Articles Posted in Premises Liability

Last week, a 4-year-old Pasco County child accidentally shot himself.

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office, along with Fire Rescue, received the call of an accidental shooting at a residence on the 6700 block of Boulder Run Loop in Zephyrhills at 9:17 p.m. last Wednesday.

According to officials, the child appears to have suffered an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the abdomen. He was flown to an area hospital and is currently in stable condition.

While the boy’s grandmother was in the bathroom, police say he found a loaded firearm in the bedroom and shot himself.

The boy’s prognosis is good and he is expected to recover.

Guns of are designed to injure and kill. While, in the right hands guns can be used as a tool for hunting or as a means of protection. However, in the wrong hands, guns can lead to tragic and accidental injuries.

Not everyone that picks up a gun knows how to use it. If you or someone you love was seriously injured in an accidental shooting, you may be able to recover financial compensation to cover your medical bills and any other damages you may have incurred.

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As you are planning your Thanksgiving this week, our Pasco County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge you to not forget about fire safety. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires and the number of home fires actually double on Thanksgiving, so it is important to add fire safety to the menu this year to avoid a preventable tragedy at your house this year.

The following tips could help you prevent a fire from breaking out at your household:

  • Roasting a turkey? Set a timer so you will not forget about your bird as you watch the parade or football.
  • Frying a turkey? Use a fryer with thermostat controls as this ensures the oil will not overheat.
  • It is important to completely thaw your turkey because any ice on the bird will cause oil to splatter and could potentially cause severe burns.
  • Always use the fryer outdoors. Children and pets should be kept at a minimum of three-four feet away from the fryer.
  • When using your stove, don’t walk away from the food. It is always best to stay in the kitchen when you are frying, boiling or broiling. You can catch spills or spot any hazards before they turn into a fire if you stay nearby.

Our Pasco County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you and your loved ones to have a delicious and fire free Thanksgiving. We understand that sometimes accidents happen, which is why we will be available 24/7 this holiday to help with any tragedies.

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A 28-year-old Port Richey man died late Sunday when his motorcycle collided with a decorative rock, according to reports.

The Florida Highway Patrol believes he was riding his 2007 Hyosung motorcycle eastbound on Bougenville Drive just east of Raffia Drive at 11:30 p.m. when he lost control while trying to negotiate a curve in the road.

The motorcycle went off the road, onto the shoulder and collided with a decorative rock on the side of the road. The man was ejected from the motorcycle.

He was taken to Bayonet Point Regional Medical Center, where he died.

The crash is still under investigation.

Riding a motorcycle presents certain dangers that drivers of larger, passenger vehicles do not encounter. Gravel on the road or an object, like a rock, that causes a biker to swerve can cause serious accidents. Because bikes do not offer the protection that the shell of a car does, bikers and their passengers are at a greater risk of suffering serious or fatal injuries.

Any minor road defects or anything that can fall off a vehicle is a dangerous obstacle to bikers. Rocks, branches, and even animal carcasses are much more hazardous to motorcycles than cars.

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A 3-year-old child was injured Sunday after a television fell over. The child remains at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.

According to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, the accident happened Sunday afternoon at a home in Hudson.

Details of the child’s condition at the moment is unknown.

The accident was serious enough for the child to be flown from Hudson to St. Petersburg.  

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 11,000 children were treated in emergency rooms between 2011 and 2013 for injuries involving televisions and furniture.  

According to a new CPSC study, when a television falls from an average size dresser, it can actually fall with the force of thousands of pounds. That is a dangerously hard blow for anyone to take, especially for a young child.

A secured TV is mounted to the wall or anchored to furniture with straps, brackets, or braces to prevent the TV from sliding. Our Pasco County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge you to secure your TV’s properly to prevent a deadly accident. It is equally important to remember to keep items that might tempt kids to climb, like toys and remote controls, away from the top of the TV and furniture. Store these items out of sight or in a secure area.

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If you have a swimming pool on your property or one nearby, odds are you will be using it a lot this summer. Kids are out of school, there are lots of hours of sunlight, and it is hot in Pasco County, which makes the pool THE SPOT for parties, barbecues, and many other get-togethers with friends and family. However, pools can be dangerous, so make sure you follow these swimming pool safety tips to minimize the risk of an accident.

Install A Fence And Gate Around The Pool

Pools need to have a barrier around them. A gate and fence should be able to prevent young children from gaining access to the pool when they should not be out there. Your fence should be at least five feet tall, and have a gate with a latch that is well out of the reach of kids.

Keep Safety Devices On Hand

Lifesaving devices, such as life jackets and telescoping hooks, should be within reach sho that if swimmers run into trouble they can be helped. Always inspect these devices for any damages, and replace them as necessary.

Have Pool Rules To Limit HorsePlay

Make a list of pool rules and enforce them. Don’t run around the deck area surrounding a pool as a wet pool deck is slippery and one of the single biggest causes of pool-related injuries every year. Slipping and falling could result in serious injuries,  and could be fatal if you slip and fall into the actual pool.

Adult Supervision Is A Must

Anytime you are at the pool with kids, make sure the pool premises is never without the supervision of an adult in case any dangerous situations arise.

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A softball player at Pasco-Hernando State College was killed Monday night while jogging on a Pasco County sidewalk.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the 19-year-old was killed as she jogged on a sidewalk along State Road 52 and was struck by a vehicle.

Troopers said the crash happened at 10:05 p.m. when the 22-year-old driver lost control of his 1999 Ford Escort, went onto the sidewalk and struck woman.

The Escort then hit a guardrail before finally stopping in an outside lane of State Road 52 near Chenwood Avenue.

The woman died at the scene. She was an honor student and was graduating next week.

The driver of the Escort suffered minor injuries.

