Articles Posted in South Florida Injury Lawyer

What was once thought of as cool and fun modes of transportation to get around town are now something some wish would be outlawed entirely. 

Electric scooters, or e-scooters, which are rechargeable scooters that are rented using a cellphone app, have the spotlight now as many believe safety reforms are needed if these vehicles are to have continued use in the city. 

One man, 55, was riding an e-scooter to meet his mother at Starbucks when he was struck by a truck. Several broken bones and two surgeries later, the man believes safety measures like slower speeds, fewer scooters, and better public awareness and education should be implemented.

Many second his opinion and think they do not mix with cars or pedestrians. Fort Lauderdale’s e-scooter program is now being discussed by city leaders as to whether new rules should be imposed to make scooter riders and other pedestrians safer. A new law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday legalized the motorized scooters on Florida streets, where they’ll be treated like bicycles and allowed to zip along in bike lanes.

Fort Lauderdale, one of the first Florida cities to welcome them to sidewalks last fall, will now discuss whether to remove them from some busy sidewalks — like Las Olas Boulevard and State Road A1A — or ask scooter companies to lower speeds from 15 miles an hour to something slower, require helmets or impose age restrictions. Cities also can regulate where and how scooters are parked on public streets or sidewalks.

The new devices, unleashed on streets across the country in 2018, are wildly popular, helping thousands of people make short trips without getting into a car. Companies Lime, Bird, Bolt and Gotcha rolled out hundreds of scooters in Fort Lauderdale as part of a yearlong pilot program.

Dan Lindblade, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, is among their advocates, likening them to another disruptive new technology, the Uber ridesharing app. He urged commissioners not to over-regulate.

However, these vehicles have very real dangers that have filled emergency rooms.

A South Florida Sun Sentinel review of Fort Lauderdale fire-rescue records found 74 scooter riders were in accidents from December through April. Of those, 57 were taken to the hospital. Ten suffered severe injuries.

Most of the accidents happened Friday through Sunday, and most were downtown, on Las Olas Boulevard or at the beach. A little more than half involved people 18 to 35 years old. Only five people were younger than 18 or older than 55.

Though several people suffered fractured skulls and life-altering injuries, only one man died.

A 27-year-old man was killed when an e-scooter he was riding in Fort Lauderdale was struck from behind by a car. The Fort Lauderdale police report from the man’s accident says he was riding a Lime scooter north at 11:30 p.m. in the right traffic lane on Federal Highway, about five blocks north of Broward Boulevard. A 22-year-old Fort Lauderdale woman driving north in the same lane hit him. His head struck her windshield, fracturing his skull.

Another victim, a 28-year-old security guard at Broward Health Medical Center, has been in a vegetative state since Dec. 28, when she was struck while riding a scooter on the south end of downtown. Her skull was fractured.

A 14-year-old boy was critically injured on Federal Highway downtown, struck at 3:30 in the morning on Dec. 1 by a hit-and-run driver. He suffered a head injury and broken bones.

Consumer Reports reported this month that eight people have died nationwide using rented e-scooters since 2017. The count did not include the fatality in Fort Lauderdale.

Last November, Fort Lauderdale was the first city in Florida to pass a law allowing scooters on sidewalks. Until the new statewide law, they were forbidden from streets.

City leaders will discuss July 9 what to do next.

Mayor Dean Trantalis said the scooter companies should improve safety. Though state law doesn’t require helmets, for example, scooter companies could.

Trantalis said a city survey showed the scooters take cars off the road and ease congestion. They could help fill short gaps in transit, getting a bus or train rider to the courthouse, for example.

Hoping to recommend safety improvements, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently conducted its first study of e-scooter accidents, in Texas. The agency concluded that very few victims wore helmets. A significant number, nearly a third, were first-time riders. And a little more than half of the accidents occurred in the streets.

The CDC said safety enhancements should aim at the risks that can be prevented. 

