Driver Charged with the Death of a 17-Year-Old Found to Be High While Driving

Driving while under the influence of controlled substances, such as alcohol or illegal drugs, is extremely dangerous, particularly for truck drivers who frequently work long, tiring shifts. St Louis, MO car accident lawyer

This can lead to impaired judgement and reflexes, presenting a danger to other road users, with potential to result in serious accidents and death. As a result, you or someone you know, may require the services of a personal injury attorney.

Last week, it was revealed that a southeast Missouri truck driver, charged over the killing of a 17 year old girl in April this year, had been smoking marijuana heavily over the course of that day, while working. The 34-year-old is charged with involuntary manslaughter and second-degree assault due to his involvement in the death of the girl on April 5.

A co-worker and eyewitness testified at a recent preliminary hearing that the man had been using marijuana just prior to the accident, and seemed to be high at the time of the crash. This appears to be the cause of their box truck crossing the center line to collide head-on with an SUV, in which the girl was a passenger. The coroner testified that she died as a direct result of the collision, due to a broken neck.

There were also 3 injuries as a direct result of the crash: the driver himself, his coworker, and the driver of the SUV. The co-worker reportedly feared for his own safety after witnessing the driver smoke several times throughout the day, but failed to inform his supervisors due to his concern over this being his first day on the job.

The accident took place on Missouri route 34, near Bufordvillle in Cape Girardeau County.

Driving Under the Influence in Missouri

In Missouri, DUID (or Driving Under the Influence of Drugs) is a serious offense and can result in prison time, even for a first time offender. Drunk driving can be just as dangerous and is much more commonplace, with over 34,000 people in Missouri arrested for this last year alone.

The chances of such accidents can be greatly reduced with caution.There are clear guidelines that can be found regarding safe legal limits for driving. If you are unsure whether you, or a person you know, has crossed those limits then always err on the side of caution and do not gamble with your life, or the lives of others. This is especially important when driving trucks, as these vehicles, due to their size, can be difficult to handle and the accidents involving them more likely to result in tragedy.

Equally, if you are a witness to a possible truck driver having difficulty controlling their vehicle, do not hesitate to contact the police. Doing so may save a life.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a serious accident as a result of a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol, contact a St. Louis car accident lawyer to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to compensation, medical expenses, lost wages or other financial damages.

To schedule a free consultation call The Hoffmann Law Firm at (314) 361-4242

photo credit: jeffwilcox

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Missouri Car Accident Statistics

missouri-car-accident-lawyerThe statistics reported by the Missouri Highway Statistical Analysis Center are sobering. They report that in 2010 there were a total of 151,353 traffic accidents. In these accidents, 54,875 people sustained injuries and there were 821 fatalities. This amounts to a traffic related injury occurring every 9.6 seconds. Knowing how prevalent auto accidents are should make drivers more aware of their own actions. Stats like these that show just how often accidents happen, and show that, while behaving recklessly will definitely put you at risk, even drivers who are following all the rules are still at risk of being involved in an accident as well.

Accidents caused by other drivers

Car accidents are commonly caused by factors like drinking, distracted driving due to texting, eating and drinking, and speeding. Unfortunately, accidents occur frequently and are an aspect of driving that all drivers should be cautious about. Missouri law dictates that drivers who cause accidents and endanger other motorists by behaving carelessly or recklessly are responsible for any damage that results. This includes personal injury and any property damage that results from the crash.

Accidents cause by road conditions

Not every accident is caused by the actions of a careless or negligent driver. There are other factors that contribute to the likelihood of an accident happening. For instance, poor road conditions, confusing signs, broken or nonexistent traffic signals, inefficient or defective roadway design, improperly maintained roadways, can all increase the likelihood of accidents. The city, county, or state government is usually responsible for maintaining roadway conditions and managing and minimizing potential accident risks in order to keep drivers as safe as possible.

Legal action

If you have been injured in an auto accident in Missouri, do not hesitate to contact a Missouri auto accident attorney. Missouri law entitles you to compensation for medical expenses both current and future, and recovery costs like nursing care, physical therapy, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In some instances you may be entitled to punitive damages as well. Contacting an attorney as soon as an accident happens is the best way to protect your rights and give your attorney a chance to build a strong case.

