Our team is deeply saddened to hear of yet another instance in which drunk driving claims the life of another. According to this article a 31-year old man operating a Dodge pick-up truck swerved into oncoming traffic, striking a Belton couple head-on. The driver was arrested for DUI and later charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Whenever a loved one is killed in an automobile collision, Missouri civil law allows certain classes, or groups, of people to pursue financial compensation on behalf of the deceased. Starting with “Class 1”, the spouse, children, and/or parents are entitled to pursue claims for wrongful death. If there are no beneficiaries still living in the first class, Class 2 passes the right of recovery to the deceased’s siblings.
In Missouri, it is not required that all individuals capable of suing be named as a party to the lawsuit. For instance, a wife may sue for the death of her husband. She can be named as the only Plaintiff in the lawsuit even though the couple had two children. While the children are entitled to share in any recovery, their mother serves as the sole representative of the class. With that said, all Missouri wrongful death claims require court approval. This process helps ensure that all class members are accounted for and that the distribution of proceeds to the class members is fair and reasonable.
In addition to making a claim against the at-fault driver and his or her insurer, the deceased’s family may also have the ability to pursue a claim against their own insurance policy, through “uninsured” or “underinsured” motorist coverage.
In the tragic event that a family member is lost as a result of an auto accident, it’s important that you contact an experienced personal injury firm immediately. Your attorney should first identify each and every person who is entitled to sue on behalf the deceased. Your attorney should also work to ensure that all applicable insurance proceeds are identified and accounted for.
If you need help, the team at Monsees & Mayer is here for you.