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Kansas City Bears Brunt of Liability for Missouri Traffic Accident

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Kansas City, MOMissouri accidents are no worse or no less devastating than traffic accidents anywhere else. Nonetheless, when a traffic accident happens to you—as they do for thousands of Americans each day—you tend to think that yours represents the absolute worst thing that could have happened to you.

It doesn't help that Missouri traffic accidents occur when you have the least time or capacity for one—and they always happen, of course, when you least expect it.

Sometimes, people die.

Such was the case in 2005, when a Missouri resident allegedly ran a red light at an intersection and collided with another car. The force of the impact with the second car forced the first vehicle into the air, landing on the top of a third car. As Missouri auto accidents go, this was a serious one. The driver in the third car died.

As summarized in the March 18 issue of Missouri Lawyers Media, defendant Tina Jons testified that she believed to have had a green light when she entered the intersection of 18th and Charlotte Streets in Kansas City. In fact, as the court heard, Jons had looked to a nearby traffic light to the west and, noting that it was green, proceeded toward the intersection believing she had just consulted the appropriate traffic signal for her entrance to the intersection. In reality, the correct signal employed to govern her access to the intersection was actually red.

Jons pleaded guilty in 2007 to a charge of class D felony involuntary manslaughter in the death of Stephen Sasnett, and served three years probation. Meanwhile, the family of the deceased driver launched a wrongful death action with the help of a Missouri accident lawyer and named Jons, Ronald Brooks and the City of Kansas City as defendants.

Brooks was driving the vehicle that was struck by Jons' vehicle running the red light, sending Jons into the vehicle driven by the deceased. Brooks settled for $250,000 in 2007 and was dropped from the case.

In the end, a jury awarded the family of Stephen Sasnett $2 million, finding Jons negligent and assessing the defendant as 10 percent responsible for the Missouri car crash. The City of Kansas City, however, bore the brunt of the verdict with a negligence assessment of 90 percent due, according to the jury, to a poorly designed intersection and poorly maintained traffic lights.

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