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Murder charge may open door to wrongful death suit in Missouri

Car accidents can occur anywhere and at any time. Yet, when a car accident occurs and one party is found to be negligent or faces a criminal charge related to purposely causing harm, injury or death to another, the door may be opened for families to pursue a wrongful death suit. Recently in Missouri, a man was arrested and charged with murder after hitting a 15-year-old boy who later died from his injuries.

The incident occurred when a man crashed his Trailblazer. He hit the teen and reportedly nearly severed the boy's legs. The man then tried to flee the scene. Witnesses recounted that he was armed and waved a knife around; he also allegedly threatened those who tried to stop him with a baseball bat.

The man initially told authorities that he accidently ran over the child. However, he then said he thought the boy was the same person who had threatened his life earlier. He is now charged with first-degree murder, and authorities are considering pursuing the charge as a hate crime, as the man also displayed what authorities labeled as anti-Islamic phrases on his vehicle.

Any kind of criminal charge related to actions taken by a vehicle can lead to a civil suit by the victims or the victims' families. In a case such as this Missouri accident, the family may be able to pursue a claim of wrongful death and seek damages. If successful, the damages awarded may help alleviate the strain of the cost of medical care and funeral expenses.

Source:, "Hate Crime Possible Cause of Missouri Car Crash", Benedicto Ateku, Dec. 6, 2014

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