A four-vehicle auto accident on Interstate 4 in Orlando has left one man dead and another critically injured. The accident occurred when the 31-year-old driver of the SUV failed to notice stopped traffic and slammed into a 2007 Jeep Cherokee; both vehicles went up in flames. The Jeep was pushed into a vehicle in front of it, which hit another vehicle. Florida state troopers said the passenger of the Cherokee was trapped and burned beyond recognition; the driver is listed in critical condition with burns. The driver of the SUV suffered minor injuries. It is unknown whether the driver of the SUV was distracted or tired, but speed does appear to be a factor. The accident is still under investigation.
In August 2010, NHTSA began looking into all 1993 – 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s after the Center for Auto Safety petitioned for a recall. It claimed the model is more likely to catch fire when struck from behind and that there have been hundreds of accidents and deaths when the vehicle is hit from behind due to the location of the fuel tank. The Chrysler Group concluded that the vehicles are neither defective nor do their fuel systems pose an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety in rear impact collisions. This investigation is currently ongoing.
Thousands of people are seriously injured or killed each year in auto accidents as a result of a negligent driver, auto manufacturer, or a combination. Some manufacturer defects cause accidents while others may worsen an accidental injury. In this auto accident, the victims may have suffered minor injuries as a result of the collision alone, but due to the fuel tank explosion one man is dead and another fighting for his life.
Recalls before injuries occur are important pro-safety measures. So why do automakers wait for something serious to happen before considering corrective action? Timely and appropriate recalls save lives and we encourage automakers to issue them promptly and responsibly. However, if automakers are still willing to risk lives to save money, that behavior should be exposed, and perpetrators made to pay, both civilly and criminally.
The family of the deceased may consider a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver of the SUV and Chrysler. If so, it is important to contact an experienced auto accident attorney who specializes in similar cases. In the meantime, the families of both victims may be suffering from financial distress associated with medical and funeral expenses; they may want to consider lawsuit funding.
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