The Missouri Wrongful Death Law & Survival Law Explained

Wrongful death and survival action are civil claims that can be made in Missouri after the loss of a loved one. It is important that you proceed properly in the event of a wrongful death or survival action claim. The best course of action is to communicate openly with family members and find a lawyer that you can trust.

 

What is Considered Wrongful Death in Missouri?

Across the United States, wrongful death is civil action litigation that occurs when someone dies at the fault of another. However, each state legislates this slightly differently. In Missouri, wrongful death occurs from “any act, conduct, occurrence, transaction, or circumstance which, if death had not ensued, would have entitled such person to recover damages in respect thereof”.

For example, someone could injure their head at the fault of another and then die because of it. Now, that person’s kin is entitled to receive damages related to the head injury and the fallout from the death.

 

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Many things could warrant wrongful death. The three most common causes are auto accidents, medical malpractice, and product liability.

  • Auto accidents – Car accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States of people age 1-54. On average in the United States, there are 38,000 deaths per year and 4.4 million injuries.
  • Medical malpractice – A doctor has standard accepted procedures and practices that they need to follow. They are in charge of things like diagnosis, treatment, and prescriptions. When doctors make even a small mistake, it can cost a life.
  • Product liability – Not every product that a company puts out will be up to industry standard. As such manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers are all held accountable for their roles. When a defective product results in wrongful death, product liability claims are not far behind.

 

The Difference Between Wrongful Death and Manslaughter

Manslaughter comes in two main variations, voluntary and involuntary. It is never premeditated but is always inexcusable and unjustifiable. On the other hand, murder is premeditated and thus typically leads to worse sentences than manslaughter charges. Both of these are criminal charges, and a criminal case must be brought on by the state itself on behalf of “the people”. The goal of this type of case is to punish the wrongdoer and they usually end with things like jail time and/or community service.

However, the punishment of the wrongdoer does little to compensate for the loss of a loved one. Thus, wrongful death was born. Wrongful death allows for families to sue in civil court, and recoup for the damages of losing a loved one. Unlike manslaughter, this is not meant to punish the wrongdoer, but rather to compensate the family for their loss. You cannot sue for manslaughter, but if manslaughter exists, you can likely sue for wrongful death.

 

 

Missouri Wrongful Death Law

Passed in 1855 to protect those suffering from the loss of a loved one, the Missouri Wrongful Death Law allows family members of the wrongfully deceased to recoup emotional, physical, and financial losses in the form of a lump sum.

 

Who can Recover Damages from Wrongful Death?

One of the biggest questions in a wrongful death claim is who will recover the damages. To start, only family members can file a wrongful death claim. The family is then divided into two classes based on proximity to the victim.

  • Class one contains any spouse, children, or parents of the deceased.
  • Class two consists of brothers and sisters. These classes are meant to give those closest to the victim the first chance at filing a claim. As such, class two can only file for wrongful death if there are no class one members.

Filing a wrongful death claim can be done without the permission of others in the family. Occasionally, there will be a dispute among family members over who should file the lawsuit. Because class one members (spouse, children, parents) are deemed to be emotionally closer to the victim than class two members (brothers, sisters), it is always smart to have a class one member file if possible.

Sometimes, lack of communication and family disputes lead to more than one lawsuit being filed. The courts will typically only allow one case to exist for a deceased person, and thus end up consolidating multiple cases into one. Any rewarded damages will be split among loved ones as they decide to split it. If no decision can be made among the group, then the judge and jury will divide the rewarded money.

It is important to know how this type of legislation works in your area so that you can receive your full entitled amount. Check out our other wrongful death pages to ensure you are well versed in this topic and can find a lawyer right for you.

 

Missouri Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a law that sets the parameters for how long a party has to begin legal action. This time frame can vary greatly depending on the type of alleged offense. Minor infractions tend to have a shorter statute of limitations than more serious infractions. Domestically, the statute for personal injury suits is generally two years, but crimes like arson and art theft generally have statutes greater than five years. Internationally, there are a few offenses that have no statute of limitations. These are major offenses and include things like crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.

International and federal governments are not the only ones that must implement statutes of limitations. States do this too, but because they do it independent of each other, the same offense can have a different statute of limitations in different parts of the country. This can make finding your state’s statute of limitations tricky.

The statute of limitations for most wrongful death cases in Missouri is three years. There are some exceptions to this like the discovery rule. This applies to cases in which the cause of death is not immediately known. In this case, the three years start on the date of which a reasonable person would know the cause of death.

 

History and Purpose of Wrongful Death in Missouri

In the early 19th century, there was no common law for wrongful death. If your loved one had died before this time, there was no way for you to recoup damages in civil court through wrongful death. In 1846, Parliament passed Lord Campbell’s Act, which created a cause of action for wrongful death. 9 years later, Missouri passed a similar law stating “Whenever the death of a person shall be caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default of another, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect”. This made wrongful death cases possible in Missouri.

Since the initial passing, there have been 23 revisions and additions made to the law. Most of these additions entailed who could recover and what they could recover for. For example, in 1978 a revision was made to allow the parents of an unmarried adult to recover damages, in the case that they left no surviving minor children. All 23 of these revisions came during the 20th century, the earliest of these having passed in 1909 and the latest having passed in 1992.

