Hernando County Personal Injury Lawyers | Whittel & Melton, LLC | Spring Hill, Brooksville

There are few things more devastating than suffering from serious injuries or the death of a loved one as the result of another person’s negligence. Many injury victims are overwhelmed after an accident and feel helpless with nowhere turn. There are many things to do, and often it is impossible to figure out where to start.

We are here to help. The Hernando County Personal Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can guarantee that you receive the personalized attention you and your family need. Our number one priority is to help injured victims throughout Spring Hill and Brooksville receive the representation they deserve. While we cannot take away the pain you feel now, we can do everything in our power to get you full and fair compensation for your losses.

Offering Commitment to Our Clients in Spring Hill and Brooksville

Our Hernando County personal injury practice handles every type of injury case, from serious car or motorcycle accidents to slip and falls. If you are wondering if you have a case, contact us today to discuss the facts of your claim with a free consultation. Our Hernando County Personal Injury Lawyers can share with you your options in seeking financial recovery following a serious accident, catastrophic injury or the wrongful death of a loved one here in Spring Hill or Brooksville.

At Whittel & Melton, you can be confident that we stand behind you and your case. We will never put you or your claim on the back burner. Rather, we will strategically deal with the responsible parties involved and their insurance companies to obtain justice for you and your loved ones. Simply put, we will not be satisfied until you are. Whether through financial settlement or trial, we will prepare your case to achieve maximum compensation.

A free consultation with the Hernando County Personal Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can start you towards gaining the compensation necessary for a complete recovery. You will never be responsible for any attorney’s fees unless and until there is a successful financial recovery for your damages. Our firm’s phone is answered any time, day or night, so contact us today.

We are proud to help accident victims throughout Hernando County - Spring Hill, Brooksville, Ridge Manor, Weeki Wachee, Hernando Beach, Masaryktown.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office has released an update on a woman in her mid-60s who was attacked by a pack of dogs last week.

Officials say over the weekend the woman was airlifted from Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point to a Manatee County hospital where she will receive specialized treatment for her wounds. 

The woman is listed in critical condition.

On Friday, officials said four large dogs got out of a home at 11079 Mayflower Road and attacked a woman walking her dog. According to the report, the dogs initially went after the woman’s small dog but turned on the woman after she picked up her dog to protect it.

Officials said the victim’s dog was not injured in the attack and is being cared for by a family member.

The four dogs, plus another large dog at the home, were removed by Animal Enforcement Officers. There were six dogs total that resided at the home. The sixth was a Pomeranian.

The 5th dog, a terrier mix, was confirmed by witnesses to not have been involved in the attack and was released back to the owner. However, officials say it is unknown if the owner retrieved the dog yet. 

The dogs involved in the attack were “owner surrendered” to Hernando County Animal Services, with euthanasia forms completed.

The three owners of the dogs involved received Civil Citations for the following: 

  • Animal Bite
  • Unrestrained Animal
  • Unvaccinated Animal
  • Unlicensed Animal

According to the sheriff’s office, had other people not intervened in the attack, the woman would not have survived.

Several neighborhood residents rushed over to try to stop the dog attack, which was still in progress when first responders arrived. Fire rescue personnel helped the residents get the dogs off the woman.

Two of those good Samaritans were also injured and transported to a hospital. A few others incurred minor injuries and refused medical treatment.

One of the residents whose fiance got bitten while trying to stop the attack said it looked like they were eating her alive.

The investigation remains ongoing.

It is a simple fact of life that dogs bite. In fact, dogs bite nearly 5 million people a year in the U.S. About 800,000 Americans each year seek medical attention for wounds from dog bites, and 386,000 require emergency room treatment. About 16 people die every year after being attacked by a dog. Any dog of any breed can bite someone. A dog bite can be anything from a nip to a traumatic attack that results in serious injuries and even death. When a serious injury occurs from a dog bite or dog attack, the victim has every reason to hold the dog’s owner accountable by seeking financial compensation for all medical expenses, pain and suffering and other harm caused by the bite.

