Montana Car Accident Attorneys

Despite being called car accidents, they usually aren’t accidents at all. Instead, if you look back you can usually find something one of the drivers did that caused the automobile wreck. As Montana Car Accident Lawyers, a large part of what we do is determining what happened before an accident. Especially if the collision causes injury or death, these actions need to be investigated completely in order that the victims can be compensated for their losses.

The Montana car accident attorneys at Measure, Sampsel, Sullivan & O’Brien, P.C., know how crucial it is for our clients to be able to depend on us to protect their rights. That’s why we provide a free consultation for injury victims. You can call us today, toll free, at 1-888-999-5037, or use the form below to email us.

Tragically, most car accidents are caused by negligence or recklessness that could have been avoided. Negligence occurs when the vehicle’s driver fails to exercise due care. Recklessness, on the other hand, is the intentional disregard for a substantial and unjustifiable risk. There are many different kinds of negligent or reckless actions that lead to Montana car accidents. For example: drunk driving, texting while driving, drowsy driving, speeding, following too closely, failure to yield, red light running, and drugged driving (which includes prescription drugs as well as illegal narcotics).

Although Montana law requires that all drivers carry liability insurance, too many people choose to break the law. This means that when they cause an accident, it can be much harder to hold them responsible and adequately compensate the injured party. Having your own insurance is helpful, but as I’ve heard too many times – insurance companies don’t make money by approving claims. If you’re the victim of a Montana car accident, you may find yourself fighting your own insurance company. At times like that, having knowledgeable and skilled attorneys can make a huge difference.

What to do if you are Involved in a Montana Car Accident

Montana is a huge state with roads crossing most of it. With those odds, it’s no surprise that car wrecks happen every day with types of injuries ranging from minimal to life ending. At the time of an accident, it’s almost impossible to determine whether it will result in litigation. For that reason, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and protect your rights. It may not matter, but if it does – it will really matter. To do that, we recommend the following steps as a good starting point:

1. First, take care of yourself. You’ll be no good to anyone else if you try to over-do things and wind up needing more help.

2. If you can move, start checking on other people involved in the accident. If anyone is injured, or needs assistance, call 911 and follow their instructions.

3. When the police arrive, tell the truth. Talk only about what you know, and don’t guess what was going on in the other car. Be police to the officer.

4. Be polite to everyone. Tempers may be high after a collision, but getting angry isn’t going to make anything better or change what happened. Exchange insurance information and try to keep things civil.

5. Write down the driver’s name and contact information. You may have an iron trap memory, but this is a traumatic event and you’re exchanging important information. Write it down.

6. Look for witnesses. If you notice someone who witnessed the whole event write down their contact information.

7. Photos can be a huge help later, but only take them if you can do it safely. Different angles of the damage to your vehicle can be vital. Gouge marks, yaw marks, and skid marks can all help establish what happened later.

8. If you are injured or in pain, and don’t need immediate medical attention, go see a doctor as soon as possible. Forget about a possible case, do this because you’re health is important and the longer you wait the more damage their could be.

9. Call your insurance company. Report the accident and write down the claim number that they give you.

10. Photograph any injuries that you have. Do this after you’ve left the scene of the accident, but don’t wait too long.

11. Call an auto accident lawyer to learn more about your rights as they pertain to your specific situation. Articles like this are broad and not tailored to your specific needs. Call someone (we offer a free consultation) to learn more about your rights and what else may be in your future.

Bigfork Car Accident Lawyer

The Bigfork Car Accident Lawyers at Measure, Sampsel, Sullivan & O’Brien, P.C., understand that representing car accident victims requires special knowledge. Whether the personal injury occurred in Bigfork or throughout Montana, our Car Accident Lawyers fight to recover the different types of damages and compensation our clients are entitled to from car accidents.

Our Montana attorneys know that you may be facing costs and damages from medical expenses, hospital bills, rehabilitation expenses, lost earnings, future wage losses, lost earning capacity, physical disabilities, scars, loss of a limb, brain and head injuries, emotional distress, depression, anxiety, grief, and pain and suffering. We understand these issues, and work with our car accident clients, their friends and family, as well as their doctors and treatment providers to ensure that our clients receive not only the finest legal representation, but also the best support and medical care.

A lot of motor vehicle accidents are just minor fender-benders, where no injuries occur and the vehicles remain relatively undamaged. However, some accidents can be very serious – often including head and brain injuries and even fatalities – and there are numerous legal issues surrounding them. Insurance companies need to get involved, and when one driver is uninsured or underinsured, things become even more complicated. This is why you need an attorney who understands the complexities that go along with representing victims of motor vehicle accidents.

Most of us rely on automobiles to get us where we’re going. Driving is usually a safe activity, but the number of deaths and injuries caused by car accidents is sobering. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 33,808 Americans died, and millions more were injured from motor vehicle accidents in 2009.