 

Missouri Inheritance Law

When a loved one dies happens, the family often wonders where the leftover possessions go. In America, 59% of adults do not have a will, which does not help this phenomenon. As you look at older demographics, this percentage gets better, but not great. Between the ages of 53 and 71, 40% of Americans do not have a will.

If not for state law, this would make for a large mess. In Missouri, if a loved one dies without a will, the surviving spouse is entitled to ½ of the estate. The other ½ is distributed evenly among the children. As a bonus, if the spouse is the biological parent of all surviving children, the spouse gets the first $20,000 from the estate. Contrarily, if only one of these two parties exists, 100% goes to that party. These stipulations remain the same under most causes of death, including those for wrongful death.

 

 

Missouri Survival Law

A survival action is a claim that a loved one can file in conjunction with wrongful death. It is always recommended that a survival action claim be filed with wrongful death because it is the only claim that can recover punitive damages in this type of case. Survival action covers all damages occurring between the time of injury and death such as pain and suffering, loss of income, and medical expenses. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant.

 

Survival Law Statute of Limitations

In Missouri, the statute of limitations for survival action is the same as wrongful death, generally three years.

 

History and Purpose of the Missouri Survival Act

The purpose of survival actions is to bridge the gap between injury and death, and the money lost during that time period. Many deaths do not occur at the scene of the incident and force the victim to suffer until they pass. Survival action allows loved ones to sue for this time of suffrage, where wages were lost and hospital bills may have mounted. This allows wrongful death cases to come full circle and allows parties to collect damages for which they are rightfully owed.

 

 

Survival Action vs Wrongful Death

The first major difference between survival action and wrongful death is who can file the claim. In a survival action, the claim must be filed by a representative of the estate. In a wrongful death claim, it must be brought on by the deceased spouse, parents, or children.

The damages able to be recouped are different as well. A survival action claim covers losses that the victim could have sued for had they lived, and a wrongful death claim compensates the family for direct monetary losses. These two claims can be brought in together, separately, or not at all. Regardless, it is advised to bring them into a suit together so that full damages can be rewarded.

 

Damages Commonly Awarded Under a Wrongful Death Claim

These personal injury damages can only be accurately assessed after the victim has passed away. Until that time, damages may continue to accrue. This is not a complete list of damages that can be found, but it contains the ones most commonly found almond wrongful death claims.

  • Lost wages – all time away from work for both medical treatment and time missed due to physical incapacity to perform normal tasks.
  • Pain and suffering – encompasses physical and emotional pain that one might feel as the result of an accident.
  • Medical expenses – medical bills sustained as a result of your injury.
  • Funeral and burial expenses – expenses associated with burying and paying respects to the lost loved one
  • Loss of future wages – awarded when the plaintiff has been permanently or temporarily limited in their ability to earn wages
  • Loss of consortium – meant to compensate an injured party’s spouse for the loss of support, companionship, society, and sexual relationship.

 

Damages Commonly Awarded Under Survival Action Claim

These personal injury damages are rewarded for the time that the deceased was injured but not yet dead. This is not a complete list of damages that can be found, but it contains the ones most commonly found among survival action claims.

  • Lost wages – all time away from work for both medical treatment and time missed due to physical incapacity to perform normal tasks.
  • Pain and suffering – encompasses physical and emotional pain that one might feel as the result of an accident.
  • Medical expenses – medical bills sustained as a result of your injury.
  • Property damage – damage to property you own. The amount repaid is up to the judge and jury to decide as it is often subjective.
  • Disfigurement – When one’s appearance is deeply and persistently harmed
  • Punitive damages – awarded beyond single compensation are awarded purely to punish the defendant.

 

 

Wrongful Death Claim vs Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In a civil lawsuit, a claim is what is initially filed. In essence, you are claiming that something happened and that you should be compensated for it. This claim can be settled mutually between two parties, or it can remain unsettled. If it remains unsettled, the claim will go to court and thus become a lawsuit. By definition, a lawsuit is “a claim or dispute brought to the court of law for adjudication”. The settlement of a claim or lawsuit will be split by the heirs of the deceased. If no agreement can be reached between the heirs, then the court will step in to decide how the money is divided.

 

Does Insurance Cover Wrongful Death in Missouri?

If negligence can be established, then Missouri homeowners insurance will cover wrongful death on the insured owner’s premises. Typically this insurance will cover some but not all of the costs.  If you can prove negligence on more than one party, you may be able to use insurance from multiple parties.

For example, if a product was an integral part of the death, you may be able to use the product manufacturers’ insurance to your advantage. However, insurance policies often have maximum payouts and you may be reaching into your own pockets to cover the rest.

 

 

Are there Damage Caps in Missouri?

In personal injury cases, damage caps are statutes that limit how much can be awarded to the injured party. These limits exist to cap how much a service provider will have to pay. Each state sets its own limits.

In 2015, Missouri passed SB 239, a damage cap law that states a plaintiff shall not recover more than $400,000 in non-economic damages for personal injury cases, no more than $700,000 in non-economic damages for catastrophic injuries, and no more than $700,000 in non-economic damages for death. These limitations are increasing by 1.7% each year. This is not the same in every state, as in Illinois where there are no caps on damages and it is left to the judge and jury to decide the final amount.

Non-economic damages include pain, emotional anguish, humiliation, reputational damages, loss of interest in activities, or worsening of prior injuries.

Economic damages include things like medical bills, lost income, property damage, loss of earning capacity, vocational rehabilitation, household services, and out-of-pocket costs. No states have damage caps on economic damages.

