Columbia Fatal Car Accidents
Columbia is a city located near the Missouri River in Boone County in northern mid-Missouri. It has a progressive college town atmosphere, forested hilly terrain, and many bird-watching opportunities. The economy of Columbia has been based on education, insurance, and healthcare. Top employers include the University of Missouri, University of Missouri Health Care, the public school system, the Boone Hospital Center, and the city itself. When a loved one loses his or her life in a car accident near Columbia or another Boone County community, you may want to consult attorney Matt Uhrig to try to hold the negligent driver accountable. While it cannot heal your grief, compensation from the responsible party can reduce the financial burden resulting from your loss.Taking Legal Action After a Lethal Crash
Only one lawsuit can be brought in Missouri to recover damages after a particular accident. A wrongful death occurs under Missouri Revised Statutes section 537.080.1 when an individual dies because of an act, transaction, occurrence, or conditions under which, if the person had not died, he or she could have recovered damages. The first relatives entitled to bring an action are the spouse, children, grandchildren, or parents of the decedent. If there is nobody in that group who is entitled to file a claim, the decedent's siblings can bring the wrongful death lawsuit. When there are no surviving siblings, the court may appoint a plaintiff ad litem to take action.
The person who brings the wrongful death lawsuit will have to establish the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of the defendant. As in a personal injury lawsuit, the defendant can raise the decedent's own negligence as a partial or full defense that either reduces or eliminates liability. The survivors' recovery will be reduced in proportion to the decedent's fault, if any.
Simply establishing the negligent or otherwise wrongful conduct of the defendant is sometimes only the first step. The defendant must have insurance coverage or assets from which the survivors can recover any awarded judgment. An experienced personal injury attorney will look at all possible theories of recovery. For example, it may be worth investigating whether there was any construction in the area where the accident happened and finding out whether the defendant was on the job at the time of the collision. If the individual responsible was working for an employer when the accident happened, the company may be held liable on a theory of imputed liability, such as vicarious liability.Seek Guidance from a Columbia Attorney After a Motor Vehicle Collision
The death of a loved one can be traumatic and painful. In addition to the loss of companionship, you may have practical concerns about how you will make ends meet. Before talking to an insurer for the at-fault driver, Columbia residents should contact an experienced motor vehicle collision lawyer. The defendant's insurer and attorney may try to assign your loved one more responsibility than he or she had for an accident in order to reduce the share they have to pay you. Since your relative is not available to testify as to the events leading up to the accident, your attorney may need to conduct investigations and retain experts to determine what happened. Contact the Law Office of Matt Uhrig at (573) 657-2050 or via our online form.