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Hydroplaning causes auto accident in western Montana

Most Montana drivers probably learned about hydroplaning in their driver's education classes. That hydroplaning is a serious hazard was tragically demonstrated in Missoula County recently, when it caused a pickup truck to roll over, injuring its five occupants, one critically.

According to the Montana Highway Patrol, the pickup was westbound in I-90 when the driver lost control on the wet road surface. The truck rolled over and ended up in the eastbound lane. Although four of the occupants were seat belted, one passenger was not. That person was ejected from the truck and was in critical condition at the time this post was prepared. Another passenger had to be extricated from the wreckage with the Jaws of Life. All five were taken to the hospital.

Hydroplaning is a known hazard on wet roads and one that is can be avoided by reducing speed. Driving too fast for road conditions, even if within the posted limit, is negligence. If that negligence results in injury to others, the driver can be held liable in a civil lawsuit. In a one-vehicle car accident like this one, injured passengers can bring a lawsuit against the driver of the car they were riding in.

The five people in this pickup were apparently related. Some people might be reluctant to bring a lawsuit against a family member in these circumstances. It is important to remember that in most cases it is insurance that actually pays the damages, and most cases settle out of court. In a case of serious injury, a lawsuit can provide much-needed compensation for medical expenses, loss of income and pain and suffering.

Source: KPAX.com, "Victims remain in critical condition after wet I-90 spin out," Melissa Rafferty, June 3, 2013

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