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Vehicle occupants are often ejected during rollover accidents

Missouri residents may get tired of hearing that they need to buckle up, but there is a good reason that law enforcement officials and safety advocates continue to push the issue -- it saves lives. In normal accidents, not wearing a seat belt can be deadly, but in rollover accidents, the odds of an unbuckled occupant being thrown out of the vehicle increases dramatically. Of course, there is no guarantee that serious injury or death will not result from a violent impact, but the odds are better if everyone inside the vehicle is properly restrained.

For instance, troopers with the Missouri Highway Patrol recently responded to the scene of a single car accident. The driver of the pickup had attempted to pass another vehicle in front of it on Route C. The driver lost control of the pickup truck. It then careened off the road into an embankment where it rolled over. During the crash, both occupants were ejected.

Both the driver and the passenger suffered fatal injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene. Troopers noted that neither man was properly restrained at the time of the crash. Other factors that may have led to the crash might still be under investigation. Reports do not indicate that anyone else was injured.

The family of the passenger may file a wrongful death claim against the estate of the driver. As would be the case in other rollover accidents, satisfying the court that the driver was negligent and that his negligence led to the death of their loved one could result in an award of damages. However, since the passenger was not wearing his seat belt, he may be found partially responsible for his own death. In that case, any award may be reduced by the percentage of liability assigned to him.

Source:, "Fatal accident kills two in St. Charles County", Paul Schankman, Jan. 2, 2015

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