Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

With summer approaching, National Safe Boating Week is here to encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with the best practices for a safe boating experience.

The 7-day period before Memorial Day weekend is “National Safe Boating Week,” and runs from May 18 through May 24, 2019.

In 2017, the Coast Guard recorded 4,291 recreational boating accidents that contributed to 658 fatalities and roughly $46 million in losses. Drowning is the leading cause of death in 76 percent of boating fatalities, and about 85% of those victims were not wearing a life jacket. Life jackets are designed to keep you afloat following an accident and save thousands of lives every year.

Here is a breakdown of Florida life jacket laws:

  • All recreational vessels must have at least one personal flotation device (PFD) that is U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved and of the proper size for each person on boat
  • Vessels 16 feet or longer must have one “throwable” Type IV PFD which is USCG approved and immediately available
  • Children under six years old must wear a USCG approved life jacket at all times on any vessel less than 26 feet in length that is underway in Florida waters
  • Children under 13 years of age on vessels operating on waters outside the geographical boundaries of Florida must wear a USCG approved PFD unless the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin
  • Each person on a personal watercraft (PWC), such as a Waverunner or Jet Ski, must wear a USCG approved life jacket

The following are a few boating safety tips our Pasco County Boating Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have compiled:

  1. Wear a life jacket that is certified by the U.S. Coast Guard. We encourage you to check life jackets here: safeboatingcampaign.com
  2. Know local and state boating laws
  3. Consider taking a Florida Boating Safety Course before getting out on the water
  4. Make sure your vessel is properly prepared before heading out on an excursion
  5. Schedule a Vessel Safety Check with the U.S. Coast guard
  6. Prepare a U.S. Coast Guard Float Plan. You can check that out here: http://floatplancentral.cgaux.org/
  7. Always have a communication device ready
  8. Do not drink and operate a boat
  9. Follow all navigation rules

Continue reading

Four bicyclists have been hospitalized after they were seriously injured in a crash involving another vehicle on Ridge Road in Port Richey, according to Pasco County Fire Rescue officials.

According to the agency, the bicyclists were struck by the liftgate of a vehicle ahead of them that dislodged and fell open.

The driver of the vehicle initially kept driving, but Port Richey Police later caught up with him.

All four bicyclists were transported to Bayonet Point Hospital. Three were transported as trauma alerts.

The crash happened just before 7:30 p.m. when a Florida Cancer Specialist tractor trailer was headed eastbound on Ridge Road when the gate fell off, hitting the cyclists on the sidewalk.

Authorities said there were seven people on bicycles total but three of the riders were able to avoid getting hit by the gate. The other four were not.

Also, police said the driver kept going after the crash.

However, it is unclear if they even knew what happened. The driver is cooperating with authorities.

As of now, the driver is not facing any charges. The investigation is ongoing.

Port Richey is a great place to ride a bike. However, even if bikers use the bike lanes they can be injured by reckless or careless motorists who fail to keep a proper lookout out for bicyclists. Every year, numerous serious injuries and fatalities related to bicycle accidents occur throughout Port Richey and Florida, and all over the United States as well. If you have suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident, or if a loved one has died as a result of a car vs. bicycle accident, our Pasco County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you during this stressful period.

Continue reading

A motorcyclist was killed in a traffic crash in the Hunters Ridge community of Pasco County Saturday evening, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Investigators said the 59-year-old was on his motorcycle heading east on Rancho Del Rio Drive at the time of the crash. He entered the intersection at Via Segovia, at which time another vehicle drove into his path.

The man’s motorcycle struck the left rear of the second vehicle. He died at the scene.

According to the accident report, the man was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

The driver of the other vehicle was not injured.

No further information has been released.

It is no secret that a motorcycle’s small size combined with their speed can be  deadly. Hundreds of motorcyclists die every year in Florida in collisions with cars and trucks. Motorcyclists have to be very cautious when navigating the roadway, but other motorists also need to be more aware of motorcyclists.

Most motorcycle accidents are preventable. The most common causes of these collisions, include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Motorists not paying attention to motorcycles
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Faulty mirrors, brakes or lighting

Drivers of cars and trucks are not free to act without regard for the safety of motorcyclists. Motorists routinely neglect their responsibility to watch out for bikers on Florida roads, causing serious, and even fatal, motorcycle accidents.

