect Floridians, including Larry, Mindy, and Nicholas. Our Pasco County Hurricane Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want to remind everyone to have an emergency plan ready should you need to evacuate for any of the remaining storms for the 2021 hurricane season.

The National Weather Service names the hurricanes for the season alphabetically at the start of hurricane season in June. “I” for Ida was the ninth storm of the season, and “L” is up next with Hurricane Larry, followed by “M” for Hurricane Mindy and “N” for Hurricane Nicholas. Hurricane Larry is anticipated to bring major damage, just liked Hurricane Ida, but as of now Larry is not projected to hit the United States, however it could bring strong rip currents and rain to Florida beaches. Hurricane Larry is being labeled a Category 3 or higher, and growing more intense rather quickly, gaining 35 mph in wind speed in 24 hours or less.

storm-426787_1920-300x198Hurricane Larry could be like Hurricane Ida that quickly went from a Category 1 Hurricane to a Category 4 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Ida went 85 mph to 150 mph in less than 24 hours. With that level of intensity, it is important for all Floridians to have an emergency plan ready to go in case a hurricane or tropical storm brings about property damage.

The hurricane season for 2021 has been a busy one already, and if you look at what 2020 brought you can see a pattern of more intense storms than ever before. In 2020 the U.S. saw 30 named storms, including 14 hurricanes (7 of which were major storms), 11 named storms that hit the U.S. coastline, and then Greek letters that were used to round out the remainder of the hurricanes and storms for the season.

Storm names for the remainder of the 2021 hurricane season are: 

  • Larry
  • Mindy
  • Nicholas
  • Odette
  • Peter
  • Rose
  • Sam
  • Teresa
  • Victor
  • Wanda

How Do You Handle a Hurricane Claim for Your Home or Business Following a Hurricane or Tropical Storm?

Once a tropical storm or hurricane has damaged your home or business property, you may think that the logical move is to contact your insurance company and then get paid to repair or fix any issues caused by the storm. Sadly, it is not always this simple and you could be met with reluctance from your insurance company to pay you anything for the damages a hurricane brought. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not losing it, so they will often deny claims, even ones that are legitimate. And while your insurance provider may provide you with a lengthy list of reasons why they are denying your claim, our Pasco County Hurricane Claim Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you understand what steps need to be taken in order to secure the financial compensation your hurricane claim deserves. Continue reading

The state of Florida takes any suspicions of elderly abuse quite seriously. In fact, it is mandatory for anyone that has reason to believe an elderly person is being abused, neglected or exploited to report this behavior to the proper authorities. This prompts the question: How do I report any instances of elderly abuse? Our Pasco County Nursing Home and ALF Elder Neglect and Abuse Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are here to provide you with the information you need to keep our elderly citizens safe. 

What Are The Signs of Elderly Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation? 

Physical abuse or neglect is usually the result of some type of violence that results in injuries to the victim like bruises, burns, abrasions, pressure marks, broken bones, etc. Usually these injuries cannot be explained and happen rather frequently. 

The elderly are often vulnerable to emotional abuse by a caretaker, and warning signs could be sudden changes in mood or alertness, unusual depression, arguments that happen frequently or any noticeably strained or tense relationships between the older person and their caretaker, etc. 

The elderly are also targets for financial exploitation, so if you notice any sudden financial changes to their situation then financial abuse could be the culprit. Warning signs include missing cash or checkbooks, sudden will changes that could be forged, other financial documents being changed or possibly forged, missing valuables, expensive gifts or money being given to caretakers, etc. 

Another form of abuse commonly inflicted upon elderly victims is emotional or verbal abuse. If you have seen an elderly victim threatened or belittled by their caretaker, or witnessed any other similar actions, then you should report these actions right away. 

A neglected elderly person is also a victim of abuse. If an elderly person’s medical needs are not being met, if they are not being provided proper shelter, clothing, water, food, etc. this constitutes neglect. If you hear an elderly person complain of being hungry or thirsty, not having medical supplies or medications they need, poor hygiene, bedsores, unusual weight loss, etc. then you need to report the neglect as soon as possible. 

hands-981400_1920-300x200What To Do If You Suspect Elderly Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation

There are many different agencies that handle cases of elderly abuse, neglect and exploitation, so it can be confusing as to who you should contact. However, as with any emergency situation, if an elderly person’s life or safety is in immediate danger you should always call 911 first to make sure they are removed from a dangerous and life threatening situation right away. 