An experienced Missouri auto accident attorney can help to investigate your accident, preserve evidence, and build a case that will get you the settlement or jury award that you deserve in order to recover from your injuries and move forward with your life. Accidents can be traumatic and extremely stressful. If you or a family member sustained injuries in a crash, receiving medical care should be your primary focus. Find an attorney who can handle the legal aspects of your case so that some of your stress is alleviated and you are able to focus on repairing your life and moving on.

The Hoffmann Law Firm has more than a decade of experience handing car accident claims. Call (866) 763-6433 for a free consultation.

photo credit: califrayray

Factors Deciding Fault in Rear End Accident Cases

St-louis-car-accident-attorneyHandling an auto accident case can be complicated, but a few cases like a rear end auto accident case are often relatively easy to handle. This is because the driver of a tailing vehicle is often at fault. Although rear end accidents are not only caused by the tailing driver, the driver of the other vehicle usually has the upper hand.
Insurance companies do not waste time deciding the liability in such cases. The only thing considered is the factor by which each driver was at fault. The compensation amount is then divided accordingly.

Factors deciding fault in rear end accident cases:

Road safety rules:

If a car bumps into another car from behind, no matter why the other car halted, the major fault always goes to the tailing car’s driver. This is because road safety guidelines state that you should maintain a safe distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you so that you are able to stop with risk of collision.

In some cases, if the driver of the tailing vehicle is able to prove the other driver’s fault using comparative negligence, his financial responsibility can be reduced significantly.

Nature and degree of damage to the vehicle:

The degree to which the leading vehicle is damaged can tell a lot about the nature and extent of the tailing driver’s fault, especially in cases of speeding.

It is not usually difficult to prove a rear end accident case, as the nature of the damage often says a lot about what occurred. But if the driver of the leading vehicle’s fault is proved the case can be turned around and the compensation amount to be received can be cut heavily, if not completely. The leading driver may be at fault if it is proven that they had a non-functioning tail light or were braking unnecessarily because they were under the influence of alcohol.

‘Chain Reaction’ cases:

Chain reaction cases or cases involving more than two vehicles are a little more complicated to handle. When a ‘pile up’ occurs, it is often hard to decide which driver was at fault. Unlike simple cases, in these cases, the driver of the leading vehicle may be held completely responsible for causing the accident. These accidents often happen on highways where vehicles are driving fast.

If you are not the leading driver in such a case but have bumped into another car, it may or may not be your fault. If you bump into the car in front of you before the car behind you bumps into you, you may be held liable, but if it is the opposite, the driver of the car behind you will likely be liable. Generally, unless video evidence is available, it is hard to decide who bumped into whom first, so the driver of the last vehicle is sometimes responsible for such accidents. In some cases, the driver of the leading car can also be held responsible for the accident or each driver can be held equally responsible.

St. Louis Car Accident Attorneys

Car accidents can vary in severity and complexity. It is important to contact an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer if you have been injured in a car accident. They can evaluate your case and work to get you the compensation you are entitled to.

At the Hoffmann Law Firm we have the experience and dedication need to represent your case. Call (866) 763-6433 for your free consultation.

photo credit: ehavir

Wrongful Death Suit After Teen’s Death in Fatal Crash

stl-car-accident-lawyerA teenager lost her life in an accident in Missouri on April 5. Her father has now filed a wrongful death suit against the truck driver and the furniture company that owned the truck. The 17-year-old female, of Grassy, was driving in Cape Girardeau County, when a truck crossed the centreline and crashed into her SUV. The truck was owned by the a furniture company.

The girl was declared dead at the accident site. Her father has filed a wrongful death suit against the truck driver, the furniture company, and its local franchise. The truck driver and his passenger sustained minor injuries in the accident. The authorities failed to comment on the actual reason that might have caused the accident. The teenager’s father filed a lawsuit in Cape Girardeau County Circuit Court, stating that the truck owner was under the influence of some drugs when the accident occurred. In the lawsuit, the victim’s father has sought damages amounting to $25000 for all the emotional distress, trauma and other losses that the family has dealt with.

The lawsuit also accuses the furniture company and its franchisee for being negligent in hiring the driver, who has a long history of traffic offenses. The truck driver is a repeat offender; he has been convicted five times for speeding, twice for imprudent and careless driving, driving while intoxicated, and driving on a suspended license. Considering all this, no responsible company should have ever allowed him to drive. The case is scheduled for hearing before the judge on August 5.

This case raises inquisitiveness over wrongful death suits:
What are they?
What cases qualify for this suit?
Who can sue?
What damages can be sought?

