Articles Posted in Land O’Lakes

There is nothing that can compare to the helplessness we feel after a hurricane. We are unable to stop or limit the outcome of these natural disasters, like Hurricane Irma headed our way. While we can all take protective measures to help reduce the amount of damage Irma might cause to our property, there are no guarantees of what could happen.

Hurricanes are totally unpredictable and can cause wind damage, water damage, destroy vehicles and homes, and leave behind massive amounts of other problems to your home or property. You could be facing a whole laundry list of issues that force you to file a claim with your insurance company, only to find that your valid claims are denied or hardly paid for by your insurance company.

An insurance company’s job is to take in as much money as possible and pay out as little as they can. Regardless of what your policy says, insurance adjusters will offer the minimum or make you a “lowball” offer when it comes to covering damage to your property. To remedy this situation, talk to our New Port Richey Hurricane Claims Attorney at Whittel & Melton regarding your options for flood damage.

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A Pasco County man is accused of leaving three children in a hot car Friday while he shopped for diapers.

The man is charged with child neglect for the incident that occurred in a Wesley Chapel Publix parking lot.

Deputies said the children–ages 6, 4, and 1–were locked in the car with the window rolled up for 15 minutes.

Deputies said the children were sweating and warm to the touch. They were not injured.  

When deputies made contact with the man, he said he was only going to be in the store for a minute, so he left the kids in the vehicle.

He was arrested and booked into the Pasco County jail.

Every year, accidental deaths occur when children are left inside cars. According to reports, 735 children have died from being left in cars that overheated since 1998. Thus far for 2017, 35 children have died of heatstroke after being left inside vehicles. Last year, 39 children died of heatstroke in hot cars. All of these deaths could have been prevented. Most of these deaths are caused by lack of attention, which means that vehicular heatstroke can be a wrongful death case.

There are three primary circumstances that lead to children being left in hot cars:

  • The child was forgotten in the car.
  • The child was playing unattended inside a car without the knowledge of the caregiver.
  • The child was intentionally left inside the car generally while the adult ran an errand.

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A Florida woman has died in a crash near Tampa from injuries that may have been caused by an exploding Takata air bag inflator.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the July 19 death in Holiday, which could be the 19th worldwide and 13th in the U.S. blamed on the Japanese company’s faulty parts. Authorities in Florida have not yet released the cause of death.

Takata inflators can explode with too much force and blow apart a metal canister, spewing shrapnel. The defective inflators have touched off the largest automotive recall in U.S. history, involving 42 million vehicles and 69 million inflators. More than 100 million have been recalled worldwide. All the deaths but one have occurred in Hondas. Five happened in Malaysia and one in Australia.

Authorities identified the woman as a 34-year-old who was driving a 2002 Honda Accord when a 19-year-old man turned left in front of her in a 1999 Pontiac Firebird. The Accord struck the passenger side of the Firebird, causing the driver’s airbag to inflate. Three other people in her car, including a 4-year-old girl, suffered only minor injuries according to a Highway Patrol press release. The woman’s car was equipped with the original Takata air bag. The woman died of blunt force trauma.

The Accord, like many of the Hondas in which people have died, had been recalled by the automaker, but repairs had not been made. Honda said in a statement that it mailed 21 recall notices to the owners of the Accord, including 10 to the current registered owner. The company also tried “numerous times” to reach the owners by email and telephone.

Honda and investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration inspected the Accord on Thursday and determined that the driver’s inflator ruptured, according to Honda.

There are about 98 million Takata inflators still on the road in the U.S., according to figures provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Takata supplied about 114 million inflators in the U.S., and only about 16 million of them have been replaced. A total of 46 million have been recalled in 34 million vehicles thus far, with more recalls to be phased in through 2020.

Millions of motor vehicles may have been manufactured with Takata airbags that contain a defective inflator and propellant device. If a collision occurs, the airbag could deploy improperly and shoot metal fragments that could injure or kill the driver and passengers, as this case shows.

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Authorities are currently investigating a fatal crash involving a pedestrian.

The collision occurred around 8:45 a.m. Monday on U.S. Highway 19 just south of Hudson Avenue.

The Florida Highway Patrol said a vehicle was traveling northbound on U.S. 19 when a 46-year-old Wesley Chapel man walked into the vehicle’s path.

Troopers said the pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene.

FHP is still investigating.

When a vehicle hits a pedestrian, there are many questions that must be asked. Our Pasco County Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton strive to help Pasco County residents with car vs. pedestrian accidents. Every accident situation is unique and there are many factors involved. In very case, we must evaluate the conduct of the pedestrian up until the accident to determine if the driver can be legally held responsible.

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The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office stopped a scooter Monday night on U.S. Highway 19 because it didn’t have a functioning headlight.

According to reports, the driver was trying to use a cell phone light as a headlight by bungee-cording the phone to a mirror.

Authorities did not say if the driver was charged, but the driver was sent home walking, without his scooter.