If you have witnessed any elderly abuse, neglect or exploitation of a senior citizen or even if you think an elderly person might be a victim of abuse, you should call the Florida Abuse Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873) to make sure your concerns are voiced. You will be asked to press 2 if you suspect any abuse or neglect is happening to an elderly person. Online reports can be made as well by clicking here. The TDD (Telephone Device for the Deaf) is 1-800-453-5145. You can also fax in a report at 1-800-914-0004. You will want to include your name and contact information with your detailed report so that you can be reached for any follow up questions. 

What Happens When I Make A Report of Elderly Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation? 

However you choose to make your report about what you have witnessed or suspect is happening just be prepared to give as much detail as possible. You will need to have the victim’s full name and contact information. You will likely be asked about the victim’s current situation, such as their medical needs, family members, and of course further details about what you have seen happening or suspect is happening (fighting, unexplained injuries, medical needs not being met, hitting, etc.) 

You will be asked to give your name and contact information, but keep in mind that if you wish to remain anonymous the state of Florida will still take your report and investigate accordingly. 

If the abuse, neglect or exploitation is happening at a nursing home or assisted living facility, then your complaints will be handled by a state Long Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman. Annette Perry is the District Ombudsman Manager for Pasco County as well as Pinellas County. Her contact information is: 

Annette Perry, West Coast District Ombudsman Manager

11351 Ulmerton Road, Suite 303

Largo, FL 33778

Phone: (727) 588-6912

Fax: 727 (588) 3648

What Do I Do After I Make A Report of Elderly Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation?  Continue reading

A 7-year-old boy was killed Saturday night in Port Richey after being hit by a motorcyclist who left the scene of the crash. 

The 19-year-old biker turned himself in to the Port Richey Police Department on Sunday and admitted his involvement in the crash to Florida Highway Patrol troopers, according to police reports. 

The man is now facing charges of leaving the scene of a crash where a death occurred and not having a motorcycle endorsement. 

girl-5087960_1920-300x200Police did say they recovered the motorcycle at a residence close to the accident site. 

The crash happened around 9:30 p.m. when the boy was out for a walk with his mother and siblings that night looking at Christmas lights in their neighborhood. The family was crossing an intersection when the 19-year-old motorcyclist sped through and struck the boy. 

The man then got back on his bike and drove away from the crash.

The boy was taken to a hospital close by, but died from his injuries. 

Troopers say that they did recover shards of plastic that fell off the man’s motorcycle during the crash that ultimately helped them decipher the  make and model of the motorcycle involved. 

When most people think of motor vehicle accidents, they don’t usually think of people walking on foot being struck by a motorcycle. But, these types of accidents can and do happen, often resulting in tragic injuries to the pedestrian. Anytime a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, including a motorcycle, the results can be deadly. 

A standard motorcycle weighs somewhere between 400-900 pounds, so when this piece of equipment collides with a pedestrian at a high rate of speed, it is easy to see how the results can be deadly. 

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences one can go through in life. If your loved one died in an accident that they did not cause, such as a speeding motorcycle who fled the scene of the crash, this can be even more difficult to understand and accept. If you lost a child due to another person’s act of negligence, our Pasco County Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you understand your rights to recover financial compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional losses stemming from the accident. We know that nothing we do will undo the pain and suffering you are experiencing, but we can do everything in our power to hold the at-fault party responsible for their careless and reckless actions. 

A motorcyclist, just like any other driver, has a responsibility to keep others on the roadway safe. Motorists who ignore traffic laws and do not yield to pedestrians can be found at fault when accidents happen. We proudly help pedestrians and surviving family members who have been the victims of: 

  • Hit and run collisions
  • Drunk or drugged driving accidents
  • Intersection or crosswalk accidents
  • Distracted driving accidents 
  • All other types of pedestrian accidents

At Whittel & Melton, we understand the devastating toll that losing a loved one can take on your family. We want to provide you with the peace of mind you need to know that we will handle every detail of your loved one’s wrongful death case so that you can focus on working through your grief and healing. We want to make sure the responsible party is held accountable so that they do not repeat their negligent actions and cause anyone else to suffer harm. 

Our Pasco County Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you understand the amount of financial damages you are entitled to in a wrongful death claim. Your award should cover both your current and future financial losses, such as:

  • Lost income
  • Any medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Metal anguish
  • Ongoing therapy
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Any other foreseeable losses

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2020 is one of the most active storm seasons ever in the waters around the State of Florida, the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea.

STORM DEDUCTIBLE CONFUSION?!

