I was curious to read a recent Orlando Sentinel story about a horrifying Interstate 4 crash in Polk County that tragically took the life of a 6-year old boy. Apparently, a 2001 Ford pickup being driven by Kenneth Lott, of Lakeland, suffered a front tire blowout on I-4, causing Mr. Lott to lose control of the truck, cross the median, and crash into the driver’s side of a family minivan. Tragically, the van driver’s stepson, Ethan Roeder, apparently took the brunt of the impact, and was killed. According to the Sentinel, Ethan was about to turn seven years old.
As a parent of four children myself, my sympathies certainly go out to Ethan’s family. As a Florida personal injury lawyer who has worked on accident cases over the years with many grieving families, I know that there is no family tragedy worse than the loss of a child.
After reading the story in the Sentinel I was struck by two thoughts. First, the main thrust of the Sentinel story was that no charges would be filed against Mr. Lott. While that fact might be important for criminal law purposes, auto accident victims and their families need to remember that charges to not have to be filed in order to have a viable personal injury or Florida wrongful death claim against a negligent driver. That same is true regarding the issuance of a traffic citation – a traffic citation does not have to be issued against a negligent driver in order for there to be a viable and legitimate personal injury claim.
The other consideration that came to mind after reading this story was that I thought the Florida Department of Transportation had installed barriers in the medians of Florida’s interstate highways, so that vehicles can no longer readily cross the median and cause this kind of crash. I would be curious to know why the median barriers did not work in this instance.
If you have any questions regarding a significant Florida car accident or wrongful death claim, call Orlando area accident attorney Kim Cullen at 407-644-4444.