 

How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Missouri

The case must be filed within three years of the date of death. If it is not filed within this time, the case is likely to be dismissed. There are three basic things you need to prove:

  1. That the person died
  2. That it was at the fault and wrongdoing of another
  3. You suffered damages because of the loss

Most wrongful death cases that aren’t quickly settled take anywhere between 1 and 2 years to complete. Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork ready to move as quickly as possible. To start this process, you must file a petition and serve it to the parties being sued. After this is completed, you will enter the discovery phase. In discovery, parties take depositions, exchange requests for information, and subpoena witnesses. The final phase is assigning the trial to court. Once a verdict or settlement is reached, parties can choose to appeal or accept the decision. If it is appealed, it will be sent to the appellate court. Most decisions here are final, but there is a chance it gets sent from the appellate court to a Supreme Court.

 

 

Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Help You

In many situations, it is best to have the advice of an expert. You wouldn’t want to start most medicines without consulting a doctor first, and you wouldn’t want to start most lawsuits without the legal advice of a lawyer. In addition to peace of mind, lawyers can help you achieve the maximum financial potential out of your situation. The guidance and support lawyers can provide will help you through many legal situations, and wrongful death is no exception. If you have any questions or concerns, contact a Missouri wrongful death lawyer.

 

6 Boating Safety Tips You Need to Know to Avoid an Accident

As the weather warms up, we look for numerous ways to beat the heat. One of the best ways to do so is on an exciting or relaxing boating trip. After all, who doesn’t enjoy hitting the lake or ocean for good times with friends and family? Like any other motorsport activity, boating comes with potential dangers and irresponsible boaters hit the water every year, putting themselves and other boaters at risk. In 2019, there were more than 2,500 boat-related injuries and over 600 deaths in the US. Before even considering leaving the dock, you must be aware of how you and everyone on board can be safe to avoid accidents and injuries. Boat safety is imperative for everyone involved to have a great summer experience on the water. Follow our 6 boating safety tips to avoid a boating accident this summer.

 

6 Boating Safety Tips to Follow

These 6 boat safety tips will give you the start you need to ensure that you will not suffer any boat accidents this summer. Follow them, and you are much more likely to have smooth sailing and safe boating ahead. 

 

  1. Do Not Drink and Drive

Operating a boat should be no different than operating a car, and doing so while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is incredibly dangerous. According to the BoatUS Foundation, nearly half of all boating accidents involve the use of drugs or alcohol Drinking and driving is never a wise choice, and partaking puts you, all passengers, and other boaters at risk of grave injury or even death. In addition, boating while intoxicated (BWI) is highly illegal and can result in thousands of dollars in fines or serious jail time.  While it should certainly be avoided, if you find yourself in a position where alcohol consumption is inevitable, always designate a driver to avoid the risks of drunk driving and keep everyone on the water safe.

 

 

  1. Be Aware of All safety Equipment Onboard

Dedicate time to learn how to operate all safety equipment available; it can potentially save your life or others’ lives. There are a vast array of items to use in emergencies on the water, but some essential ones are: 

  • Life jackets and other flotation devices
  • Flares
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Radios
  • Medical kits

Additionally, a captain is only as good as his crew. Before embarking, let everyone onboard know where this equipment is located and how to use it properly. Taking this step can ensure that nobody gets hurt in a summer boat outing and allows everyone to feel safe.

 

 

  1. Know How to Navigate Around Other Boats

Whether it’s out in the open ocean or at a local lake, chances are you will encounter other vessels on the water. You must be prepared to navigate around them safely to avoid collisions and boat accidents. In general, there are 3 primary situations in which you will interact with other boaters.

 

Head-on

When approaching another boat head-on, always yield to the right. Reduce the boat’s speed and confirm that your surroundings are clear before doing so. 

 

Crossing paths

If another boat is heading your way from your port, or left side, you have the right of way and can continue on your path.  If the approaching boat is on your starboard or right side, they have the right of way, and you must yield to the right.

 

Overtaking

When one boat overtakes another, the boat in front always has the right of way and should continue on its intended route. When passing, communicate your presence by briefly blaring your horn. Afterward, overtake the boat on its starboard side with a wide clearance.  To learn more about the right of way rules to boating, consult Formula Boats’ detailed article on boat navigation

 

 

  1. Watch the Weather Before and During Boating

Always examine the weather forecast before boating, and never embark if there is a chance of severe weather. When on the water, look out for signs of severe weather such as dark cumulonimbus clouds, sudden drops in temperature, and large pickups in wind. Also, actively listen to weather forecasts on the boat’s radio to stay updated at all times. If it’s already too late and you’ve encountered bad weather, verify that all passengers are wearing life jackets, lower your speed, and search for a shore or dock that is safe to land on. To learn more about boating weather procedures, look at this BoatUS Foundation weather guide

 

 

  1. Beat the Heat & Know the Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

In tandem with staying vigilant for bad weather, always prepare yourself for the summer heat. Heat exhaustion is a real threat that can have fatal repercussions if not addressed. Early symptoms of heat exhaustion include fatigue, dizziness, weakness, heavy sweating, and severe thirst.  If you or anyone on board is experiencing this, stay hydrated by bringing plenty of water, and wear proper sun protection. You can learn about which sunscreen to use in our article on sunscreen safety tips

 

 

  1. Take a boat safety education course

It may take some time to complete, but at the end of the day, completing an official boating course is one of the strongest ways to build confidence and expertise at the helm. Knowing the proper boating procedures and practices is the key to ensuring that everyone has a safe and fun experience on the water. Boat Ed has comprehensive boating safety courses available for every state. Finish that and get your boating license so you can be completely qualified to traverse the waters this summer. 