Florida Property insurance policies typically have two deductibles. A standard deductible for most losses; and a hurricane deductible. The standard “Other Perils” deductible is for pretty much anything covered by the policy, such as fire, pipe bursts and appliance related water damage claims, or windstorms, etc. The hurricane deductible only applies to named Hurricanes. The last major hurricane to hit Florida was Hurricane Michael in the panhandle on October 10, 2018; and more recently in the western portions of the Florida panhandle for Hurricane Sally on September 16, 2020, and Hurricane Zeta on October 28, 2020. Hurricane deductibles are typically 2 or 3 percent of the limit of the insurance for the home which is a lot higher than the standard deductible for all other claims. The Eta storm of November 2020 started off in South Florida counties like Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County as a Tropical Storm (not a hurricane). But as storms in Florida do, things changed, and the weather system chased west back into the Gulf of Mexico where it was reclassified as a Hurricane for a short period of time before heading back to the Nature Coast across Florida again as a Tropical Storm.

key-west-81664_1920-1-300x199DON’T GET FOOLED BY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY!

First, an insurer may rush to slap a hurricane deductible on your claim when it should not apply because a Tropical Storm is not a hurricane. Second (and this is really the most important!), Insurers in Florida have often told their customers after a storm that unless they absolutely know that their damage is more than their hurricane deductible, then they should not even put in a claim. There are many reasons why this is terrible advice and a bad business practice by insurance companies. As the policyholder, it is not your job to know the exact amount of damage you have in the weeks following a severe storm. You also may discover that the storm caused much more damage than you initially thought or could see in the days following the hurricane. Many Floridians have fallen for the insurers gambit only to attempt to make their claims later on and be told its too late to make the claim.

If you believe you have Hurricane or Tropical Storm damage from any of these strong weather systems that brought havoc to Florida, please call us and we can assist you in determining which deductible applies, assist you with determining the actual extent of the damage to your home, and provide needed guidance through the process with your insurance company.

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A 64-year-old New Port Richey motorcyclist was killed Tuesday around 1:30 p.m. when another motorist executed a left turn in front of him on State Road 54. 

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the motorcyclist was travelling west on State Road 54 when an 86-year-old woman coming from the east turned left in front of him. 

The motorcycle and the car smashed into each other and came to a halt in the intersection. The motorcyclist was wearing a helmet and was taken to the hospital, which is where he passed away. 

motorcycle-689316_1280-300x210The female driver involved suffered minor injuries and her 88-year-old passenger, both from New Port Richey, suffered no harm, according to reports. 

An investigation into the crash is currently underway.  

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that 4,985 motorcyclists were killed in 2018. Overall, motorcyclists make up 14% of all traffic fatalities and are 28 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision when compared to drivers in passenger vehicles. 

If you own a motorcycle and live in Florida, then you know that you can enjoy pretty much year-round riding. While cruising the open road can be exhilarating, it can be equally dangerous. Even the safest of motorcyclists – those that have excellent balance, coordination, and exercise great judgement – can find themselves involved in a collision with a negligent driver sharing the road. 

Driving a car and riding a motorcycle require two very different skill sets. This is why the state of Florida requires new motorcycle riders to pass a basic skills course and obtain a motorcycle license endorsement. Anyone that operates a motorcycle in the state of Florida without an endorsement is in violation of the law. With that said, the NHTSA also found that in 2017 29% of motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents were operating their motorcycles without a valid motorcycle license. 

As we mentioned before, operating a motorcycle requires practice and skill. Before you take your bike out on the road you want to make sure you feel confident in controlling the bike and can handle it in any type of condition, such as inclement weather and various road hazards, like wet or slick streets, road debris, and potholes. 

Another good tip is to check that your bike is in good working order before taking it out. Check the tire pressure, hand and foot brakes, signal indicators, headlights, and fluid levels before taking your bike for a spin. Always check for oil or gas leaks. If you need to carry a bag or other cargo with you on your ride, then you need to secure it to the bike and adjust the tire pressure and suspension so that the added weight is accommodated properly. On that same note, if you have a passenger, then they need to mount the motorcycle after the engine has started and sit directly behind you as far forward as possible. Your passenger needs to be told to keep their feet on the foot rests at all times and steer clear of the muffler. Your passenger should hold on to your waist, belt, or even hips and try to limit their movement. If you need to lean, then your passenger should lean in the same direction as you. Finally, a passenger should only dismount once you tell them it is safe to do so. 

When you are on the road, always wear a helmet that meets the requirements of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). There will be a DOT symbol on the back of the helmet to let you know it is approved. If you are in the market for a new helmet, the NHTSA can help you choose one that is right for you.

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The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office saved five men who were stranded in the Gulf of Mexico after their boat capsized Saturday. 