According to dog bite statistics from the CDC, approximately 885,000 dog bite victims require medical attention for their injuries.

The most common victims of dog bite attacks are:

  • Children ages 5-9
  • Elderly people
  • Post letter carriers

According to the CDC, dogs most often bite a person’s arm, hand, leg, foot, head or neck. Common injuries in dog attacks include:

  • Cuts, bruises and scratches
  • Puncture wounds
  • Tearing 
  • Dislocations
  • Fractures
  • Amputations
  • Head and skull injuries

Anyone who has been seriously injured in a dog bite attack deserves financial compensation. Many victims are reluctant to pursue legal action because they fear the money will come out of a friend or neighbor’s pocket. However, the compensation recovered in a dog bite claim almost always comes from the dog owner’s insurance, through their homeowners’ insurance or business liability insurance. 

Our Hernando County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are experienced in handling dog bite cases. We can investigate your dog bite case to determine whether the dog’s owner is liable and calculate the financial compensation you may be entitled to receive for your suffering. We work with a team of medical experts and investigators who are dedicated to uncovering favorable evidence in your case. We will explain every step of the legal process and help you make informed decisions about your case. Our top priority is making sure you recover and receive the full and fair compensation you deserve.

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The recalls of generic Zantac are continuing to roll in with the start of 2020 thanks to the suspected carcinogen N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). 

Two more companies have announced recalls of 18 lots of ranitidine heartburn meds in 150 mg and 300 mg doses. 

Indianapolis-based Denton Pharma, which does business as Northwind Pharmaceuticals, voluntarily recalled 10 lots of ranitidine manufactured by Glenmark because they were found to contain unacceptable levels of the impurity N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Piscataway, New Jersey-based Apco Pharma recalled eight lots that it had manufactured. 

This came after Mylan’s voluntary recall of three lots of nizatidine capsules because the API in them also contained unacceptable levels of NDMA. It was the first time nizatidine, a drug used for short-term treatment for duodenal ulcers, had been identified as an NDMA-carrying culprit. 

The nizatidine recall follows months of others along with pharmacy actions to remove popular heartburn medicine Zantac and its generics from the reach of consumers after positive NDMA testing triggered concerns.

The FDA last fall reported trace amounts of the contaminant had been found in both branded and generic versions of the drug, triggering a series of recalls that lasted weeks. That was all preceded by the initial discovery in 2018 of NDMA and other potential carcinogens in certain “sartan”-based blood pressure meds. 

It was determined that NDMA can be created during manufacturing and also is found in solvents often used in the process. But a third-party lab also reported it determined NDMA can materialize during storage or shipment in drugs that initially did not test for unacceptable levels. 

The agency has assured consumers that the risk is small, saying the levels of NDMA found in these drugs is equivalent to that often found in “grilled or smoked meats.” The agency has also warned it’s much riskier for consumers to quit taking these drugs than the possibility of getting cancer from them.

Chemically known as ranitidine hydrochloride, Zantac is a very popular antacid medication that has been on the market since the early 1980s. Zantac was available over the counter (Zantac OTC) and by prescription. Patients commonly use Zantac for acid reflux, heartburn, and a host of other stomach, throat, and gastrointestinal issues. Some people even use Zantac for allergies to supplement their treatment regimen. Zantac dosage varies between 75 and 150 mg tablets, though some patients take a once daily Zantac 300 mg dosage.

On September 13, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is investigating Zantac cancer risks after testing of Zantac 150 tablets found the commonly-used heartburn medication contains a carcinogenic chemical up to 3,000 times greater than the FDA’s daily intake limit. The carcinogenic chemical present in Zantac is known as N-nitrosodimethylamine (“NDMA”).

Since the 1980s, numerous studies have demonstrated a link between the NDMA in Zantac and cancer. Evidence has been stacking up that shows that Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim, the big pharma companies that make Zantac (ranitidine hydrochloride), concealed the Zantac cancer link from millions of people who took the drug for heartburn, gastric and duodenal ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), sour stomach, Barrett’s esophagus, acid reflux and other issues. The lies behind the drug came as the companies made unprecedented profits from Zantac, the first drug to generate $1 billion in sales.

