Car Accidents

Bozeman Car Accident Attorneys

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At Hoyt & Blewett PLLC, we understand the devastating impact that a car accident can have on your life, especially when it's caused by the negligence of another driver. As experienced and compassionate Bozeman, Montana car accident lawyers, our mission is to provide you with high-quality legal representation and support throughout this challenging time. We are dedicated to pursuing justice and fair compensation for our clients, such as compensation that helps pay for medical bills, lost wages, and more. With our extensive knowledge of Montana laws and our unwavering commitment to your case, you can trust us to fight tirelessly for your rights and best interests.

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Types of Car Accident Cases We Handle

Car accidents can occur under a variety of circumstances and can lead to severe injuries, property damage, emotional trauma, and even wrongful death. Understanding the different types of car accidents is essential in determining the cause, assessing liability, and seeking appropriate compensation for damages. Each type of collision presents unique challenges and risks, making it important to have an experienced car accident attorney from our firm by your side to navigate the complexities of your case.

Common types of car accident cases that we can handle include:

  • Rear-end collisions: These accidents occur when one vehicle crashes into the back of another. They are often caused by tailgating, distracted driving, or sudden braking. Rear-end collisions can result in whiplash, back injuries, and vehicle damage.
  • T-bone accidents: Also known as side-impact collisions, T-bone accidents happen when the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another, forming a "T" shape. These accidents commonly occur at intersections and can cause significant injuries due to the limited protection provided by the side of a vehicle.
  • Head-on collisions: In head-on collisions, two vehicles crash into each other while traveling in opposite directions. These accidents can often result in severe or fatal injuries due to the combined force of the impact.
  • Sideswipe accidents: A sideswipe accident occurs when two vehicles traveling parallel to each other make side-to-side contact. This type of collision can be caused by lane changes without checking blind spots, drifting into another lane, or misjudging the distance between vehicles. Sideswipe accidents can lead to loss of control and further collisions.
  • Rollover accidents: Rollover accidents involve a vehicle flipping onto its side or roof. These accidents can be caused by sharp turns at high speeds, tire blowouts, or collisions with other vehicles or objects. Rollovers are more common among top-heavy vehicles like SUVs.
  • Multivehicle accidents: Also known as chain-reaction or pile-up accidents, multivehicle accidents involve three or more vehicles. Multivehicle accidents often complicate the determination of liability and require thorough investigation.
  • Hit-and-Run Accidents: Hit-and-run accidents occur when a driver involved in a collision leaves the scene without stopping to exchange information or render aid. These accidents can make it challenging for victims to identify the responsible party and seek compensation.
  • Pedestrian or Cyclist Collisions: Accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists occur when a vehicle strikes a person walking or biking. These accidents can result from drivers failing to yield at crosswalks, speeding in residential areas, or driving distracted or impaired.
  • Single Vehicle Crashes: These accidents involve only one vehicle and can result from various factors such as losing control of the vehicle, running off the road, hitting an object like a tree or utility pole, or rolling over due to excessive speed or sharp turns.

Negligence That Causes Car Accidents

Negligence is a leading cause of car accidents. When a driver fails to exercise reasonable care and causes harm to others, they may be held liable for the resulting damages. To establish negligence, it must be proven that the at-fault party breached their duty of care and that this breach directly caused the accident and subsequent injuries. This is where our Bozeman car accident attorneys can step in and take the lead.

Common types of negligence that contribute to car accidents include:

  • Driver distraction: Distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents and can involve activities such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, or adjusting the radio. These distractions divert the driver's attention from the road, increasing the risk of a collision.
  • Intoxication: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs a driver's ability to operate a vehicle safely. Intoxicated drivers often have slower reaction times, impaired judgment, and a reduced ability to control their vehicles.
  • Speeding: Exceeding posted speed limits or driving too fast for road conditions is a common form of negligence. Speeding reduces a driver's ability to react to changes in traffic, increases stopping distances, and can result in more severe accidents due to the increased force of impact.
  • Unsafe lane changes: Failing to signal, check blind spots, or yield to other vehicles when changing lanes can result in sideswipe or multivehicle accidents. Drivers have a responsibility to ensure that it is safe to change lanes before doing so.
  • Failure to obey traffic signals and signs: Ignoring traffic signals and signs, such as running red lights or stop signs, can lead to serious accidents. Drivers are required to obey traffic laws to maintain order and safety on the road.
  • Aggressive driving: Engaging in aggressive driving behaviors, such as tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, or road rage, can create dangerous situations and increase the risk of accidents.
  • Fatigue: Driving while tired or drowsy can impair cognitive function and reaction time, making it more likely to cause accidents.
  • Poor Road Conditions: Potholes, uneven pavement, lack of signage, and inadequate lighting can all contribute to accidents, especially if drivers are not attentive or fail to adjust their speed accordingly.
  • Vehicle Defects: Malfunctions such as brake failure, tire blowouts, or steering issues can lead to loss of control and accidents, particularly if the driver is unaware of the problem.
  • Inexperienced Drivers: Lack of experience, particularly among young or newly licensed drivers, can lead to errors in judgment and poor decision-making on the road.