Continue reading

Authorities in Pasco County are investigating two weekend hit-and-runs.

According to Pasco Fire Rescue, a toddler was struck by a motorcycle in the 7300 block of Oak Crest Drive in Port Richey on Saturday evening.  

Officials said the motorcyclist just rode off after striking the 2-year-old child.

The child was trauma alerted and flown from the scene.

No further information has been released.

Another crash happened around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, this one resulting in a death.

Authorities are searching for a driver that was headed north on US 19 and struck a bicyclist at Holiday Hills Boulevard in Port Richey.

The Florida Highway Patrol described the car that left the scene as a dark blue 2000’s model Saturn sedan.

Anyone with information in either of these cases is asked to call the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office at (727) 847-8102.

A hit and run occurs when the responsible party of a crash flees the scene. Florida law prohibits this behavior, but sadly, new incidents are reported daily, just like these two crashes. Sometimes the responsible party leaves the scene even when there is an injury victim. For victims of hit and runs, this is physically and emotionally painful. They are left to deal with their injuries, but also left wondering how someone could act in such a negligent and reckless manner.

Continue reading

A 15-year-old student was struck by a vehicle Wednesday morning near Gulf High School.

According to Pasco County Fire Rescue, the teen was struck by a van in the intersection of School Road and Madison Street in New Port Richey.

Authorities said the teen was unresponsive and was airlifted from the scene to an area hospital.

The driver of the van is a teacher at the school and coach of the boys soccer team.

The teacher’s 7-year-old child also was in the van. The teacher, who told authorities it was dark and he did not see the teen, was quite upset after the crash, officials said.

Officials did not say what led to the crash, but police said speed does not appear to be a factor.

The teen underwent surgery and remains in critical condition.

A pedestrian accident is a common and tragic occurrence at certain busy intersections. Motorists have a responsibility to yield to pedestrians, and pedestrians have the right of way. An investigation into the circumstances behind a pedestrian accident can usually provide the evidence needed to help injury victims recover full and just compensation for their suffering.

Injuries caused by pedestrian accidents may include internal bleeding, broken arms or legs, head injuries, back and neck injuries, or spinal cord trauma. Fatal pedestrian accidents leave a family without a loved one. While nothing can replace the loss of a loved one, recovering monetary compensation from the at-fault party can help cover medical bills, funeral expenses, etc. so that your family does not have any added financial stress.

Continue reading

A 50-year-old motorcyclist died Friday after colliding with a van that pulled out in front of him, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The Odessa man died at Medical Center of Trinity, the Highway Patrol said. The crash occurred near the intersection of State Road 54 and Black Lake Road in Odessa.

Here’s what troopers believe happened:

A Brooksville man was driving a 2015 Chevy Express van south on Asturian Parkway in Odessa about 5 p.m. Friday.

At the same time, the motorcyclist was driving a 2004 Harley Davidson Fatboy west on SR 54, with a woman as his passenger.

As the motorcyclist approached Black Lake Road, the driver of the van tried to turn left into the eastbound lane of SR 54. The driver of the van drove into the motorcyclist’s path, troopers said, and the motorcycle collided with the front of the van.

The motorcyclist was taken to the hospital, where he died. The passenger on the motorcycle was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital with critical injuries.

Alcohol was not a factor in the incident, troopers said, and the driver of the van was wearing his seatbelt.

As of Saturday, chargers were pending.

A motorcycle crash can happen in a matter of seconds, but the consequences can last a lifetime. As the victim of a motorcycle accident caused by another person’s negligence, you may have the right to pursue financial compensation for all resulting damages.

Unfortunately, motorcyclists and their passengers are more likely to suffer serious injuries in an accident than other motorists. This is because they lack the protections passenger vehicles provide like no windshield, seatbelt, cushion, or other barrier, which exposes the rider and passenger to the environment and its many hazards. Moreover, a motorcycle cannot usually stand upright on its own, so most accidents cause the two-wheeled motor vehicle to tip over. Because of this, injuries can be severe, and even deadly.

