Articles Posted in Insurance

As with most other holidays, New Year’s Eve brings an increase in the number of accidents, especially on highways and roads. New Year’s actually sees some of the largest amount of drunk driving offenders compared to other holidays, due to the fact that the main cause for celebration is a late-night party with drinking. This just means more drunk drivers and more tragic accidents.

339912423_4416699c99_zWhile the best safety advice anyone can give for New Year’s is the obvious, “don’t drink and drive,” it is also equally important to refrain from texting and driving, or really just avoiding any distracting activity while behind the wheel. This isn’t only for your own safety, but for that of others. While most people understand that drunk driving can cost lives, texting, eating, applying makeup, etc. while driving can impair your reaction time just as much as alcohol. However, many people still do not regard distracted driving as a deadly error in the same way we think of drunk driving.

If you need to text someone while driving, the safest thing to do is to pull over first. If it is not worth pulling over, then the text really is not that urgent.

Staying alert and practicing defensive driving can prevent many of the accidents that happen on New Year’s, or any other holiday for that matter. Remember that when you get in that driver’s seat, it may not be enough to be sober and distraction-free. Other drivers around you could be distracted or impaired, and if you are driving defensively you will be able to see them coming and avoid any dangerous driving maneuvers on their part. How can you be a defensive driver? The main things to remember when  defensive driving are:

  • Avoid rushing. Leave early so that you have plenty of time to get to your final destination.
  • Avoid tailgating. Allow extra room between yourself and other vehicles.
  • Let people pass you.
  • Regularly check your mirrors, especially before executing any lane changes.
  • Always use your turn signal!

Lastly, you can help prevent accidents even when you are not on the roadways by planning a designated driver to get you and your pals home safely on New Year’s Eve. If someone you know is not safe to be behind the wheel, speak up and take their keys. While they may be mad at the time, they will thank you for it the next day.

Continue reading

Two men were killed early Tuesday in a head-on crash on a Hernando County road.

The Florida Highway Patrol said that two 48-year-old men in separate vehicles died after their vehicles smashed into one another at 4:35 a.m. on U.S. Highway 98 at Lake Lindsey Road in Brooksville.

Troopers believe one of the men’s 4-door Kia sedan was was traveling southbound on US 98 when the vehicle drifted into the northbound lane, hitting the left front of a Dodge SUV.

Both drivers suffered fatal injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash is still being investigated.

2957925933_85ed92d9cc_zOf all types of car accidents, head-on collisions are undoubtedly the most catastrophic. While these types of accidents only account for 2 percent of motor vehicle accidents, they are responsible for 10 percent of all traffic fatalities.

The reason head-on crashes are so deadly boils down to the laws of physics – when two moving automobiles are travelling directly toward one another at a high rate of speed and collide, the sheer force of the impact is doubled. The driver and any front-seat passengers are more vulnerable to life-threatening injuries because they are seated at the nearest point of impact. That is why these accidents usually result in life-changing injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, loss of limbs, damage to the vital organs and spinal cord trauma.

If you have been seriously injured, or lost a loved one in a head-on collision caused by a negligent or reckless driver, you may be able to receive financial compensation for your losses. If you are the survivor of a head-on crash, the injuries you sustained may have left you with extremely high medical bills, which can continue well into the future. In many cases, you may need monetary compensation to cover the cost of long-term or even life-long care. If a family member or loved one has died in a head-on collision, you may have a wrongful death claim against the other driver.

Continue reading

The holidays are a joyous time to celebrate with family and friends, but it can also be a dangerous time when an accident or injury may come about. There are numerous types of accidents that can happen during the holidays. The following tips can help you and your loved ones avoid a holiday disaster.

