Compensation for Emotional Trauma After a Missouri Car Wreck

Car accidents cause many kinds of trauma. You might expect to deal with physical injuries, like bruises or soreness, but you could sustain other kinds of injuries.

Emotional trauma affects your mind. When you’re suffering from emotional trauma, everyday activities might seem more difficult, your temperament could be different, and you might not connect these behaviors to the car accident.

How to Help Your Teen Drive Safer

Every U.S. state has different laws regarding the process young drivers must go through before they can obtain a full driver’s license. These laws are part of statewide Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs that aim to help teen and novice drivers become fully educated about safe driving procedures, practices, and laws before they are on their own behind the wheel.

In Missouri, young drivers may get a learner permit at 15 and they must have it for a minimum of 6 months. 40 supervised driving hours (10 nighttime) are required during this learner stage.

An intermediate stage follows which teens must be 16 years old or older to progress through. Drivers at this stage may drive solo but are restricted from driving from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. and may not have more than 1 passenger under 19 for the first 6 months.

Top 5 Causes of Car Accidents in Missouri

According to statistics from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, 940 individuals died in car accidents in 2016 throughout the state of Missouri. That number in a significant increase from the fatality total in 2015. So far in 2017, we’re at 323 traffic fatalities as of May. This figure is roughly consistent with last year’s numbers.

It’s in the common interest of everyone who lives in Missouri to see these numbers fall every year instead of rise higher. We all want our roadways and highways to be as safe as possible and for our loved ones to not worry every time they get into a motorized vehicle.

Understanding the Dangers of Speeding

Over the course of the past few months, I’ve examined the causes of deadly automobile crashes and accidents on Missouri roadways. We’ve already looked at the dangers of distracted driving and drunk driving. Now, I want to discuss the danger of speeding. Many of us speed while we’re driving. I am willing to bet that when many of my readers see a posted speed limit, we think we can do anywhere between 5-10 miles per hour over the speed limit and be safe.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! According to one study, nearly 70% of people admitted to speeding on highways and 36% claim they drove 5 miles per hour or more over the speed limit. I know that we all have important things to do and places to be, and speeding 5 to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit may seem harmless at the time. However, regardless of how harmless it seems, speeding is extremely dangerous.

The Dangers of Driving While Intoxicated

In 2016, 933 people died on Missouri roadways due to automobile crashes and automobile accidents. In a recent blog I discussed how the numbers of traffic fatalities have rose sharply over the past several years and 2016 was no different. Unfortunately, there were sixty-six (66) more road fatalities in 2016 than there were in 2015. Even though that may not seem like a major leap, consider that there were nearly 170 more traffic fatalities on Missouri roads in 2016 than in 2014!

The numbers are rising and there are things we can all do to help. We already know about the dangers of distracted driving discussed in blog entry from a few months ago. Another major area of concern and contributor to Missouri traffic accidents and traffic collisions are those involving individuals who are driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (also known as “DUI/DWI”). According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly one in three traffic deaths involve a drunk driver. During a ten year period, the CDC discovered that 3,314 people were killed in Missouri crashes when they involved a drunk driver.

5 Common Missouri Car Crash Myths

If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’re already aware of the fact that driver safety is something I’m passionate about. It’s important to me that I not only do everything I can to protect my clients who have been in tragic car crashes, but to also do everything I can to educate drivers about protecting themselves from future crashes. There’s a lot we can do in the state of Missouri to prevent accidents and crashes.

As a personal injury lawyer who’s also an advocate for roadway safety, I often hear stories about individuals who have been in a crash or know someone who was and believe certain facts to be true that actually aren’t. I hear some interesting car crash myths when meeting with potential clients for the first time.

The Dangers of Driving While Distracted

Everywhere you turn, people are using their smart phones or electronic devices.  Oftentimes, pedestrians on their cell phones are looking down and are not paying attention to the what’s in front of them.  In fact, these people are now called “smartphone zombies.”  A smartphone zombie is described as someone “who walks slowly and without attention to their surroundings because they are focused on their smartphone.” 

Even though that’s a humorous name for people we all know (and might be ourselves) who use their cellphones while walking, there can be serious consequences for distracted walkers.  For example, when the Pokemon craze hit this last summer there were reports of distracted gamers walking into ponds, running into other pedestrians, and even falling off of cliffs!  Now imagine those people behind the wheel of a car or truck!

Improving Auto Safety: “Crash” vs. “Accident”

In my last blog I used the phrases “automobile crash” and “automobile accident” when writing about safety on Missouri roadways.  Before I could write about why I used both terms I received a few questions from very observant readers about why I didn’t just say “automobile accident” (thanks for paying attention!).  Hopefully, the following explains why I think we should use “crash” instead of “accident” when it comes to describing a majority of traffic fatalities and traffic injuries involving an automobile.

According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, “crash” and “accident” are defined this way:

Crash:  To hit something hard enough to cause serious damage or destruction;

Accident:  A sudden event (such as a crash) that is not planned or intended and that causes damage or injury;

An accident is an event or incident that is unplanned, unforeseen, or unintended.  Everyone (including myself) nearly always refers to automobile crashes or collisions as “automobile accidents”.  When I think of an “automobile accident”, I immediately think that it was something that was unplanned or unintended.  In other words, someone made a mistake or couldn’t have done anything to avoid hitting another car (or person). 

What Can Be Done About Missouri Car Accidents?

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT), there was an 11.4 increase in automobile fatalities on Missouri roads in 2015.[1]   As of the writing of this entry, there are currently 591 reported vehicle fatalities in Missouri, which is already 18 more automobile accident and automobile crash fatalities than there were at this point in 2015.[2]  As of two weeks into September, 2016, we were already at 26 automobile accident and automobile crash fatalities. 

When you consider that there were 15 fatalities for ALL of September, 2015, the numbers show that we are clearly seeing a sharp rise in automobile fatalities on Missouri roadways.  These numbers have to stop climbing and we all must do more to prevent needless car accident and car crashes on Missouri roadways.  To start this process, though, we must understand the causes of automobile fatalities and raise awareness about safety steps we can all take to make our roadways safer.

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