Our South Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton know the potential for serious accidents is increased by unsafe use of electronic scooters, including:

  • Children riding electric scooters
  • People riding e-scooters without helmets 
  • People riding the scooters on sidewalks
  • Scooters left abandoned in the middle of sidewalks
  • Scooters blocking handicap access ramps
  • People tandem riding the scooters

Electric scooters can travel up to 15 miles per hour. If a rider is struck by a car, serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, paralysis, or death can result. An electric scooter accident can deliver serious injuries that affect you and your loved ones for the rest of your life. If someone else was at fault, they should be liable for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and all other damages. You need an aggressive personal injury lawyer on your side to demand fair compensation for your losses. At Whittel & Melton, our Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorneys specialize in helping victims injured due to someone else’s negligence. 

Due to the fact that electric scooters as a means of transportation has risen in popularity so recently, legal matters can be somewhat complex with no set precedence. But, regardless of the situation, negligence is negligence, and whoever is responsible for the unfortunate incident and injury should be held liable. 

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Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Key West draw in millions of visitors every year. Some come to shop, take in the bustling nightlife, relax on the beautiful beaches, dine at renowned restaurants, or even take in a Marlins or Dolphins game. South Florida can offer up a little piece of paradise to everyone that chooses to vacation here.

Common South Florida Tourist Injuries

Whether it’s business or pleasure that has taken you to South Florida, you can always face dangers. While no one expects to be injured on vacation, the reality is that it can happen. South Florida tourists may be involved in:

  • Car accidents
  • Hotel assaults
  • Boat accidents
  • Bus accidents
  • Taxi-cab crashes
  • Pedestrian injuries
  • Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents
  • Swimming or water-related injuries
  • Cruise ship accidents

Tourist Attractions in South Florida

Yes, it is true that accidents can really happen anywhere. Some of the most popular tourist attractions in South Florida include the Miami Seaquarium, snorkeling at the first undersea park in the US as they explore John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Jungle Island, Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design, Miami Children’s Museum, Museum of Discovery and Science, the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, NSU Art Museum, the Old Fort Lauderdale Village and Museum, the Pérez Art Museum, the Stonewall National Museum and Archives, the Stranahan House, the Bass, the Kampong, the Wolfsonian, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Everglades National Park, Bayside Marketplace, Little Havana and Calle Ocho, American Airlines Arena, Zoo Miami, Coral Castle, Key Biscayne and Crandon Park, and many more.

Whether you are a sports fan coming to take in a Miami Marlins baseball game or a Miami Dolphins football game, or are attending a concert, or attending a museum or beaches, suffering a serious injury can land you in the hospital in an unfamiliar place. If your injuries are severe, you will not be able to return home for work or school and you will need immediate legal help to make sure you recover full and fair financial compensation for your suffering.

Call Us If You Are Injured As A Tourist in South Florida

If you, a family member or friend is injured while on vacation, you may not know what to do. You are away from home and unfamiliar with the city and state you are in. In order to file a personal injury claim, you need to secure local legal representation, as your injury lawyer must be admitted in the state of Florida.

Our South Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are happy to serve Florida residents and tourists alike hold any negligent parties responsible for causing your injuries. If you were injured in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or any other city in Florida, we can help advise you of your legal rights and options to pursue your case. We offer completely free consultations, and will never collect any upfront fees. We work on a strict contingency basis, and only get paid when your case is resolved.

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A Royal Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas ended tragically for a man in 26-year-old man in February, and he has now filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Miami.

The man was in a bungee trampoline, 20 feet up in the air, when his harness got disconnected. He fell to the 13th deck of the Mariner of the Seas.

According to the lawsuit, the man “has become disabled, has plates and screws in his pelvic area, and has suffered severe orthopedic injuries which will require lifetime medical care and treatment.”

Royal Caribbean released a statement saying the company operates all ships “safely, professionally and responsibly.”

Cruise ships have so much entertainment and excursions to offer passengers, and these nearly constant activities can create a strong potential for serious injuries and even death to occur.

Some of the most common injuries on cruise ships are slip and fall or trip and fall accidents. Depending on the severity of the fall, a passenger may suffer serious and long-lasting injuries, including head and traumatic brain injury (TBI), neck and back injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and other serious harm.