Continue reading

A 54-year-old woman died Wednesday after she was hit by a truck while walking in the road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The woman died at Florida Hospital Zephyrhills.

Troopers believe the collision occurred about 7 p.m. Wednesday after a 61-year-old man driving a 2013 Ford F-150 east on County Road 54, nearing the intersection with Ohio Street struck the woman walking

east in the roadway on County Road 54, east of Ohio Street.

Troopers said alcohol wasn’t a factor in the collision, and no charges were filed.

After you lose someone in a fatal pedestrian accident, it might be difficult to think about pursuing legal action. However, there are a few things that you should know about wrongful death cases immediately after a pedestrian accident:

  • Your time to file a case is limited by the state statute of limitations. In Florida, you have two years from the date of death to file a claim. You may not be able to recover damages after that time expires.
  • The stress of filing a claim does not have to be your burden. A wrongful death attorney will handle settlement negotiations, discovery, and litigation on your behalf.
  • Filing a wrongful death claim may be your only chance to recover for medical bills, funeral costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages that the driver caused when your loved one was killed. If you choose to not take any legal action, then you are unlikely to ever see a fair financial settlement.

Continue reading

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal hit-and-run crash at an intersection in Holiday Tuesday evening.

According to the agency, the crash involved a pedestrian walking into the path of a vehicle at the intersection of Flora Avenue and Brightwell Drive around 6:15 p.m.

The pedestrian was transported to a local hospital, where he later died.

The vehicle involved in the crash fled the scene after impact.

Anyone with information regarding the crash is asked to contact the Florida Highway Patrol at (813) 558-1800 or by texting *FHP. Anonymous tips can also be reported to Crime Stoppers at 800-873-TIPS.

Auto accidents happen every day across the state of Florida, but there is nothing worse than a hit-and-run accident. Florida law requires all drivers to stop when they are involved in an accident that results in damage to a vehicle, personal injury, or death. The law also requires that the drivers exchange information such as name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information. If a motorist chooses to flee the scene, this is considered a misdemeanor, but if the collision resulted in serious injury or death, then it is enhanced to a felony carrying a five year prison term.

Continue reading

A 1-year-old boy in Wesley Chapel is in critical condition after Pasco County Fire rescue says he fell into a pool.

The near-drowning happened on Tremont Drive in Wesley Chapel around 7 p.m.

The boy has been transported to an area hospital. No further information is available at this time.

Drowning, in a swimming pool or another body of water, is a very real threat, especially to babies and young children. Drowning is the leading cause of all accidental deaths among children one to four years of age, and the next leading cause among all children from one to 14 years of age.

Drownings and swimming accidents can easily occur in public and private swimming pools, fitness clubs, lakes, ponds, and rivers, and even in home spas, hot tubs, or  bathtubs. In non-fatal drowning cases, brain damage can happen after only four minutes of submersion. An estimated 20% of drowning victims suffer severe, permanent neurological disability if they survive the incident.

Continue reading

The National Safety Council estimates 420 people will be killed during the three-day weekend, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, Sept. 3.

An additional 48,400 injuries are estimated to occur that require medical attention.

While these statistics may seem daunting, there are ways to help prevent accidents and injury to you or your loved ones. Here are some safety tips our Pasco County Auto Accident Attorneys recommend to make it a safe and enjoyable weekend for everyone.

  • Wear a seatbelt: NSC estimates that about 163 lives may be saved this Labor Day weekend for those wearing seat belts
  • NEVER drive while intoxicated: If you are consuming alcohol, do not get behind the wheel. Call a taxi or use Uber or Lyft to get where you need to go safely.
  • Practice defensive driving: Get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, and drive attentively, avoiding distractions.
  • Before heading out on road trips, learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them: Fix recalls immediately and make sure your vehicle is ready to make a long distance trip.

While Labor Day can be a fun, relaxing time, it is also one of the most dangerous holidays of the year. Enjoy this end of summer time with family and friends, but remember to be safe!

If you find yourself involved in an accident this holiday weekend, do not delay in calling our Pasco County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton for a free consultation at 727-847-2299. We will be available 24/7 to help you.

Continue reading

Contact Information