car accident

No driver expects their routine trip or commute to end in tragedy. Still, unfortunately, severe car accidents are becoming more common in Bozeman and throughout Montana as the population goes through this explosive growth and infrastructure fails to keep up. With injuries and fatalities on the rise, there are several things you should know if you become injured after being involved in an accident in Montana. 

It’s an unfortunate fact that Montana ranks high nationwide for alcohol-related fatalities. In 2020 alone, impaired driving caused almost 66% of all car accident fatalities, an increase of 8% from the previous year. Impaired driving involving one or more vehicles almost always results in severe injuries, property damage, and more. 

Many states have minimum car insurance requirements, and Montana is no different. Montana law requires drivers to have liability car insurance coverage. The law requires both bodily injury coverage and property damage coverage. The bodily injury minimum is $25,000 for a single person and $50,000 for an accident, while property damage liability carries a $25,000 minimum. These amounts are often insufficient to cover collision damages. The costs of carrying underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) and uninsured motorist coverage (UM) may prove well worth it if another driver hits you. And the requirement for coverage doesn’t stop insurance disputes from occurring after a crash. If you were injured in a car accident, you should hire an attorney to fight for full and fair compensation from insurance and the at-fault driver.

Montana is an “at-fault” or “tort” state, which means that the person determined to be at fault for an accident is responsible for damages. However, fault isn’t always placed solely on one party. One or more drivers can be found at least partially at fault for an accident, and the percentage of liability dictates who pays for what. That means that if you are found to be 25% responsible for an accident, your compensation is reduced by 25%. And while law enforcement usually does their best with the time and resources available, they don’t always get it right. A law firm experienced in handling collisions, like AFJ Law Firm PLLC, can help ensure you don’t get stuck with more fault than is justified.  

A driver who causes a car accident might ask you not to report the incident to the police. However, Montana law states that you are required to report accidents to the police under many circumstances. You must report an accident within ten days if:

  • Someone is injured or killed; or
  • The accident causes more than $1,000 in property damage.

The Montana Highway Patrol reports that over half of Montana drivers involved in car accidents weren’t wearing seatbelts. Wearing a seat belt not only greatly decreases the chances of a serious injury, but it also reduces the odds of fatalities by 45%. Statistics support seat belt usage, and Montana has recently started an initiative to promote seat belt usage starting at a young age. 

What to Do After a Car Accident in Bozeman, MT

Being involved in a collision can be a life-changing event. The first thing to do after being involved in a car crash in Bozeman is to seek medical attention. Injuries may not be evident immediately, so it’s always important to see a doctor to determine the extent of your injuries. Call 911 for both police and paramedics. The police can investigate the scene and provide an accident report that may prove helpful. Paramedics can provide first-response care and get injured people to further treatment. A Montana car accident attorney can help you understand your legal rights and fight for proper compensation if you are harmed by someone else’s negligence or malice.

Were you involved in a car accident in the Bozeman, MT, area? Contact AFJ Law Firm, PLLC, today for a no-cost consultation. We understand Montana law and are ready to fight for you.