The aftermath has left countless people battling cancer. Many people are turning to the courts and filing a Zantac lawsuit to hold Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim accountable for their blatant disregard for keeping users of Zantac informed of the risks associated with the medication. 

Our Zantac Lawsuit Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are representing people throughout Hernando County and the surrounding areas in personal injury and wrongful death Zantac lawsuits. We want to hold the drug makers accountable for placing profits above public health. 

The link between Zantac and cancer dates back decades. The following are some of the cancers associated with Zantac:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Colon and rectal cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer (non-smokers)
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Uterine cancer

Other Zantac side effects include headaches, abdominal discomfort, nausea, and vomiting.

Below are some of the most common Zantac brands and generic ranitidine brand names:

  • Zantac 150 Tablets
  • Zantac 150 Maximum Strength
  • Zantac 150 Maximum Strength Cool Mint
  • Zantac 75 Tablets
  • Wal-Zan 150
  • Wal-Zan 75
  • Heartburn Relief (ranitidine)
  • Acid Reducer (ranitidine)
  • Acid Control (ranitidine)

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One person was killed Wednesday morning in a crash involving a school bus

According to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, the crash happened between a school bus and a pick-up truck on Bourassa Boulevard and Commercial Way in the Weeki Wachee area.

The pick-up truck driver, a 69-year-old Crystal River man, was killed when his vehicle struck the back of the school bus.

Ten children on the bus suffered minor injuries. There were 48 students on the bus, which was serving the Winding Waters (K-8) School.

Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins said the bus had slowed to let pedestrians cross and was preparing to turn when the pick-up struck the back of the bus.

Hernando County School District representatives responded to the scene, along with deputies, troopers, and Fire/Rescue responders.

The roadway was closed for several hours.

As a parent, the most important thing is the safety of your children. When they are old enough to attend school, you may put them on a bus to school five days a week, entrusting that the bus driver and school district will keep them free from danger and harm. When a child’s school bus is involved in a crash with another vehicle, this can be a horrifying experience for a parent or caregiver. Receiving a phone call from the school or hospital telling you your child has suffered harm while on the school bus can cause severe anxiety and worry as well as rouse up some angry emotions because your child was hurt because of someone else’s negligence.

It is actually quite common for school-bus related accidents to be caused by other drivers simply failing to follow the rules of the road. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), there were 3,177 total school bus crashes in 2018 throughout the state of Florida. In 2017, there were 3,222 in Florida. In 2018, there were 24 school bus crashes in Hernando County alone. In 2017, there were 14. 

In the state of Florida, drivers are required to stop when a school bus stops to let students on or off. Many children are harmed every year when drivers fail to stop or try to pass a school bus while children are crossing the street to get on the bus or after exiting the bus.

Penalties for passing a stopped school bus in Florida include:

  • Moving violation subject to citation
  • Requirement to complete a basic Driver Improvement Course upon conviction
  • Four points on your driver’s license
  • Minimum fine of $165, if you pass on the side where children enter and exit, you will receive a minimum fine of $265.

 On July 1, 2017, the Cameron Mayhew Act took effect in Florida, which increases the minimum penalty for drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus, resulting in the injury or death of another person. Cameron Mayhew was killed by a motorist that failed to stop as he was walking to his stopped school bus in 2016.

Penalties for passing a stopped school bus that causes or results in serious bodily injury or the death of another person include:

  • Serving 120 community service hours in a trauma center or hospital
  • Participating in a victim’s impact panel session, or if such a panel does not exist, attending a FLHSMV approved driver improvement course
  • Six points on your driver’s license
  • Suspension of license for a minimum of one year
  • $1,500 fine

When a school bus crash involves a car or truck hitting the bus, injuries can be pretty severe since many school buses are not required to have seat belts to protect students in the event of an accident. School bus accidents also can involve injuries to numerous students, making lawsuits seeking financial compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, etc. somewhat complicated.

