Hit and Run Accidents Causing Wrongful Deaths
Last year, 21 year old Arron Smith from Hillsdale was driving a Pontiac Grand Prix at over 55 mph with a blood alcohol count of 0.169 when he crashed into a 55 year old man, Durand Stewart, from St. Louis, Missouri.
Mr. Stewart was walking across Natural Bridge Avenue, when Smith drove the vehicle into his path. The impact caused Mr. Stewart’s body to be flung almost the full distance of a football field and, not surprisingly, he was killed. The speed limit, according to St Louis police, was 35 mph in that particular area – 20 mph under the speed that the Pontiac was traveling.
Hit and Run Driver was Caught Escaping on Camera
Video surveillance discovered that the driver failed to stop at the site of the accident, but drove his car a mile or so down the road where he got out and started walking away. By the time he was apprehended his blood alcohol level was still very high. He was charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter and departing from the accident scene without reporting the incident. Both of these are serious punishable offenses in the eyes of Missouri state law.
This incident is one of many fatalities that occur on our state roads every year and leave families in a state of turbulence after they lose a family member in a wrongful death situation which they did not ask for.
If you have lost a member of your family in a fatality that is classified as a wrongful death, then you should consult an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Missouri who can assess your wrongful death claim. The wrongful death process will provide closure for you and your family if you are able to make the person accountable for the fatality and the economic and emotional suffering the event has caused to you. This process also helps protect the community by sending a message to other drivers across the state.
What is a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death refers to a commonly used legal term in use throughout our country which describes the situation when a fatality has taken place as a result of negligence, recklessness or carelessness of another person. In Missouri, there are different rules applicable for a case of a fatal injury in a wrongful death situation compared to a Missouri personal injury case which did not result in a death. However, how the wrongful death took place does not matter. It could have taken place in a St. Louis car accident, SUV rollover accident, a Missouri truck accident, through medical malpractice, or abuse in a nursing home.
Damages Claim for a Wrongful Death
There are only specific family members who are permitted to pursue a Missouri wrongful death claim, so it is necessary to consult a wrongful death lawyer with sufficient experience handling these cases. There is also the question of the kinds of compensation that are available. These are normally distinguishable by damages related to economic and non economic circumstances. Economic considerations are quite easy to calculate as they are based on the economic losses suffered by the family as a result of their loss. These are normally income losses from the deceased irreplaceable wages, funeral costs and medical expenses if the person undertook any medical treatment prior to death.
There is no limit to the level of economic damages that can be claimed. For example, if the person who was unfortunate to have been killed was in the prime of their life and was an important breadwinner for a young family, then the income loss may be spread over a large number of years. This amount could be quite considerable and help replace the income of the deceased individual.
Non- economic damages are harder to calculate as this covers the emotional element of the loss. Loss of consortium and loss of companionship are the legal terms used as part of non-economic damages. An experienced wrongful death attorney knows how to calculate these costs when someone has lost their life unexpectedly.
They also know how to handle the aggressive and sometimes harsh tactics that insurers of the at fault individual try to pull. These insurers often make a token monetary offer which never fully covers the economic and emotional hardship that the remaining family members enure. In addition, failing to hold the at fault party fully responsible for their actions, places members of the community at risk.
Fatal accident situations need the support of an experienced lawyer who will search and fight to ensure that a lost loved one receives the final recognition that he or she deserves. There is never a final ending for a loss of this type, but a certain amount of reconciliation can be sought to ease the life changing burden.
If you have lost a member of your family in a wrongful death situation in St Louis or throughout the state of Missouri, then you should not delay contacting an experienced St. Louis wrongful dearth lawyer. There is a time limit on filing a claim, and if not careful, it can rapidly drift past. If a claim is not lodged in the appropriate time frame, you will forever forgo your right to bring the suit.