The injuries that result from a motor vehicle accident can have long-term consequences. But sometimes those injuries take a while to manifest themselves. This is especially true of soft tissue injuries, which are injuries to the ligaments, tendons and muscles. It is not unusual for someone injured in a car accident to report no injuries at the scene, and yet find themselves in serious pain the next day.
A recent intersection collision in west Billings sent a man to the hospital. Fortunately, his injuries are not considered life-threatening. The car accident happened around 6:30 p.m. at the intersection of King Avenue West and South 56th Street West. A truck towing a trailer was traveling south on 56th and, according to the Montana Highway Patrol, failed to yield the right of way at the intersection with King. The victim was driving east on King and collided with the trailer.
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.
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.
Few would dispute that the Bakken oil boom has brought significant economic benefits to Montana and western North Dakota. But those benefits come with a price. In the Bakken oil region, an increase in highway and oil field accidents is putting a strain on local hospitals.
A head-on collision caused by a car going the wrong way on King Avenue in Billings sent two women to the hospital recently. The car accident happened on a weekday morning when a woman in an older model Lincoln Continental drove the wrong way in the eastbound lanes of the avenue, near 20th Street West. The drivers of two other vehicles saw her coming and were able to get out of the way before the Lincoln collided with a Chevy Malibu that had come to a stop in the right lane.
Even the best doctors can make mistakes. Montana readers may be interested in a recent jury verdict that illustrates that point. The jury concluded that medical negligence by a prominent cardiologist led to the death of a 59-year-old woman after her surgery. Specifically, the jury found the doctor failed to adequately monitor a medication given to the woman following the surgery.
A recent post in this blog talked about a class presented by OSHA to oil field supervisors to address safety issues in the oil fields. The need for such a class was brought home recently, when a 29-year old Utah man became the latest victim of an oil field accident.
Last year the Montana Legislature enacted several tough laws intended to save lives by deterring drunk driving in the state. The laws included a no-nonsense 24/7 monitoring program, increased penalties and greater police authority. Unfortunately, in late August the Montana Department of Transportation released some disheartening news: fatalities in alcohol-related car accidents have increased this year over the same time last year.
With our increasing dependence on personal technology, distracted driving is becoming a serious danger on the roads today. A recent distracted driver accident in Montana is an extreme example of a driver neglecting his responsibility to pay attention to the task of driving.