Here is some insight into wrongful death suits. In simple words, a wrongful death occurs when a victim dies due to the negligence or fault of any other person, company, or government agency. The survivors of such victims can seek damages for the losses they have incurred due to the sudden death of the victim. The loss could be emotional or loss of income because of the victim’s demise.

Wrongful death can occur because of several reasons. It can occur because of a truck accident, car accident, or motorcycle accident caused by a speeding, driving under the influence or negligence. It may also occur by the use of a product that was potentially dangerous or life threatening. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the immediate family members of the victim, spouse, children, financial dependents, or even distant relatives in some select cases. Anyone who has been affected by the wrongful death of a relative should immediately seek legal services of a wrongful death attorney as the suit must be filed quickly. The wrongful death attorney will help you file the lawsuit and get the damages that you are entitled to.

Missouri Car Accident Lawyers

At The Hoffmann Law Firm we have experience dealing with wrongful death suits, particularly those involving car or truck accidents. Call (866) 763-6433 today for your free consultation.

photo credit:  ER24 EMS (Pty) Ltd

Auto Accidents – When Do You Need An Attorney?

car-accident-st-louisNot every auto accident requires an auto accident attorney in order to resolve. But many accident victims can achieve far better results if they do have an attorney working on their side, advocating for them. Knowing when to find an attorney is important. It may make all of the difference in maximizing the settlement amount that you can receive.

Accidents are almost always unexpected. Even careful drivers can be involved in auto accidents. Other drivers can be unpredictable, and there are sometimes conditions like changing weather, obstructions in the roadways, or malfunctioning vehicles, that can make the likelihood of an accident occurring, much greater. Reckless or negligent drivers may be the biggest cause of vehicle accidents today. If you have been injured in an auto accident you should consult with an attorney at the very least, to discuss your options and to determine how to proceed. You may be entitled to monetary compensation.

Some accident victims contact an auto accident attorney as soon as possible following an accident because dealing with insurance companies can be frustrating and a very complicated process. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and because of this they do not always offer adequate compensation or even have the best interests of the victim in mind. They are more likely to offer a settlement amount that is too low and may not even cover all of the costs associated with your accident. Insurance companies also tend to push for a fast settlement so that you are rushed and do not have time to fully comprehend the full extent of your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, etc.

Accidents can be very overwhelming, and working with an auto accident attorney can help your chances of achieving a fair settlement and not getting taken advantage of by an insurance company or other party. Legally protecting your rights by hiring an auto accident attorney can be one of the best things accident victims can do for themselves and their families. The last thing you want is to be treated unfairly or taken advantage of while you are dealing with the process of recovery and returning to normal life.

If you decide to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for medical expenses, property repairs, lost wages, emotional trauma, and pain and suffering, you should definitely talk to an attorney about how to proceed. The money that you are awarded in a personal injury claim could be subject to state and federal income taxes, so finding an experienced attorney who understands the accident laws in your state is very important.

You should think about the different types of settlements and which type you are hoping to receive. Once you know what your end goal is, you can determine whether or not hiring an attorney will be helpful in getting you there. Personal injury attorneys can be very useful resources in cases where you sustained significant injuries like broken bones, internal trauma, whiplash, etc. With minor accidents like fender benders where nobody is injured, unless the other driver is not insured, you may not need an attorney to resolve the case at all.

St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

If you decide to hire an attorney, find an attorney who is experienced in handling the type of case specific to your circumstances. It is not unusual for attorneys to give free consultations or case assessments, and this can make the process of finding a great attorney even easier. You can interview several candidates. The DMV has actually compiled a list of personal injury attorneys in your area, which makes it easy to find the attorney who is right for your case.

Legal help can be more affordable than people assume. Many attorneys will work for a portion of the settlement amount that you receive, rather than hourly fees. This sort of contingency basis can mean that legal help is more accessible to those that need it. The cost can still be significant, traditionally ranging from 25 to 50 percent of your claim amount. But having an attorney can help to put your mind at ease knowing that you are in good hands.

Contact The Hoffmann Law Firm today for a free and private consultation. Call the St. Louis car accident lawyer at (314) 361-4242

 

 

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Depositions in Car Accident Cases: An Overview

Car Accident DepositionsYou will have to be a part of the deposition process if you have filed a car accident claim in a regular civil court. It is a part of the pre-trial process. In this process, you have to testify under oath about how the accident happened and what kinds of injuries were sustained.

What is the process of deposition?

