Lauderhill police are searching for a man who fled after he ran a stop sign, hit another car and caused it to hit a man sitting on a scooter.

Police believe a gold Buick was traveling southbound on 34th Avenue when it ran the stop sign and hit a white car which veered off the road and hit the man on the scooter. Two parked cars, a pole and a tree were also hit.

The Buick continued south until the driver got out and left it in the 3400 block of Northwest 14th Street, according to police.

Police now have the Buick and the investigation is ongoing.

The man on the scooter was taken to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale with significant injuries.

Getting hit on a scooter can result in serious injuries, and in the most severe cases, wrongful death. Similar to motorcycles and bicycles, scooters can be hard to spot on the road. Most car vs. scooter crashes are the result of a motorist failing to see a rider. However, this type of negligence is no excuse. If you or someone you care for has been injured or killed in a scooter accident due to another person’s careless or reckless behavior, our South Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help.

Some of the most common scooter accidents take place due to the following:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Tailgating
  • Turning in front of or into a scooter

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A former employee of Royal Caribbean International who suffered a catastrophic injury in 2008 while she was working on board has been awarded $20.3 million.

In August 2008,  the woman was a marketing and revenue manager on the Miami-based cruise line’s Voyager of the Seas, which was sailing from Barcelona, Spain.

While in port, the ship was conducting a routine fire safety drill in which some of the vessel’s semi-watertight doors — powerful doors that prevent water from flooding the ship — are closed. A nurse from the port who was unaware of the drill tried to open one of the doors with a handle. The woman was on the other side.

According to the lawsuit, as the nurse tried to pass through the door, she fell, and the woman attempted to help her, but when she put her hand on the handle to keep the door open, the sliding door lurched back into its recess pocket in the wall, mashing her hand into a space only big enough to fit a pencil.

The woman’s hand was sucked into the door’s pocket three more times, breaking her middle finger and her index finger. The nails on both fingers were ripped from their cuticles.

Her suit argues that Royal Caribbean was negligent in its training to staff. Crew were not trained to operate the type of door that crushed the woman’s hand, and the nurse was not told by crew at the port that a security drill was taking place.

This is not the only incident of its kind. It seems that in the three years prior to the 2008 incident, 12 Royal Caribbean crew members suffered hand injuries when the doors slid back into their pockets, according to information Royal Caribbean provided during discovery in the case.

Following the woman’s injury, Royal Caribbean referred her to a doctor in Barcelona who misdiagnosed her condition and splinted her fingers in the wrong position, further worsening the damage. For two years, the woman underwent therapy in her home of New Zealand while Royal Caribbean paid her a daily disability payment of $25, as stipulated in her employee disability insurance coverage.

The woman was later diagnosed with a chronic pain syndrome associated with a nervous system malfunction, which causes severe pain that runs into her other arm and up to her head. She also suffered from post traumatic stress disorder following the accident. She is unable to properly move the fingers on her right hand.

By 2010, Royal Caribbean discharged the woman, citing that though her job on the ship was clerical, because of her injury, she would not be able to perform the necessary safety tasks that require lifting 50 pounds.

The woman sued in 2016. As part of the lawsuit, filed in judicial court in Miami-Dade County, the woman alleged that Royal Caribbean was negligent with regard to the door, failed to provide proper medical care, discharged her for a non-performance-related reason, breached its contract with her and failed to pay her full wages.

The three-week jury trial ended on Friday with the court ordering the cruise line to pay the woman $20.3 million in damages, lost wages. and future medical expenses.

Anyone that is injured while on the job wants to peace of mind of knowing that they will have access to medical treatment without the worry of their job being at stake. You also want to know that your employer has your best interests and safety in mind. Sadly, this is not always the case, especially in more dangerous jobs, such as working aboard a cruise ship.

Cruise ship employees, even those in clerical positions on board vessels, are often exposed to dangerous work conditions, long hours, and inadequate medical care.  If you are a cruise ship employee who has been injured while performing job-related duties, you are entitled to certain rights. Moreover, you could likely have a case against the cruise line for negligence, which is where our Florida Cruise Ship Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help. Our maritime lawyers have the knowledge and experience necessary to aggressively pursue injury claims against negligence cruise line employers.

