Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Our Hernando County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want to wish you and your family a happy Fourth of July. We also want to remind you to celebrate safely this Wednesday and throughout the rest of the week. Whether you and your loved ones are planning backyard pool parties, barbecues, or heading to a fireworks show, safety should always be a priority, especially if children are around.

Here are a few tips to help you stay safe this Fourth of July:

Fireworks

While fireworks are a tradition on July 4th, they are also responsible for sending an average of 230 people to the emergency room each day during the month around the holiday, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. We always encourage you to attend shows put on by professionals, but we know that some people are just going to light their own. If you plan on using fireworks, be sure to do so safely, follow instructions, keep spectators at a safe distance, and monitor children closely. You want to comply with Florida laws, so please review: Under Florida law, only sparklers, approved by the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, are legal for consumer usage. It is illegal to use exploding and/or flying fireworks in Florida, which include: shells and mortars, multiple tube devices, Roman candles, rockets and firecrackers.

Swimming Pools

Pool parties are common on Fourth of July, so it makes sense to remind you to always supervise children, watch for diving into shallow water, excessive horseplay that can get out of hand, and running near pools. Drowning accidents can and do happen all too often, but by keeping a vigilant eye of the premises, you can prevent these tragedies.

BBQs

Most people pull out their grills on the Fourth. Always be careful of handling propane and charcoal grills, never grill indoors, and be careful when using lighter fluid to avoid preventable burn injuries. Keep children, pets and flammable materials away from grills and never leave them unattended.

DUIs

Most people throw a few drinks back on the Fourth. If you plan on drinking, remember to do so responsibly and to designate a sober driver if you need to get home. The Fourth of July week/weekend sees high rates of alcohol-related auto accidents, so expect to see increased patrols on the roads.

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More than 41.5 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend, a number that is up roughly 5 percent from last year and the most since 2005, according to AAA.

These numbers remain steady despite the fact that gas prices rose last week in most markets, primarily due to reductions in domestic supply and the oil market’s response to the President’s decision to leave the Iran Nuclear Deal. Gas prices for Memorial Day weekend are expected to hit a four-year high.

Gas prices averaged $2.72 last month, up 33 cents from last year due to expensive crude oil, record gasoline demand and shrinking global supply. Last year, gas prices on Memorial Day averaged $2.37 nationwide ($2.31 in Florida), which is still below 2014 levels, when the national average was $3.66 ($3.62 in Florida).

AAA says Central Florida should brace itself for impact: Orlando once again tops the list of the most-visited Memorial Day destinations in the U.S., based on AAA advance travel bookings.

Here’s the breakdown on how U.S. travelers will get around for the holiday:

  • 36.6 million by car, up 4.7 percent from 2017
  • 3.1 million by air, up 6.8 percent
  • 1.8 million by train, bus and cruise ships, up 2.4 percent

These numbers include 2.2 million Floridians expected to travel on Memorial Day weekend, up 5.5 percent, with most of them (89 percent) traveling by automobile, up 5.5 percent from the prior year.

Travel delays on major roads are expected to be two to three times longer than normal, with the most traffic in late afternoon on May 24-25 as commuters mix with travelers, according to INRIX, a global transportation analytics company.

While more drivers on the roads usually means a higher risk for wrecks, you can still practice safe driving habits. Our Hernando County Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you to be safe this Memorial Day Weekend, and every other day for that matter. Just by doing the few simple things listed below, you can reduce your risks considerably.

  1. Buckle up. The use of seat belts saved the lives of more than 13,000 people each year.  
  2. Secure your kids properly. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for kids between 3 and 12 years old. By placing all children 12 and under in the back seat, you can reduce injury risk by 64 percent for children under 8 and 31 percent for 9-12 year olds. Also, make sure your children are in the proper seat for their age and it’s installed correctly.
  3. Don’t speed. Speeding is a factor in about one-third of all fatal crashes, killing nearly 900 Americans every month. Moreover, obeying the speed limit will also help to conserve fuel, saving you money.
  4. Keep your eyes on the road to limit distractions. Our best advice is to put the phone away and focus on the road. No call or text is worth losing your life or killing someone else.
  5. Don’t drink and drive. It is that simple.
  6. Use your signals. By alerting other drivers of your intentions to turn, you can help prepare other motorists around.

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A head-on collision killed one person, seriously injured two others and caused a third vehicle to crash into trees, seriously injuring that driver last week in Spring Hill.

The crash occurred at about midnight on U.S. 41 just south of Little Lake Road in Spring Hill.

Troopers said a Chrysler van was traveling north on U.S. 41 when it crossed into the southbound lanes and struck a Hyundai Accent head-on.

