Residents of Montana probably know about the legal concept of negligence, which comes into play in motor vehicle crashes. It can be hard to determine who was negligent in a crash, especially when it involves three or more vehicles. Below is a brief outline of what the process might involve.
First, it may help to consider a simple scenario: a chain reaction of two rear-end collisions. Driver A is hit from behind by Driver B, who was hit by Driver C. If Drivers B and C were being negligent, such as by speeding or following too closely to the vehicle in front, then Driver A may hold both responsible. Though Driver C’s car did not actually hit Driver A’s, it still contributed to the impact.
If Driver B was obeying all the traffic rules, then Driver C will be held liable for the damage caused to Driver A’s car even though the medium was Driver B’s car. In these situations, it’s not just Driver A who can file a claim, of course. Driver B, even if partially negligent, may file a claim against Driver C.
Gathering evidence is crucial to determining fault. This evidence can include the findings of the police and crash investigators as well as testimony from passers-by or car passengers who witnessed the crash.
Before they file a claim, victims of motor vehicle accidents may want to see a lawyer. Personal injury lawyers might have a network of crash investigators, medical experts and other third parties who may help strengthen a case. Lawyers might also provide free evaluations of cases under Montana’s comparative negligence rule. If a case holds up to this rule, then victims may have the lawyer speak on their behalf at the negotiation table or in the courtroom.