Articles Posted in Spring Hill

Hurricane Ida has left Louisiana and the Gulf Coast without power, roads blocked, and no running water or sewage for what could be days to weeks. Many are still unable to return to their homes and wondering what could be next for them. Hurricane Larry is next in line and the East Coast is expected to see severe swells. Our Hernando County Hurricane Lawyers at Whittel & Melton encourage everyone to keep up with weather alerts and have plan ready in case of an emergency.

At the start of every hurricane season in June the National Weather Service names the hurricanes for the season alphabetically. The letter “I,” is the ninth letter of the alphabet so that means Ida was the ninth storm of the season, and “L” is up next with Hurricane Larry. Just like Hurricane Ida, Hurricane Larry is anticipated to bring major damage. Hurricane Larry will be the third major hurricane that is a Category 3 or higher, following Hurricane Grace and of course, Hurricane Ida. Just like Ida, Larry is growing more intense rather quickly, gaining 35 mph in wind speed in 24 hours or less. It is expected that Larry will brush Canada by the weekend and bring disturbances later in the week to

northern Florida and southern Georgia. Hurricane Ida quickly went from a Category 1 Hurricane to a Category 4 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which does not leave people with enough time to properly protect themselves from a storm that increased from 85 mph to 150 mph in less than 24 hours.

labor-day-1628502_1280-300x212Labor Day weekend is upon us and since it is one of the busiest holidays across the United States, our Hernando County Car Crash Attorneys at Whittel & Melton wanted to remind motorists of some important safety tips. Since most people have Labor Day off, many will attend a social gathering of some sort like a family backyard barbecue or a pool party with friends. More social gatherings mean more people are out on the roads. Traffic congestion combined with an increase in alcohol consumption can result in Labor Day car wrecks. And while this year Labor Day looks a bit different with the novel coronavirus still lingering over us, it is still best to prepare for the possibility of increased traffic accidents. 

Our Hernando County Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have compiled a few travel tips to keep you and your loved ones safe this Labor Day weekend. 

Drive Defensively 

This is very important for staying accident free this Labor Day weekend. We urge you to be aware of congested roads, especially in the afternoon and evening hours. Since we know traffic will likely be increased, it may be best to travel to your destination earlier in the morning before more motorists get out and about. Make sure you go the posted speed limits – there will be more law enforcement patrolling the roadways during the holiday weekend. 

Since we know there will likely be more people on the roads, plan your travel time and adjust if needed. Your usual 20 minute drive could now be 40 minutes, so give yourself some extra time and leave 10-20 minutes early so you are not feeling rushed to get to your holiday outing. 

Don’t Get Frustrated 

Road rage is a real thing, but you do not want to let your anger take over when you are behind the wheel of a car. Do not let another driver’s actions take your mind off the most important task at hand – getting where you need to go safely. If you need to pull over and scream, do so until your agitation subsides. If you do need to pull over, just remember to keep your car away from the right-hand lane and put it in park. Take some slow, deep breaths in and out and shake off those angry feelings before you head back out on the road. 

Do Not Drink and Drive

While this may seem like a real no-brainer, drunk driving accidents still happen at alarming rates. Do not drive anywhere if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs (this includes prescription pills and over the counter meds that may affect your ability to drive safely.) On this same note, do not drive while hungover or on little sleep as you want to be well rested so that you can focus on the road. 

Check the Children 

With the holiday hustle and bustle it can be easy to forget about your precious cargo. You want all your passengers to stay safe, so ensure that everyone in your car is safely buckled in, this includes making sure children are securely strapped in to car seats that are appropriate for their age, height, and weight.

Contact Our Hernando County Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton

Our Hernando County Car Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are available 24/7 to help you after you or someone you love have been involved in a serious car accident. We will be here to investigate your crash and fight to get you financial compensation for personal injuries, property damages, and other losses that go hand in hand with collisions that are caused by a reckless or negligent driver. 

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The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) issued a report in June 2020 regarding fireworks-related fires. Their findings show that in 2018, 19,500 fires were started by fireworks, resulting in 5 deaths, 46 injuries, and $105 million in property damage.

On that same note, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently released its Fireworks Annual Report that shows 10,000 people were hospitalized last year due to fireworks-related injuries. Their reports show that over a third of the injury victims in 2019 were young children. Twelve deaths were reported from fireworks in that same year. 

And while fireworks were made legal this year on three holidays: Fourth of July, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve, most people fail to think about property damage and injuries over holiday weekends. While fireworks are associated with fun and celebration, most people fail to think about their potential to cause devastating injuries, burns, fires, and even death. Something as simple as lighting off a bottle rocket or Roman candle could easily lead to a house fire, and not just your own home, but a neighbor’s house as well. It is important to remember that these situations can be avoided by erring on the side of caution. 

Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may have you covered if a house fire is accidentally started by legal fireworks. However, if you are using illegal fireworks, you can expect your claim to be denied. Using illegal fireworks could place you on the line personally for any damage that results. One mistake with an illegal cherry bomb, M-80, M-100, or silver salute could mean you are now solely on the hook for rebuilding your home and replacing all of your belongings. 

You may be wondering what would happen if your home caught fire due to someone else’s illegal fireworks or firecrackers. In instances like these, your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance should cover these claims. It is always a good idea to double check your insurance policy and contact your insurance provider to make sure you understand all of your coverages. 

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virus-4931227_1920-300x200Oak Hill Hospital in Brooksville has a new visitor policy in effect now. This is a direct result of the increase in the spread of COVID-19 in the communities of Brookville, Spring Hill, and throughout the state of Florida. 

Our Hernando County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have compiled everything you need to know should you need to go to the hospital. 

Currently there are no visitors allowed at Inpatient Units, but exceptions can be made after approval from the hospital Administrator on Call (AOC) for:

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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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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The Florida Highway Patrol has cited a 65-year-old woman for crashing into a Spring Hill restaurant, injuring several people.

The crash occurred on Tuesday, February 5, at the Beef O’Brady’s located at 14387 Spring Hill Drive.

Troopers said the brakes of the woman’s Saturn Ion were not working when it crashed into the front of the restaurant, striking five patrons.

All five victims were transported to area hospitals.

Before crashing into the Beef O’Brady’s, troopers said  the woman lost control of her vehicle on Spring Hill Drive, traveled over the center median, across the westbound lanes, traveled off the roadway, over a flower bed, side-swiped a vehicle that was exiting the parking lot, and then hit a parked vehicle as it made its way through the parking lot toward the restaurant.

The woman was cited for unsafe/improper equipment.

Vehicle negligence can happen anywhere, even in restaurant parking lots. Serious accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and sometimes in very unlikely places.

If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s recklessness or carelessness, our Hernando County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help you. We can take care of all the legal details surrounding your injury so that you can focus on recovering. We know first-hand how devastating car accident injuries can be, and we want to make sure that the at-fault party is held responsible for their negligent actions.

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