Articles Posted in Insurance

An Orange City woman was killed Thursday evening in a head-on collision on State Road 50 in Hernando County.

The crash occurred at 5 p.m. on State Road 50, just east of McKinney Sink Road in Ridge Manor.

The 52-year-old woman, was driving a 2000 Pontiac west on State Road 50. At the same time, a 60-year-old Groveland man was heading east.

Troopers say the woman left the westbound lane for unknown reasons and entered the eastbound lanes, right in the path of the man’s 2013 Dodge pick-up truck.

The two vehicles struck each other head on. The woman’s Pontiac stopped on the north shoulder, while the Dodge pickup came to rest on the south shoulder.

The woman died from her injuries at the scene of the crash. The man was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries.

Head-on auto accidents can result in a wide range of severe injuries. Injuries suffered from head-on crashes can include the following:

If you have unexpectedly lost a loved one or have been injured in an auto accident due to the negligence of another person, a Hernando County Wrongful Death Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can assist you with your situation. We will give your case our full attention and make sure we meet your family’s personal and individual needs. We will provide you with the aggressive legal representation you need in order to secure the full and fair compensation that you deserve.

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At least 40 million Americans are estimated to travel this Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The majority of those will be on the roads, travelling to and from their destinations.

Due to the vast number of people anticipated to be driving on the roads this Thanksgiving weekend, the potential for car accidents is quite high. During the first half of this year, an estimated 15,470 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. That number is expected to increase during the second half of the year with such high rates of end-of-the-year holiday travel.

Do not let a car accident ruin your Thanksgiving holiday. Here are a few holiday travel safety tips to help ensure the safety of you and your family:

  • Check the fluid levels on your vehicle, the battery and fill up with gas before heading out of town. Proper car maintenance and a full tank of gas can go a long way to make sure that you are not stranded during your travels.
  • Have a backup plan. Equip yourself with emergency supplies in case of an accident, breakdown or medical emergency. You should include a flashlight, blanket, first-aid kit, tools and bottled water in your emergency kit. Numerous accidents occur when drivers become stranded on the side of the highway. If your vehicle breaks down or you are in an accident, remember to keep yourself safe. If it is possible, pull the car completely onto the shoulder or off of the road. Anyone inside the vehicle should exit the vehicle on the side opposite oncoming traffic and wait for help as far back from the road as possible. Turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers.
  • Abide by “Move Over” laws. Keep your eyes out for other drivers who may be stranded. If you see a vehicle on the side of the road, slow down and get over.
  • Never drive distracted. Drinking and driving, as well as texting while driving are leading causes of accidents across the country. Did you know that drivers who text while driving are four times more likely to be in a car accident? Don’t become a statistic – keep your focus on the road.

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A 24-year-old Spring Hill man was killed in a motorcycle crash Saturday evening on Spring Hill Drive.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the man was riding east on Spring Hill Drive around 5:30 p.m. and made several lane changes.

The man apparently scraped against the curb near Inca Avenue and lost control of his 2001 Yamaha. He was thrown from the bike and died at the scene, according  to authorities.

13667211083_9feebb4f97_zMotorcycle accidents almost always result in serious injuries. A motorcycle offers little protection in the event of a dangerous collision, leaving riders vulnerable to life-changing brain or spinal cord injuries and even death. A Hernando County Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can protect your rights, or the rights of a loved one taken from you, after a motorcycle accident, as well as help you pursue financial compensation for your losses.

After a motorcycle accident in Spring Hill or Brooksville, please consult with a Hernando County Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton. We can effectively protect you, in either a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

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A two vehicle accident that occurred at the intersection of Commercial Way and Lakefront Road left two people seriously injured over the weekend after a vehicle struck a utility pole.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the accident.

If a driver has no insurance, or if the available coverage is insufficient to cover your medical bills, then typically you would be responsible for paying the remainder. However, to protect innocent injury victims from this common scenario, insurance companies issue two optional coverages: uninsured motorist insurance and underinsured motorist insurance. These are usually issued together, and appear on your insurance card as “UM/UIM.”

17121929030_92a984fc9a_zThe injured parties in this case should treat with emergency responders immediately, then contact a qualified personal injury lawyer for guidance in proceeding on claims for the injuries. Claims could be brought against both the owner and the driver of the at-fault party. Additionally, if the victim driver has UM they will be entitled to make a claim.  The passenger of the victim vehicle could make a claim on both its personal UM policy as well as the driver’s UM policy.

