Understanding How Different Types of Car Wrecks are Handled in the Courts

By Anders Blewett

Not all car wrecks in Montana are the same and each case presents a unique set of issues, challenges and circumstances which must be carefully considered to maximize the recovery of injured parties. To help you better understand your car wreck claim, we’ve put together some examples from recent car wrecks in Montana which demonstrate some of the factors that can affect your rights and the determination of who is at fault.

Car manufacturer at fault

Car wrecks caused by a design defect in the manufacturing of the vehicle have recently received heavy media coverage. Due to the complexity of car designs and the secrecy of the auto industry, defects in vehicles are often never discovered. In a recent case involving Hyundai and a Montana family, the jury ruled against Hyundai and warded the families millions of dollars after determining that the car wreck was caused by a defectively designed vehicle.

What makes this case interesting is the fact that Hyundai had received only 127 reports of the defect prior to the accident. Hyundai failed to recall the vehicle because 127 reports out of millions of cars sold was below the company’s threshold for instituting a recall.  Because the percentage of defective vehicles was lower than that mandated by Hyundai’s recall policy, Hyundai failed to act on the knowledge that it had cars on Montana’s roads that were known to be defective. If attorneys hadn’t filed this Montana car wreck lawsuit, it is likely that the known defects would have never been uncovered and the injured families would have gone without compensation.

An experienced car wreck lawyer can file a lawsuit and utilize the discovery process to obtain information from car manufacturers regarding the defective design of their cars. They can then share this information with expert witnesses to determine whether these defective designs were the cause of the car wrecks.

If you suspect a manufacturer is at fault for causing a car wreck, make sure you contact an experienced Montana car wreck attorney as soon as possible.

Drunk Drivers

Despite numerous media and educational campaigns, alcohol related car wrecks frequently occur in the state of Montana. These preventable and often fatal car wrecks are especially tragic for the victims and their families. Drunk drivers often fail to carry insurance or have inadequate liability insurance to cover the injuries they cause, hence it is often necessary to assert a claim for “uninsured motorist coverage” or “underinsured motorist coverage” under your own insurance policy to compensate you for the injuries you suffer due to a car wreck caused by a drunk driver. In addition to asserting claims against the drunk driver and your own auto insurance policy, the injured person may also be able to assert a viable claim against the bar or establishment if they over-served the intoxicated driver. Montana has very strict time limitations on claims against bars and restaurants which over-serve intoxicated patrons and cause car wrecks, so it is critical to contact an attorney as soon as possible to determine your rights.

Before you sign any settlement agreement with an insurance company it is important to consult with an attorney who is well versed in handling car wreck cases. A quick informational call to an experienced lawyer can provide you with invaluable information to help you maximize your recovery.

Medical conditions

Car wrecks involving pre-existing medical conditions of either the driver who caused the accident or the injured person can be very complicated. Some car wrecks are caused by drivers who experience complications due to medical conditions they suffer while driving. If the driver knew of their pre-existing condition and ignored the likelihood of a medical episode while driving, they can be held liable for the car wreck they caused.

Even when the negligent driver was clearly at fault, insurance companies frequently attempt to avoid responsibility for the injuries caused by their at-fault insured’s by raising the issues regarding pre-existing medical conditions of the injured party.

In order to ensure that the insurance company does not unfairly seek to take advantage of any pre-existing medical condition you may have, it is important to contact an attorney with a proven track record of holding insurance companies accountable.

Have a car wreck case with unique circumstances?

Our firm has experience handling claims involving a wide variety of car wreck scenarios in the state of Montana. While the information in this article is intended to be used for information purposes only and not as legal advice, we encourage you to contact our Montana car wreck attorney for a free consultation.