“I’m gonna be crying my whole life for her.”

Those were the words of a mother, speaking with reporters about the death of her smart, vibrant, beautiful 17-year-old daughter. The teen was killed in a violent crash on I-75 in Coral Gables in June.

angerDefendants in the case include a trucking company, two truck drivers and the construction company that was managing the express lane project. It’s possible an amended complaint could be filed to include the Florida Department of Transportation.

The teen was one of two people killed in that crash early in the summer. The other was a 29-year-old, third-year medical student who was just about to begin his clinical rotation in New York. A third man, a 25-year-old physician and roommate of the medical student, was seriously injured, as was another teenager in the 17-year-old’s car.

An attorney for the girl’s parents called the scene where the crash occurred “a death trap.”

According to reports from the Florida Highway Patrol, the crash occurred shortly after 11:35 p.m., when a flatbed trailer hauling concrete barriers exited an active construction area on the median and entered the highway. But it appears he did not check to make sure traffic was clear before doing so, because as he did, his vehicle was struck by the one driven by the medical student.

The force of that impact sent the medical student’s passenger vehicle and the commercial truck about a quarter mile down the highway. The roof of the passenger vehicle was sheered completely off.

Soon after, the 17-year-old girl approached in her vehicle and struck the rear of the flatbed truck. This resulted in some of the concrete barriers falling onto her car. Then just seconds later, another tractor trailer driver struck a barrier wall that was located in the roadway. That vehicle then struck the tractor trailer, the third time it had been impacted.

At the scene, both the 17-year-old girl and the medical student were pronounced dead at the scene. The girl was slated to go to college this fall on a scholarship.

In addition to the physician being injured, both truck drivers suffered injury as well.

The teen’s mother in a press conference called the first truck driver “careless,” and asserted he should receive the lion’s share of the blame for what happened. Her father impressed upon reporters the fact that they don’t want another family to endure the heartache they have.

They expressed disbelief that the lanes on either side of the construction site were not blocked, despite the late hour and the fact that large construction vehicles were routinely entering and leaving the site at all hours. Not only that, but the barricades the truck was carrying were not secure, the family alleges. The FHP is still investigating this claim.

Her family is seeking a minimum of $15 million. They say for them, it is not about the money, but rather sending a strong message to trucking and construction companies to act with caution.

Our truck accident lawyers know that substantial civil awards in cases like this make it so that these large corporations don’t merely consider civil damages a “cost of doing business.” We want them to be motivated to do things differently next time so that these kinds of horrific crashes don’t extinguish other bright futures.

If you have been a victim of a traffic accident, call Chalik & Chalik at (954) 476-1000 or 1 (800) 873-9040.

Additional Resources:

Lawsuit expected in teen’s death after I-75 wreck, Aug. 5, 2015, Staff Report,  WSVN.com

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Wilde v. Okechobee Aerie – Florida Jury Awards $11M in Fatal DUI Accident, Aug. 25, 2015, Fort Myers Accident Attorney Blog