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November 2012 Archives

Semi loaded with bombs collides with another truck

Heavy trucks present special risks on Montana highways. But the load carried by one semi involved in a mid-November truck accident on U.S. Highway 2 between Hinsdale and Saco presented a danger that was way beyond the usual. The truck was carrying 36,000 pounds of bombs - military ordnance bound for the Minot, N.D. Air Force base.

Victim's family sues bar that served drunk driver

The State of Montana takes drunk driving very seriously. Under state law, drunk drivers are held criminally and civilly responsible for any injuries or deaths they cause in a car accident. In addition, Montana law provides that a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol to a person who is already visibly intoxicated can be held liable for damages in a civil lawsuit, if the intoxicated person injures or kills someone in a drunk driving accident. A lawsuit filed recently in Missoula County District Court seeks to hold a Missoula bar liable under this law, known as the Dram Shop Act.

Montana town cracks down on traffic sign offenders

Authorities in Teton County, Montana intend to step up enforcement of stop sign laws at an intersection that has seen more than its share of serious accidents recently. The County Sheriff and County Attorney have spoken out recently about their frustration at drivers ignoring the stop sign that controls the intersection of U.S. Highway 89 and a secondary highway. The Sheriff says he is going to increase patrols at the intersection and that drivers who make no attempt to stop will face serious charges.

Jury awards $11 million to oil field work accident victim

When a Montana oil field worker is injured on the job, his or her first avenue of recovery is usually a workers' compensation claim against his employer. If the negligence of a third party, other than the worker's employer, contributed to the accident, the worker can also bring a civil lawsuit against that third party for damages. This appears to be what attorneys for an oil field worker injured on the job in a 2009 accident in Goldsmith, Texas did. The strategy paid off: in October of this year, a West Texas jury awarded the worker and his family $11 million in damages arising out of a 2009 accident that caused severe damage to the man's right arm.

Insurer lobbying makes malpractice cases more challenging

For years now, some insurance companies have been lobbying for what they call tort reform -- restrictive laws designed to make it harder for injured victims to recover compensation in a civil lawsuit. The field in which they have been most successful in erecting hurdles to recovery is probably that of medical malpractice. In state after state, legislatures have enacted laws restricting the ability of patients to recover for medical professional negligence.

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