What can families do when road safety efforts fail?

This past weekend, police officers could be spotted in Joplin and across Missouri trying to slow drivers down as people sped home from Labor Day getaways and celebrations. In much of the state, law enforcement efforts were successful in keeping drivers safe. Unfortunately, at least one Missouri family has to grapple with the aftermath of a roadway tragedy.

Just across the border in Illinois, a Missouri woman was killed and her husband left with injuries described as “grave” after they were in an interstate highway car accident. A TV station reporting on the violent, head-on collision noted that as drivers passed the scene of the wreckage, many of them were busy talking and texting on their cellphones.

Let’s face it: even the best efforts of law enforcement agencies can’t keep all motorists safe. So what can families of victims do when a loved one has been taken from them by a negligent, careless driver? In Missouri, families can hold those responsible for needless fatalities by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. It’s a way of holding the person at fault accountable for their actions, and it’s a way of sending a clear warning to drivers who might be just as dismissive of distracted driving laws or drunk driving statutes.

As we can tell from the accident in Illinois, even when they’re looking at the deadly results of what distracted driving can do, some people apparently can’t resist telling their friends about it on the phone or sending a text as they pass by the accident victims. Hopefully, those passing by will not become victims themselves or the causes of future tragedies.

Let's hope, too, that they can learn that there can be heavy prices to pay for carelessness. One such price is wrongful death litigation in which the victims’ family receives compensation for financial damages such as the loss of their loved one’s income, benefits and the like. There can also be large medical expenses, funeral costs and other expenses that the person who caused the accident can be held accountable for by a court.

It’s not an easy process for the family to go through, but it can be done with the help of an attorney experienced in guiding families through the legal system.

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