In a personal injury settlement claim or lawsuit, liability of the other driver must first be determined. If the other driver is found to be at-fault for the accident, a Hernando County Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you understand what available insurance coverage can be applied.

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April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which is why it is important to highlight that distractions behind the wheel are not just limited to cell phone use. If you were recently involved in an auto accident in Hernando County, you may have noticed the other driver chomping on a cheeseburger while driving. You may have noticed this because the driver was weaving in and out of his or her lane or just seemed to be more focused on that burger than the road. Regardless of why you noticed the driver eating, it is an important detail to remember if you are trying to recover damages for your auto accident injuries.

Eating While Driving Is Distracted Driving

5913305_a517447fb7_zThe definition of distracted driving is anything that takes:

  • A driver’s eyes off the road ahead
  • A driver’s hands off the steering wheel
  • A driver’s attention off the number one task of driving safely

Eating while driving does all three of the above.

The major  issue with eating and driving is that it occurs so frequently. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of drivers eat or drink when behind the wheel. The NHTSA also noted that only 17 percent of people believe that eating and driving poses a serious danger to those on the roadway.

If you have been hurt by a distracted driver, this includes a driver who was eating at the time of the accident, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries. First you must prove that the driver was negligent or distracted at the time the accident occurred. If you noticed that the driver was eating or engaging in any other distracted driving behavior, such as texting, talking on the phone, applying makeup, etc., then you should mention these details to your Auto Accident Attorney who can help you pursue just compensation for your injuries.

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In the past several years, many automakers have introduced voice-activated technologies in their vehicles. These technologies give motorists the ability to perform a variety of actions inside their car without having to type anything on a keypad or take their eyes off the road.

14187388665_60a9217242_zAutomakers have said that these voice systems help reduce the risk of distractions, as well as help to prevent the risk of distracted driving accidents. New research shows that that it is actually true, to a certain extent.

In a study focused on Boston drivers between the ages of 20 and 66 who either drove a Chevrolet Equinox equipped with a MyLink voice-activated system or a Volvo XC60 equipped with a Senses system, the study found that voice-activated systems resulted in less driver distractions.

The study concluded that all types of voice-activated systems resulted in a reduction in the amount of time that people took their eyes away from the road when using the voice system. The study also determined that a system with a one-step approach allowed users to perform actions with a single command was much more effective in helping reduce distractions, than compared to a system that used multiple commands to carry out the same function.

While the voice-activated systems did get rid of some driver distractions, it is important to note that it did not completely eliminate distractions. It was found that motorists continued to take their eyes off the road ahead of them even when they were dictating commands using the systems. This research shows that if you are doing tasks in a car other than driving, your attention will be affected to some extent.

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Spring break is finally here! Families, college students and teenagers are packing their bags and heading out in search of fun, and usually sun, at their final destination. While planning what to do during your vacation is always top priority, it is equally important to plan what to do on your way there in the event an unexpected emergency arises.

There are many things you can do to lessen your chances of becoming a victim of a spring break auto accident, so consider the following safety tips before you head out of town:

  • 2339488040_f1a38bd513_zBefore you head out on your trip, get your car checked out by a mechanic. You need to make sure your vehicle is in proper working order before you drive any distance.
  • Plan your route. Make sure you pencil in time for breaks, rest stops and overnight stays, if needed. Keep in mind that while it is excellent to have a plan, should you need to add in an extra pit stop or two, that is perfectly OK. You do not want to push yourself to drive additional distances if you are too tired. Listen to your body, and take a rest when need be.
  • Rotate Drivers. Let one of your travel companions take the wheel when you need a break.
  • Call for help if you experience car trouble. It can be scary when something goes wrong with your vehicle in a foreign place. Stay in your car while you wait for help to arrive.
  • Do not drink and drive, or allow anyone else in the car to drink. It is illegal in many places for other passengers to drink in a vehicle, so do not chance it. With that said, if you have consumed any amount of alcohol, do not drive yourself and your buddies anywhere. Instead, opt for a cab or alternate transportation.

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Motor vehicle  accidents aren’t limited to just automobiles or trucks. Off-road or all-terrain vehicles are involved in hundreds of accidents and fatalities every year. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently released a report on ATV accidents that took place between 1982 and 2012 that shows that children account for a high amount of injuries and deaths from using these vehicles.