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All of May is Bike Month and today is National Bike to Work Day.

The idea behind both Bike to Work Day/Month is to promote bicycle commuting as a wonderful alternative to driving to work. Since Florida has a pretty much moderate year-round climate, it is very easy to see why many workers opt to ditch their cars for a more planet-friendly bike ride to work. There are other various reasons to bike instead of drive, including:

  • It’s cheaper: According to various reports, it only costs about $300 a year to keep your bike in tip top shape. If you think about it, that’s nearly 30 times less than the yearly upkeep on a car. Plus, think of all the money you’ll save on gas!
  • It’s great exercise: If losing weight is on your agenda, then get this: bike commuters lose an average of 13 pounds in the first year they start biking to work. It’s also a good cardio workout, so you can skip gym.
  • You can kiss all that traffic goodbye: Biking lets you bypass all the waiting, and you can save yourself more than $700 a year because you won’t be burning gas while stuck in traffic.
  • Less sick days than public transportation users: According to the New York Daily News, public transit riders are “six times more likely to suffer from acute respiratory infections.”
  • Parking won’t be a problem: No more spending time circling parking lots or garages. Most commercial office buildings have bike racks where you can park your bike. If not, there’s always a tree or sign post to chain your bike to.

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Crews have apparently found cracks in a key part of the pedestrian bridge that collapsed near the campus of Florida International University earlier than previously acknowledged, but it remains unclear whether the fissures caused the structure’s failure.

Documents from Florida International University show the cracks were found in late February. The structure collapsed March 15, killing six people.

Reports indicate that the photos show the cracks in a piece of a support truss on the north end of the span where the collapse began.

Bridge engineers have said that the cracks suggest a problem that should have been addressed before the section that failed was moved into place.

It is not yet clear whether construction crews repaired the cracks before the failure.

The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the collapse.

According to investigators, most bridge collapses happen because of construction faults, not design faults. However, until the National Transportation Safety Board completes their investigation, it’s hard to say what might have gone wrong or speculate on who could potentially be held responsible. There are several different parties involved in the design, testing, and construction of the bridge. It is entirely possible that multiple parties will be held accountable for negligence when all is said and done.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a construction-related accident, our South Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you determine what steps to take next. Our goal is to identify who is at fault and hold them responsible for damages.

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CityMD, a popular chain of 88 urgent care centers mostly in the New York metropolitan area, has agreed to pay $6.6 million for submitting false claims to Medicare, according to the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The payment settles a civil fraud lawsuit brought by a whistleblower and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office.

CityMD is accused of improperly billing Medicare at a significant cost to taxpayers.

The settlement is a way to hold CityMD accountable both through the significant monetary payment and the detailed admissions made by CityMD.

As part of the settlement, CityMD apparently admitted it tricked Medicare by billing the federal program for lengthier and more complex procedures than its doctors actually performed.

The urgent care centers also confessed to billing Medicare for services performed by physicians not credentialed with the federal program.

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office joined a whistleblower’s False Claims Act lawsuit that had been filed under seal until the settlement was reached.

Being accused of collecting illegitimate healthcare funds from the federal government is a serious offense, and if this is proven in court, you could be facing pretty severe consequences. Medicare fraud is punished much more severely now than ever before. Punishments for this type of fraud generally stem from the federal sentencing guidelines. Depending on the offense, penalties can include maximum sentences ranging from 6 months to decades in prison, along with hefty fines. Moreover, restitution payments for wrongfully obtained funds will be ordered to reimburse the federal government.

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A former University of Florida football player was sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison and ordered to pay about $18 million for a healthcare fraud conspiracy that stripped millions from the TRICARE program for military members, veterans and their families, according to federal court records.

The 46-year-old man, who played for Steve Spurrier’s Gators from 1990-93, was accused in a 49-count indictment of hiring an independent marketing team that included former Florida and NFL quarterback Shane Matthews in a conspiracy to fleece the TRICARE program.

