A devastating car accident only takes a few seconds to occur—but the aftermath can affect the victims for months or even the rest of their lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 37,461 people lost their lives in car accidents in 2016—a 5.6 percent increase from 2015. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver in Montana, you need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to obtain the compensation that you deserve. Our trial attorney, Lucas Foust, is here to fight with the negligent driver’s insurance company, who will try to deny or reduce your claim even if their liability is clear-cut.
Common Causes of Auto Accidents in Montana
Unfortunately, you are at risk of being the victim of a tragic auto collision every time that you get behind the wheel. Drivers cause many types of crashes on our roads due to unsafe driving practices. Some of the most common types of motor vehicle accidents include:
- Head-on collisions
- Side-impact crashes
- Rear-end collisions
- Rollover accidents
- Sideswipe wrecks
- Single-vehicle crashes
Why Do Motorists Cause These and Other Types of Car Accidents?
Despite all the safety technology being installed on autos to prevent accidents, driver error remains the underlying cause of the majority of auto crashes in the United States. Some of the top reasons that motorists cause victims to suffer catastrophic injuries and death include:
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving continues to be a huge problem in Montana. When drivers are texting, talking on their cell phone, eating and drinking, or looking at a GPS, their eyes and mind are off their driving. In a split second, a distracted driver can veer over the center lane and cause a head-on collision or rear-end another vehicle. In 2016, 3,450 victims were killed in these accidents.
- Drunk driving. Despite the public awareness campaigns about the dangers of drunk driving, drunk driving fatalities are increasing. There were 10,497 fatalities in 2016, which was a 1.7 percent increase over 2015. When intoxicated, a driver’s vision, reaction time, judgment, and ability to judge distances are impaired—which are all necessary skills to avoid causing a wreck.
- Drowsy driving. Being drowsy can impair a driver’s driving abilities in similar ways as if he consumed alcohol. In our fast-paced world where many people regularly do not get enough sleep, drowsy driving accidents where drivers are fighting to stay awake while at the wheel are a real danger.
- Speeding. When a driver is speeding, an accident can be much more catastrophic due to the greater force of the impact of the collision. Unfortunately, this continues to be one of the leading causes of car accidents, causing 10,111 fatalities and countless more injuries in 2016.
- Reckless driving. Reckless driving can involve more than excessive speeding. Making sudden lane changes, tailgating, and trying to pass when it is illegal or unsafe are just some of the ways that reckless drivers cause horrific wrecks.
- Aggressive driving. Some of the unsafe driving practices listed above, such as unsafe lane changes, excessive speeding, and tailgating, are also forms of aggressive driving. Failing to yield and driving at a too slow speed in the fast lane are other common types of aggressive driving. Aggressive driving is especially dangerous because it can escalate into road rage where a driver commits a criminal act, such as shooting another motorist.
- Teen drivers. Teen drivers and other inexperienced drivers can cause a collision due to their lack of experience and poor judgment. In addition, teenagers, as well as young adults, are more likely to engage in dangerous practices—like texting when they are driving.
- Weather conditions. When drivers fail to slow down in rain, fog, snow, and ice, you and your family could suffer life-altering injuries or death if the driver loses control of his vehicle.
- Roads. In some cases, negligent driving is not the cause of a crash. Instead, the cause could be road conditions, such as the road’s design, or potholes, cracks, and other defects in the road. In this situation, you may have a claim against a municipality. However, these claims have special notice and other procedural requirements, so it is critical to retain an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.
- Defective parts. If a defective airbag, gas tank, or another part of a vehicle caused your car accident, you could have a products liability claim against the vehicle and parts manufacturer, seller, and more.
What Types of Compensation Are You Entitled to When Filing a Car Accident Claim?
In Montana, you are entitled to be fully compensated by the negligent driver who caused your car accident. You could be entitled to these types of compensation:
- Property damages, such as vehicle repair or replacement, car rental fees, and towing costs.
- Medical expenses—doctor visits, surgery, hospitalization, physical therapy, and medications are a few medical expenses.
- Lost wages, which can include back and future wages, lost sick and vacation time, lost commissions and bonuses, and lost earning capacity if you suffered a permanent disability.
- Pain and suffering for the emotional trauma you suffered due to the accident and your injuries.
- Wrongful death damages, which can be awarded if a loved one died in the crash.
Montana’s Statute of Limitations: A Crucial Deadline That You Don’t Want to Miss
The statute of limitations is the time period that you have to file your lawsuit against the negligent driver. You do not want to miss this important deadline because the judge will most likely dismiss your case if you do so. In Montana, the statute of limitations is two years for property damage claims and three years for claims for compensation for injuries. However, it is always best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your car accident so that he can build a strong case against the negligent driver.
Were you or a loved one injured in a car accident caused by another driver? Attorney Lucas Foust is here to answer your questions and fight for the compensation that you deserve if you suffered serious injuries or a loved one was killed. He realizes that not all accident claims require the assistance of an attorney and will only accept your case if he feels that he can truly help you. He also knows from years of experience that the insurance company will use many tactics to deny or reduce your claim if you were severely hurt and that having an attorney on your side can be a game-changer. To learn more about your legal options, call our office today to schedule your free consultation with Lucas.