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Tracy Morgan crash raises issue of seat belt use in personal injury cases, P.2

In our last couple posts, we’ve been speaking about the Tracy Morgan
truck accident and how failure to wear a seat belt may or may not affect
a crash victim’s recovery in personal injury litigation. As we’ve
noted, Missouri law does not allow courts to admit evidence of failure
to wear a seat belt for purposes of demonstrating comparative negligence,
but it does allow such evidence for the mitigation of damages.

Mitigation of damages refers to a plaintiff’s obligation to minimize the effects of an
accident. In Missouri, courts may only admit evidence of failure to wear
a seat belt for mitigation if it can be shown that that not wearing a
seatbelt contributed to his or her injuries.

Arguably, failure to wear a seat belt could be liberally construed as making
a significant contribution to injuries in many types of accidents, if
not most. Plaintiffs who failed to wear a seatbelt should always work
with an experienced attorney to carefully scrutinize the extent to which
lack of safety restraint actually contributed to injuries. In some accidents,
failure to wear a seat belt has less of an effect on injuries than in
other cases, and this point should be highlighted where appropriate.

Another important point to make about mitigation of damages in these cases
is that if it can be shown that failure to wear a seat belt contributed
to injuries, the plaintiff’s reduction in damages may not be greater
than one percent of the damages awarded after any reduction for comparative
negligence. In our next post, we’ll pick back up on this point and
wrap up this discussion.

Medical Malpractice

Appeal involves issue of noneconomic damages in wrongful death med mal cases

Noneconomic damages can be a very important aspect of medical malpractice litigation, particularly in cases where economic damages are—for whatever reason—not adequate to justly compensate an injured patient. Unfortunately, some states put caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases, including Missouri. At present, there is a court challenge to a state law capping the amount of noneconomic damages plaintiffs may receive in medical malpractice cases. The 2005 law capped


The National Association Of Distinguished Counsel

PRESS RELEASE Founding partner of Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci, Scott J. Vorhees has been given a rare and always well-deserved recognition by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel (NADC) that places him in the top one percent of all attorneys in the United States. The NADC is a highly respected organization dedicated to promoting and preserving the highest standards in legal practices. In their recognitions, the NADC uses objective means

Firm News

Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci Win $1M Verdict in Bonetti Case

Friday, October 11, 2019, was the third anniversary of Chef Marcel Bonetti’s death. It was also the day a jury in St. Charles County, Missouri found fault on the part of Dr. Peter McCarthy, M.D., an emergency department physician at Barnes Jewish St. Peters hospital, for his passing. Case Background Marcel Bonetti, a renowned Springfield chef, died five days after undergoing a straightforward umbilical hernia repair. He returned to the

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