The law of negligence in Missouri generally protects an injured passenger in an auto accident by providing monetary compensation for the person's losses. The damages can be payable by one or more drivers found liable in causing the accident, including the driver of the car occupied by the injured person. The liability of the drivers for personal injury will be based on whether they drove negligently and whether that negligence was a substantial factor in causing the accident and the injuries.
These principles will come to play in regard to an accident that occurred recently on Perry County Road 842, near the intersection with Burnt Mill Road. A 19-year-old male was operating his vehicle westbound when he lost control, went off the left side of the road and crashed into a tree, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. A 17-year-old female passenger suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to a hospital in St. Louis.
A 19-year-old male passenger also suffered personal injury and was taken by ambulance to the Perry County Memorial Hospital. The nature of the injuries for each of the passengers was undisclosed. The cause of the driver losing control was not reported and the Highway Patrol did not say whether they were investigating for drugs or alcohol. In any event, where a driver goes off the road suddenly on his or her own, that driver is negligent and will likely be held liable for the payment of monetary damages for personal injury suffered by the injured passengers.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol investigated this accident and will issue a formal report. The personal injury attorney for each injured passenger will obtain the report and conduct independent investigations to determine all of the facts. The attorney will make contact with the insurance company representing the negligent driver and begin a process of exchanging information that will eventually lead to a settlement. Alternatively, if there is no settlement on a monetary amount to adequately compensate the injured passenger, the attorney will file litigation in the appropriate court.