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Five hurt in Montana auto accident

An auto accident on U.S. 87 between Fort Benton and Great Falls sent five people to the hospital recently. Although only two vehicles actually collided, the Montana Highway Patrol was looking for a third vehicle that fled the scene.

The accident happened at about 3:30 on a Wednesday afternoon near Floweree, Montana. According to the MHP, a late 1990s or early 2000s model black Dodge Ram pickup tried to pass a semi truck on the highway. The driver of a red truck in the opposite lane, trying to avoid a head-on-collision, swerved out of the way but then overcorrected and collided with green van with four occupants.

According to the MHP, five people suffered minor injuries and were taken to a hospital in Great Falls. The MHP indicated that all the injured parties were wearing their seat belts, which spared them more serious injury. Alcohol and speed were not factors in the wreck, according to the MHP.

In Montana, someone injured in a car accident has the right to sue a negligent driver who caused the crash. In some cases, the negligent driver flees the scene and is never identified. In that event, if the injured victim has uninsured motorist coverage in their automobile insurance policy, they can recover from their own policy the damages that would have been recovered from the hit and run driver.

In this case, there is evidence the accident was caused by the black Dodge Ram pickup which left the scene. This vehicle did not actually have physical contact with any other vehicle, so technically it is not a hit and run case. But under a Montana Supreme Court ruling from 1985, an injured car accident victim who has uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage may be able to recover from their own policy the damages caused by such a vehicle. An experienced Montana personal injury lawyer can investigate the available coverages and help the victim maximize their recovery.

Source: KPAX.com, "5 hurt in Highway 87 crash near Floweree," Beth Beechie, Oct. 17, 2013

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