Auto Accident Injury in Missoula, MT
Have you suffered an injury due to a car accident in Missoula? If so, your life may never be the same again. Injuries from a car accident can interfere with your ability both to work and to enjoy everyday activities. They can also be incredibly painful. As such, you need an auto accident attorney who understands the laws in and around Missoula, MT that will fight for your legal rights and help you receive the financial compensation you deserve.
Auto Accident Injury Statistics in Missoula, Montana
According to the National Safety Council, in 2019 about 4.4 million people suffered serious injuries in motor vehicle accidents and an estimated 38,000 were killed. Montana.gov reported over 22,000 motor vehicle accidents in 2019, the cause of over 700 serious injuries and more than 180 fatal injuries. At just over 1 million residents, this equates to 1-in-50 people involved in some type of auto accident that year.
Of the serious injuries, more than 270 of them involved drivers deemed carless, inattentive, or distracted. Since 2014, the state has implemented the “Vision Zero” initiative to address the deaths of over 2,300 individuals on Montana roadways in the past 10 years, almost 500 of which were 18-25 years of age. While a huge effort has been made towards improving education and law enforcement since the program’s inception, unfortunately there were 28 fatal crashes involving young drivers aged 14-20 in 2019.
What to Do After an Auto Accident
It’s important to be prepared in the event you are a victim of a car accident. Below are the steps to remember immediately after your crash.
Receive Immediate Medical Attention
What is the most important step that you need to take after an auto accident? You need to receive immediate and proper medical treatment. You may believe that the injuries sustained after an auto accident are minor. Proper medical treatment helps ensure that you have not sustained any internal injuries that you may not be aware of.
File a Police Report
Even if no one sustained injuries, you still need to call 911 and request law enforcement assistance. When officers arrive, jot down each one’s name and badge number. Answer their questions honestly, but don’t volunteer any unasked for information, especially your thoughts on exactly what happened or who caused the car accident. Be sure to ask the officers for the number of their police report. Also ask when and where you can get a copy of it, including how much it will cost you.
If an auto accident causes $1000 or more in property damage, injury, or death, those involved must report it immediately. Failure to report could result in a fine, license suspension, or jail time according to the Montana Code Annotated. If none of the aforementioned conditions exist, then a driver has 10 days to file an accident report. Accident reports are available to involved parties upon request from the Missoula Police Department for a $7 fee. For insurance companies and uninvolved parties, the fee is $25, the latter requiring a signature from the party involved.
Gather the Appropriate Documentation
While waiting for officers to arrive after a car accident, collect information from all other drivers involved in the accident, including the following:
- Full name, address, phone number and email address
- Driver’s license state and number
- Auto insurance company name, policy number and phone number
Use your cell phone to take pictures of each driver’s license, auto insurance card, your vehicle and each additional vehicle involved in the car accident. Don’t rely on verbal communication. Having as much information as possible will only help you and your case later on. Try to keep this exchange as civil and friendly as possible. However, do not apologize for causing the accident or indicate in any way that you think you may have caused it.
Recovering Damages After an Auto Accident Injury
After surviving a car accident, the emotional and economic toll it takes can be staggering. You are not only dealing with the mental anguish that comes with being involved in a crash, but you may also be experiencing severe physical harm as well.
Common injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents include:
- Burn injuries
- Back and neck injuries, such as whiplash
- Brain and head injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
Going by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crash deaths in Montana generated $2 million in medical expenses and $260 million in wage losses for 2018. Half of this cost pertains to young adults ages 20-34. As the second-most populous city in the state, Missoula incurs a considerable portion of this state-wide expense. According to Montana’s state website, Missoula County ranks first in fatal and serious injury crashes from 2010-2019.
Hiring a car accident lawyer ensures you have the financial ability to cover any losses that have occurred as a result of a crash. An auto accident attorney will also help you handle the paperwork that you will have to complete from insurance companies. This boosts your odds of receiving the insurance compensation you deserve.
Auto Accident Laws in Montana
Liability Laws for Missoula
When car accidents happen, it is essential to determine who bears responsibility for the resulting damage and medical bills. Determining fault impacts everything from your insurance claim and level of liability to the amount of confusion you may endure during the claims process.
In an accident, liability is assigned to the driver who is found at fault. Therefore, every driver must carry liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage. Additionally, the state honors comparative negligence rules. This means that a driver will receive damages related to his or her level of fault in the accident. For example, a driver who is 30% at fault can recover 70% damages in a claim.
Statute of Limitations in Missoula
Each state has its own tort laws that determine the statute of limitations on a claim. In some states, this gives you just one year to file a claim in court, while some others may give you up to six years. In Montana, individuals may make a personal injury claim for damages and injuries up to three years after an incident.
This time window is also the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. This is why it is important to consult with an attorney immediately after your car crash. Don’t wait and risk losing out on any compensation they can recover.
Work With an Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer Near Missoula, MT
After a car accident, you have enough to worry about. We can help you find an auto accident attorney for your unique case. Get the financial restitution that you deserve if you’re the victim of someone else’s conduct.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in Montana