 

 

Involved in a Boating Accident?

In the unfortunate case that you are involved in a boating accident contact an experienced boating accident lawyer from TorHoerman Law for a free, no-obligation case consultation or use our chatbot to take a quiz and find if you qualify for compensation right away.

 

 

10 Insurance Claim Settlement Negotiation Tips for Personal Injury Claims

 

Getting hit by another driver is stressful. Not only are you forced to deal with the aftermath of the crash, but you also have to figure out how to pay for everything. While we would like to think that the insurance companies have our back, it’s unfortunately not that cut-and-dry. There are often disputes over what a policy covers and what the company owes. This can mean that you’re left with an insurance settlement – the sum of money the at-fault party and their insurance company pays you – that doesn’t even cover the costs of your medical bills, car damage, and other related expenses. All for an accident that wasn’t your fault. Fortunately, there are things you can do to increase your insurance claim settlement. Knowing how to negotiate a settlement can help you earn what you’re actually owed.

 

Settling a Personal Injury Claim with an Insurance Company

Follow these 10 insurance claim settlement negotiation tips for personal injury claims to ensure that you are getting the most compensation possible for the injuries, property damage, and other losses you incurred as a result of a personal injury or accident. The following expert tips will help you get back behind the wheel with your expenses in check.

 

  1. Start the Claim Process Immediately

It’s important that you start the claim process as soon as possible. The first step is to determine whether the claim is worth filing in the first place. To determine whether to file a claim, you must calculate your total damages to see whether making a claim is an appropriate action. Different accidents and injuries require different levels of damages to make a claim a viable action – for example, it is generally advised that you should only file a minor car accident claim if someone is injured or if the repairs exceed $2,000. Otherwise, making a claim with a smaller amount of damages could potentially cost you more in the long-run through insurance premiums and deductibles. Regardless of whether you decide to file a claim, be sure to report your accident to the local police. Once you decide that you’re going to make an insurance claim, start the process and make sure to file within your state’s statute of limitations window.

 

 

  1. Gather Necessary Documentation

The more evidence you have, the better case you can make against the guilty party for an effective settlement. Take the time to gather any relevant and necessary information about the accident and your injuries. This includes notes about when, where, and how the accident happened; police reports; photos of your vehicle’s damage, your injuries, and the scene of the accident; testimonies from any witnesses, responding police officers, and medics; and records of your subsequent doctor’s office visits, treatments, and medical expenses.

 

 

  1. Do Not Admit Fault

If there is a golden rule of what to do at the scene of an accident, it’s to remember that you should never admit fault. Even if you think you could be partially to blame, never admit fault. Doing so can absolve the other driver of any responsibility and makes it difficult for you to prove that they share liability for the accident. This should not be taken as encouragement to lie about the accident. Be upfront and honest with any responding officers, or medical providers. However, only provide objective facts about the incident, do not insert subjective opinion into your statements. These first responders are trained to assess accidents and will be able to determine the events best with the facts. If the other driver says that they are filing a claim against you, stay calm and give them the contact information of your driver insurance provider or car accident attorney. Do not sign anything, do not give them a statement about the accident, and do not admit fault.

 

 

  1. Avoid Relying on Insurance

Car insurance companies ­– both the opposing party’s and your own – ­are not looking out for your best interest. Their goal is to make the settlement process quick and to keep payments as low as possible. Keep this in mind throughout the process and keep your guard up at all times. Know that all providers involved are looking for any opportunity to reduce the amount of your settlement. Do not rely on the insurance providers for information such as your claim’s value or the total damages that you incurred. For these figures, do your own calculations or reach out to a personal injury lawyer who can accurately assess your total losses.

 

 

  1. Highlight Emotional Points

Understand and leverage the role of emotions in effective negotiations. Instead of rehashing every detail of the case, emphasize the points that are the strongest in your favor. Was the other driver recklessly speeding? Maybe the cost of repairing your vehicle made it impossible for you to get to work. Maybe the accident caused emotional trauma and other pain and suffering. These details of the accident and your losses play a big role in your damages payout. Be sure to leverage them.

 

 

  1. Understand the Value of Your Claim

Reaching an effective settlement amount starts with understanding the value of your claim. This means effectively calculating your damages, the amount the guilty party is required to pay you to compensate for physical injury, property damage, future losses, pain and suffering that they caused you. This includes the costs of your injuries, current financial and quality-of-life losses, and anticipated future costs. Determining the value of your claim is rarely straightforward, so it’s recommended to seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury law firm.

 

 

  1. Involve an Attorney

Hiring a personal injury lawyer is oftentimes the best decision for someone with a viable claim. Insurance companies will attempt to exploit your lack of knowledge. Their experience with vehicle accidents them the upper hand against claimants. This is why it’s recommended to always work with an attorney. He or she will help you through the negotiation process to ensure you receive a fair amount of money through the settlement. Knowing when you need an attorney can save you thousands of dollars. It is important to select an attorney that is experienced and well-knowledged in the specific type of accident you are involved in. For example, if you have an accident with a semi-truck driver, seek assistance from a truck accident lawyer. In the unfortunate instance that you are representing a loved one who was lost in an automobile accident, you should speak with a wrongful death attorney who has experience with car accident lawsuits.