If your child was injured in a school bus accident where another motor vehicle hit a school bus, you may be able to recover monetary compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You may be entitled to recover for all medical expenses related to the accident, both present and future, as well as receive compensation for your child’s pain and suffering resulting from the injury. Other types of damages for which you might be compensated include loss of normal life, emotional distress, and disability or disfigurement.

Our Hernando County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you understand what to do after a school bus crash has left your child injured. We will begin by investigating the accident, which can include obtaining photographs of the crash site, accident reports, witness statements, copies of insurance policies and other documents and evidence to support your claim. We will also review your medical bills. From there we can make a demand for compensation to the insurance company and negotiate a fair settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, then we will file a lawsuit and try the case when necessary. 

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Did you know that the state of Florida has more than 815,000 licensed teen drivers? It is very important for teens to practice safe driving, which is why the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) has teamed up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to educate teens on the importance of buckling up, observing all speed limits, never driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and to always focus on driving.

This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week and today we highlight Teen Arrive Alive Day. FLHSMV’s We Arrive Alive campaign initiative provides teens with the tools to take ownership of their driving habits, from buckling up to focusing on driving.

Our Hernando County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton remind you that the Wireless Communications While Driving law went into effect in July 2019, and states that motorists may be stopped and cited for texting and driving. We want to spread the word to everyone, especially Florida’s newest teen drivers, on why it is so important to never text and drive.

Driving is a Privilege, and you can lose it. Teens, you may not know this, but your parents have the authority to rescind a minor’s driver’s license. The parent or guardian who signs the Parental Consent Form can rescind responsibility for their minor’s driving and cancel the minor’s license.

If a teen gets six or more points on their license within 12 months, their license is restricted to “Business Purposes Only” for one year or until age 18, whichever happens first. If any additional points are racked up during this restricted period, the restriction is extended 90 days for each additional point.

If you are under 21, there is zero tolerance for drinking and driving. Drivers under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol level of .02 percent or more will have their license immediately suspended for six months. A second offense will result in a one year suspension. Refusal to submit to testing on a first offense results in an immediate suspension of 12 months, and 18 months on a second offense. On a similar note, if a teen under the age of 18 is convicted of possession of tobacco, they will lose their license for a minimum of 30 days.

A teen driver that receives a moving violation conviction with a Learner’s License, will have one more year until they can get an Operator’s License. If a teen receives a moving traffic conviction with a Learner’s License, the one-year period required to hold the Learner’s License will be extended for one year from the date of the conviction, or until 18 years old, whichever happens first.

Teens must be in good standing with their school attendance, or they will be ineligible to obtain or maintain their license. If not in compliance with school attendance, a teen’s driving privileges can be suspended until proof of attendance in school for 30 consecutive days has been provided.

Our Hernando County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want everyone to be safe on the roadways. We encourage teen drivers to follow these safety tips:

Before you drive:

  • Buckle up! Everyone in your vehicle should wear a seat belt, no matter how short or far the distance.
  • Keep extra passengers to a minimum. Extra passengers can be distracting for an inexperienced teen driver.
  • If you are going to a destination you are not familiar with, get complete directions and set your GPS before you go. Know your route before you put the car in drive.
  • Keep your vehicle in proper working condition. Check your tires and make sure they are inflated to the right pressure according to your owner’s manual. Bald tires, a poor transmission, bad brakes, a dirty windshield or a bad engine could lead to accidents.
  • Keep your car filled with gas. Do not drive around on empty, as you can end up stranded someplace unsafe.
  • Do not drive or ride with anyone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

While you drive:

  • Keep your eyes on the road, and focus only on driving. Do not talk on your phone, text, fiddle with radio dials, put on make-up, comb your hair or eat while driving.
  • Follow the posted speed limit signs, stops signs, and traffic lights.
  • Use turn signals to indicate your intention to turn or to change lanes so that the drivers behind you have enough time to react before you take action.
  • Keep your music volume low. You don’t want to miss hearing a siren or a horn that could warn you of possible trouble.
  • Keep a watchful eye out for motorcycles, bikes, and pedestrians.
  • Stay alert when driving and be aware of the weather, traffic congestion and road conditions.

