Drunk Driving Accidents and Wrongful Death Actions in Kansas City
Our Kansas City drunk driving accident attorney helps individuals and their families hold drunk drivers accountable for their negligence and wrongdoing. Every drunk driving accident is preventable.
Anytime a person dies or sustains a serious injury in a DUI accident, it is difficult to understand why and survivors typically have lots of questions. Our Kansas City attorney can provide answers to these questions and help accident victims and family members seek justice by filing a personal injury claim against the drunk driver.
In this article, we discuss several topics related to fatal drunk driving accidents in Kansas and Missouri:
- DUI Statistics for Kansas and Missouri
- Investigating a Drunk Driving Accident and Collecting Evidence
- Proving Fault for a DUI Accident and Seeking Compensation for Damages
- Filing a Wrongful Death Claim for a DUI Accident
DUI Statistics for Kansas and Missouri
According to the NHTSA, one person died every 48 minutes in drunk driving accidents during 2017. In total, 10,874 people died in DUI accidents in 2017. Twenty-nine percent of all traffic fatalities in 2017 involved an alcohol-impaired driver. The percentage was the same for 2016 and was the lowest percentage of traffic fatalities since 1985. Even though DUI fatalities have decreased during the past three decades, even one preventable death on our roads is one too many.
Looking at Kansas, there were 3,495 people involved in alcohol-related crashes during 2017. Ninety people died, and 1,023 people were injured in DUI accidents that year. From 2007 through 2017, there were 29,548 alcohol-related crashes in Kansas.
In Missouri, drunk drivers also claimed lives and caused serious injuries. From 2015 through 2017, 678 people lost their lives in impaired driving accidents, and 2,045 people sustained serious injuries.
Investigating a Drunk Driving Accident and Collecting Evidence
If a drunk driver causes a car crash, it is important that accident victims seek the advice of a Kansas City drunk driving accident attorney. DUI accidents are different than regular car accidents. They need to be investigated carefully to identify the liable parties and collect evidence to prove fault. It is easier for an experienced attorney who has the resources to investigate these accidents than it is for accident victims who need to remain focused on healing from their injuries.
Some of the steps our Kansas City drunk driving accident attorneys take when an individual retains them include:
- Obtain copies of the evidence from the police regarding the accident, including copies of the police report, dashcam video, body camera video, and photographs.
- Other evidence from the crash scene, such as photographs and videos from witnesses.
- Obtain evidence related to the DUI arrest, including results of field sobriety tests, BAC test results, and other drug screenings.
- Any video of the driver taking a breathalyzer test.
- Statements from eyewitnesses.
- Records from cell phones, GPS, social media accounts, receipts, witness statements, and other sources that indicate what the driver may have been doing in the hours leading up to the DUI accident.
- Request copies of your medical records to document your physical injuries.
- Assist you in documenting your losses and damages throughout the case.
- Obtain insurance information from all parties who might be liable for your damages.
- Investigate whether a third party may be held liable under a Dram Shop claim.
Once a lawsuit is filed against the drunk driver, additional evidence may be obtained through the discovery process, including depositions and requests for production of documents. In many cases, the evidence obtained through discovery is very helpful in proving the driver caused the crash.
Proving Fault for a DUI Accident
As with any other traffic accident, you must prove that the drunk driver caused the crash to recover compensation for injuries. It is possible, although unlikely, that intoxication did not play a factor in the cause of the crash. Through our investigation, we uncover the cause of the collision and identify the party (typically the drunk driver) responsible for the cause of the crash. In some cases, other parties may be held liable for your damages in addition to the drunk driver.
In a Dram Shop claim, the business or individual who served the person the alcohol may be held liable if they continued to serve the person after he or she was noticeably drunk. A Dram Shop claim can provide an additional source of compensation for an accident victim. Unfortunately, Kansas does not have a Dram Shop law that allows for this type of claim for a DUI accident, but Missouri does. Your Kansas City DUI accident attorney researches laws and cases to ensure that all causes of action are included in your lawsuit to increase the chance of receiving maximum compensation for your damages.
Damages Available in Drunk Driving Accidents
Damages in a DUI accident claim include both financial losses and noneconomic losses. In some cases, we might also ask for punitive damages because the driver acted with gross negligence in operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
Examples of damages we may claim in a drunk driving accident case include:
- Cost of Medical Care
- Personal Care Expenses
- Loss of Income
- Property Damage
- Physical Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish and Emotional Distress
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life and Quality of Life
- Scarring and Permanent Impairment
There may be other damages and losses included in your claim, depending on the unique circumstances in your case. Your Kansas City drunk driving accident lawyer calculates the maximum value for your claim and presents that to the insurance provider to begin negotiating a settlement for your claim. If you the insurance company refuses to pay a fair sum, a personal injury lawsuit may be filed to force the matter into court.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim for a DUI Accident in Kansas or Missouri
In DUI accidents involving a fatality, the surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver. In Missouri, they may also file an action against the person or business who served the alcohol to the driver before the crash. A wrongful death lawsuit is a complicated legal process. The best thing you can do to increase the chance of receiving justice for your loved one is to hire an experienced attorney to represent your family.
Our legal team aggressively pursues wrongful death claims. We understand that money will not relieve the pain. However, we want the family to receive some measure of justice by seeing a negligent driver held accountable for his or her actions that caused the death of their loved one.
Contact a Kansas City Drunk Driving Accident Attorney for More Information
The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus fights for the rights of injured individuals in Missouri and Kansas. We help drunk driving accident victims and their families seek the compensation they deserve after sustaining an injury that was not their fault. We handle all phases of a drunk driving or other type of injury case, including filing the insurance claim and proceeding to court, if necessary.
Call 816-203-0143 for a free, no obligation consultation with our Kansas City car accident lawyer to learn more about how we can help you and your family after a DUI accident.