Articles Posted in Premises Liability

Window Safety Week in April comes with the arrival of spring as this is the time when most people want to open their home windows and let the fresh air in.

Window safety week aims to target two things: understand how windows can be used in escaping a fire or other emergency and to learn to safeguard against accidental window falls.

Windows have saved many lives when used as emergency escape routes. In the event of a house fire, you want to be prepared. The following can be a good checklist for your family:

  • Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut
  • Never install air conditioners in windows that need to be used for escape routes
  • Make sure window guards, security bars, grilles or grates have a working release mechanism
  • Keep emergency escape ladders in second- or third-story bedrooms and make sure everyone in the household knows how to use them

It only takes seconds for a window fall to happen. Window falls are entirely preventable and occur more frequently in urban areas. You may not be aware, but window falls account for about eight deaths and 3,300 injuries among children 5 and younger each year.

April 3-9 is officially Window Safety Week, and our Hernando County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton encourage you to be safe and practice window safety year-round. The lives of your loved ones could depend on it.

We have compiled a list to help you prevent unnecessary window falls:

  • Keep in mind that insect screens do not support the weight of a child
  • Do not leave children unattended around open windows, whether they have a screen or not
  • Windows that are within a child’s reach should stay closed
  • Do not put furniture in front of windows as children can climb on furniture and possibly fall from an open window
  • Refrain from putting a child’s play area near a window, balcony or patio

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There are more cooking-related fires on Thanksgiving Day than on any other day of the year, according to the State Farm insurance agency. That means that the number of fires on Thanksgiving is more than double than any other day in November.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that turkey deep fryers account for more than 1,000 home fires during the holiday and these fires produce more than $15 million in property damage. Moreover, fires have the ability to deliver severe burns and injuries. Our Hernando County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want to help your family enjoy a safe and injury-free holiday, which is why we have compiled the following safety tips:

How to Safely Fry Your Thanksgiving Turkey

  • Place the fryer a safe distance from any structures, trees, or wooden components such as a deck or patio. Never use a turkey fryer indoors!
  • Fill the fryer to the recommended level and then lower the thawed turkey into the cold oil to ensure that you have enough oil. If you have too much, just remove the excess.
  • Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before you place it in the fryer.
  • Turn off the fuel source before you lower the thawed turkey into the hot oil.
  • Do not marinade the turkey prior to frying it
  • Never leave your bird unattended in the fryer.
  • Have a fire extinguisher nearby when frying a turkey and never use water to extinguish a grease fire!
  • DO NOT add water or ice to the oil to try and cool it down once the turkey is done cooking!

Additional Safety Tips for Cooking Thanksgiving Feasts

While not everybody fries a turkey on Thanksgiving, this doesn’t mean that there can’t be other cooking mishaps during the holiday. All holiday chefs should take note of the following:

  • Refrain from wearing loose clothing when cooking.
  • Keep cooking surfaces clean and free from grease.
  • Keep kids and pets out of the kitchen while preparing and cooking food
  • Make sure all flammable items, like oven mitts, kitchen towels, and pot holders away from the stove top.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen where it can be easily reached in an emergency.
  • Check all of your home’s smoke detectors and ensure that they have  fresh batteries and are working properly
  • Make sure you turn everything off in the kitchen, like stovetops and ovens, before you sit down to dinner.

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Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids and adults alike. It is always exciting to dress up in costumes and trick or treat at night! However, it is no surprise that Halloween also brings with it increased risks of accidents and injuries.

There is an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians on Halloween. Also, let’s not forget that many people celebrate the holiday by consuming alcohol, so we can expect an increase in the risk of alcohol-related accidents.

Car accidents are not the only safety concerns. With dark conditions, poor visibility and the design of certain costumes, there is an increased risk of tripping and falling on an uneven sidewalk. Burn injury risks are also heightened on Halloween as some lawns have lit up  jack-o-lanterns, and some costumes can be highly flammable.

To help keep you and your loved ones safe on Halloween, our Hernando County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to make this a safe and fun night for all the trick or treaters. Please review the following Halloween safety tips:

  • Swords, knives, and any similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
  • Never trick or treat alone. Stay in groups with adult supervision.
  • Apply reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
  • Hold a flashlight while trick or treating to help you see and others see you. Always walk and refrain from running house to house.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
  • Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
  • Wear well-fitting costumes, masks, and shoes to avoid any unnecessary slips, trips, and falls.
  • Only visit well lit houses. Stay away from dark house. Never accept rides from strangers.
  • Wear flame-resistant costumes.

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Visiting a haunted house is supposed to be a scary thrill. However, none of the happenings at these attractions should leave you injured. If you are injured, then the haunted house could be liable.

In 2014, a woman was severely injured while touring a haunted house in Pontiac, Michigan after a moving wall caused her to slip and fall. She sustain multiple fractures as well as other injuries.

The woman’s lawsuit alleged that she was knocked down in an area with inadequate lighting.

The case recently settled for $125,000.

If you plan on attending a haunted house this Halloween season, there are certain safety precautions you can take to avoid harm. However, if there are hidden dangers present, even the safest person can fall victim. Property owners in general have a legal duty to maintain safe conditions on their properties. When an owner or company fails to keep a premise safe and someone suffers a serious injury because of that condition, the victim can seek financial compensation for their losses.

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A deep fryer apparently caused a house fire in Spring Hill, according to Pasco County Fire Rescue.

A deep fryer was left unattended in the kitchen and started a fire inside the home located at 16517 Albright Avenue.

Firefighters arrived at the scene and found heavy smoke and flames shooting from the double-wide mobile home.