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Children and caregivers all across the U.S. transport children to and from school, daycare, the store, and around town in car seats and boosters. What you may not know is that nearly half of all car seats are installed incorrectly, which means your child may not be getting to and from as safely as possible.

To help keep children safe on our roads, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is sponsoring Child Passenger Safety Week from September 15-21, 2019. The goal is to make sure your child is in the correct car seat, that it’s properly installed and used, and that it’s registered with its manufacturer to ensure you receive important safety updates.

Car seats and boosters are one of the easiest ways to keep your child safe in the car and, when installed correctly, car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers. The bad news is that many parents install their child seats incorrectly. In children under 5, an estimated 325 lives were saved in 2017 alone because they were properly buckled, but an additional 46 children could have been saved if every child was properly buckled.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for infants and children. From 2013 to 2017, there were 3,313 children under 13 killed while riding in passenger vehicles. 2017 was the first yearly decrease since 2014. However, nearly 37% of those children killed in 2017 were not buckled at all, and it is important to note that these deaths are preventable.

Did You Know?

  • Road injuries are the leading cause of unintentional deaths to children in the United States.
  • When installed and used correctly, child safety seats decrease the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent among infants, 54 percent among toddlers and 45 percent among children ages 4 – 8.
  • Children should ride in a vehicle back seat until they are 13 years old.

Get Help Checking Your Car Seat

If you have a car seat in your vehicle, visit a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in your community to ensure that it’s correctly installed and that you are using it correctly. You can use this simple search tool to find a car seat inspection station near you right now, or visit a car seat check in your community on National Seat Check Saturday, September 21, 2019.

National Seat Check Saturday is the perfect time for parents to assure their children’s car seats are installed properly. In addition to the campaign being dedicated to educating parents on the correct ways to install car seats, it also provides safety tips to help parents choose the right car seat for their child.

Register Your Car Seat

It is imperative that all car seats are registered with their manufacturers in case of a safety recall. Every seat purchased comes with a postage-paid registration card that you can drop in the mail. You can also register your seat online. While a simple step, it is critical to make sure that you are notified if a defect is discovered with your car seat so it can be repaired or the seat can be replaced to keep your child safe.

Use The Right Seat

As children grow, parents tend to become a little lax on ensuring they are properly buckled in the right seats. The NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height or weight limit allowed by the particular seat. This is the best way to keep them safe. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, they are ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and a tether.

When your child exceeds the weight or height limits for their forward-facing car seat, it may be time for a booster seat. This should be the next step before a child is ready to wear an adult seat belt alone.

Every single time you get behind the wheel with your little ones in tow, make sure everyone in the car is properly buckled. Our Hernando County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want to help spread the message during Child Passenger Safety Week that correct car seat and booster seat use are the key to keeping children as safe as possible.

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Have you started preparing for the arrival of Tropical Storm (or perhaps Hurricane) Dorian? Our Hernando County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want you and your loved ones to take all the necessary precautions to be ready for the storm. We have compiled a list of tips to keep you from scrambling at the last minute and minimize any potential damages that you could incur. We urge you to familiarize yourself with these pointers and protect yourself and your loved ones if the storm hits near you.

Have An Evacuation Plan

Evacuation will be necessary if Dorian is headed for Hernando County and you reside in a mobile home. Instructions will be provided by local authorities if problems arise. It is best to have a plan in place should you have to leave quickly. Locate your nearest shelters and get a plan on how to get there safely.

Don’t forget your furry family members. Not all shelters allow pets, so have an evacuation plan ready for them as well.

Stock Up on Supplies

As soon as a tropical storm warning is issued, people dash out to buy their essential supplies. When you are in a time crunch, this can be quite frustrating. We urge you to not wait until the last minute. Make a list and have these things in stock during hurricane season. You and your family will be glad you have done this.