 

 

  1. Don’t Accept the First Offer

Most personal injury negotiations start with a lowball offer. Insurance companies use this tactic to ‘anchor’ the negotiations in their favor and see if you know what you are doing. Be patient and avoid jumping at the first offer. Make a counteroffer and remember that you are entitled to the compensation you deserve. Remember, you are not obligated to make a decision at the first negotiation meeting. Unsure of whether you want to accept the insurance provider’s offer? Walk away from the table and set a date to reconvene after you have had time to think the decision through. Never rush into a negotiation decision, especially an emotional one.

 

 

  1. Get Everything In Writing

When you and the insurance company reach an agreement for a settlement amount, make sure to confirm the terms in a letter to the insurance adjuster. This helps reduce potential future confusion and the likelihood of disputes. The letter should include the settlement amount, the damages the settlement covers, and the dates and timeline that you expect to receive the payment. Have your attorney review the letter before you finalize it. Best practice is communicating with providers strictly through recordable written exchanges. Do not discuss your accident over the phone with the insurance provider. Recommend email exchanges instead. If you are unable to do so, keep records of all of your communications with the insurance provider, including detailed notes of the conversation, dates and times.

 

 

  1. Sign When You Are Ready

Take your time and remain patient throughout the settlement offer process before signing. Make sure that you and your attorney are comfortable with the insurance coverage amount offered. Be sure to review the settlement agreements and terms. Once you sign, the negotiations and settlement are finalized.     Filing a claim can be made easy by following these 10 insurance claim settlement negotiation tips.

 

 

9 Steps to Take After Getting Hit By a Drunk Driver

What to Do After an Accident with a Drunk Driver; 9 Steps to Take After Getting Hit By a Drunk Driver;

You have heard the horror stories. You have seen the ads and PSAs. You might even know someone who’s been involved in an accident with a drunk driver.
By now, the dangers of driving drunk are well known. Unfortunately, alcohol-related accidents are still a serious and familiar problem. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that there are roughly 111 million self-reported incidents of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year. It’s so common that, every day, an average of 800 people are injured in drunk driving accidents. While you hope it never happens to you or a loved one, it’s best to know how to handle the situation.

 

What to Do After an Accident with a Drunk Driver

These are the 9 steps that you should take after being involved in an accident with a drunk driver.

 

  1. Call the Police

It’s crucial that you call 911 to contact the police after any auto accident. It’s even more important when the accident involves a drunk driver. Let the dispatcher know your location, who is involved, any sustained injuries, and that you believe the other driver has been drinking. Responding authorities will arrive at the scene, provide necessary services and care, and look for clues of intoxication using methods such as field sobriety or breathalyzer tests. If they determine that the driver is under the influence beyond the legal limit, criminal charges can be filed.

 

  1. Remain Calm

Getting hit by a drunk driver can feel overwhelming, but it’s important that you make an effort to keep calm. Stay at the scene, do not admit fault under any circumstances, and look out for any signs that the motor vehicles could combust. Move away if necessary. Avoid being overly confrontational with the other driver and wait for the police to arrive. Keeping calm makes it easier to assess the situation and provide the police with the necessary information.

 

  1. Monitor the Drunk Driver

Pay attention to the other driver’s actions and mannerisms. Take note of any signs of intoxication such as:

  • Bloodshot, watery, or glassy eyes
  • Loud or slurred speech, unusually fast or slow talking, making unusual noises
  • Repetitive or irrational statements
  • Odors of alcohol
  • Excessive perspiration, twitching or body tremors, or a flushed face
  • Overly animated, aggressive, or depressive demeanor

 

Report these signs to the police when they arrive. This will play an important role in your insurance and potential claims in court.

 

  1. Collect Important Information

Be sure to collect and save relevant details such as the other drivers’ names, phone numbers, license numbers, registration, license plate, and insurance information. Write down the names and badge numbers of the responding officers. Write down your account of the car crash and how it occurred. Get contact information and testimony from any witnesses and authorities. Good evidence from the scene of the accident can become crucial information for your claim and greatly increase your chances of receiving appropriate compensation for the losses that you incurred as a result of the accident.

 

  1. Take Photos at the Scene

Photos serve as an especially effective tool for making your case in court. Use your cell phone or an available camera to take pictures of your car, the drunk driver’s vehicle, the road or intersection where the accident happened, and any other subsequent injuries or damages. If possible, collect video as well as photos. You and your auto accident attorney can use these photos and videos as evidence to support your claim.

 

  1. Receive Medical Attention

Assess yourself and your passengers for any signs of injury. Be sure that you receive professional medical attention as soon as possible, especially if a serious injury has occurred. Prompt treatment will help ensure that your condition does not worsen. Some common car accident injuries can be hard to detect on your own, so it’s best that you receive an assessment from a medical professional after your accident. You will also need to prove that the drunk driver’s carelessness caused your injuries, so it’s crucial that a doctor documents your symptoms, injuries, and diagnoses. After receiving proper medical treatment, it is important to mitigate your injuries by following your doctor’s orders.

