Fatal Car Accident Lawyers in St. Louis
Providing Knowledgeable Representation & Compassionate Support
Losing someone is never easy, but if you have lost someone in a fatal car accident, it can be especially difficult. Along with the loss of someone close to you, your family could be struggling with medical expenses from before the victim’s death, pain and suffering from the accident, loss of income, and loss of affection from losing your family member or spouse. At The Dixon Injury Firm, we are passionate about fighting for the rights of fatal car accident victims and their families and getting justice from negligent drivers. Our St. Louis fatal car accident attorneys have clients’ best interests at heart and will do everything they can to offer support during this difficult time.
Christopher R. Dixon, managing attorney at The Dixon Injury Firm, is recognized as a Top 100 Trial lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association and a Life-Time Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. He understands the pain and suffering that families endure when a loved one is lost because of the unsafe and negligent actions of another driver and can assist you and your family with acquiring the legal compensation and recovery that will allow you to focus on what matters most in this difficult time, your family and healing. If a terrible accident has caused your family to lose a loved one, you need to contact an attorney who is familiar with Missouri and St. Louis laws and statutes regarding fatal car crashes, vehicular accidents, and what rights the survivors of the family member have in these events.
To begin your family’s healing and recovery, trust in The Dixon Injury Firm. Contact us today to schedule your free case review.
Missouri Fatal Car Accident Statistics
Over 900 people were killed in car accidents in Missouri in 2018, an increase from the 766 car crash fatalities that occurred a little more than five years ago in 2014. Motor vehicle accidents are primarily caused by negligence, rather than unavoidable circumstances. The leading causes of fatal car accidents in Missouri are speeding (over 1,500 people were killed in speeding accidents between 2010-2014), distracted driving (texting and driving and driving while fatigued are the most common causes of distracted driving accidents), and driving under the influence (between 2003-2012 approximately 3,315 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in Missouri).
Missouri Has Tried to Make the Road Safer
The state legislature has enacted a series of laws to try and protect people on the road. Missouri Statutes Section 307.178 requires the driver and all front-seat passengers in a vehicle to wear a seatbelt, and of course the government hopes everyone in the car will wear a seat belt. Missouri does not treat it as a serious infraction, though. The maximum fine for not wearing a seat belt is $10, though Missouri Statutes Section 307.179 has a slightly stricter fine of $50 for failing to ensure children in the car are properly belted in.
The law also says that not wearing a seat belt will not overly limit the potential for compensation to the family of someone killed in a fatal car crash. In Missouri, courts follow a rule called “pure comparative fault,” which means that the courts can find more than one person at fault in an accident and adjust compensation accordingly. Consider, for example, a situation where a car crosses over the centerline and crashes into a speeding truck. The courts might find that the speeding truck was only 20% at fault for the accident, and therefore the truck driver will only be liable for 20% of the damages he or she caused. In other words, the damages awarded to the family of the car driver will be reduced by 80% to reflect the car driver’s own fault. Missouri Statutes Section 307.178(4) says that seat belts can reduce recovery for injuries in the same way, but only by 1%.
Missouri also has drunk-driving laws, just like any other state. Missouri Statutes Section 577.012 makes it a crime to drive with a blood-alcohol level above .08%. Violating the posted speed limit is a crime as well, under Missouri Statutes Sections 304.010-12, as is failing to operate “at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property of another or life or the limb of any person” regardless of whatever the posted speed limit says. Keep in mind that violating any of these rules is not necessarily a bar to recovering damages under the “comparative fault” system.
For more information on how we can recover the compensation you need for your loved one’s wrongful death, call us at (314) 208-2808 today for a free case review or consultation.
Fatal Car Accident Lawsuits in Missouri
Under Missouri’s Wrongful Death Statute, if another driver’s negligence is responsible for the death of another person, the careless driver is at-fault for the victim’s damages. Typically, the close relatives of the deceased, such as a spouse, the victim’s parents, or children, can bring a wrongful death claim to recover damages on the victim’s behalf, and to obtain reimbursement for funeral and burial expenses, as well as loss of consortium, if applicable.
If you are thinking about pursuing a fatal car crash claim in St. Louis, it’s essential to keep in mind that it must be filed within two years of the accident. Wrongful death claims should include proof of the other party’s negligence (police reports, witness reports, a copy of the victim’s autopsy), proof of death (death certificate, autopsy), and evidence of the damages that both the deceased and their surviving family members experienced related to the accident.
Most fatal car accident claims in St. Louis can receive compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damages, lost wages, and loss of consortium. On average, the surviving family members of car accident victims can receive compensation for present and future expenses related to the victim’s death.
Why Do Fatal Car Accidents Happen?
Fatal car wrecks are most common in vehicle wrecks involving drunk driving and distracted driving, but can also be caused by several other factors, including road conditions, overcorrecting, and improperly turning.
There are several conditions which could contribute to fatal car accidents, including:
- Failure to keep in the proper lane
- Failure to yield right of way
- Reckless or careless driving
- Not adjusting to road surfaces
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Not adjusting to road obstruction
- Operating without required equipment
- Improper turning
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
Every point on this list is an avoidable action. No one should drive drunk, no one should drive while distracted, or make improper turns, or drive in the wrong lane, but people still do. When these actions are taken, and a fatal car crash is the terrible result, the negligent party is responsible and should be held to the fullest level of legality possible. With the help of the St. Louis fatal car crash attorneys at The Dixon Injury Firm, your family will have the assistance it requires to be able to recover from this tragedy.
How Can an Experienced St. Louis Fatal Car Accident Attorney Help My Case?
Knowing precisely what to do when a family member or loved one has passed after a fatal accident isn’t something anyone is ever taught, nor is it something anyone should ever have to learn. Immediately following the accident, you and your family should be focusing on recovering and remembering your loved one, not worrying about whether you are taking the difficult and correct legal steps to protect your family or whether the insurance company is trying to blame the accident on your loved one. The legal statutes and knowledge required to successfully win these cases is extensive, and having an attorney who is not prepared to fight for your family can be counterproductive and can even cause the loss of the case. This is why choosing an experienced fatal car crash lawyer is so important and should be made before speaking with the insurance company or settling for any amount they may try to get you and your family to accept.
Speaking with an attorney first can ensure that:
You and your family are adequately provided for
Funeral costs are covered in any settlement
Those responsible are held responsible for their negligent actions
The insurance companies won’t be able to cheat your family out of their deserved compensation
The memory of your lost loved one is preserved and respected throughout the entire process
Protecting the memory of your loved one is important, and so is the welfare of your family during this trying time. A fatal accident lawyer can ensure that any funeral costs, medical expenses, and any other expenses that arise because of this event are adequately taken care of. You and your family should be focusing on recovering and healing, not battling the other party’s lawyers and insurance companies.
Turn to The Dixon Injury Firm Today
If you lost someone in a fatal car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you could be eligible to recover compensation on their behalf with a wrongful death claim. Bringing a claim against the person responsible for your family member’s death can obtain not just the compensation needed, but the justice required to help your family heal.
Christopher Dixon has recovered over $35,000,000 in settlements for clients, including for fatal car accident claims in Missouri. Our experience can give you confidence knowing that our fatal car accident lawyers in St. Louis are doing everything they can to recover the highest settlement for your case.