The crash remains under investigation and no charges have been filed as of yet.

Running is a popular form of exercise and Florida’s year-round warm climate provides residents with the ability to run or jog pretty much every day of the year if they would like. Unfortunately, whenever cars and people share the road there is the potential for serious accidents.

When a car hits any pedestrian, whether they are running, walking, jogging or even biking, the pedestrian always loses. Joggers hit by cars often suffer serious injuries and fractures. Depending on the speed of the car, the force of the impact may result in spinal trauma, traumatic brain injury or even wrongful death.

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A 2-year-old child was pulled from a pond Wednesday afternoon in Pasco County and is currently in the hospital.

According to Pasco Fire Rescue, emergency personnel responded to the New Port Richey pond just before 7 p.m.

Fire Rescue performed life-saving efforts on the child, who was transported by helicopter to a Tampa hospital.

Officials did not say how the boy got into the pond or what his current condition is.

Swimming pools are not the only areas where children are at risk for drowning tragedies. As this case shows, children are also at serious risk around lakes, ponds, beaches, bathtubs and other bodies of water. Each year, around 1,000 kids are killed in drowning accidents.

It is so important to make sure that you secure all lakes, ponds and swimming pools when you have a young child nearby. As a parent or guardian, it is an excellent idea for you to take a CPR course geared towards helping infants and toddlers so that you can be proactive in case of an emergency. It is also a good idea to not keep toys near any ponds, pools or lakes near your home. You also want to make sure that children are always supervised when they are near any bodies of water. Our Pasco County Drowning Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton strongly encourage you to enroll your child in a swim course to help them to get a head start.

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According to Pasco County residents, drivers in and around the Mitchell Ranch Plaza need a refresher course on the rules of the road.

If you pick up a copy of the Florida Drivers Handbook, you’ll read this as it pertains to pedestrian safety and crosswalks:

“The driver of a vehicle at an intersection that has a traffic control signal in place shall stop before entering the crosswalk and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian, with a permitted signal, to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or steps into the crosswalk and is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.”

However, many residents claim that traffic does not always stop for pedestrians using the crosswalk .

Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins reminds drivers they are required to stop.

“Pedestrians have the right-of-way in a crosswalk unless directed by signals not to cross,” he said.

Drivers who do not yield right-of-way face the possibility of a $62.50 fine.

When someone is injured or worse, killed, in a Pasco County crosswalk accident, those who have been harmed may have legal options that include the filing of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit with the help of our Citrus County Auto Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton. In order to file such a legal suit, there are many factors that rely on the specifics of the accident. These specifics will determine who the at-fault party is and what, if any, legal recourse is available.

Crosswalks in the state of Florida are governed by basic traffic laws. Pedestrians are allowed to cross the streets  inside these crosswalks and when a traffic signal allows them with the opportunity to cross. At intersections where there is no electronic traffic signal, pedestrians should look both ways for oncoming traffic and only cross inside the crosswalk when it is safe to do so. Once a pedestrian has reasonably entered a crosswalk, they then have the right-of-way and other travelers are expected to yield.

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Halloween is a holiday enjoyed by both children and parents alike. However, Halloween can pose major safety risks for children if proper precautions are not followed. Halloween can easily become a nightmare when you combine darkness, unsupervised children and costumes that may make visibility difficult. By following a few Halloween safety tips from our Pasco County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton, you can reduce the odds of a child injury affecting your family.

Costume Tips:

  • Make sure costumes are bright and reflective. Costumes should also be short enough to prevent tripping or contact with flame.
  • Try adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.  
  • Make sure all costumes and accessories are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child can easily get hurt by these accessories.
  • Children should be equipped with flashlights with fresh batteries for trolling around dark streets.
  • Give your child a cell phone and teach him or her how to call 9-1-1 if they have an emergency or become lost.

Carving Pumpkins:

  • Small children should not carve pumpkins. A safer alternative is to have children draw a face with markers and then parents can do the cutting.
  • Use a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you are using a candle to light your pumpkin, votive candles are best.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and do not leave them unattended.

Home Safety:

  • You want to keep your home safe for visiting trick-or-treaters,so it is best to remove anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations from the front yard and porch area.
  • Replace any burned-out bulbs outside.
  • Sweep wet leaves from sidewalks and steps.
  • Keep any pets restrained so they do not jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

Trick-Or-Treating:

  • A parent or other responsible adult should always accompany young children when trick-or-treating.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan their route and agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for candy.
  • Carry a cell phone for quick communication or emergency calls.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • Do not cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Never assume as a pedestrian that you have the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters, so be extra cautious!
  • You should notify police immediately about any suspicious or unlawful activity.

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A 2-year-old boy had his foot amputated Saturday after he was accidentally struck by a riding lawn mower being operated by his mother, according to Pasco County authorities.

Pasco County Fire Rescue claims that the mother was riding a commercial zero turn riding lawn mower at the family’s home in rural Spring Hill and saw the child running toward her. She tried to shut off the mower but was unable do so in time.

9298639_a33358c475_mAs the boy approached the mower, he fell and his leg went beneath the mower, severing it between his ankle and knee.

Emergency personnel responded to the home around 11 a.m. They packed the amputated leg on ice and had the boy transported to Tampa General Hospital.

This is at least the second lawn mower accident in the Tampa Bay area in 27 months. In April 2013, a 2-year-old lost both legs below her knees when her father accidentally backed over her on a riding lawn mower in the family’s Palm Harbor driveway.

Mowing the lawn is a simple and necessary task, but a lawn mower is one of the most dangerous household tools. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 250,000 people were treated for lawn mower injuries in 2010. Lawn mower injuries can be quite serious, including amputations, as this case shows, vision loss, and severe burns. In severe cases, lawn mower injuries can be fatal.

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