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Cok Kinzler PLLP

Helena teen killed in rollover accident

Those who are just learning to drive on Bozeman's roads may need time to build up their skills to the point of being considered truly competent behind the wheel. Until then, one might expect their lack of experience (and in some cases, perhaps even a certain degree of recklessness) to make put them at a greater risk of causing or being involved in accidents. 

Such recklessness and inexperience appears to have played a role in the tragic death of a Helena teen. The 16-year-old was killed when his vehicle rolled several times after having lost control while making a turn. It is believed that excessive speeds did play a role in the teen losing control of the vehicle. There were two passengers in the vehicle at time of the accident, both of which survived with what are reported to be non-life-threatening injuries. 

One might think that when a person agrees to ride in a vehicle as a passenger, he or she accepts any risks that the driver's poor or reckless driving skills may present. Yet motorists have a duty to protect those who are traveling with them in their vehicles, and one might certainly argue that driving aggressively constitutes a failure to meet that obligation. 

In such cases, passengers may be compelled to seek compensation from the driver. Yet in cases such as this (even if the teen had survived) their ability to recover any damages may be hindered by a teen driver's lack of resources. If, however, he or she was driving with the permission of his or her parents, one might also be able to hold them liable, as well. Those wishing to initiate a claim in such circumstances may wish to first consult with an attorney. 

Source: Great Falls Tribune "16-year-old dies in vehicle crash northeast of Helena" Puckett, Karl, Oct. 07, 2017

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