Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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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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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Halloween is today! This is a fun time for children and adults alike to dress up, eat candy and have fun. For all the joy that Halloween brings, it is still important to remember that there are many dangers during this spooky holiday that can lead to injuries.

Of all the possible dangers, car accidents are the most common, and many of these accidents lead to wrongful death. Safe Kids USA reported recently that children are more than twice as likely to be killed by a motor vehicle on Halloween night as any other time of the year. According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, from 1990-2010, 115 child pedestrians died on Halloween. Many of the fatal accidents reported happened outside of an intersection or crosswalk.

Serious Halloween car accidents happen most frequently from 4-10 p.m., and it is particularly common for accidents to happen when the sun sets because drivers have trouble seeing the road in front of them.

Our Hernando County Auto Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you and your children to stay safe tonight, and every night for that matter. The following safety tips can help you get through Halloween safely:

  • Put reflective tape on all bags and costumes to ensure that drivers can see you and your children.
  • Have a flashlight on while trick-or-treating to ensure that you can see and be seen by drivers and others.
  • Look both directions before going across the street. Use crosswalks if they are available.
  • Walk only on sidewalks as much as possible. If none are available, walk on the far edge of the street against traffic.

Drivers should remember the following road safety tips:

  • Drive slower than normal.
  • Put your cell phone away while driving.
  • Beware of young children running into the street.
  • Yield to child pedestrians.
  • Use your turn signals.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, please contact our office at 352-666-2121 for a complimentary consultation. We are available 24/7 on Halloween and stand ready to assist you and your loved one should you need us.

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The latest study regarding the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy shows a strong correlation.

Researchers at Boston University who are studying brains donated by families of former NFL players said that 110 of the 111 donations showed signs of CTE.

While that’s not a random sample reflecting the entire sport (the donations come largely from players who were struggling with some issue or had committed suicide), the big numbers do alarm those studying the issue.

The Boston University study covered 202 brains donated by families of men who had played some level of football. CTE was discovered in 177 of them (87 percent). The 99 percent of former NFL players was the highest level. The study also showed CTE in 3-of-14 who played at the high school level (21.4 percent), 48-of-53 who played in college (90.6 percent), 9-of-14 who competed semi professionally (64.3 percent) and 7-of-8 who played in the CFL (87.5).

The NFL has pledged to devote $100 million and resources toward the effort, and spoke at the league meetings this spring about specific research into helmet safety.

The NFL is committed to supporting scientific research into CTE and advancing progress in the prevention and treatment of head injuries.

Football is a great sport that is loved by many, but it is also a dangerous sport that causes severe concussions, brain trauma and in some cases death. Football involves tackling, direct hits and lots of aggression, which only increases the chances of suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during games or even at practices.

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Two people were killed early Tuesday in a head-on crash that involved a wrong-way driver.

The Florida Highway Patrol said a 37-year-old driver was heading west in the eastbound lane of Cortez Boulevard in Ridge Manor at about 1 a.m.

A deputy and the driver of a truck traveling in front of the deputy both swerved off the roadway to avoid a collision with the 37-year-old.

The deputy called for help, and about a minute later the driver crashed head-on into another vehicle traveling east near the Ridge Manor Campground.

The driver of that vehicle was 23-year-old Webster woman.

Both drivers died at the scene, according to reports.

Cortez Boulevard was blocked off for hours in both directions from McKethan Road to Westwood Drive. It was reopened at 7:25 a.m.

FHP is still investigating the crash.

Driving against traffic is quite possibly the deadliest decision that a driver can make. Wrong-way driving accidents are usually catastrophic. Families can lose loved ones, and survivors are often left with significant injuries resulting in astronomical medical costs. The loss in income due to death or injury caused by a wrong-way driver can also be devastating to survivors and/or family members.

The most common wrong-way driving collisions can be attributed to the following:

  • Drunk drivers
  • Speeding drivers. Most wrong-way driving accidents occur on interstates or freeways, and involve cars traveling at high rates of speed, which seriously decreases the survivability of a head-on crash.
  • Limited visibility at night. It can get very dark at night on roads and highways, which only increases the possibility that a driver—drunk or sober—may become confused and drive the wrong way. The darkness also decreases the amount of reaction time that other drivers have to avoid the accident by swerving or slowing down.

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May is Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is reminding all motorists of the importance of sharing the road.

Motorcyclists and bicyclists share the same privileges, rights and responsibilities as every other driver on the road. As drivers, we must be courteous and watch out for bicyclists and motorcyclists.

In 2016 preliminarily, there were 10,297 motorcycle crashes and 6,580 bicycle crashes in Florida, or more than 46 motorcycle or bicycle crashes every day. As a result of these crashes in 2016, there were 501 motorcycle and 133 bicycle fatalities.

Motorcyclists under the age of 30 accounted for almost 30 percent of all motorcycle crashes, and almost 82 percent of all motorcyclists involved in a crash were men.

  • Drivers should be aware of these safety reminder:
  • Never share the lane with a motorcycle
  • Maintain a four-second buffer zone between you and a motorcyclist
  • Increase space when encountering bad weather and road conditions
  • Do not follow too closely behind a motorcycle or bicycle

Bicyclists between the ages of 15-19 had the highest number of bicycle crashes out of all the age groups, and  bicyclists age 50-59 had the highest number of fatalities from bicycle crashes with one-third of bicyclists killed in a crash in 2016.

With the traffic always increasing on our Hernando County roadways, it is important that all motorists drive responsibly, share the roadways and look out for each other.

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