Whether you’ve recently been injured in a car accident in Montana or you have a squeaky clean driving record, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the laws concerning car crashes in Big Sky Country.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at car accident statistics, the key Montana laws you need to know, and the steps you should take following a car accident to ensure that you’re fairly compensated for your injuries.
According to the Montana Department of Transportation, there are roughly 21,000 car crashes in Montana every year. In 2017 (the last year for which data is available), there were 23,834 car crashes.
How many of those crashes resulted in injuries? Here’s the breakdown:
|2017 Montana Car Crashes & Injuries|
|Injury Severity||Total Number of Crashes|
|Serious Injury Crash||599|
|Minor Injury Crash||4,555|
|No Injury Crash||18,173|
The data shows that rural areas in Montana are far more dangerous than urban areas. Shockingly, 88% of fatal crashes in Montana occurred in rural areas in 2017 and 78% of serious injury crashes occurred in rural areas.
Historically, rural states have fatality rates well above the national average. One of the reasons this is true is that vehicles travel at higher average speeds on rural roads.
Other Montana car accident statistics from 2017 that might surprise you include:
In Montana, approximately 3% of all crashes result in serious injuries. These injuries may include:
On the other hand, approximately 19% of all crashes result in minor injuries. These injuries may include:
Montana has a fault-based insurance system. This means that if you get into an accident in Montana, you’ll have to show that the other driver was negligent in order to receive compensation.
To prove negligence, the injured person (the “plaintiff”) must prove 4 elements:
How you go about proving the elements of negligence will vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case. Some important evidence may include:
Montana follows the modified comparative fault theory. Under this theory, the amount of damages a plaintiff can recover is reduced by a percentage that reflects their own degree of fault – so long as that percentage doesn’t exceed 50%.
If the plaintiff’s percentage of fault exceeds 50%, the plaintiff can’t recover ANY damages.
In Montana, there are 3 types of damages available to a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit:
In a car accident, fraud isn’t a factor. However, the defendant may have acted with actual malice. In Montana, a defendant acts with actual malice if the defendant:
For example, if a person becomes intoxicated and decides to drive, that person likely acted with actual malice because the person was aware that driving while intoxicated creates a high probability of causing an injury, and nevertheless decided to drive.
When you’re involved in a car accident, there are a million thoughts running through your head. While this is understandable, here are 4 steps you’ll want to remember to take.
Under Montana law, every driver who knows or “reasonably should have known” that the driver has been in an accident with another person must immediately stop their vehicle and:
Potential witnesses to a car accident include:
Witnesses are notoriously difficult to track down after an accident. Be sure to get all the contact information you can at the time of the accident, including:
In addition to helping you recover from your injuries, going to the doctor after a car accident adds legitimacy to any future damage claim you make. If you don’t visit a doctor soon after the accident, the other party (or insurance company) may argue that:
If you’re involved in more than just a minor accident or are having issues receiving sufficient compensation for your injuries from an insurance company, consider hiring a Montana car accident attorney. An experienced attorney can deal with the insurance company and help maximize your recovery.
If you’re still on the fence about contacting an attorney, consider the following:
Remember that the statute of limitations in Montana is 3 years for personal injury claims. While this may seem like a long time, finding the right attorney and filing a lawsuit can take longer than you might think. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, don’t hesitate to talk with an attorney.
A personal injury lawyer helps individuals who have sustained injuries in accidents to recover financial compensation. These funds are often needed to pay for medical treatment, make up for lost wages and provide compensation for injuries suffered. Sometimes a case that seems simple at first may become more complicated. In these cases, consider hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. Read more