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Rollover accidents can have unpredictable outcomes

Vehicle safety measures such as airbags and seat belts are installed to minimize or eliminate the injuries that drivers and passengers suffer in accidents. However, the unpredictability of certain types of collisions -- such as rollover accidents -- can render these safety measures useless. Some Missouri residents still suffer severe or deadly injuries despite a vehicle safeguards to prevent them.

A recent two-vehicle rollover crash on U.S. Highway 63 caused a variety of injuries to the occupants of the vehicles. The driver of the northbound vehicle, which was occupied by four people, veered into the opposing lane of travel and crashed into the side of a southbound vehicle. The impact threw the northbound vehicle off the road, where it flipped several times before it stopped. The southbound vehicle also skidded off the road and flipped.

The 37-year-old driver of the southbound vehicle was fortunate enough to only suffer minor injuries. The 42-year-old driver of the northbound vehicle suffered injuries described as moderate that required her to be flown from the scene, along with a 15-year-old passenger. Another 15-year-old passenger was transported by ambulance for medical care. While the family relationships, if any, between the passengers in the car were not disclosed, the two teenagers apparently share the same last name as the driver. A 46-year-old man, who was also a passenger in the northbound vehicle, suffered fatal injuries in the collision.

The family of the deceased passenger may file a wrongful death claim against the party or parties that may have contributed to or caused his death. Successfully proving negligence could lead to an award of damages similar to other fatal rollover accidents. Under Missouri law, if the court determines that the decedent was partially responsible for his own death because he supposedly was not wearing a seat belt, his family may still be entitled to an award of damages, but it wound be reduced by the percentage of responsibility attributed to him by the court. The injured teenage passengers have a similar claim for personal injuries, and any family relationship between them and the driver would not bar an insurance settlement or a formal claim made through the civil court system.

Source: baxterbulletin.com, "Mountain Home man killed in Mo. crash", Linda Masters, June 27, 2015

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