Crews battled the fire and were able to contain it to the kitchen and dining room area.

The homeowner was treated for smoke inhalation. One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion and released. There were no other injuries.

Due to smoke, heat and water damage, the mobile home is a complete loss.

The Red Cross is assisting the family of five that lived in the home.

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We all know that there are things in our homes to keep away from children. However, you may be unaware of some things that could be very dangerous when in the hands of little ones.

The following five things are hidden hazards in most households, according to the Consumer Product Safety.

Magnets

If swallowed, small powerful magnets can attract inside the body and block, twist or tear the intestines. If you think your child has swallowed a magnet, it is best to seek medical attention immediately.

Recalled Products

Stay on top of the latest safety recalls and get dangerous products out of the home. Sign up for recall notices now at www.cpsc.gov.

Windows

Do not place a crib or playpen near a window blind. Children can strangle on blind so it is best to install cordless blinds or safety devices on blind cords. It is also a good idea to install window guards or stops to prevent falls.

TipOvers

Kids will climb, there is no doubt about that. Top-heavy furniture, TVs and stoves can tip over and crush young children, so it is very necessary to make these objects more stable by installing anchors and brackets.

Pools & Spa Drains

The suction from a pool or spa drain is powerful enough to trap a child, or  even an adult, underwater. Always inspect pools and spas for missing or broken drain covers.

If your child has been injured on someone else’s property, the property owner could be liable for damages. Our Hernando County Premises Liability Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help identify the responsible party.

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Summer is here, and we know you want to get outdoors with the kids. Whether it is swimming, riding a bike, taking a summer night stroll or even just opening a window to let that Florida breeze in, safety should always come first. The following simple steps will keep your loved ones safe now and in the future:

Pool Safety

The CPSC estimates that nearly 300 children under 5 years old drown each year in swimming pools and spas.

  • Teach your kids how to swim or sign them up for swimming lessons.
  • If you have a pool, install a four-sided fence around it.
  • Learn CPR.
  • Never leave children unattended around bodies of water. Drowning accidents can happen in a matter of seconds.
Playground Safety

Sadly, more than 200,000 children go to U.S. hospital emergency rooms each year with injuries from playground equipment.

  • Do not attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines or pet leashes to play equipment.
  • Make sure play equipment is maintained and is not broken before allowing children to play.
Window Falls

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A Hernando County e-School teacher and well-known barrel racer passed away last weekend after a rodeo accident, one day before her 28th birthday.

The woman loved rodeo life and was a professional barrel racer.

Last month, the woman and her horse ran their last race together at a rodeo in Mississippi. Her horse took off out of the ring and slipped on pavement and they both went down. She passed away from her injuries last Sunday.

Accidents can occur on our highways, baseball diamonds, county fairs, ranches and everywhere in between.  Florida negligence laws and other State and Federal Statutory obligations create the landscape where injury claims are made in Florida.  Let us use our years of experience to maximize your financial recovery.  If you or someone you love was killed in a rodeo accident, the best thing to do is contact a personal injury attorney for help.

At Whittel & Melton, we proudly serve all of Hernando County residents with any wrongful death or personal injury claims. Once we determine that your case is legitimate and occurred due to another party’s negligence, we will fight aggressively to get you the compensation you need and deserve.

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Halloween is a fun time for both children and parents. However, there are some very important safety tips that are worth considering as a way to keep everyone safe during this spooky time of year. Parents should make sure children know to never walk near an open flame or lit candles that they could encounter while trick-or-treating. As an added safety measure, please make sure that all costumes are flame resistant.

Dark Houses

Children should be instructed to stay away from dark houses or houses that do not have their lights on. It should also be a given that children should know to never accept a ride from a stranger when trick-or-treating. Children should also be taught the importance of knowing what is safe to eat after trick-or-treating ends.

Candy & Costume Safety

Factory wrapped type candies and treats are considered safe. Candy and treats that are homemade or look like they have been opened should be avoided, especially when the source of these candies is unknown.

Costumes should fit correctly and not be too long or dragging the ground as this is a slip and fall or trip and fall hazard. Masks and other accessories like large hats should be avoided as they can obstruct vision. Even poorly fitted shoes can result in a slip and fall related injury.

Crossing the Street

Children should walk on sidewalks when they are available. If there is no sidewalk it is best to walk as far away from the road as possible while always facing traffic. You should always look both ways before crossing a road and take full advantage of crosswalks when they are available, as this is the best option when preparing to cross a road or intersection. It is best to bring a flashlight along when trick-or-treating because it is an excellent safety precaution. A flashlight is useful because it allows others to see trick-or-treaters and it helps trick-or-treaters to see where they are going.

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A Holiday Inn Express maintenance employee has been credited with saving a toddler from drowning in the hotel pool this weekend.

The man decided to check the busy hotel pool before leaving work, and that’s when he noticed a 2-year-old floating about a foot underwater.

Reports indicate that the boy was limp, almost lifeless, but the man lifted him out of the pool and placed him over his knee to release any water in the boy’s body. The child then opened his eyes.

7079820043_e66619c2f4_zThe boy’s family was in the pool but lost track of the toddler, according to reports.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for every child that drowns, another four will need emergency medical attention for near-drowning injuries. The extent of near-drowning injuries can depend on various factors, such as the length of time under water, the temperature of the water, the amount of water aspirated, the type of water and if the victim suffered from any pre-accident medical conditions. Statistics do show that at least one third of survivors will sustain moderate to severe brain injuries including memory loss, learning disabilities and permanent loss of basic functioning.

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