When two vehicles collide, the force behind the impact often determines how severely the occupants of each vehicle are injured. This means that rear-end collisions can be just as deadly as head-on collisions — especially at highway speeds. A recent two-vehicle crash on Interstate 44 here in Missouri sadly illustrates this fact.

A 39-year-old woman was traveling east on the interstate. At some point, the woman found herself in the outside lane sitting in traffic. She likely had no idea that another vehicle was approaching hers in the same lane.

The driver of that vehicle failed to stop and slammed into the back of the woman’s vehicle. Photographs of the scene show the two vehicles fully engulfed in flames. The 24-year-old woman managed to escape from the flames. She also managed to get out the two toddlers also in her vehicle. All three were taken to the hospital for treatment of unidentified injuries.

The woman in the other vehicle was unable to get out of her vehicle in time. Emergency responders pronounced her dead at the scene. Missouri authorities say the crash remains under investigation. During that time, the family of the victim must bury their loved one.

Even if the other driver does not face criminal charges in connection with the accident, the family may file a wrongful death claim against her. The claim may seek damages similar to those requested in drunk driving accidents, head-on collisions and other rear-end collisions. If it is proved that the surviving driver was negligent and directly caused or contributed to the death of their family member, the court may award a judgment for monetary damages to the family.

Source: ksdk.com, “Woman killed in I-44 accident identified”, Brandie Piper, March 17, 2015