  • Batteries
  • Lamps with candles and fuel
  • A water-tight container filled with matches
  • Prescribed medications for you and your loved ones
  • 3 days’ worth of drinking water – at least 5 gallons of water per person
  • Clean water containers
  • Tools and materials for emergency home repair
  • Chlorine bleach or iodine tablets
  • Nonperishable food/meals
  • A first aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Weather radio (NOAA)
  • Flashlight
  • Pet food
  • Enough baby formula or food
  • Extra blankets/sleeping bags
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Diapers and baby wipes

Inventory Your Belongings

List the things you own ahead of time, so that in the event of a disaster, insurance claims can be expedited. Your personal inventory should serve as a guide should you have any losses. Once you have prepared these documents, place them in an important documents folder and lock it away in a safe or filing cabinet that you can access later.

Review Your Insurance Policies

We strongly encourage you to review your insurance policies every few months, and have them professionally reviewed so that you can avoid any potential disputes. Your home insurance policy should cover the cost of repairs caused by tropical storm damage, required living expenses, etc. It does not cover flood damage, however. You will need to purchase separate coverage for flood insurance.

Protect Your Home from Storm Damage

You will want to do everything you can to make sure your home is prepared for a tropical storm. Before Dorian hits, we recommend doing the following:

  • Get rid of weak trees and excess branches to keep your roof safe.
  • Storm shutters should be installed to prevent window breakage.
  • Deadbolt door locks and hinges should be installed to protect exterior doors.
  • Sliding doors can be covered with shutters or plywood.
  • Use a garage brace or lock if you have one or consider replacing old garage doors.
  • Seal outdoor electrical outlets, other wall openings and vents.
  • Bring any outdoor furniture inside and clear the yard of other objects that may become airborne.

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Hernando County schools are back in session starting Monday, so expect to see law enforcement officers out in full force in school zones as classes begin.

They are looking to make sure drivers are obeying the rules of the road.

The main thing they will be keeping an extra eye on is making sure drivers come to a complete stop when school buses pick up and drop off kids.

Florida Highway Patrol says a common issue is drivers refusing to stop when buses’ flashing lights are on and stop signs are out. It is state law for drivers to stop at that point, unless they are on the other side of the road from the bus and separated by a median.

Many bus drivers throughout the county and the state say they encounter drivers refusing to stop at least several times a week.

Police officers also have a message for parents whose kids ride a bike to school. State law requires children under the age of 16 to wear a helmet while riding a bike.

Last year a young man who wasn’t wearing a helmet died after a semi-truck hit him. The boy was in the crosswalk and was following the rules of the road.

If police find a child who is not wearing a helmet, they or their parent can be cited and receive a $62.50 fine. The ticket can be dismissed with proof of purchase of an approved helmet.

Texting While Driving Law Will Change in School Zones

Another thing that will be back starting Monday is school zones — slow speed zones near schools at certain times of the day.

Starting in October, school zones will get another rule — no touching mobile devices in school zones, period.

The rule is part of the new texting while driving law that the Florida Legislature passed this year.

Starting in October, drivers have to put down the phone in school zones, areas where students are crossing, and active construction zones.

In October, you could get pulled over and get a warning for doing so.

But starting in January, those warnings will become citations with fines.

Keeping children safe on their way to and from school is a huge priority for transportation officials. A few of the ways they try and do this is by using:

  • Crossing guards
  • Reduced speed zones
  • Children walking signs
  • Enhanced traffic enforcement by police

There are various different Florida school zone violations for which you can receive a citation, including:

  • Speeding
  • Texting
  • Disregarding a crossing guard
  • Violating the right of way/ failure to yield

When these traffic offenses occur in a school zone they have enhanced penalties, ranging from fines to points on your driver’s license. In more severe cases where these offenses accompany any criminal offense, like a DUI, you can also be arrested.