The man maintained his innocence and denied what the prosecuting attorney described as “buying and selling patients for a pharmacy.”

The man, a former defensive back who spent three years in the NFL with the Chiefs and Jaguars, was accused of receiving and paying kickbacks to score lucrative patient referrals for a major South Florida pharmacy.

Despite his claims of innocence, a jury unanimously convicted him on multiple charges earlier this year, including the conspiracy that funneled more than $20 million from the TRICARE program.

Prosecutors described the conspiracy as a “pyramid scheme” and said there are other “unindicted co-conspirators.”

Healthcare fraud is a crime that is often charged along with conspiracy. Fraud is defined as an attempt to gain money or value by a false representation of fact. If you are facing federal conspiracy and/or fraud charges, or if you have reason to believe you are under investigation for such charges, you need to act fast and consult a Federal Healthcare Fraud Attorney at Whittel & Melton. A free consultation with us can help you learn more about the criminal defense process and the best course of action for your case.

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A personal injury lawyer from Hialeah was arrested Tuesday and charged with killing a woman at a Miami Lakes crosswalk last year with his Mercedes-Benz and driving away while impaired.

The 65-year-old-owner of a law firm in Miami Lakes was charged with DUI manslaughter/failure to render aid, vehicular homicide/failure to stop, leaving the scene of a crash involving a death and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the Dec. 7, 2017 death of the 26-year-old woman.

Investigators allege that the woman was using the Fairway Drive crosswalk around 2:30 a.m. when a car hit her, launching her into the air to land on a curb on the west side of Fairway Drive. Police believe that car was the man’s silver C-Class Benz and he was the driver.

He remained in Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center Wednesday morning, with bond set at $150,000.

A civil lawsuit was filed Tuesday on behalf of the woman’s parents that says the woman was found face down near a gutter at the intersection of Miami Lakes Drive and Fairway Drive, and that the man was driving recklessly and should have yielded at the crosswalk. The suit, filed in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, asks for more than $15,000 to compensate the woman’s parents for their grief and to pay off medical and funeral costs.

It is important to point out that leaving the scene of an accident is not just a traffic ticket. It is a criminal offense. If the accident involves injuries to others, whether it be the other driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian, this would be considered a felony hit-and-run in Florida. It is a felony in every state when someone leaves the scene of an accident that results in the death of a person.

Our South Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to point out that there are very few scenarios where you are free to leave the scene of an accident without suffering any consequences.If you were behind the wheel and caused a fatal accident and want to flee the scene, we urge you to think twice. If you do leave the scene, police will likely issue a warrant out for your arrest, and it is very likely that they will immediately proceed to locate you.

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Three Medicare fraud schemes in recent weeks have targeted a total $139.4 million, which led the Department of Justice to seek multiple convictions and a combined 33 years in prison sentences.

Each of the alleged schemes involved the use of provider kickbacks, a popular activity in healthcare, to entice healthcare professionals to inappropriately redirect clients and beneficiaries to specific healthcare businesses.

Law enforcement officials began their crackdown on Medicare fraud earlier in the year with a mix of provider convictions and settlements involving roughly $3 million dollars.

Combating healthcare fraud continues to be a top priority for law enforcement officials because of the dangers it presents to vulnerable beneficiaries in the Medicare program, as well as the potential to recover billions in Medicare spending.

A Detroit provider was sentenced to six years in prison for $10.4 kickback scheme. The case apparently involved kickbacks for unnecessary electromyogram (EMG) tests and physical therapy tests.

He was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, one count of wire fraud, two counts of receiving healthcare kickbacks, and had to personally forfeit $1.69 million.

A 70-year-old Boca Raton man was sentenced to five years in prison for $63 million in home health care fraud. Him and eleven other co-conspirators apparently submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare through kickbacks that were medically unnecessary, were not eligible for Medicare reimbursement, or were never provided by his clinic.