None of the men suffered any injuries. 

According to reports, the group of men were about 15 miles off the shore when they called for help. 

The U.S. Coast Guard also helped with the rescue.

The good news is that all the men were wearing their life jackets, which is a great reminder to everyone how important it is to be safe when on the water. 

According to the Coast Guard’s 2019 Recreational Boating Statistics, there were a total of 4,168 boat crashes that resulted in 613 deaths. In this same year, another 2,559 injuries were reported as well as a whopping $55 million in property damage all due to recreational boating accidents. The Coast Guard also found that 79% of recreational boating deaths involved victims who drowned. Furthermore, 86% of fatal drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. 

Nothing beats a hot sunny day on the water, and Pasco County is a great area for year-long boating activities. However, just one tiny slip up and a fun-filled day can turn into a nightmare in a matter of seconds. Anytime you head out on the water you want to be as prepared as possible. Our Pasco County Boating Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want to remind you of the following safety tips. 

Boat safety starts before you even get on the water. You want to make sure your vessel is in good working condition before taking it out. This means you need to regularly inspect your boat for properly working steering, throttle, fuel and battery lines, and all switches and cables. If you have not taken your boat out in a while, you want to properly inspect it and be thorough before you get it on the water. 

Life jackets are a must for every single passenger. Every person on your watercraft needs to wear a life jacket. This is a non negotiable, as having one on can save your life, as this article shows. You want the life jackets to be kept in places that are easily accessible. You also need to inspect them often to make sure they are not ripped, torn, or otherwise defective. You also want to be aware of the laws regarding life jackets in Florida. For children under the age of 6: They must wear a USCG-approved life jacket while on boats that are under 26 feet in length on Florida waterways. Everyone on board a personal watercraft or being towed by a PWC must also wear a USCG-approved life jacket at all times. 

Pay attention to the weather and prepare yourself accordingly. A severe thunderstorm can quickly turn a nice day into a dangerous one. If severe warning is on the radar, consider taking your boat out another day. Once dark clouds are hanging over your vessel, it is usually too late to get back to shore safely. 

Do not drink and operate a boat. Just like driving a car, drinking while boating is dangerous and can prevent you from being able to operate a vessel safely. Likewise, drinking large amounts of alcohol can hinder your balance, and that combined with a rocky boat can easily lead to passengers falling overboard. 

Keep an eye on your boat’s weight. An overloaded boat can lead to a capsized boat. Your boat weight needs to be evenly distributed. You want to secure your anchor to the front of the boat (the bow). When the boat is moving at fast speeds, remind passengers to stay seated so that they can avoid falling overboard. 

Follow appropriate traffic guidelines. Be advised that larger boats like fishing boats, sailboats, etc. have the right away. It is best to stay to the right when approaching another vessel. You always want to yield to the boat that is on the right. 

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skate-629740_640-150x150A 14-year-old died Tuesday morning in New Port Richey after being struck by a vehicle while riding a bicycle. 

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the crash involved a Jeep and happened at Moon Lake Road and Slidell Street just after 7 a.m. 

The child was transported to an area hospital but later died due to the injuries suffered in the crash. The child was a 9th grader at River Ridge High School.

The crash remains under investigation and authorities are asking drivers to avoid the area. 

At this time, no charges have been filed.

Anytime a child is hit by a car while riding their bike, it is every parent’s worst nightmare come true. Sadly, a child’s bicycle is no match for the mass and velocity of a full-sized car, so when these accidents occur, serious injuries and/or death are often the result. 

In most of these accidents, the chances are, the driver didn’t mean to hit your child. They may have been rolling too fast through a stop sign, texting while driving, or just simply failing to pay attention to their surroundings. 

If your child is struck by a car, your next steps are very important. Our Pasco County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have compiled a list to help you think fast and preserve critical evidence. 

  • Take Care of Your Child’s Injuries/get them to the hospital
  • Keep the accident site intact 
  • Establish Witnesses
  • Call the Police
  • Collect Driver Information
  • Take Photographs
  • Talk to the Police
  • Hire an Attorney

The first, and most obvious thing, is to tend to your child’s injuries. There is a very high chance that they will be badly scraped up and bruised from impacting the car, but they could also have broken bones, a concussion, dislocated joints, or other very serious injuries after the crash. Do everything you can for your child and, if necessary, prepare to call an ambulance to take them directly to a hospital.

Whenever possible, try not to disturb the bicycle’s location too much while treating your child as this can be an important detail for later. You want to make a mental note of where your child was exactly after the crash. 