The intent of establishing school zones is make sure children get from their home and to school safely, and vice versa. However, these school zones do not always work as they were intended to. As drivers, it is very important to exercise a proactive approach rather than reactive approach in order to ensure that no children are susceptible to any avoidable dangers on their way to and from school each day. Moreover, it is very important to review your driving habits and make sure you are not contributing to the problem. Our Hernando County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton encourage you to review the tips below to ensure that you are creating a safer environment for all children in school zones:

  • Always keep a vigilant eye out for children and assume that they could dart out into the street at any moment. Pay attention because it is quite common for children to run into the street from behind a building or other area that may have obstructed your view.
  • Do not speed. By slowing down you can improve your reaction time and reduce the severity of potential injuries should you be involved in an accident with a child.
  • Put your electronic devices down. Phone calls and text messages can wait until you safely reach your endpoint. By not responding to a text or missing a call, you could in turn save a life.

At Whittel & Melton, we know how important your children are and that you will do everything you can to keep them away from any danger or harm. Injuries that arise from careless or negligent drivers are entirely avoidable, but in the event your child has encountered a reckless driver and suffered harm, we can help. We can make sure they at-fault driver is held legally responsible for their careless actions by filing a personal injury lawsuit seeking financial compensation.

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A dump truck overturned in Hernando County while avoiding a head-on collision with an SUV, just a few days ago.

The dump truck was traveling eastbound when an SUV was passing several vehicles illegally, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

As the SUV approached the dump truck, the driver of the truck steered it into the shoulder to avoid a head-on collision.

The driver then lost control of the dump truck, causing it to overturn and spill lime rock gravel across SR-50.

The crash closed SR-50 from US-301 to SR-471 for several hours.

Anyone with information regarding the SUV involved is asked to contact the Florida Highway Patrol by calling 813-558-1800.

While head-on collisions account for just a small percentage of motor vehicle accidents in the United States, those involved in this type of crash are more likely to be severely injured than in other types of vehicle crashes. Head-on collisions account for only 2 percent of motor vehicle accidents, but the fatalities associated with these crashes account for 10 percent of all traffic accident fatalities. Head-on collisions are absolutely some of the most serious types of vehicle accident there can be. If victims of these accidents survive, they are usually left suffering from catastrophic injuries. Some of these injuries leave victims permanently disabled and/or disfigured.

In order to avoid causing a head-on collision, it is important to understand the main causes of these types of accidents.

The main causes of head-on collisions are:

  • Distracted driving: A distracted driver that is texting on their phone, talking on their phone, applying makeup, fiddling with radio dials, eating, trying to fix their GPS, etc, is highly likely to veer into the oncoming lane. It doesn’t take long for that to happen.
  • Wrong way drivers: Drivers may become confused or disoriented and drive on to a highway using the off-ramp instead of the on-ramp. They may even turn the wrong way down a one-way street. It is estimated that nearly 75 percent of all wrong way driving incidents are due to the impairment of the wrong way driver.
  • Drunk driving: Drunk drivers are notorious for driving the wrong way and/or speeding. Drunk drivers may be unable to stay in their own lane, which can lead to a head-on crash in the same way that distracted driving can.
  • Drowsy driving: Drowsy driving can affect anyone. Driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. When a person is sleep-deprived, their reflexes are diminished and the drowsy driver could fall asleep at the wheel.
  • Hazardous road conditions: Potholes, road debris, bad lighting, lack of dividing lines and other road problems can result in a driver veering out of their lane and into the path of oncoming traffic.

If you happen to see a vehicle coming toward you in your lane, you do not have much time to react in order to prevent a devastating head-on collision. Our Hernando County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want you to be aware of some of the defensive driving tactics that may help you get out of the way of a vehicle driving towards you in your lane.

  • If you see a vehicle coming at you, slow down and be prepared to stop or move out of the way if the driver does not return to the correct lane.
  • Flash your headlights and honk your horn to try and alert the other driver, who may be distracted or tired. Making the driver aware that you are there may cause the person to drive back into the correct lane, and prevent a tragic wreck.
  • Swerve to the right. Never swerve to the left. Avoid going completely off the road if possible.
  • It is better to veer off the road than to hit another car head-on, especially if you are travelling at highway speeds.
  • If you must hit an object, aim for something stationary rather than the other vehicle. If at all possible, try and hit the object with the side of your car so that the impact will be less damaging than striking head-on.
  • If you cannot avoid a collision with the other vehicle, try to sideswipe another vehicle rather than have a direct hit.
  • Call 911. If you are lucky enough to avoid the oncoming danger, pull over as soon as possible and call 911 to report what happened.

