Montana is one of the worst states in the United States for auto accidents. Statewide, Montana reported 190 traffic accident deaths in 2016. The vast majority (170) of these fatalities occurred in rural areas. Montana had a fatality rate of 18.23 per 100,000 population. By contrast, the national fatality rate was 11.59. In previous years, Montana’s crash fatality rate has more than doubled the national rate.
Why are serious auto accidents so common in Montana? Many factors can contribute to car crashes, such as dangerous weather, unsafe roads, defective auto parts, and animals crossing the road. The number one cause of car accidents in Montana, however, is driver negligence. A prudent and attentive driver should be able to navigate Montana’s rural roads without crashing. Accidents occur when drivers engage in acts of negligence.
Distracted driving now plagues every city and state, largely due to cell phone use. Distracted driving killed 3,450 people throughout the country in 2016. It is a serious problem that continues to take more and more lives every year. Distracted driving describes operating a vehicle while something else is taking away the driver’s focus and attention from the driving task. Common driver distractions in Montana include:
Failing to pay enough attention to the road stems from a wealth of distractions available at drivers’ fingertips, as well as the wrong attitude about driving. Many drivers – especially new and young drivers – overestimate their driving abilities. They mistakenly believe they can split their attention between the road and something else. This ultimately leads to serious and fatal car accidents.
Driver distraction is a major source of car accidents in Montana and throughout the world, but it’s far from the only type of driver negligence seen on the roads. “Negligence” behind the wheel can refer to anything that a reasonable and prudent driver would not have done in the same or similar circumstances. If negligence causes a car accident, that driver will be liable for all related damages under Montana’s fault-based insurance system. Examples of driver negligence are:
If another driver’s negligence caused or even contributed to your recent Montana car accident, a claim with that person’s insurance company is your next step. From there, you will need to negotiate your settlement until it achieves your desired amount. Don’t do this alone. Hire a Montana car accident lawyer to negotiate a better deal on your behalf. An injury lawyer can also help you take your case to court if a settlement isn’t enough. If negligent driving has impacted you, contact a personal injury lawyer in Montana as soon as you can.