  1. Be cautious with the turkey fryer. Exploding turkey fryers are the cause of many holiday-related homeowners’ insurance claims. If you are going to fry a turkey this holiday season, follow the directions, the most important being – Never fry a frozen turkey!
  2. 5981606757_b22a9c310e_mKeep your house free of any hazards that could cause slips, trips and falls. Put down mats and rugs where guests may track in moisture from outside your home, so that slip and fall accidents can be avoided. If you are having small children around, consider installing baby gates around stairways and cover all electrical outlets.
  3. Be extra careful on the roadways this holiday season. Traffic increases during the holidays, and with all the excitement, drivers can be easily distracted. While you cannot avoid all accidents, just exercising added caution can increase your chances of escaping a holiday fender bender unscathed.
  4. For last minute holiday shopping trips, be very careful entering and exiting stores.  With so much foot traffic in stores during the holidays, entry ways can be slippery and stores aisles and walkways can be cluttered with merchandise.
  5. Blow out your candles when you leave the room. Candles go hand in hand with the holidays, but they can often be forgotten about. Always extinguish them before you fall asleep or leave the area.

Continue reading

The NHTSA is urging owners of recalled Model Year 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty and Model Year 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles to contact their local dealer to arrange the free remedy repair for their vehicles.

Chrysler has reported that they currently have nearly 400,000 parts available to repair vehicles covered by this recall and will continue to produce parts to make sure they are able to meet consumer demands for the repair.

Owners who have any concerns about having their cars repaired should contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-247-9753.

3808695_aa4f786b61_zChrysler’s recall remedy is aimed at addressing fuel tank ruptures and fires that can occur if the vehicle is struck from behind in a low to medium speed crash. According to the NHTSA, the risk of fuel tank ruptures and fires in lower to medium speed rear end crashes will be reduced by the remedy now offered by Chrysler. However, the NHTSA is still monitoring Chrysler’s efforts to notify vehicle owners and its effort to fix the affected vehicles.

Owners can find out if their individual vehicle is part of the recall by using NHTSA’s free VIN look up tool on

According to the most recent reports, Chrysler has remedied only approximately 3 percent of affected vehicles of a population of more than 1.5 million. The NHTSA is pushing the manufacturer to fix recalled vehicles by reaching out to affected owners with accurate information on the safety defect and the availability of the free remedy repair.

Owners need to make sure their vehicles are registered with up-to-date contact information so that they can receive notices of safety defect recalls from manufacturers.

Chrysler claims that the vehicles are not defective, despite the fact that at least 51 deaths and 37 deadly rear-end collisions have occurred in recalled vehicles.

Continue reading

While a slip and fall or trip and fall accident can leave any one of any age with an injury, for senior citizens, falls are becoming more and more fatal.

9187011641_6982a3fb9c_zThe number of those over the age of 65 who die after a fall has sharply spiked in recent years, according to The New York Times. The fact that Americans are living longer only adds to the serious realization that the numbers of seniors affected by serious and fatal falls is likely to continue increasing in the next several years.

The following are five facts about seniors and potentially fatal injuries caused by falls:

  1. Falls are the No. 1 cause of fatal injuries for senior citizens. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, falls are the leading cause of both nonfatal injuries and fatal injuries among adults 65 or older.
  2. An estimated 24,000 seniors died from falls in 2012. In 2012, nearly 24,000 seniors died from injuries suffered in falls. That is almost double the number of seniors who suffered fatal injuries from falls in 2002.
  3. 2.4 million seniors were taken to the ER for fall-related injuries in 2012, 50 percent more than a decade earlier.
  4. Senior care facilities are taking measures to address falling hazards, according to The New York Times. These facilities are taking extra precautions such as installing floor lighting and illuminated pathways, installing impact-resistant flooring and providing exercises to help seniors improve their balance.
  5. A fall could be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. When a fall is caused by the negligence of another party, such as  a property owner failing to maintain his or her premises in a reasonably safe manner, then a personal injury lawsuit could result in financial compensation for injuries suffered in the fall. In the event that someone you love was killed, you may be able to seek retribution through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Continue reading

Anytime an auto company manufactures a vehicle component part, it has an obligation to do so not just correctly, but so that it is safe for consumer use. This means that the product must be tested regularly and must meet federal regulations.