Representing motor vehicle accident victims requires a team of lawyers and investigators, devoting their time and effort to you. At Measure, Sampsel, Sullivan & O’Brien, our Bigfork personal injury attorneys investigate every claim so that we may aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results.

Whether you were injured in Bigfork, or anywhere else in the State, when you need a Montana personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member or friend who has suffered a motor vehicle accident injury, contact Paul Sullivan at Measure, Sampsel, Sullivan & O’Brien, P.C. Paul is a native of Bigfork, and willing and ready to work hard to get you the best result. To arrange a free consultation, please give us a call at 1-888-999-5037.

Montana’s Common Fund Doctrine

As an injury lawyer in Kalispell, Montana, I can’t emphasize enough how important the common fund doctrine is to accident victims. Whether you’ve been injured in a car accident, boat wreck, or something else, knowing your rights can make a world of difference.

The common fund doctrine allows a litigant or lawyer who recovers a common fund for the benefit of other parties to recover attorney fees from the whole. This is an exception to the general rule on attorneys’ fees in Montana which requires that each party to a civil action pay his or her own attorneys’ fees unless a statute, contract, or general principles of fairness allow otherwise.

There are three elements necessary to establish a common fund: 1) a party (the active beneficiary) must create, reserve, preserve, or increase an identifiable monetary fund or benefit in which all active and non-participating beneficiaries have an interest; 2) the active beneficiary must incur legal fees in establishing the common fund; and 3) the common fund must benefit ascertainable, non-participating beneficiaries.

The idea of the common fund was first established by the U.S. Supreme Court, and later adopted by the Montana Supreme Court in order to prevent unjust enrichment of non-participating claimants at the expense of active litigants and their counsel. As the Montana Supreme Court said, “The doctrine is employed to spread the cost of litigation among all beneficiaries so that the active beneficiary is not forced to bear the burden alone and the stranger beneficiaries do not receive their benefits at no cost to themselves.”

If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, the common fund doctrine can be a major advantage. Imagine you’re injured, and your insurance company pays part of your medical expenses. Later, you hire an injury lawyer who is able to get payment from the person who hurt you. Because part of the money you receive includes that payment by your insurance company, you have to pay them back for what they’ve already paid. But, under the common fund doctrine part of the attorneys’ fees are paid out of that money, and what you give to the insurance company is reduced. Because most injury lawyers handle cases on a flat fee, this reduces the amount you pay out of your share and ensures a better outcome for you.

After a Montana Accident

Accidents in Montana are devastating events that can leave you wondering which end is up. Between a crashed car, pain, and all the confusion that entails – knowing what to do next can be more than you’re ready to deal with today. When my clients first come to me following an accident, I give them a list of suggestions that sometimes help.

Keep Quiet. Aside from your lawyer, don’t talk to anyone about the accident or any injuries that you’ve sustained. This includes friends and family members. Remember, what you tell your accident lawyer is covered by attorney-client privilege, but that doesn’t extent to other people.

No Writing Either. The restriction on talking applies to writing as well. A letter to your pen pal is no different that a conversation and subject to all the same concerns.

Follow Your Doctor’s Advice. It may not be fun, but following all medical instructions related to therapy, restrictions, work, and medication are absolutely vital for your long-term health and any injury case you may pursue.

Stay in Touch. If you have an accident attorney, stay in touch with him. Keep him posted regarding medical updates and other information (such as when your doctor release you from care).

Warn Friends and Family. Your family, friends, and even co-workers may be contacted by an insurance company if you are pursuing a claim. They usually appreciate a heads up. But remember, you still shouldn’t discuss the accident or your injuries with them.

You May Be Watched. More and more, insurance companies are employing investigators to follow claimants and conduct surveillance with photos or videotape. Assume that someone is watching.

Social Media. The same companies that hire someone to follow you around are just as likely to see what information you put out for the world on Facebook. Don’t talk about your injury. Don’t write about your accident. And definitely don’t post any information online.

Collect the Paperwork. Save any medical bills, collection notices, or any other correspondence you get related to your accident or the treatment afterwards. If you have a lawyer, pass it along to him. I always advise my clients to err on the side of caution when it comes to this step. It’s better for me to look at extra paperwork and decide it’s unnecessary than to miss something that later becomes important.

Kalispell Car Accident Lawyers

After a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, injury victims deserve full compensation in a timely manner. At Measure Law Office, located in Kalispell, our Montana car accident lawyers will help secure the compensation you deserve in serious injury claims. We look at aspects such as future medical treatment, physical therapy, medical equipment, prescription drugs, lost earnings, and other factors. If you’ve been involved in a traffic accident in the Flathead Valley call us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

We view the client-attorney relationship as a partnership. We provide professional legal advice and help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve. And more than that, we talk to you throughout the process. Instead of handling your claim without your input, we consider you vital to every step of the process. At Measure Law Office, it really is a team effort.