The CPSC has regulated ATV safety standards in the United States since 2009. The CPSC’s definition for an ATV is noted as “an off-road, motorized vehicle having three or four low-pressure tires, a straddle seat for the operator, and handlebars for steering control.” New ATVs must be four-wheel vehicles. Currently, CPSC regulations ban the sale of three-wheel ATVs. It is important to note that vehicles with steering wheels and bucket seats, like a golf cart, are not considered an ATV.

181080368_016e6024cb_zFor the 30-year period reviewed by the CPSC, a total of 12,391 deaths were reported due to ATV accidents. In 2012, the last year for which data was published, 353 fatalities were documented. The number of fatalities has fallen every year for the past six reported years, which is down from the high number of 832 deaths in 2006.

During the years 1982 to 2008, Florida reported 432 ATV-related deaths, the 6th highest total among all states. For the years 2009 to 2012, at least 74 additional deaths have been reported, making the current 30-year total 506 deaths. Sadly, children under the age of 16 account for 24 percent of all ATV-related deaths reported since 1982 and 43 percent of those children were actually under 12 years of age. The CPSC estimates that there are over 107,000 injuries each year due to ATV use. Of those, about one quarter involve children under the age of 16.

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Traffic accidents are never an easy thing to deal with. The headaches that follow a car accident seem to be endless – from property damage, personal injuries and dealing with the insurance companies, auto accidents generally result in a tremendous amount of frustration for all parties involved. While car accidents can be aggravating, preparing yourself for how to react in the event you are involved in an accident can help ensure that your legal rights will be protected.

2852943886_500df8916f_zOur personal injury lawyers at Whittel & Melton have worked with many car accident victims and know firsthand how certain mistakes people make after a collision can jeopardize their  right to financial compensation. The following are the 5 most common mistakes to avoid after you have been involved in an auto accident:

  • Not Calling Police. If you can call the police after an auto accident, then it is best to do so. Law enforcement can handle any emergency and/or criminal issues that can arise at the scene of an accident, as well as take notes about the accident and record any witness statements. Should you choose to pursue an injury claim, these notes could become useful.
  • Not Getting the Other Driver’s Information. You should always try and exchange information with any other motorists involved in an accident. It can be difficult to make a case without this information. Make sure to get a driver’s license plate number, insurance information and contact information. If any witnesses are present, jot down their information as well.
  • Not Seeking Medical Attention. Many people that are involved in car accidents refrain from seeking medical care because they do not feel any pain right away. However, by not seeking prompt medical attention, you put yourself and your potential injury claim in danger. Waiting to seek out medical help is common, but a very big mistake.
  • Believing the Insurance Company. Despite what you may think, the insurance company is in business to protect their bottom line, and that is it. Do not believe for a second that an insurance company will fairly compensate you for your damages, and never accept an offer without consulting with a lawyer first. This is a costly mistake.
  • Not Calling a Lawyer. An auto accident attorney can help you understand all of your legal rights and help guide you through the process of filing a personal injury claim. Moreover, an injury lawyer can help you deal with the insurance company and get you the financial compensation you deserve.

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An economist has issued a warning for the more than 1.5 billion people living in countries that observe daylight saving time: Springing forward could actually be bad for your health.

The issue of moving clocks an hour forward during summer months has been the subject of many debates in previous years. Proponents argue that extending daylight into the evening saves electricity, encourages people to exercise after work and reduces crime and traffic fatalities. Opponents feel that the costs of disrupting people’s schedules and sleep outweigh any of the benefits.

3340427586_05691ded84_zThe research available supports the arguments on crime, exercise and fatalities, but cast doubt on the energy savings and suggest that the disruptions might increase the risk of heart attacks.

Most recently, a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado-Boulder presented a paper Monday at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association, where he looks at national data on all fatal car crashes from 2002 to 2011 to see what happens immediately after people reset their clocks in the spring and fall. The study was done by comparing the number of crashes that occur just before and after the time changes in each year, and also by comparing crashes on dates that fell within daylight saving time in some years and not in others.

His findings? Fatal crashes increased by about 6 percent over the 6 days immediately following the spring transition, but did not change after the fall transition. The reasoning behind this is that because people “lose” an hour only in spring, and because the accidents were not concentrated at times when changes in daylight might have been a factor, the research scientist attributes the spike in crashes to inadequate sleep. In fact, he estimates that the 6 percent increase amounted to more than 300 added deaths over the 10-year period he studied.

The researcher said that results “should be viewed as one piece of the puzzle, to be examined in conjunction with research on other impacts.”

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