Cell phones have plenty of uses, but a headlight isn’t one of them. In addition to wearing a helmet, here are some general scooter safety tips:

  • Obey all traffic control devices and use proper hand signals.
  • Always ride with the flow of traffic.
  • Pay attention to the roadway, and look for potholes, expansion joints on bridges, oil slicks, and crumbling edges of the roadway.
  • Be aware of motor vehicle blind spots.
  • Maximize your visibility at night – wear reflective clothing and apply reflective tape to your scooter.
  • Use extra caution at intersections, parking lot entrances and exits, and driveways.
  • Always use your headlight, even during the daytime.

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As drivers, we all know that distracted driving is a serious problem. While we all know we should not give in to the many distractions out there while driving, the reality is that most of us do. Given that reality, our Pasco County Auto Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to spread the word that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. If we all just take a few minutes to alter our driving habits, maybe we can eliminate some of these distractions and make the roads a much safer place.

The Statistics Are Troubling

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, the following statistics outline the problem of distracted driving in the United States:

  • 3,477 people died in car accidents in the United States in 2015 because of distracted driving.
  • That equates to more than 9 people every day or one person every 2.5 hours.
  • Distracted driving crashes injured 391,000 people in the United States in 2015 alone.
  • That equates to one person suffering injuries every one minute and 20 seconds, every day.
  • During daytime hours, approximately 542,000 people are driving and using handheld cellphones.

Distracted Driving Bad Habits

According to the American Automobile Association, or AAA, Americans spend an average of 17,600 minutes behind the wheel of a vehicle every year, which is more than 293 hours or more than 45 minutes every single day of the year. It is easy to develop bad habits when driving, such as using your cellphone, reaching for something inside the car, looking at something going on outside your window, reading something like text messages, GPS or emails, and applying makeup. The best thing you can do is identify what distractions you give in to and adjust from there. Doing so could save your life.

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A 73-year-old man died in a motorcycle crash Monday afternoon.

The crash happened around noon at Duck Slough Boulevard and Green Ridge Drive in Pasco County.

Troopers believe the 73-year-old biker was traveling northbound on Duck Slough Boulevard when he took a right curve just north of Green Ridge and lost control of his motorcycle.

The motorcycle collided with the curb, then crossed over the sidewalk and collided with a metal fence.

The man was transported to Bayonet Point Hospital where he died from his injuries.

According to the report, the man was wearing a helmet.

No biker ever wants to lose control of their bike on a turn. Riding defensively and doing your best to try and avoid any roadway hazards is a great way to prevent a loss of control accident. It is important to be extra cautious when riding in poor weather, and keep an eye out for dangerous or distracted drivers. It is always a good idea to make sure you’re familiar with your bike before hitting the open road.

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There were no apparent injuries Monday morning when an SUV slammed into the back of a school bus in Land O’ Lakes.

According to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, there were five high school students and the driver on the bus when a Ford Explorer collided with it on northbound US 41 and Snook Circle.

Another vehicle also was involved in the crash. One of the drivers of the other vehicles was taken to an area hospital to be checked out.

The students were released to their parents.

The Florida Highway Patrol is currently investigating the crash.

Fortunately, no children were harmed in this crash.

If your child was injured in a bus-related crash, our Pasco County Auto Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you understand how to handle this type of claim. First and foremost, it is important to make sure your child’s injuries are cared for properly. The next step is to identify the correct party or parties who are responsible for these injuries. That is where we can help; we have the knowledge and the experience to sift through the facts, evidence, and complicated legal principles involved to work towards the best possible outcome for your family.

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The holiday season is here and for most, this is a time for joyful celebrations. Sadly, the holidays are a high risk time for Florida’s roadways. Christmas, New Year’s, and the days surrounding these holidays are when we see a much higher number of motor vehicle accidents than other times of the year. If you or a loved one is harmed in a car accident this Christmas, our Pasco County Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will be here to help.

According to reports, the most dangerous days on U.S. roads are Christmas, New Year’s, and Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independence Day.

The Christmas holiday period includes Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas. During this holiday period, an average of 343 people die in auto accidents. Over New Year’s, an average of 373 people die in car accidents. Increased travel and drunk and drugged drivers are two primary reasons we see a rise in car accident deaths on both Christmas and New Year’s.

All drivers need to be aware of the heightened dangers of driving during the holidays and take extra safety precautions, especially if heading out of town for the holidays. Make sure to do preventative car maintenance before traveling, get plenty of rest to avoid drowsy driving, check road conditions for inclement weather and try to travel during daylight hours to avoid dark roadways. It’s important to also note that staying sober when behind the wheel as well as avoiding any distractions is pertinent to arriving to your destination safely.

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A member of a popular Pasco County band was killed in a motorcycle crash over the holiday weekend.

The 33-year-old fiddle player was killed in a motorcycle crash Saturday night in New Port Richey.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the man was riding northbound on US Highway 19 just after 9 p.m. when the driver of an SUV turned left into his path, causing him to hit the right rear of the vehicle.

The man was ejected from his motorcycle and later died at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.

He was a singer and a fiddle player with the Bearded Brothers Band.

The crash is still under investigation.

While motorcycle accidents can be caused by the motorcycle driver, more often than not these accidents are caused by negligent motorists. Because of the fact that motorcycles do not offer drivers the same protection as that of a passenger vehicle, truck or SUV, these crashes usually deliver severe injuries to the motorcycle driver. As this case shows, many motorcycle accidents end in tragedy.

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