Hyundai’s Genesis models manufactured between 2009 and 2012 were found to have enough corrosion in certain brake system components that could result in reduced braking efficiency and increase the risk of an accident. After failing to report this specific defect, the carmaker was slapped with a penalty of more than $17 million.

7712907272_52f38eec3d_mEvery carmaker, including Hyundai, has a duty to focus on the safety of their products, not just profit. When it comes to safety defects, there is no excuse for failing to report these flaws. That is why companies can be held legally liable for defective products when they put the public in danger.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Hyundai was aware of the brake defect dating back to 2012. Instead of choosing to issue a recall of the vehicle, the carmaker simply told dealers to change the brake fluid in affected vehicles. No warning or explanation was issued to inform customers about the potential safety problem.

Fortunately, no fatalities have been reported due to the defect, but six drivers have been involved in crashes, including two that led to injuries. Hyundai has also received close to 100 complaints regarding the Genesis, most of which suggested difficulty in braking.

It is important to note that federal law requires automakers to report safety-related defects within 5 days. Because of the fact that Hyundai failed to protect its customers’ safety, the carmaker has agreed to pay a $17.35 million civil penalty and comply with NHTSA oversight requirements outlined in a Consent Order.

Continue reading

Preliminary data collected by the National Safety Council shows that deaths from auto accidents during the first six months of 2014 are down 4 percent, compared to the exact same six month period in 2013. In 2014, 16,180 traffic fatalities occurred from January through June, compared to 16,860 in 2013.

The exact reasons behind the traffic fatality decrease is unknown at this time.

5591761716_57cf063d96_mDeborah Hersman, the president and CEO at NSC released the following statement: “Studies show that 90 percent of crashes involve driver error, including speeding, alcohol use and distractions. Although it’s encouraging to see a decrease in fatalities, the unfortunate fact remains that many of these crashes could have been prevented.”

Moreover, the estimated cost of motor-vehicle deaths, injuries, and property damage through June was $123.0 billion, a 3 percent decrease from 2013. These costs include wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, employer costs, and property damage.

While the downward trend in traffic fatalities is a vast improvement from last year, even just one traffic death is one too many. At Whittel & Melton, our Hernando County Auto Accident Attorneys remain dedicated to helping injury victims and the families of those killed in a fatal car accident obtain financial recovery for their loss. Financial compensation from a fatal car accident lawsuit can cover medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of future income and benefits, loss of spousal companionship, emotional distress, mental anguish and pain and suffering.

Continue reading

A 59-year-old Brooksville man died Monday after he lost control of his truck and smashed into a tree, according to investigators.

The man was driving on Snow Memorial Highway, just north of U.S. 41, at around 6:10 p.m. when he apparently hammered his 1989 Dodge Ram into a tree.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a branch from a tree broke and fell on top of the truck, causing the man to lose control of his vehicle and crash into another tree on the east shoulder of the highway.

fallen treeThe man died from his injuries at the scene of the crash.

While fatalities associated with falling tree branches may seem out of the ordinary, these accidents occur much more commonly than you may think. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, on average, there are more than 100 tree and landscape fatalities that occur across the United States every year. A mature tree can weigh more than 10 tons, so an impact with this kind of weight is strong enough to crush a motor vehicle and severely injure or kill a human being.

When hazardous road conditions are not repaired on our Hernando County highways, the lives of innocent drivers and passengers are put at risk. A Hernando County Auto Accident Attorney at Whittel & Melton can handle all motor vehicle accident cases, including those dealing with highway defects involving:

  • Potholes
  • Intersection Obstructions or Obstructed Views
  • Uneven Pavement
  • Lack of Signs
  • Absence of Guardrails
  • Improperly Designed Roads
  • Objects (like trees or fallen branches) blocking the road
  • Lack of lighting

Continue reading

Bounce houses can be tremendous fun, but also quite dangerous for your kids.

