A Clinton, Missouri woman sustained injuries in a Missouri trucking accident after a tractor trailer reversed into her at 8:15am on April 8, 2011.
Truck driver Jordan T. Nelson, 22, of Altamont, Illinois reversed at a traffic signal on Business 13 just south of MO-7 in Henry County, Missouri. Nelson crashed a 1997 Peterbilt into the vehicle of Terry L. England, 50, of Clinton, Missouri. The 2003 Ford Focus that England drove sustained extensive damage in the Missouri truck accident.
Crystal M. Freeman, an occupant of England’s car, was injured in the Missouri big rig accident. The 30-year-old from Clinton, Missouri was taken to Golden Valley Hospital by a private vehicle. Freeman was reportedly not wearing her safety device. The Highway Patrol did not report any injuries for England or Nelson, who wore their safety devices.
Under Missouri law, failure to wear a seatbelt may reduce the damages for the victim in a negligence claim. Missouri is a comparative negligence state, meaning that the defendant may pay reduced damages after a Missouri trucking accident if the accident victim was partially at fault. The reduction in damages is typically in proportion to the percentage of fault assigned to the victim. For example, if the damage award is $10,000 and the accident victim was 50% at fault for the accident, the accident victim would only be compensated $5,000. The defendant can use failure to wear a seat belt as evidence of comparative negligence.
Missouri statute §307.178 determines how failure to wear a seat belt can be used as evidence of Missouri comparative negligence. The defendant must introduce expert evidence that the accident victim’s injuries were partially caused by the failure to wear a seat belt. The court may find that the victim’s failure to wear a seat belt contributed to the injuries and reduce the victim’s compensation. In Missouri, failure to wear a seat belt may reduce the victim’s compensation by up to 1% of the damages.