The next step is to identify any witnesses and get their accounts of the accident. You will want them to make a report to police once they arrive at the scene. If witnesses can’t stay because they need to be somewhere, collect their names and contact information so they can be called about the incident later on.

The driver should remain at the scene and speak with the police. If they leave, the accident escalates to a hit-and-run. 

Once the police are called, it’s time to make sure you have all the information you will need in the future. You need to get the driver’s full name, license plate number, and the details of their insurance policy. Try and take a picture of both sides of their insurance card so you can confirm the details later on.

We strongly recommend not conversing with the driver other than gathering their information. Don’t say anything accusatory, don’t ask for an apology. You do not want to say something that can jeopardize a legal case because you are upset after an accident. The less you and the driver talk (aside from exchanging information) the better. 

If your child is suffering from significant injuries beyond a few easily healed scrapes and bruises, then you need to call an attorney. While the law will hold the driver responsible for any criminal actions like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you will need legal help to hold them personally responsible for the damage done to your child. This is where our Pasco County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can be your best ally.

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Recent recalls of popular antacids, such as Zantac and its generic version, ranitidine, as well as another drug, nizatidine, have left many patients suffering from heartburn with a loss of what to do. 

While these drugs are no longer available at pharmacies, they may still be in your medicine cabinet. Our Pasco County Zantac Lawsuit Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want you to be informed on what to do. 

Here is what has been recalled and why: 

Companies that make the antacids ranitidine and nizatidine (brand name: Axid) have voluntarily recalled more than a dozen lots of unexpired medications in 150 mg and 300 mg strengths. Exact lot numbers of the recalled drugs can be found on the FDA’s website.

The FDA said the medicines may contain “unacceptable” amounts of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a substance the World Health Organization has classified as a “probable human carcinogen.”

Valisure, an online pharmacy that analyzes every batch of medications it receives, first discovered the elevated NDMA levels in samples of ranitidine. 

Due to the molecular makeup of ranitidine, when it is exposed to heat, it breaks down and forms NDMA. It can breakdown in as little as 15 minutes and form NDMA, according to researchers. In theory, ranitidine could develop the toxin while in hot delivery vehicles, or even stored in steamy bathrooms.

Should you be concerned? 

None of the recalled lots has been associated with any illnesses or injuries. FDA testing of recalled ranitidine detected NDMA levels similar to the amounts found in grilled and smoked meats. Doctors have reported that the link between NDMA and the development of cancer is still misunderstood by many, but patients should discuss this with their physicians. 

Are there alternatives to the recalled medications?

Due to the fact that so many people rely on Zantac for heartburn relief, there are similar drugs on the market that could help. Sales of over-the-counter and prescription ranitidine topped $221 million in 2018 alone, according to the pharmaceutical research firm IQVIA. 

Other heartburn medications, such as famotidine (Pepcid), cimetidine (Tagamet), esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid) and omeprazole (Prilosec) have not tested positive for signs of NDMA.

Heartburn drugs work to reduce stomach acid, but lifestyle changes can help, too. Losing a few pounds, even as little as two to three BMI points, can significantly improve symptoms, quitting smoking, and cutting back on dietary fat can also help.

The condition that usually causes severe cases of heartburn is called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. It occurs when the valve that separates the esophagus and the stomach opens when it’s not supposed to. When that happens, the contents of your stomach, which naturally contains a lot of acid, travels into the esophagus.

Because GERD is essentially a valve problem, nighttime heartburn patients can slightly elevate the head of their bed, and sleep on their left side for relief. When you lay on your left side, the faulty valve is positioned in a way that separates it from food and acid, which means less stomach acid will back up into the esophagus.

What if your heartburn will not go away?

Occasional heartburn is common, especially after big meals, and usually is not serious. But sometimes, that burning sensation can indicate something more serious, such as ulcers, bleeding or an inflammation of the lining of the esophagus.

Gastroenterologists recommend contacting your doctor’s office if your heartburn won’t go away after two weeks, you’re having trouble swallowing, or your heartburn is causing nausea and vomiting.

Zantac Cancer Lawsuits 

The first Zantac lawsuit filed against the drugmaker Sanofi was filed in California on the same day the FDA published its safety warning. Since then, there have been other suits. Plaintiffs say that the drugmaker had an obligation to know about the potential for contamination and to advise the medical community of the danger.

Anyone who regularly used Zantac for an extended period of time and has since been diagnosed with cancer can file a claim. Any Zantac users that have suffered acute damage to their liver can also file suit. The following cancers are known to be caused by NDMA exposure:

  • Stomach Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Uterine Cancer
  • Small Intestine Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer

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