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Liberty Student Killed as Car Crashes into Bar

Q: Do criminal charges against a drunk driver impact a wrongful death lawsuit?

Missouri auto accidents that result fatalities are always tragic, but when the victim is a local teen, the loss is unfathomable and the community is shaken. Especially when alcohol is blamed.

A 19-year-old student at Northwest Missouri State University was killed in a freak accident when an alleged drunk driver plowed into the front of a Maryville bar at the very moment she was exiting the establishment. A Maryville ordinance allows those 19 and over into bars. The 21-year old driver reportedly had a blood alcohol level of 0.207—twice the legal limit—and has been charged with one felony count of involuntary manslaughter.

In Missouri, wrongful death is one where the victim dies as a result of the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions or inactions of another person or entity. A wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by the victim’s closest surviving relatives as determined on a case-by-case basis and dependent upon the survivor’s relationship to the victim. Generally, spouses, children, parents, and siblings may have standing to sue.  

Consulting a skilled wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after the accident is recommended to avoid inadvertently missing the deadline by which legal action must be taken or deemed waived. A wrongful death lawsuit can be brought regardless of the outcome of any criminal charges and even if no criminal charges were filed regarding the incident.

Compensatory damages in a wrongful death suit may include the final medical costs and funeral expenses of the victim, the deceased’s pain and suffering during the time between the injury and the death, loss of future income and benefits, loss of companionship, support, and guidance.

For victims who were injured but survived, a personal injury lawsuit can help them recover such damages as current and future medical expenses, current and future lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. Because an insurance company is in business to settle cases for as little money as possible, you should always consult a personal injury attorney before accepting any settlement offer—chances are your case is worth more than the first offer.

If you or a loved one has been injured or loved one has been killed in an accident caused by someone else, the Noland Law Firm can help you maximize the financial compensation to which you may be entitled. While we can’t undo the accident, we can help prevent additional emotional and financial burdens so you can focus on healing. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our office in Liberty, we represent accident victims and their families throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area and western Missouri, including Clay County, Liberty, Blue Springs, Independence, and Gladstone.

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