For years, deaths in motor vehicle accidents have been on the decline in the United States. But some Montana readers may be surprised to learn that this is no longer the case. According to preliminary estimates released recently by the National Safety Council, car accident deaths in 2016 were up six percent over the previous year. This follows a seven percent increase in 2015. That two-year increase in fatal accidents is the largest in over 50 years.
Drunk driving is a serious problem in Montana. For many people, the consequences are fatal. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drunk driving killed 932 people in the state in the ten-year period from 2003 through 2012. That averages out to about 93 deaths per year, and between seven and eight per month.
In Montana, once a personal injury lawsuit is commenced both sides are required to exchange information in a process known as "discovery." The goal of discovery is to promote fairness and prevent surprises in litigation by allowing each side to inquire about the other's case before trial.
Whenever a school bus is involved in an accident, the safety of the students on the bus is a paramount concern. In a recent collision involving two school buses and two automobiles just outside Billings Senior High, none of the students on the two buses were hurt. Unfortunately, two occupants of the cars were injured and taken to area hospitals. Billings Police indicated their injuries were not life-threatening,
With all the fun and festivities that comes along with New Year's Eve, there are, unfortunately, some dangers as well. As our readers might expect, every New Year's Eve comes with a substantial increase in accidents, many of which involve drunk drivers.
When Montana residents files a personal injury claim in connection with a car accident, they are often unsure how their case will be resolved. Some cases go to trial and a jury decides whether the defendant was negligent, and then decides the amount of damages that will fairly compensate the plaintiff. But, the majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court. Settlement provides certainty to both parties and avoids the risk and expense of trial.
As bicycling becomes more popular in Montana, it is probably inevitable that collisions with motor vehicles will increase. Unfortunately, a person on a bike has very little protection in collision. Unlike someone in a car, the bicyclist is not surrounded by a steel cage that will absorb some of the impact. As a result, automobile-bicycle collisions carry a high risk of serious injury for the cyclist.
Drunk driving is a serious problem in Montana. When a person chooses to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after having too much to drink, they put the safety of everyone else on the road at risk.
In the immediate aftermath of a serious car accident, Montana emergency responders will check whether anyone is injured. If a person's injuries are not obvious, they will ask the person if they feel alright. Often the answer is yes. But all too often someone who initially did not think they were injured begins to experience pain, stiffness and other symptoms hours or even days later.
In Montana, a person injured in a car accident caused by the fault of another driver has the right to bring a lawsuit and recover monetary damages. The amount of damages awarded is determined by a jury if the case goes to trial. In many cases the victim's attorney is able to negotiate a settlement with the negligent driver's insurance company before trial.