The process of deposition is a face-to-face question-answer session which is scheduled by a lawyer to get insight about the case from the witness’ point of view. Depositions are procedure driven and may vary from state to state.

Who can be made a witness for deposition?

People from the parties responsible for filing lawsuits including the plaintiffs, defendants and their employees can be made witnesses in the deposition process. To inform a party of the deposition, a notice for the same is sent to the party or its lawyer.

Where does the deposition occur?

Depositions usually take place with the lawyer who was responsible for scheduling the deposition in the first place. It can take place in the lawyer’s office, conference room in the courthouse or any public building.

What is the role of the people present there?

From the party who claimed the lawsuit, the witness for testifying and his lawyer are present at the deposition. Along with them, the lawyer who scheduled the deposition as well as stenographer for reporting events is present. You as the witness will have to answer all the questions posed to you honestly under oath. Your lawyer will ensure that all answers you give are meaningful and all lawful procedures are followed. He is liable to object any improper questions to protect your rights. The stenographer is responsible for administering the oath during the beginning of deposition and preparing notes in the transcript. Any other parties present observe but do not actively participate.

How much does a deposition cost?

The stenographer charges a fee. This is usually based on the number of the pages in the transcript. In a normal routine, the reporter’s fees are several hundred dollars. The experts who have been called for witness purposes charge for their time. The scheduler usually pays for the time. The regular witnesses, however, are not entitled to a fee.

What can be expected from a deposition?

The verbatim transcript developed by the reporter is the result of deposition. It contains typed questions and answers. Digital technology allows using cameras to prepare the transcript.

How to prepare for deposition?

Go over the accident scene and discuss the probable questions with your lawyer. Prepare notes of the day of the accident. Read about different questions which may be posed to you. Your car accident attorney will help you understand the different aspects of the procedure.

Contact Christopher S. Hoffmann

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a car accident in Missouri, contact The Hoffmann Law Firm. With more than 15 years of experience, Christopher Hoffmann works exclusively with car and truck accident injury claims. Contact the St. Louis car accident attorney at (314) 361-4242 today for a free and private consultation!

What To Do After A Car Accident

Memory is not always reliable, so make note of details as soon as they come to you. St. Louis Car Accident Attorney

In making an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, documentation is key. There are plenty of things that you should do after a car accident to protect your case. But there are some very basic steps you can take after a car accident that can help to document the accident and support your personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim.

Take Notes

As soon as possible after an accident you should begin taking notes. Taking notes is one of the most important things you can do following an auto accident even if you think you have got a great memory. Accidents can be traumatic and these adrenaline filled moments can be difficult to recall later. Making note of the things you notice can make the claim process much easier later on. Doing whatever you can to make sure you get the full compensation you deserve is important, and in order to increase your chances you must have great documentation to support your case.

When you take notes about the accident you should focus some of your attention on the accident itself, your injuries, financial losses you experienced as a result of the accident, and conversations you have with people about the accident. Include pictures with your notes if you can.

So, take notes about how and when the accident occurred, and all of the details you remember. Memory is not always reliable, so make note of details as soon as they come to you. Answer the basic questions of what, where, when, how, and who were you with. Include as much detail as you can remember. Write down what you were doing, where you were going, if you were with anyone else, what you were thinking, seeing, feeling, what the weather was like, the time of day, etc. The idea is to be as detailed as possible even if you think the things you are recording are unimportant. Small details that you may think are unimportant could actually be very helpful to your case. If there were any witnesses around, or other people involved in the accident, talk to them as well and record their thoughts and memories about the accident. Write down their contact information also.

Injuries

Take notes about your injuries in addition to your notes about the accident. The effects of the accident, your injuries and symptoms are important to document. You have medical bills and doctor’s notes to support your case, but it is crucial to include details about the affect your injuries have on your life. Describe the impact that the injuries have on your life and the symptoms you experience. Are you losing sleep? Feeling anxious? Experiencing pain, anxiety, or suffering? Does your injury have an impact on how you interact with your family or your daily life?

You should also take detailed notes when you discuss the circumstances of the accident with medical personnel, insurance claim adjusters, other insurance representatives, witnesses, etc.

Auto Accident Attorney St. Louis

If you were injured in a St. Louis auto accident contact the Hoffmann Law Firm immediately to discuss your case. Our personal injury practice focuses on helping victims of auto accidents in St. Louis, Missouri, and the surrounding area. Call us at (314) 361-4242 for a free and private consultation.