 

  1. Contact Your Insurer

Contact your insurance company as soon as you are able to do so. Report your accident with the details and information outlined in step four. This is especially important if any of the other drivers are uninsured. Be sure to include information about any damages to your vehicle, injuries sustained, and relevant doctors’ visits and treatments. Keep track of and report any related expenses such as medical bills and car repairs. Your agent will use this information to file a claim on your behalf and contact the other driver’s insurance company.

 

  1. Comply With Police and Prosecutor

Work with the police officers and prosecutor as needed. Remember that you are the victim and that helping them understand the details of the accident will help your case. Make sure that you do not provide false information or admit that you did something you did not do. Remember, never admit fault. It is likely that the police will have you fill out a report or statement at the scene of the accident. If the accident and insurance claims go to court, seek the services of a car accident law firm.

 

  1. Seek Out Legal Help

Accidents involving drunk drivers often result in car accident lawsuits. Working with an experienced auto accident lawyer helps guarantee that your trial is as successful and stress-free as possible. He or she will help you to navigate the civil lawsuit process and can help you gain full compensation for your losses. This helps cover costs of out-of-pocket expenses like car repairs and medical expenses while also compensating for things like lost wages and emotional suffering.

 

 

How You Can Help Make Your Neighborhood Safer

How You Can Help Make Your Neighborhood Safer; 10 Ways to Make Your Neighborhood Safer; Promoting Safety in Your Community; Ideas for How You Can Promote Safety in Your Community

 

Safety is essential to our well-being. In fact, it’s one of the most essential human needs. Without feeling safe, it can feel nearly impossible to pursue purpose and happiness. It’s the reason that people make sacrifices to find safer jobs, get their kids into safer schools, and move into safer neighborhoods. While some communities are safer than others, residents can band together to create a better neighborhood. Research shows that small changes can reduce crime, create a better sense of community, and increase overall safety. What can you do to make your neighborhood a safer place? Read on to learn more.

 

10 Ways to Make Your Neighborhood Safer

These are 10 easy ways to help promote a safer neighborhood for you and your fellow community member.

 

  1. Get to Know Your Neighbors

Knowing your neighbors makes your neighborhood safer. If it sounds simple, it’s because it is. Researchers and criminologists at the University of Michigan School of Public Health found that streets where neighbors got to know each other saw increased rates of community engagement and decreased rates of crime. The safety benefits of getting to know your neighbors include:

  • Looking out for each other’s properties and belongings.
  • Knowing who is and is not home.
  • Having more eyes on the street.
  • Being notified if someone sees something dangerous happening to your home or yard.
  • Having a place to go in an emergency.

 

When people know their neighbors, they look out for each other and monitor the activity on their streets. As a bonus, familiarity between neighbors has been shown to boost feelings of happiness, belonging, and altruism. Take the time to get to know your neighbors and consider creating a local network to share resources and information.

 

  1. Get to Know Your Community

Community prevents crime. Beyond just knowing your neighbors, it’s important to develop a good understanding of your community’s culture, values, and physical layout. Community-based safety emphasizes engaging with your surroundings and understanding the fabric of your neighborhood. This means taking the time to have a better understanding of what’s happening, who’s around, and how you can expect people to act. This will give you a better idea of potentially suspicious activity while also helping you feel a greater connection to your community.

 

  1. Host Community Gatherings

Good things happen when neighbors get together. Whether it’s a planned, formal event or just a spur-of-the-moment hangout, community gatherings are one of the most effective tools in creating a safer neighborhood. Gatherings get more people in the street ­– or sidewalks, yards, or buildings ­– creating greater familiarity between neighbors and with the community which, as mentioned earlier, are keys to making a neighborhood safer. There are plenty of options for hosting community gatherings in your neighborhood. Maybe it’s a park cleanup event. Or a barbecue. A neighborhood-wide bike ride. A holiday festival. Even a celebration for local business. Whatever they may be, neighborhood events are great for safety, and they provide opportunities for networking and community projects. See if your neighborhood has some sort of event-planning committee. If not, look into starting one.

 

  1. Start Regular Meetings

Consider organizing regular community or neighborhood meetings. These provide a platform for people in your neighborhood to voice concerns and organize local safety efforts. Here they can share ideas, brainstorm and implement solutions, solve disputes, and even prevent potential serious litigations.  Meetings are also a great way for neighbors to become more familiar with local issues and laws. The ideal frequency of these meetings depends on the size and needs of your community. Regardless of how often you meet, it’s best that meetings are held at consistent times and intervals. One a month is a good starting point, but some communities can benefit from more frequent meetings while others do fine with bi-monthly meetups. Considering taking notes at the meetings and providing summaries online for people who are unable to attend.

 

  1. Reclaim and Invest in Shared Spaces

There are very few things that improve a neighborhood’s safety – and its appearance – more quickly than members taking the time to reclaim and invest in shared spaces. Abandoned parks and vacant lots are rarely one person’s responsibility, but they can easily become everybody’s problem. Research shows that vacant spaces invite crime, house rodents and other pests, lower neighborhood real estate values, and often catalyze area blight. On the other hand, research also shows that creating safe, shared spaces reduces crime and violence. This could mean adding a new park or even something as simple as a few benches. Adding green space to a neighborhood has also been proven to promote walkability and improve mental and physical health. Contact your local police department, alderman, or city councilperson to identify potential ideas and places for new shared spaces. If you are a business looking to get involved in your community, sponsoring a shared space could be a great way to help promote neighborhood safety.

