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Montana man killed when horse trailer breaks free on highway

A horse trailer that broke loose from its trailer hitch caused a fatal auto accident in Glacier County recently. According to the Montana Highway Patrol, a 28-year-old man from Missoula was the victim.

The accident happened shortly before 11 a.m. on Highway 2 near Browning. A 2008 Chevrolet truck pulling the trailer was eastbound when the trailer broke free. The out-of-control trailer crossed over into the westbound lanes and collided with a 2006 Chrysler 300. The trailer crashed into the passenger side of the Chrysler and killed the victim, who was in the passenger seat.

A second passenger in the Chrysler, and the driver of the Chevy truck, also suffered injuries. The injured victims were transported to a hospital in Browning.

News reports of this car accident do not indicate exactly why the trailer broke free, but that question will certainly be the focus of the official accident investigation. There are several possibilities. If the investigation shows the trailer was not properly attached, the person who attached it and the driver of the Chevy truck-who may well be the same person-may face legal liability for the accident.

Drivers have a legal duty to make sure their vehicles are safe when they take them out on the road. Similarly, if the trailer hitch or the trailer itself was in poor repair, the owner will be responsible. And if the trailer hitch was defectively designed and that defect led to the failure, the injured victims and the family of the deceased man may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer.

Source: The Missoulian, "Missoula man killed in crash with horse trailer on Highway 2," Martin Kidston, Jan. 26, 2014

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