When can a deadly crash inspire a successful wrongful death lawsuit?

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Car Accidents

Any trip in a motor vehicle could theoretically lead to a crash. People get into wrecks when they take short trips to the grocery store or on their way home from work in the afternoon. No matter how well someone knows a particular stretch of road and the vehicle that they operate, they have no way of knowing how other drivers may behave in traffic.

Sometimes, collisions go beyond causing property damage. They can cause severe injury or even death for the occupants of the vehicles. Those left behind after a deadly crash often have a hard time processing the sudden loss of their family members. They may want justice.

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is a way to hold someone financially accountable for causing a crash and could theoretically lead to the courts declaring one party responsible for a collision. When is it possible to take legal action after a deadly Missouri car crash?

When the deceased person could have filed a lawsuit

The wrongful death statute in Missouri allows for litigation in cases where the other party did something illegal or clearly negligent prior to the crash. Provided that the person who died in the collision could have filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver at fault for the crash if they survived, their surviving family members may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Personal injury lawsuits often depend on claims of either negligence or wrongful conduct. Negligence involves doing something that the average person recognizes is unsafe. Intentionally engaging in dangerous conduct, like racing on public roads, could be negligence. Failing to take reasonable actions, like slowing down during times of inclement weather, can also be a form of negligence. Wrongful acts or misconduct relate to violations of the law. Speeding, drunk driving and other violations of traffic statutes could warrant claims of misconduct and a wrongful death lawsuit.

When there are verifiable losses

The second necessary element for a wrongful death lawsuit is verifiable economic harm related to the incident. Medical bills, funeral costs and lost wages are among the expenses that could contribute to a Missouri wrongful death lawsuit. Families may also be able to seek certain non-economic losses when pursuing a claim against an individual or a business with liability for a recent collision.

While wrongful death lawsuits do not undo the harm caused by a traffic collision, they can compensate those affected by someone’s premature death and create consequences for those who misbehave or act in a negligent manner on public roads. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can potentially give families a specific kind of closure after an unexpected tragedy in traffic.


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