How to Prove Fault in a Car Accident

Proving fault in a car accident case is crucial for determining liability. Establishing fault typically involves demonstrating that the at-fault party was negligent and that their negligence directly caused the accident and subsequent injuries. Our highly experienced team knows where to look for useful information that can prove that fault lies on the other driver, not you.

To help prove fault in your case, our Bozeman car accident lawyers might:

  • Gather evidence: Collecting evidence is essential for building a strong case. This can include photographs of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles involved, skid marks, road conditions, and any relevant traffic signs or signals. Additionally, contact information and statements from witnesses can provide valuable insight into the events leading up to the accident.
  • Obtain a police report: If the police were called to the accident scene, they would have created an official report documenting the incident. This report often contains crucial information, such as the officer's observations, statements from involved parties and witnesses, and citations issued. The police report can serve as persuasive evidence when establishing fault.
  • Consult an expert: In some cases, it may be necessary to consult with an accident reconstruction expert. These professionals can analyze the available evidence and reconstruct the accident to determine factors such as speed, impact angles, and braking distances. Their findings can provide invaluable support when proving fault.
  • Review of Traffic Laws: We meticulously review relevant traffic laws to determine if any violations occurred that contributed to the accident. This could include speeding, running a red light, failure to yield, or other negligent behaviors.
  • Interviews and Depositions: We interview witnesses and, if necessary, conduct depositions to gather testimony that supports our client's version of events. This can help strengthen our case and undermine any opposing claims.
  • Medical Records Review: In cases where injuries are involved, we thoroughly review medical records to establish a causal link between the accident and the injuries sustained. This helps demonstrate the extent of the harm caused by the at-fault party.
  • Negotiation and Litigation: Armed with compelling evidence, we negotiate with insurance companies or opposing parties on your behalf to seek a fair settlement. If a fair resolution cannot be reached, we are prepared to take your case to court and advocate for your rights before a judge and jury.

Recoverable Damages in a Car Accident Claim

In Montana, if you successfully file a car accident claim, you may be able to recover various types of damages related to the accident. These damages are generally categorized as economic and non-economic damages.

Damages that might be recoverable in a successful car accident claim could include:

  • Medical expenses: This includes costs for medical treatment, such as emergency room visits, hospitalization, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and ongoing care related to injuries sustained in the accident.
  • Lost wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, you may be entitled to compensation for lost income. This can include wages lost during your recovery and any reduction in your future earning capacity due to your injuries.
  • Property damage: You can seek compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.
  • Pain and suffering: Non-economic damages like pain and suffering account for the physical and emotional distress caused by the accident and resulting injuries. This can include chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and the overall impact on your quality of life.
  • Disfigurement and disability: If the accident results in permanent disfigurement or disability, you may be entitled to compensation for the impact of these injuries on your life and well-being.
  • Wrongful death: If a loved one dies in a car accident, their family members may be able to recover damages for funeral expenses, loss of financial support, loss of companionship, and other losses specific to wrongful death cases.

It's important to note that Montana follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means that your recovery can be reduced in proportion to your percentage of fault. If you are found to be more than 51% at fault, you will likely be barred from recovering any damages altogether, too.

Bozeman Car Accident FAQ

How long do you have to file a car accident claim in Montana?

Montana has a three-year statute of limitations on injury claims, including car accident claims. You must file a claim within three years of the accident. Please keep in mind that the time limit to file an auto insurance claim could be much, much shorter, so you will have to check with your auto insurance provider.

How can a car accident lawyer help you recover maximum compensation?

With our extensive knowledge of Montana’s injury laws, we can help you navigate your claim and pursue the maximum possible compensation. We are here to guide you through every step of the way, including investigating the accident, analyzing evidence, negotiating a settlement, and so on. When we are working on your case, all our experience and skill effectively become your own.

Can multiple parties be found responsible for a car accident?

Yes, multiple parties can be found responsible for a car accident. In many cases, more than one driver or entity may have contributed to the cause of the collision. This is particularly common in multivehicle accidents, where the actions of several drivers may have played a role in the incident. Additionally, other parties, such as vehicle manufacturers, government entities responsible for road maintenance, or even pedestrians, can also share responsibility if their actions or negligence contributed to the accident.

How long does it usually take to resolve a car accident lawsuit?

The time it takes to resolve a car accident lawsuit can vary significantly depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the case, the severity of the injuries, the amount of damages sought, and the level of cooperation between the parties involved. In general, car accident lawsuits can take anywhere from a few months to several years to reach a resolution.

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At Hoyt & Blewett PLLC, our dedicated and experienced Bozeman car accident attorneys are committed to helping you navigate the complexities of your case and pursuing the compensation you deserve. 

We understand the immense physical, emotional, and financial burden that a car accident can impose on your life, and we're here to provide the support and guidance you need during this challenging time. 

Don't face this journey alone – trust our team to fight for your rights and protect your best interests every step of the way.

Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.