A Chevy Colorado traveling behind the Hyundai swerved out of the way to avoid the collision and went off the roadway, hitting two large trees.

The driver of the Hyundai, a 74-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The passenger in the Hyundai, a 43-year-old man, and the driver of the Chrysler, a 44-year-old man, were taken to Bayonet Point Hospital with serious injuries.

The driver of the Chevy, a 21-year-old woman, also suffered serious injuries.

According to a Florida Highway Patrol report, charges are pending, and the crash remains under investigation.

Head-on collisions are by far the most dangerous and deadly of all motor vehicle accidents. Injuries from a head-on collision can result in spinal cord injuries, head and traumatic brain injuries, as well as wrongful death. If victims do survive their injuries, they can spend years trying to fully recover.

If you or someone you care for was injured in a head on collision, it is important to contact a Hernando County Auto Accident Attorney at Whittel & Melton to discuss your case. Injuries from head-on collisions are usually severe and often life changing. Medical bills can start to pile up and uncooperative insurance companies can place additional stress on the families and injury victims who are just trying to piece their lives back together. Financial compensation may be needed to pay for rehabilitation expenses, long term physical therapy, and any lost wages.

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One teenager is dead and another is suffering from critical injuries after a crash in Hernando County.

The two-car crash happened just after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday on US-19 at Country Road.

FHP investigators say a 17-year-old was driving a Ford Mustang south on US-19 when he tried to turn left onto Country Road.

According to a crash report from FHP, the Mustang turned into the path of a Dodge pickup truck, causing the truck to hit the right side of the Mustang.

The 16-year-old passenger in the Mustang was pronounced dead at the scene.

The 17-year-old driver is at St. Joseph’s Hospital with critical injuries.

The driver of the pickup truck was not harmed.

Car accidents are a leading cause of death for teens throughout the United States. Research indicates that the risk of a fatal car crash is increased when a passenger between the ages of 8 and 17 is riding with a teen driver, travelling on high-speed roads or not wearing a seatbelt.

The three largest risk factors that contribute to a teen’s wrongful death behind the wheel are as follows:

  • Teen Drivers: Nearly 54% of all car crash fatalities involved children or teens who were riding with a teenage driver.
  • High-Speed Roads: More than 75% of all fatal crashes occur on roads with speed limits in excess of 45 miles per hour.
  • Failure to Wear Seatbelt: An estimated 66% of teen passenger deaths involve failure to wear a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

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The Florida Highway Patrol responded to the scene of a school bus vs. semi crash this morning in Hernando County.

According to troopers, six children suffered minor injuries.

Troopers said the collision took place on westbound State Road 50 and Interstate 75 in Brooksville.

The driver of the semi failed to completely stop as it exited I-75 and approached the SR-50 intersection. The semi then clipped the back of the bus as it moved west on SR-50.

The school bus, carrying 18 students from Hernando High school, ended up on its side. None of the students needed to be transported for their injuries.

According to authorities, charges are pending against the driver.

Large trucks, like semis, account for 4 percent of all vehicles involved in injury and property damage crashes. One out of nine car crash deaths results from a collision involving a large truck. Hernando County definitely has its share of truck accidents that injure people, cause property damage, and even result in wrongful deaths. Our Hernando County Truck Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton represent people injured in truck and semi-truck accident cases as well as families of those who have lost loved ones in these types of accidents.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has declared the month of April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. They will be running a campaign this week from April 9-16, 2018.

You can expect that state and local law enforcement agencies across the nation will be stepping up their enforcement efforts all month, especially this week. This year, the campaign is focused on the financial and personal burden of texting behind the wheel. The “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” campaign is all about raising awareness of the economic costs of texting while driving. The NHTSA is mostly targeting men and women between the ages of 18 and 34, with an emphasis on female drivers.

A Look At The Stats

According to the most recent statistics available from 2016, 3,450 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers.

  • 2 percent of fatal crashes were reported as being distracted-related in 2016.
  • Nine percent of drivers 15 to 19-years-old involved in fatal crashes were reported as being distracted at the time of the crash.
  • Handheld cell phone use while driving is highest among 15 to 29-year-old drivers.
  • Female drivers are most at risk for being involved in a fatal crash involving a distracted driver.
  • Female drivers with a cell phone have been more likely to be involved in fatal distracted driving crashes when compared with male drivers every year since 2012.

Motorists in Hernando County, and really throughout the state of Florida, can expect to see more police officers patrolling the roads during the month of April, and especially during the enhanced enforcement period (April 12-15, 2018). Our Hernando County Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you to know that distracted driving is extremely dangerous. Taking your eyes off of the road for an average of five seconds, which is about the time it takes to read or send a text, at 55 miles per hour, is equivalent to driving the length of a football field. Would you ever drive that far with your eyes actually closed? While most would say no, that is essentially what you are doing when you text behind the wheel.