The man was found guilty of hiding the payments by using his clinic to provide a salary through the kickbacks, and was paid a flat rate based on the number of individuals he referred. The man also admitted patients for partial hospitalization program (PHP) services even though he knew the patients didn’t qualify for PHP service.

He was convicted of one charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to receive healthcare kickbacks. He personally had to forfeit $9.9 million and a personal money judgement over $400,000.

The case was investigated by the FBI, HHS, and OIG with supervision from the Medicare Fraud Strike Force and the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

A 52-year-old Miami owner of multiple home health agencies was sentenced to 20 years in prison for $66 million in Medicare fraud that used his network of 20 home health agencies to host an elaborate kickback scheme.

The man and other co-conspirators were found guilty of recruiting individuals to represent his home health agencies in order to hide the man’s identity as they paid illegal bribes and kickbacks to patient recruiters to refer patients to these agencies.

The man also admitted that he submitted false and fraudulent home healthcare claims for Medicare beneficiaries that did not qualify for many services.

He had to forfeit $66.4 million in restitution and is convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud.

The case was investigated by the FBI and was brought forward by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force and the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

The Federal Anti-Kickback Statute makes it a felony to knowingly and willfully offer, pay, solicit, or receive remuneration, directly or indirectly, in order to induce business that is reimbursable under any federal health care program, such as Medicare or Medicaid. If accused of this crime, you could be facing both criminal and civil penalties.

Are you under investigation for Medicare fraud? You are not alone. About 1,400 individuals are indicted in federal court for health care fraud every year and more than 2,500 individuals are currently being investigated for Medicare fraud.

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A 52-year-old Miami businessman has been given a 20 year prison sentence for his apparent role in a Medicare fraud scheme.

His eight homes around Miami-Dade County, at least three cars, and a meat supermarket have been seized as a part of his $66 million in restitution.

He apparently owns 19 healthcare agencies as well. According to court documents, he tried to hide his ownership of the health agencies as part of yet another massive South Florida Medicare scam.

He apparently recruited others to falsely and fraudulently represent themselves to be the owners of the agencies in order to hide his identity and ownership interest, according to the court documents. These nominee owners completed and signed Medicare enrollment applications that fraudulently misrepresented the identities of the agencies’ ownership interest and managing control of the true owners and failed to disclose the man’s ownership interest and managing control of the agency, contrary to Medicare’s requirements.

From 2007 through 2015, the man and his nominees are accused of paying patient recruiters kickbacks to refer Medicare beneficiaries to the man’s owned facilities. The facilities billed Medicare for expensive healthcare services such as physical therapy and home health. Most of the referred beneficiaries didn’t quality for home health services or the services were imaginary.

Medicare is a federal program that provides health insurance to all American citizens over the age of 65. The government treats medicare fraud quite seriously and will prosecute anyone suspected of defrauding the program.

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A new pedestrian bridge scheduled to open near the campus of Florida International University collapsed today and officials have confirmed multiple fatalities.

At least two people were taken to ambulances while others were being treated by rescue crews, and at least two cars were seen pinned by massive slabs of concrete.

According to NBC 6, the bridge has completely collapsed.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue has treated a total of five patients so far, with one being transported as a trauma alert to Kendall Regional Hospital.

The 174 foot bridge, scheduled to open to the public in early 2019, crossed Southwest 8th Street near 109th Avenue and was built with the purpose of allowing students living across the busy roadway to cross safely.

Bridges are an essential part of life. They help us get to and from where we are travelling to by providing roadways and walkways to motorists and pedestrians. While the possibility of a bridge collapsing is rare, when that does happen, the aftermath can be a devastating reality.

Many accidents involving bridges occur during the construction or repair process. In many cases bridges in the process of being built or repaired cannot handle the stress of the procedures or the weight of the equipment and accidents happen. Workers, motorists, pedestrians and innocent bystanders can be injured or killed due to ignorance and blatant disregard for safety procedures.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a construction mishap, please let our South Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton help you through this difficult time. We can investigate the events leading up to the accident and determine who is at fault and hold them responsible for damages.

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