Jefferson City Fatal Car Accidents
Well over 40,000 people live in the 15th-largest city in Missouri, Jefferson City. Named after the third president of the United States, it is primarily located in Cole County, but a part of it extends into Callaway County. It was originally named Lohman's Landing and is situated on the western side of the Missouri Rhineland, an area known for its wine production. As in other areas, negligent drivers there can cause serious harm. If you have lost a loved one in a tragic car crash near Jefferson City, you may want to consult a skilled attorney to protect your rights. Matt Uhrig can counsel you on how to bring a wrongful death claim.Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Missouri
A wrongful death is the untimely loss of a person because of an act or event that would have entitled the victim to recover damages if he or she had survived. Usually, in the context of car accidents, you would have to prove that the defendant drove negligently or recklessly, and that this conduct caused the death of your loved one.
The survivors of the decedent can bring a lawsuit to seek not only the damages that he or she would have been able to recover but also compensation for their own losses. Only one wrongful death claim may be brought after each fatal accident, and Missouri law provides for an order of priority as to who may bring it.
The first people permitted to bring a wrongful death lawsuit are a surviving spouse, children, or grandchild. Parents are also sometimes permitted to take legal action. If the decedent was a child, the parents can bring a lawsuit. When there is no surviving spouse, no children, no grandchildren, and no parents, a surviving sibling can bring the wrongful death lawsuit. Next in order of priority are the personal representative of the decedent's estate or a court-appointed plaintiff ad litem.
When you bring a wrongful death lawsuit, you may be able to recover economic and noneconomic damages. Noneconomic losses, such as loss of consortium, are capped at $350,000. These include medical bills, funeral and burial costs, lost wages that the decedent would have probably earned if he or she had lived, the reasonable value of services and consortium that the decedent gave to family members, and pain and suffering. If the decedent was not working full-time but took care of another family member at least 50% of the time, the value of care is presumed to be 110% of the state’s average weekly wage at the time of the death. When the decedent is a child, the court will look at the child's parents' earnings to determine lost wages.Consult a Jefferson City Attorney After an Auto Accident
After a fatal collision in the Jefferson City area, it may be helpful to consult an auto accident lawyer as you explore your options. An attorney can enlist a reconstruction specialist to look at skid marks, debris, property damage, and witness testimony. Unlike personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within three years of the date of your loved one's death. Therefore, it is important to consult a lawyer as soon as you realize you may need to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact the Law Office of Matt Uhrig at (573) 657-2050 or via our online form.