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A 62-year-old woman was killed Wednesday night after walking into the path of a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office vehicle while she crossed U.S. 19, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The Port Richey woman was hit at about 9 p.m. as she walked across the highway near the intersection of Johnson Road, the Highway Patrol said. She walked right into the path of an unmarked 2015 Dodge Charger, troopers said.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The vehicle was being driven by a 29-year-old deputy who was on duty at the time. He will be placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the Highway Patrol investigation, said a sheriff’s spokesman. 

The Highway Patrol said no charges are pending against the deputy.

The man is an Army veteran who started working for the Sheriff’s Office in 2013. His personnel record shows he has not been subject to any disciplinary actions.

There are numerous vessels that utilize Pasco County’s busy streets: cars, trucks, bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians, among others. It is everyone’s responsibility to behave legally and safely and share the roadways. 

One of the more common types of cases our Pasco County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton handle are collisions between cars and pedestrians. When a negligent driver hits an innocent pedestrian, the resulting injuries are usually catastrophic, if not deadly. Our experienced injury lawyers can help you and your family pursue justice and financial compensation if you or a family member was hit while legally walking on or along a roadway.

While our Pasco County Injury Attorneys have seen a lot of these accidents, we can attest that the main cause for most of them is negligence. To be clear, pedestrians aren’t always blameless, but many automobile drivers do struggle to maneuver their vehicles safely around pedestrians. 

The most common causes of these accidents are:

  • Drunk drivers
  • Drivers running red lights and striking pedestrians in the crosswalk
  • Drivers executing right turns through crosswalks without looking for pedestrians
  • Distracted driving, including driving while texting, talking, etc. 
  • Speeding drivers
  • Pedestrians lack of visibility

In a collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, the results are almost always inevitable. Pedestrians lack the same protections as a car, truck, or SUV, so they are at the mercy of the vehicle operator. As a result, the injuries that result from these accidents are both severe and one-sided.

The seriousness of a pedestrian’s injuries can vary depending on a number of factors including the speed of the vehicle, the angle of impact, and the body part first struck. In most pedestrian collisions involving adults, the vehicle will typically hit the legs of the pedestrian first, causing them to be pushed forward and the upper body and head to strike the car windshield or hood. If the accident occurs at higher speeds, the pedestrian may be tossed into the air onto the car hood or thrown onto the ground, causing secondary impacts.

Our Pasco County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have helped pedestrians who have suffered:

These types of injuries cause long-term pain and suffering as well as hefty medical expenses. A personal injury lawsuit can help you handle the heavy financial burden brought on by the driver’s negligence, making it easier for you to focus on recovering. A pedestrian accident can involve a lengthy recovery period and leave a person unable to work for months, while medical bills, and others, keep piling up. The most severe injuries may leave a pedestrian accident victim unable to return to work permanently. 

At Whittel & Melton, our Pasco County Injury Attorneys help pedestrians who have been hurt in automobile accidents caused by motor vehicle drivers. When you meet with us for a completely free consultation, we will go over every detail of your case so that we can make sure you understand all of your legal options. We help injury victims in New Port Richey, Dade City, Zephyrhills, Land O’Lakes, Hudson, Holiday, Lutz, Trinity and Wesley Chapel. If we accept your pedestrian accident case, we will handle it on a contingency basis, which means you will not owe any upfront costs.

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Five people were hospitalized early Thursday in a wrong-way crash involving a deputy in Spring Hill.

According to authorities, the crash happened on Spring Hill Drive at Omaha Circle.

A Hernando County deputy had pulled over a car when another vehicle going the wrong direction struck both vehicles. Five people, including the deputy, were taken to hospitals but all are expected to be okay.

The crash remains under investigation.

Officials have not released any further information.

Vehicles that collide head on, even at relatively low speeds, can cause a devastating impact to all vehicles involved resulting in serious injuries. That is why head-on collisions are considered the most severe of all car accidents.

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