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Cok Kinzler PLLP

Pedestrian injured after being hit by sleeping driver in Billings

In car accidents, it should be clear that distracted driving is a form of negligence; drunk diving is a form of negligence; speeding or otherwise driving erratically is a form of recklessness; and failure to yield or stop is negligent. But is falling asleep behind the wheel and crashing into someone else considered negligence? If you can prove that the driver could have prevented the accident, then the answer is yes.

Police believe that a 16-year-old driver fell asleep at the wheel of his Blazer before hitting and injuring a pedestrian in downtown Billings. The 49-year-old victim was walking on the sidewalk next to the First Christian Church when the youth's vehicle hopped the curb.

The picture accompanying a story in the Billings Gazette shows the female pedestrian being wheeled away on a gurney and wearing a neck brace. She reportedly screamed in pain as rescue crews treated her and transported her from the scene.

The driver's vehicle was shown to be entirely off of the road and covering most of the sidewalk. He was given tickets for an expired vehicle registration and reckless driving. It remains to be seen whether or not the accident will be the subject of a personal injury lawsuit, though it would appear that the pedestrian has grounds to pursue such a claim.

All serious auto accidents are frightening, but pedestrian accidents are especially terrifying for victims. In addition to the physical injuries suffered, seeing a vehicle barreling toward you and striking you as you walk can be traumatic, and victims of Montana pedestrian accidents would do well to apprise themselves of their legal right to pursue compensation.

Source: Billings Gazette, "Pedestrian injured when struck by SUV in downtown Billings," April 20, 2013

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