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Alarming new numbers released by AAA suggest drowsy driving is a much bigger problem than previously thought.

The American Automobile Association put cameras in thousands of cars and followed drivers for months.

The cameras were focused on their faces. Some of those drivers got into accidents, and the cameras recorded the drivers nodding off.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the problem is about eight times higher than federal estimates indicate.

Researchers in the study found that 9.5 percent of all crashes and 10.8 percent of crashes resulting in significant property damage involved drowsiness. Federal estimates indicate drowsiness is a factor in only 1 to 2 percent of crashes.

Our Hernando County Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know that drowsy driving is a big issue. There are some simple things everybody can do to be a little safer and keep from dozing off behind the wheel.

The most common symptoms of drowsy driver include:

  • Having trouble keeping your eyes open
  • Drifting from your lane
  • Not remembering the last few miles driven

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, we recommend pulling over to a safe place and taking at least a 20 minute nap. You only need about 20 minutes to recharge yourself so that you can safely operate your vehicle again.  

The most important thing is to get enough sleep to begin with. You need at least seven hours of sleep per night. You should also travel at times of the day when you are normally awake, avoid heavy foods and avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment.

If you are planning to drive for an extended period of time, make sure to schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles, and maybe consider traveling with another person so you can take turns driving.

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One person was transported to the hospital in critical condition after a crash Friday morning in Brooksville involving a Hernando County school bus and a vehicle.

The crash happened at Cortez Boulevard near McKethan Road just before 10:30 a.m., according to Hernando County Fire Rescue.

According to the report, a car traveling westbound on State Road 50 attempted to turn left at McKethan Road, across the eastbound lanes of SR 50, and failed to see a school bus–traveling eastbound–approaching. The report stated that the vehicle did not have a solid green traffic arrow, only a solid green signal for the east/westbound traffic.

As a result, the school bus collided with the right side of the car.

There were no serious injuries among the driver of the school bus or the 20 students on the bus. Three were evaluated for minor injuries.

The driver of the car was trapped in the vehicle and sustained serious injuries and was trauma alerted. Crews needed to use extrication tools to rescue the driver.

The driver, in critical condition, was transported by ambulance to the trauma center at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.

There was also a dog in the vehicle that sustained serious injuries. The dog was turned over to a Hernando County Animal Services officer.

Thousands of people are seriously injured in car accidents across the country every year. Injuries suffered in auto accidents can take an extreme financial, emotional, and physical toll on victims and their families. Any injury victims who can establish that another person’s negligence is to blame for their suffering may be able to collect financial compensation for their losses.

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The holidays are here and you will most likely have some parties to attend, if you haven’t already been to 1 or 2. There are office holiday parties, ugly sweater parties, white elephant gift swaps, holiday brunches and of course al the New Year’s Eve extravaganzas.

Just because the holidays are here does not mean the rules of the road are thrown out the window. As always, our Hernando County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge you to exercise extra caution this time of year when driving and remind you to never drink and drive.

No person plans to be involved in a car crash where alcohol is involved. If the intoxicated driver had chosen not to drink and drive, the injuries, trauma and hardships could have been avoided altogether. Unfortunately, all too often this time of year, we see an increase in drunk driving accidents. When you are involved in a DUI crash, you deserve competent legal counsel from injury lawyers who will stand up and fight to make sure that your rights are protected.

Our Hernando County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are focused on handling injury claims, including auto accident claims, truck accident claims, and DUI accident claims. We understand how to prepare these types of cases and we know exactly what is at stake for you and your family. We will work tirelessly to make sure you and your family receive the compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one is a drunk driving victim, we can advocate on your behalf for all injuries, including:

  • Broken bones
  • Loss of limbs
  • Paralysis
  • Head, neck and back injuries
  • Scarring, bruising and disfigurement
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Fatal accidents resulting in wrongful death

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One person was killed and another was seriously injured in a vehicle crash last Thursday night in Hernando County.

The crash occurred just before 8 p.m. at California Street and Old California Street in Spring Hill.

Troopers said a Buick LeSabre was traveling northbound on California Street when the 57-year-old driver failed to negotiate a right curve and traveled into the southbound lane.

The Buick collided head-on with a Volvo V50, according to reports.

The drive of the Buick died at the scene. The driver of the Volvo suffered serious injuries and was transported to Bayonet Point Regional Medical Center.

Head-on collisions can be tragic accidents. To put it into better perspective, two cars traveling at 50 mph crashing into each other has the same effect as if a car drove straight into a concrete wall at 50 mph. The reality of the crash is that it’s as if the cars crashed into each other at 100 mph.

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