Missouri Car Crashes
Missouri Car Accident Liability Law Is Designed to Help Injured Victims
Some 756 people died in car crashes in Missouri in 2013, according to the Missouri State Patrol. These stark figures are just part of the picture, since many thousands more are injured each year. Those who are injured face many obstacles including lost work time, lengthy hospital stays, and costly rehabilitation. Some face permanent disability and long term loss of income. While some car accidents may be the result of driver negligence, overriding factors may include defective automotive design or improper road maintenance. Legal issues are complicated, but the system is geared to compensate the victim where significant fault can be found with the driver and/or other related parties.
Missouri law recognizes that negligence is not the only factor in determining liability. Pure comparative negligence is a legal principle that balances the rights of everyone involved in the accident. Awards may be reduced by a percentage that is determined for individual negligence, but the victim will still receive the award. The court may find that the victim is 25 percent responsible for an accident, and damages will be reduced by that amount. Still, the victim can receive a substantial award, ensuring that compensation finds it way to the injured party. In other words, even if the victim is cited for failure to yield, failure to stop, or use of a cell phone, the victim can still receive substantial damages if the other party is shown to be at fault in the crash situation.
Defective Auto Parts
Increasingly, manufacturers have been held liable for shoddy engineering, whether or not the car was still under warranty. An accident may be caused by a defect in the safety equipment such as brakes or traction control systems. The accident or injuries may result from failure of a specific item such as an ineffective windshield or a defective tire. Ineffective roof strength and other structural defects may be the cause of injuries. When defects are implicated, the injured party can sue the parts manufacturer, the automobile manufacturer and/or any company responsible for maintenance or repairs.
In 2012, a statistical analysis by the Missouri Highway Patrol showed that more than 3,500 people were injured in alcohol related accidents. A DUI citation can be issued to any driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. If under 21, drivers cannot exceed .02 BAC. Commercial drivers can be cited for .04 or higher. If illegal drug use is detected in the blood, it is cause for a DUI citation. A first offense risks six months in jail, a 30-day license suspension, and $500 in fines. In addition, the driver must attend a substance abuse traffic offender program. A second offense risks a $1,000 fine, one year of jail, and a five-year license revocation. A third offense risks a $5,000 fine, five years of jail time, and the loss of a driver's license for ten years. In the case of an accident, any driver convicted of DUI could face jail time. An injured victim could sue not only the driver but also the individual or business that served the alcohol.
If you or a family member is suffering as the result of an accident, don't wait to seek help. Compensation is possible with the right legal representation.