If you or a loved one has suffered a fall injury on a cruise ship because of negligence by a cruise line or crew member, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical expenses and other losses connected to your injury. Our South Florida Cruise Ship Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you understand what steps to take next and ultimately get you the maximum recovery for your injuries.

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A woman who was on a first date fell off a motorcycle somehow and was run over several times on I-95 Friday, according to reports.

The 33-year-old was picked up by a man on a motorcycle Thursday night. They were headed to downtown Delray Beach for a night on the town.

The tragic incident, which happened just south of Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach, is being investigated as a traffic homicide, Florida Highway Patrol officials said.

Several drivers accidentally ran over the woman around 1:30 a.m. Friday. Some drivers stopped and stayed, and others kept driving, according to FHP.

Some witnesses said they had seen a man on a motorcycle standing near the woman’s body, and then take off.

A wrongful death suit may arise from an accidental death, like a motorcycle crash or an intentional violent act, such as assault and battery. Sometimes, a death may result in both criminal charges and a wrongful death lawsuit being filed. The lawsuits will be filed separately; a criminal prosecution is intended to punish a wrongdoer and is brought by police and government prosecutors, whereas a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action filed by surviving family members to obtain monetary compensation.

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A distracted driver hit a cycling group along a South Florida road, killing a 53-year-old woman and injuring six others.

The 33-year-old driver told investigators she was distracted by something in the passenger compartment. She also said the sun was shining directly in her face, contributing to the Sunday morning crash.

Police said there are no signs the woman was impaired or speeding. She was cooperative with investigators, allowing them to download potential crash data from the car as well as contents of her cell phone. She has not been charged, pending the investigation.

Our South Florida Auto Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton cannot say this enough: distracted driving is dangerous. In 2016 alone, the most recent year of statistics available, distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives. In 2015, 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

Distracted driving is classified as any activity that takes attention away from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system, etc. You cannot drive safely when something other than driving has your attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and only increases your risk of crashing, which could harm passengers, other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians sharing the road with you.

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The U.S. Coast Guard shut down the voyages of two party boats in Fort Lauderdale and Miami-Dade County this weekend over several safety issues, authorities said.

The Coast Guard ordered a 34-foot Sunset Stripp with 12 people aboard to return to shore Saturday because the boat did not have a valid certificate of inspection and lacked a drug-and-alcohol testing program for its crew.

The Coast Guard also stopped a 32-foot pleasure craft with 11 people aboard Saturday in Haulover Inlet in Miami-Dade County for similar infractions.

The charter boat operators could face tens of thousands of dollars worth of fines, the Coast Guard said.

Good advice before hitting the water is to carefully study Florida’s boating regulations and requirements and adhere to them fully. You can find boating regulations for Florida here. Just like automobile drivers can be ticketed or arrested for irresponsible behavior on the road, boat operators can be fined or imprisoned for negligent and reckless behavior. Even worse, carelessness can lead to serious injuries and death.

Charter boat/party boat accidents are frequently caused by negligent navigation, improper training of the crew, and unsafe equipment. Lacking safety equipment and little or no training in shipboard safety can result in preventable injuries and death.

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Our South Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge you to think twice before getting wrapped up in the #InMyFeelings Challenge aka the KeKe Challenge.

The “In My Feelings” challenge started earlier this month when well-known rapper Drake came out with a new song.

A dance was created and turned into a dangerous act where drivers jump out of moving cars to participate.

For one man, the challenge went wrong.

A Boynton Beach man was a struck by a car while filming a video for the so-called “In My Feelings” challenge.

The 22-year-old was supposed to hop on the hood of a friend’s car while recording a web video, but he slipped and was struck by the car.

Fortunately the man only suffered minor scrapes.

Our South Florida Auto Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want to warn you against participating in this dangerous and illegal activity. In fact, if you are caught, Florida drivers can accumulate about $1,000 worth of citations for their participation in the KeKe challenge:

  • No seatbelt – $114
  • Careless driving – $164
  • Impede the flow of traffic – $164
  • Reckless – $300-$500
  • Possible criminal charges if resulting in death or serious bodily harm

So if you want to participate, we urge you to keep both feet on the ground and refrain from jumping out of you car.

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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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