In fact, in just the last month, two bounce house accidents resulting in child injuries have made national news. In both incidents, the inflatable house the children were playing in was picked up and carried away by a surprising gust of wind.

bounce houseBefore you make arrangements to have a bounce house at your next party as entertainment for the children, please consider the following safety tips:

1. Make Sure the Bounce House is Secure.

These recent separate incidents, occurring less than a month apart, demonstrate just how hazardous bounce house can be when they are not secured properly. In New York, two young boys were hospitalized with serious injuries after the bounce house they were playing in was blown upward by wind, eventually dropping them at least 15 feet to the ground.

And even more recently in Denver, an inflatable “bouncy slide” was blown across a lacrosse field, injuring two children.

2. An Adult Supervisor Should Be Present at All Times.

At least one adult should be present when children are in or near a bounce house, as an injury can occur at a moment’s notice. In fact, several thousand injuries occur from bounce houses every year, and most are not caused by Mother Nature.

3. Do Not Ignore Warning Signs and Labels on Bounce Houses.

It can be very tempting to blame manufacturers for any bounce house injuries, but many of these accidents occur because adults fail to read the warning labels. Now, if the warning labels happened to be defective, then there could be grounds to sue the manufacturer.

4. Waivers Can’t Hurt.

Is your child having a birthday bash that will feature a bounce house or other inflatable toy? You may want to consider having parents of children that will be attending the party sign a liability waiver before they can play in the bounce house. This is just an added precaution that could help you ward off any personal injury lawsuits.

5. If Injured, Know Who Could Face Liability.

If your child is injured while playing in a bounce house, do your homework and know who could be potentially liable. Under the theory of premises liability, property owners that have a bounce house on their land could be liable for any injuries suffered on site. If a private company was hired to inflate or provide the bounce house, then that same company and its workers could be held responsible for accidents arising from negligence. If a defect with the bounce house caused a child injury, then the manufacturer could be legally liable for damages.

Continue reading

A new study has concluded that many strokes are missed in hospital emergency departments in the days before the problems of the stroke become clear. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnoses strokes can have shattering consequences.

The study was retrospective, which means it researched what happened to stroke victims in the time leading up to their strokes. The study confirmed that of 187,188 patients admitted for stroke, only 12.7 percent of the stroke patients visited an emergency department and received a non-cerebrovascular diagnosis in the preceding 30-day period, indicating a potentially missed stroke, according to doctors from Johns Hopkins University.

One in every ten of those non-stroke related discharges were for headaches or dizziness. According to researchers, these were likely strokes. The study confirmed that those most at risk for experiencing an undiagnosed stroke are women, members of minority groups and people under age of 45.

doctor with patientAccording to the Harvard Medical School, failure to administer early treatment for the most common types of stroke can result in brain damage and other complications. Delayed treatment can result in a more serious stroke, causing long term damage.

Moreover, failing to diagnose early strokes keeps patients out of the loop on how to prevent future strokes. The National Stroke Association lists preventative measures as medication, other medical therapies and lifestyle changes in regards to diet and exercise. In many cases, doctors recommend drugs to treat other medical conditions that lead to stroke, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. There are a number of different medications that can reduce blood clotting, which can also prevent a stroke. When an emergency department misses signs of a first stroke, the patient will not be notified of these options, which could result in a second, more serious stroke.

A Hernando County Medical Malpractice Attorney at Whittel & Melton can help you recover your losses if you were harmed due to an undiagnosed stroke. Ultimately, doctors must diagnose and treat strokes, however there are signs that you can be on the lookout for so that you can get medical treatment as soon as possible. The American Stroke Association has come up with the acronym FAST to remind everyone what to watch for.

Face Drooping – Look and see if one side of the face is drooping or if it feels numb. An uneven smile could also be a potential sign of stroke.

Arm Weakness – Check if one arm is weaker than the other or feels numb. When the person raises both arms, look to see if one drifts downwards as this is another sign of possible stroke.

Speech Trouble – When the person talks, take note of if their speech is slurred or if they are hard to understand saying even simple sentences.

Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone you know displays any of the above symptoms, you should call  9-1-1 immediately. Be sure and check the time so that you can tell the doctor how long the symptoms have been present.

Continue reading

Contact Information