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Distracted driver may have been cause of fatal Missoula accident

Distracted driving causes a lot of accidents on Montana roads. Police have indicated they believe the death of a Missoula high school athlete who was killed recently while walking with his girlfriend was a distracted driver accident.

The young man, an 18-year-old student at Hellgate High School, was holding hands with his girlfriend and walking on the sidewalk when a car drove up onto the sidewalk and struck him. Police indicated the driver of the car was distracted, and their initial conclusion was that alcohol or drugs were not involved. At the time this post was written the accident investigation was inactive, as authorities awaited the results of toxicology tests on the driver. Authorities have not indicated what distracted the driver and caused her to swerve onto the sidewalk. They have indicated that although the driver was an adult, she had only recently received her driver's license.

With the proliferation of personal technology in recent years, distracted driving has become a serious issue. Talking on a cell phone or texting and driving takes the driver's attention off the primary task of watching the road and keeping a lookout for pedestrians and other vehicles. All drivers have a legal duty to keep a proper lookout and be attentive to their surroundings. A failure to do so is negligence.

When a fatal car accident is caused by a negligent driver, the family of the victim has the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit and recover damages for the death of their loved one. Damages that are recoverable include loss of financial support by the deceased, as well as loss of care, comfort and companionship. Out-of-pocket costs like funeral and medical expenses are also recoverable.

Source: Helena Independent Record, "Missoula police won't identify woman who hit, killed teen on Mullan," Gwen Florio, April 18, 2013

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