Rolla Personal Injury Law Blog

What is the legal basis for a wrongful death claim?

Sometimes an accidental death -- as tragic and difficult as it is to endure -- is nothing more than an accident and no one is at fault. Other times, someone acted in a wrongful, negligent or unlawful manner that caused the death. In these situations, surviving close family members can pursue a wrongful death claim in civil court against the at-fault party to seek compensation for their loss.

In order to prevail in a wrongful death action, the following for factors must be present:

  • Someone died: The death might happen as a result of faulty medical care, a car accident, a sporting accident, a slip and fall or any number of ways.
  • Someone was at-fault: The death was caused by another person or party that acted in a reckless, negligent or unlawful fashion. This might have been a criminal who attacked the deceased person during a robbery, a negligent person who caused a pedestrian or car crash or a reckless physician who committed medical malpractice.
  • Close family members survived and suffered losses: The death of the individual was survived by close family members who can show that they have suffered losses as a result.
  • A personal representative has been selected: A personal representative has been identified to manage the affairs of the decedent's estate.

What's the most common soft tissue injury in a car accident?

Soft tissue injuries involve problems relating to the soft areas of the body like muscles, tendons and ligaments. These injuries often include the sprained joints, bruised areas of the body and strained muscles and joints. The most famous and common soft tissue injury that results from car crashes is whiplash.

In medical terminology, doctors refer to whiplash as a cervical strain, a cervical sprain or a cervical hyperextension. Whiplash is common in car accident cases because when a vehicle comes to a sudden and violent stop, it may cause the head and neck to whip around. This can result in tearing, bruising and straining of the soft tissues in and around the neck area.

Car accident injuries: Healing a broken fibula

The fibula is the smaller of your two lower leg bones, and it is positioned parallel to your shin bone, the tibia. The fibula carries approximately 17 percent of your body's weigh and helps to stabilize your ankle and leg muscles.

A fibula fracture resulting from a car accident is not uncommon. Whether you were a pedestrian or bicyclist who was struck by a vehicle, or a driver or passenger inside a crashing vehicle, an injury like this is relatively minor compared to the more serious injuries that can occur. Nevertheless, every fibula fracture is different in its level of severity and some may require surgical intervention.

Distracted driving is a leading cause of teen fatalities

Missouri does not look kindly on those who are distracted behind the wheel. Did you know it is so dangerous that the state actually has the MO Eyes on the Road campaign and harshly penalizes those who violate the distracted driving laws?

There are so many benefits to being a safe driver that many people don't understand why drivers would choose to flout this common sense that imperils lives. There are several devices you can purchase, for example, to monitor your speed, braking and driving habits. Parents can buy these tools to monitor their teenager's driving habits, which could help identify dangerous habits before they lead to a crash.

Car accident injuries: How to heal broken ribs

Car accidents can cause a driver or passenger to break virtually any bone in the body. One common bone that crash victims break is the rib. If you've broken a rib in a collision, you're probably in a lot of pain and -- at the same time -- curious how doctors treat this injury.

Advice for healing a broken rib

3 types of medical malpractice

Regardless of the circumstances, medical malpractice, medical negligence and medical mistakes can lead to life-altering and life-ending consequences. Here are several examples of common medical errors patients and their family members need to watch out for:

Surgical errors

2 common car accident scenarios

Any driver who forgets how dangerous it is to operate a motor vehicle is making a very big mistake. At our law office, we are reminded on a daily basis what happens when drivers are negligent, distracted and fail to follow the rules of the road. The average driver, on the other hand, rarely encounters the injurious and deadly effects of a catastrophic car accident, and this can create complacency and a lack of attention to safe driving habits.

For this reason, we'd like to familiarize our readers with two common car accident scenarios. Hopefully, an awareness of these scenarios will help our readers stay cautious and defensive while navigating Rolla traffic:

Wrongful death claims: Requirements and circumstances

Fatal accidents happen every day in Missouri and elsewhere around the country. When these accidents happen as a result of another person's or party's negligence, unlawful behavior or recklessness, close family members of the deceased may be able to pursue viable claims for wrongful death damages against the responsible parties.

Not only will loved ones who survive the death of a mother, father, sibling or child suffering with mourning and loss, but they could be experience serious financial difficulties after losing the support of a wage-earner. In the case of a successful wrongful death action, Missouri courts might require the responsible party to financially compensate close family members for the death of their loved one.

Statistics about teen texting while driving in Missouri

Imagine you're riding in the car with your teenage daughter, and she is texting-while-driving. Every other minute it's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or a text message. Would you call your daughter out and ask her to put the phone away, or would you grin and bear it even though the behavior could potentially cause a fatal accident?

If you're like most reasonable parents, you'd probably take your daughter's phone away if you saw her texting while driving. At the very least, you would demand that she stop using her smartphone while driving. Not only is it unlawful for teenagers to text and drive behind the wheel in Missouri, but if a teen causes an injurious or fatal accident, the behavior could result in serious criminal and financial consequences for your teen.

Can I file a claim for damages if my spouse was injured?

It's never easy to see a loved one suffering from serious injuries after a car accident. If your spouse was injured -- in addition to sharing in the pain that he or she is feeling from the injuries -- you'll also be picking up the slack around house and home. If you have children, for example, you'll be doing double-duty to keep track of all your children's needs and these extra responsibilities can really take their toll on you physically, emotionally and financially. It's because of this burden, that spouses of injured accident victims may be able to pursue claims for compensation related to loss of consortium.

Loss of consortium is a special category of damages that seeks to remunerate the spouses of injured accident victims for the damages and hardship they've endured as a result of their spouse's injuries. These claims are usually filed as a part of the injured spouse's personal injury action. The noninjured spouse will simply be included as an additional plaintiff and language will be added to address the emotional and financial damages he or she has endured.

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Steelman, Gaunt & Horsefield, Attorneys at Law
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Rolla, MO 65401

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