Automobile, truck, and bus accidents happen every day. But when they happen to you, or to someone you know, they change lives. And car accidents may involve more than determining fault. Your case may involve issues such as determining insurance coverage, medical expenses, wage loss and uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. We also work with your doctors to keep your case moving smoothly, and to be certain that you receive compensation for all of your injuries, including pain and suffering, wage losses, property damages and other claims.

We know that car crashes, motorcycle wrecks and ATV accidents change hundreds of lives every year. Victims may be killed or suffer debilitating injury, such as traumatic brain injury, brain damage, spinal cord injury, paraplegia, quadriplegia and paralysis.

If you’ve been involved in a Kalispell car accident, call me today at 406-752-6373 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your options.

Montana Underinsured Motorist Coverage

I recently read that 15% of Montana drivers do not have car insurance. Given these tough economic times, I honestly would not be surprised to learn that this number was even higher today. And that doesn’t include the number of drivers who are decreasing the amount of their coverage to save money. And guess what happens if one of these people crashes into you causing more damage than they have coverage for. Unless you’re lucky enough to be hit by a millionaire running around without auto insurance, you’re probably out of luck.

Underinsured motorist coverage protects you if another driver causes an accident but doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to pay for the harm they caused. In that situation, your insurance would step in and cover the difference, up to the amount of your damages.

I can’t recommend enough that all Montana drivers get Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage. People are usually surprised to learn who affordable the coverage is, and in the case of an car accident, it can make a world of difference.

Montana Red Light Running Accidents

Montana car accident attorneys see a lot of serious injury from auto crashes and we know that some of the worst are not from high speed crashes on the highways. Many of the worst tragedies, and most tragic deaths are a result of busy intersections in cities like Kalispell, Missoula, and Billings. Usually, these come from a careless driver running a red light and causing an accident. And in cases like this, there may be no witnesses other than the drivers involved.

As the person bringing the injury claim, the victim bears the burden of proof in the case. In a red light runner case, it means that they must convince the jury that the other driver ran the light be a preponderance of the evidence. The victim has the persuade the jury until they are 51% convinced that the victim is correct. Red light runners often use the confusion of the accident, and the lack of witnesses, to their advantage by exploiting the burden of proof.

That’s why it’s so important that you hire the best car accident lawyer that you can to help with a case like this. On scene investigation and a keen eye for inconsistencies is vital to prove a he-said/she-said case like this. A private investigator to track down and interview witnesses can mean the difference between a compensated victim and no recovery.

Car Accidents Account for Over Half of Injury Trials in U.S.

Car accident lawyers are a growing field lately. Bad driving, it turns out, won’t just go away on its own. The need for personal injury attorneys in Montana is unfortunate, but that doesn’t make it unnecessary. The U.S. Department of Justice did a comprehensive study that shows over half of all personal injury trials across the country are a result of a car accident. Let that sink in for a minute.

Of all the ways to get injured in life, car accidents account for half of the injury trials going on across the country. That’s scary. And emphasizes how important it is to get a good car accident attorney at the beginning of your case. Insurance companies stay in business by denying claims and offering as little to settle as possible. Without a lawyer to help you down the path, it’s easy to fall prey to their bullying tactics and stalling procedures.

It’s also important that you hire an attorney willing to go to trial. When you see how many car accident cases end up in trial, it really hammers home how important it is that they attorney you hire be willing to take the case all the way to a jury verdict if necessary. Settlement factories that will dump you if your case gets at all complicated or difficult just won’t cut it. You need professional representation from a law firm who’s in it for you. Call us today to schedule a free appointment to discuss your case.

No Formula for Injury Claims

If someone has been hurt in a Montana car accident, there really is no formula for calculating how much they’ve lost, and what their damages probably are. I hear figures from clients sometimes (multiply the medical bills by 2 or 3), but I’m never sure where exactly those rumors get started.

The truth is that there’s no easy way to calculate what an injury claim is worth. That’s why it’s so important that you speak with a Montana accident attorney about your situation, so they can help you with the process and guide you down all the paths you’ve never traveled before. I can help you think through the situation and make sure everything gets accounted for.

I am admitted to practice law in the state of Montana, so I can’t speak for other states (although I think this is a relatively safe statement across the board). But our laws are complex enough, and involve so many variables, that any efforts to determine damages (compensatory or punitive) based on a simple formula and misguided at best and often dangerous. A skilled Montana personal injury lawyer can account for all the different law and calculate the variables to ensure that you get the best possible result. A simple calculator won’t do that.

Accident claims don’t turn back time, and they don’t undo the harm that a victim has experienced. But, if we do it right, at least the injured person gets back to a functioning position. And from there, it’s maybe a little easier to move on with life. Fair compensation for someone else’s negligence isn’t just equitable, it’s the law in Montana. If you’ve been the victim of negligence and would like to discuss your situation with a Montana injury attorney, please call me today at (406) 752-6373.