wrongful-death

Fatal Accident Claim Lawyer in St. Louis

Legal help when a loved one is killed in a car or truck crash

Vehicle accidents occur with devastating consistency here in Missouri. People lose their lives in preventable crashes every day on our roads and highways, with families and loved ones left behind grieving and wondering what to do next. When you are dealing with this type of loss, it is important to turn to an experienced attorney to determine your options – because you and your family do have options during this terrible time.

The team at The Hayden Law Firm understands that you want answers, and you want the responsible party (or parties) held accountable for your loved one’s death. We can help. With over 15 years serving the people of Missouri, we have a long record of success with car and truck accident claims, including those with fatal injuries. Let us help you achieve justice for your loved one. Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation. We serve the greater St. Louis area and Illinois.

How common are fatal crashes and accidents in Missouri?

Any number higher than zero is too high when it comes to fatal car and truck accidents. However, none of us can stop a negligent, drunk, or reckless driver. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) collects and analyzes data on traffic crashes across the United States, and reports the following numbers regarding fatal accidents in 2019, the most current data available:

  • The country saw over 33,200 fatal motor vehicle crashes, resulting in over 36,000 deaths
  • Missouri had 818 fatal accidents, resulting in 880 deaths
  • Illinois had 938 fatal crashes, resulting in 1,009 deaths
  • Car occupants were the highest population of drivers involved in fatal crashes (followed by pickup/SUVs, large trucks, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists)
  • 53% of fatal accidents nationwide were single-vehicle crashes

The IIHS also noted that, in Missouri, over half – 59 percent – of fatally injured vehicle occupants were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. In Illinois, this number was 39 percent. This underscores the importance of belting in whenever in a vehicle, whether a driver or passenger.

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What are the major causes of fatal car accidents?

Any serious car wreck can cause fatal injuries, but some types of accidents tend to be more catastrophic than others. Some of the leading causes of fatal car crashes include:

Distracted driving

Just like texting and driving, distracted driving takes a driver’s attention off the road. Using a smartphone, eating and drinking, talking with passengers, trying to grab something just out of reach – all of these things can cause a driver to take their eyes or mind off the road, which can cause a tragic crash in an instant. Remember, driving requires a person’s full attention at all times.

Driving under the influence

Drunk driving crashes account for nearly 30 percent of traffic-related fatalities. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol impairs a driver’s judgement, perception, and reaction time. This not only puts the driver’s life at risk, but also their passengers and anyone else unlucky enough to be on the road or in the immediate area at the same time.

Failure to obey traffic laws

Ignoring traffic signals, like blowing through red lights or stop signs, can cause catastrophic accidents with fatal results. Often, motorists running red lights are also speeding, which can make the effects of a collision even worse. When drivers fail to obey traffic signs like yielding or slowing down, other vehicles may not even see them coming.

Improper lane changes

Changing lanes without warning or without properly checking a blind spot can cause a fatal accident. This often happens to motorcyclists, whose smaller bikes are harder to see when a motorist fails to look before switching lanes. Other reasons drivers may veer into another lane may be due to driving while fatigued or impaired, or by failing to yield the right of way.

Speeding

All drivers should follow state and federal traffic laws, including speed limits. Drivers should also adjust their speed to allow for weather or road conditions. Reckless drivers run the risk of causing or being involved in fatal accidents, as the NHTSA reports speeding was a factor in 26 percent of traffic fatalities in one year.

Reckless driving

Tailgating, speeding, road rage, or otherwise driving in a reckless manner is also a common cause of fatal car crashes. The Insurance Information Institute reports that reckless and aggressive driving is “a major factor in U.S. traffic crashes, playing a role not just in road rage but in a large number of fatal highway collisions each year.” Reckless driving can also include weaving in and out of traffic, unsafe lane changes and passing, and other types of aggressive behavior behind the wheel.

What is a St. Louis wrongful death claim?

A wrongful death claim is typically the type of legal action you would take in the event another person’s negligent or intentional actions took the life of your loved one. A wrongful death claim is brought against the responsible party as a civil action rather than a criminal one. As a family member of the person who lost their life in a fatal crash, a wrongful death action allows you to seek compensation on behalf of your loved one.

In Missouri, eligible parties for a wrongful death claim include the deceased’s spouse, parents, children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces or nephews, or a plaintiff ad litem assigned by the court.

This compensation not only holds the negligent party accountable, but also helps to fill in the financial gaps left by your loved one’s death. Remember, a wrongful death claim has to be filed within three years of the date of the death in Missouri, so get in touch with an attorney from The Hayden Law Firm as soon as possible.

How can a St. Louis fatal accident lawyer help me?

We understand that nothing can bring back your loved one or erase the grief your family is experiencing. However, we can work to ease the financial stress brought on by the tragedy. You should not be dealing with medical bills and other financial issues during this time, and we will take this burden for you, demanding compensation from the responsible party for damages like:

  • Medical bills, from ambulance to hospitalization to emergency surgeries, etc.
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of finances, if you relied on your loved one’s wages, health insurance and other financial resources
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Loss of companionship and care
  • Pain and suffering from the loss of your loved one

In  cases of extreme negligence and recklessness, we may also request punitive damages, which are available when a defendant’s actions are particularly egregious. Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party and deter them from future reckless behavior.

At The Hayden Law Firm, we advocate for you and your family, working to secure the best possible outcome for your case. Our record of success speaks for itself.

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St. Louis fatal crash attorney

If you have lost someone you love in a car or truck crash, talk to an experienced and compassionate lawyer at The Hayden Law Firm. We pride ourselves on our client-centered service and we want to help you seek compensation for your losses. Allow yourself and your family time to heal while we take on the hard work. Please call our offices at 314-480-3100 or fill out our contact form for a free, no-risk consultation. We are based in St. Louis, Missouri, but our firm proudly serves clients throughout Missouri and Illinois.