 

  1. Maintain Your Own Space Responsibly

Increasing neighborhood safety is a community effort, but it’s also dependent on individual action. If you want a safe neighborhood, start with a safe home. Take the time to remove, minimize, and secure any potential property hazards. Look for potential landscaping safety issues such as insect nests, dying trees, or foliage that could make it easy for burglary. Cover swimming pools and any other potential wrongful death hazards. Consider installing a home security system, investing in motion sensors and porch lights, and designating spaces for tools or other items that could hurt you or your neighbors. Be sure to keep your doors, windows, and garage door shut and locked throughout the day. While your individual space might not seem important in the grand scheme, it makes a big difference.

 

  1. Help Uplift People in Your Community

Just as neighborhood safety is essential to our individual well-being, the well-being of individuals is essential to our neighborhood safety. Issues like poverty, neglect, and abuse can lead to trauma and dangerous behavior. While many aspects of these issues are systemic, they can be addressed at both an individual and communal level. Consider ways that you can respectfully help members of your community. Work with your neighbors and community organizations to address issues people may be having. Are there parents who need supervision for their kids while they’re at work? Maybe the local food bank could better serve a segment of the population.  Perhaps an organization could host a workshop on identifying signs of mental and emotional abuse. Providing the resources and care to address individual needs is a great way to help keep your community safe.

 

  1. Form a Group on Social Media

A lot of us are online more than we care to admit. While many people blame technology for keeping us inside and disconnected from our community, neighbors can use social media to make sure everyone feels safe and informed. Forming a community safety Facebook group is a great way to talk about safety issues, make safety-related announcements, and share safety tips. Websites like Nextdoor also make it easy for neighbors to share information, organize community efforts, and coordinate safety plans.

 

  1. Initiate Cleanup Groups

Keeping a neighborhood clean keeps it safe. While in an ideal world, city and county governments would be able to keep our neighborhoods litter-free, we know that isn’t the case. This is where the community comes in. Neighborhood-wide cleanup groups and events are great ways to tidy up the community and bring people together. Organize a group of people to get together and take things into your own hands … literally. Utilize social media groups, fliers, and word of mouth to organize community cleanup projects. Maybe it’s a local park filled with trash, or maybe overgrown weeds are blocking a public-access staircase. Cleaning up roadways of debris can go a long way to prevent car accidents, truck accidents, bicycle accident, and even pedestrian accidents. Whatever the issue, get a group together and get to it.

 

  1. Ensure Kids Are Engaged and Informed

It’s important that the children in your neighborhood are engaged and informed. Knowing how to navigate a neighborhood teaches them agency, good decision-making, social skills, and self-confidence. It also keeps them safe. Consider hosting a “neighborhood tour” for kids and their parents. Show them where important places such as schools, parks, playgrounds, and police officers and stations are in their community. Get other parents, stakeholders, business owners, and local law enforcement involved. Be sure to set boundaries with your own kids so they know where they should and should not go.

 

 

Promoting Safety in Your Community

Creating a safer community can be more than just a task, it can be an opportunity to make new friends, new connections, and build a new bond with your neighbors and neighborhood. The best way to solve neighborhood crime, accidents and injuries are at a community level. So, invest your time into helping to promote safety in your community and benefit from a safer community and new friendships.  

 

 

 

How Can a Business Get Involved in Its Community?

How Can a Business Get Involved in Its Community?; Community Engagement Ideas for Companies

 

The local business world, much like the natural world, functions as an ecosystem. This doesn’t mean that businesses are decomposing and releasing carbon, but it does mean that individual companies operate in conjunction – and sometimes competition – with one another. It also means that business and community success are closely related and usually interdependent. While some business owners still view community involvement as an option, the smartest and most successful make it a priority.

Community Engagement Ideas for Companies

Community involvement builds awareness, trust, and loyalty. Studies show that customers view community-oriented companies as more authentic, and businesses that engage with their communities are more likely to build a devoted customer base. It’s also been shown that companies who are involved have higher rates of employee satisfaction, better name recognition, and overall increases in sales. So how does a business get involved in its community? Let’s take a look at ten of the best ways.

 

  1. Support Other Local Businesses

Business is far from a zero-sum game. In fact, when it comes to local business, supporting fellow small businesses is crucial for your own success. Small businesses are better for the local economy and lead to more money circulating in your community. Having successful businesses in the area also gives you the chance to share knowledge, utilize each other’s products and services, and collaborate on community-based initiatives. There are plenty of ways you can support other local businesses. One of the simplest and most straightforward methods is to purchase and use their products and services. Vouch for them through word-of-mouth referrals and social media posts. Many business owners collaborate with other local businesses through sourcing and referral systems, displaying their flyers and business cards, offering discounts, and creating business networking groups. For example, The Women’s Creative, a women-owned small business collective in St. Louis, helped launch the #314together initiative to help boost local business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

  1. Host or Participate in Charity Events

Local businesses have the opportunity to support the organizations working to make their communities better. Supporting a charity that aligns with your own values is a great way to make a difference — and it’s good for your company. Businesses can fundraise and make donations to local charities, attend charitable events, or even create their own. For example, Tiesta Tea, a Chicago-based online tea store, hosts the annual Spread the Warmth event to provide warmth and everyday necessities for Chicagoans in need. TorHoerman Law hosts an annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway in collaboration with other local businesses. The event supports community members struggling to provide food during the holiday season.

 

  1. Participate in Local Events

While community involvement is a great business strategy, it doesn’t take much strategy to get involved. Sometimes it’s as simple as just participating in community events. The local talent show? Get some of your staff to put on a performance. Maybe you run a creative business that could showcase some of its creations at a local art fair. Have your employees walk in the next homecoming parade. Even attending your local city council meeting is a great way to get involved and earn your business some name recognition. The opportunities are endless — your business just needs to get out there. If your community does not offer a lot of events for residents, maybe you should consider starting an annual event. It’s a great way to encourage community interaction and build your brand.

 

  1. Sponsor Events and Organizations

Sponsorship is a great way to get involved in your community and to advertise your company. Sponsorship typically involves offering funding, services, or products to support events, organizations, or teams. In exchange, your business receives community exposure and the chance to make new customers. It also gets your name and logo on flyers, signs, social media posts, uniforms, and other promotional materials. You can sponsor things directly related to your business, but they don’t have to be. Just look at the Bach Society of St. Louis’ partners and sponsor list. The connection between the organization and Chorus America is obvious, but larger and seemingly unrelated corporations like Ameren and Wells Fargo also understand the value of contributing. Consider sponsoring things like local community food banks, animal shelters, or sports teams.

 

  1. Sponsor Community Developments 

You can improve your city and strengthen your reputation at the same time. Developments like new walking and cycling paths, beautification projects, public transportation updates, and museums and cultural centers can all improve the health, safety, and prosperity of your community. They often also rely on outside support. For example, City Plants, an organization working to plant and distribute trees throughout Los Angeles, has over 15 different sponsors that financially support its mission. The Naperville Park District in Naperville, Illinois, has sponsors ranging from local auto dealerships to multinational corporations. Search for the sort of opportunities where you can make a difference in your community.

 

  1. Hold Contests

Contests and competitions help foster collaboration and camaraderie. By hosting or sponsoring a local contest, you can bring community members together while simultaneously gaining recognition for your company. Participants are likely to share contest details with their friends in person and on social media. This gets more people interested and involved, and it serves as a low-cost, low-effort marketing tool. The best contests serve the best interests of your business and your community. Think of a local gym hosting a fitness competition. A car accident law firm hosting an “End Distracted Driving” Essay Contest. Or maybe a tutoring center holding a contest for the number of books a person reads in one month. All of these examples are in line with the business’s products and services while also promoting community and personal development.

 

  1. Incentivize Employee Volunteer Engagement

Social responsibility is good for your community and for your bottom line. Employee volunteerism has been proven to positively impact employee morale, business performance, and a company’s culture and public image. So how can you encourage employee community service? There are plenty of options depending on your company size and budget. You can host a company-wide volunteer day, sponsor company community involvement programs, or offer paid-time-off in exchange for employee volunteer hours. You can also incentive volunteering by offering gift cards, free lunches, and other prizes to employees who put in the most time and effort.

 

  1. Make Your Property a Shared Space

For companies with a physical location, consider using your business as a shared space. Think of how your business can be a place where the community can visit, use, walk through, gather, and enjoy. This gives you the opportunity to build relationships and promote your products and services face to face. Are there things lacking in your community that your business can provide? It could be something as simple as having a Little Free Library out front. Maybe you can host weekly movie nights or panel discussions. If your business has a lot of foot traffic, considering including a coffee shop or other space customers can take a break from shopping. Whatever you decide, be sure to consider public safety to avoid any accidents and premise liability lawsuits. You are welcome to consult with an attorney from our firm about liability if you are interested in creating a shared space.

 

  1. Beautify the Community With Your Space

Business owners can beautify their community by beautifying their own space. Does your business fit in with or enhance the aesthetic of the street it’s on? Consider how the front of your storefront or building looks. Look into improvements such as additional lighting, plants, and decorations. Add publicly accessible seating for community members to enjoy. Are you keeping up with your property? Be sure to manage your property on a regular basis – cutting the grass, sweeping the sidewalk, managing your landscaping, and keeping your premises clean are all great ways to beautify your space and community. If your business’ customers require parking, be sure to provide adequate parking spaces. Keep your parking lot well-managed and orderly with plenty of signs, clearly marked parking spaces, flow-of-traffic arrows and other necessary efforts to avoid customer car accidents. If you rely on delivery for your products, you can implement these same measures in and around your loading/unloading areas to avoid trucking accidents.

 

  1. Provide Tours

Some businesses are worth sharing with the community. Whether you are in a historic building, have a unique production process, or you just think people would find your company interesting — hosting tours is a great way to directly connect with your community in person. Business tours are popular with all sorts of companies; people tour Samuel Adams’ Boston Brewery the same way they would spend a day visiting the Museum of Modern Art. If you’re considering giving tours of your business, be sure to plan out the logistics. Will they be formal, guided tours, or can visitors just roam through your building as they please? Consider the potential risks of accident and make sure to take the right precautions to ensure your employees’ safety with outside visitors in their work area.

 

How Your Business Can Help Its Community

These 10 community engagement ideas for companies to get involved with their communities are just a few of the many ways that businesses can get involved & facilitate positive relationships with their communities and neighbors. Ultimately, helping your community can help your business too. Research shows that community involvement may entice consumers to choose your business over your competitors. So, what seems like a sunk cost of investing in your neighborhood could have great return in building name recognition and driving new business for you. When a business helps a community, it benefits everyone.

 

 

 

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