As summer approaches, Bozeman residents no doubt look forward to vacationing and enjoying outdoor activities. The inevitable rise in such activities typically means more vehicles on the road, which can increase the risk of traffic accidents. Fortunately, seat belt and safety restraint technology now affords even greater protection to drivers and their passengers. That protection can only be enjoyed, however, if people take advantage of it by using such safety measures.
While you, like many, might consider drunk drivers to be the biggest threat to your safety on Bozeman’s roads, another safety risk that often goes overlooked is distracted drivers. When hearing the term “distracted driver,” you likely envision someone using talking on their cell phone or texting while driving. Many of those that we here at Cok Kinzler PLLP have worked with once shared the same assumption, only to later find out that there are several different forms of distracted driving.
Automobile owners in Bozeman are expected to exercise all of their best judgments when on the road. Does that include ensuring that their cars are capable of taking on the current road conditions? Or that they use caution when they hit a stretch of highway that is known to be hazardous? When the potential for multiple reasons for a single accident exists, it may be difficult to assign liability. However, responsibility does need to be established in such cases in the event that any of the parties involved need to seek compensation from the one responsible.
If you are like most in Bozeman that have significant experience on the road, then you likely believe that you have a strong understanding of the state’s traffic laws. Yet many of those who come to us here at Cok Kinzler PLLP often think that those regulations are limited to how fast you should drive and whether or not you are legally required to wear your seatbelt. However, in many cases, simple matters such a misunderstanding over right-of-way can often lead to collisions. If you have been involved in such an accident, you should know what the right-of-way laws in Montana are to determine liability.
It may be common knowledge amongst most in Bozeman that were a law enforcement official to pull you over, the first thing he or she would likely ask is if you can provide your license and proof of insurance. While the need to see your driver’s license might be clear, why must you also show that you are insured (especially if you have not been involved in an accident)? While it may be generally accepted that carrying auto insurance is a good idea, few may actually understand that the law also requires a minimum amount of coverage. Knowing this, the question then becomes how much should you carry, and in what situations will you need it.
Imagine the following scenario: you are struck by another vehicle while driving on the streets of Bozeman. After speaking with the other driver (who clearly was at fault), you discover that he or she is in the process of making deliveries for an employer. Many have come us here at Cok Kinzler PLLP after having been in such accidents wondering who is ultimately liable: the driver or his or her employer? The answer may be both (depending on the circumstances).
For many in Bozeman, the prevailing thought may be that car accidents only happen due to another’s carelessness. While that may the cause of many of the accidents whose victims we here at Cok Kinzler PLLP assist, oftentimes collisions can also be the result of drivers making rushed or panicked decisions behind the wheel. This often occurs when vehicles traveling in the same direction attempt to pass each other on the road. If you have been involved in an accident in these circumstances (regardless of whether you were passing or being passed), you may need to understand the law regarding overtaking vehicles on the road should the issue of legal action later arise.
Many in Bozeman may joke about how you will need to watch out once their teens start driving. While the notion of reckless teenage drivers is often presented as a joke, many of those that we here at Cok Kinzler PLLP have worked with may have firsthand experience of the risks that newly licensed drivers pose. If you have been involved in an accident that was caused by a teen, then you could potentially be placed in the position of having to hold him or her legally responsible. Yet does the legal liability for your accident only extend to the teen, or can it also be applied to his or her parents?
Those Bozeman residents who come to see us here at Cok Kinzler PLLP after having been injured in a car accident may be justifiably upset as to the causes of their collisions. If you are like most drivers, than you likely go the great lengths to ensure that you pose no threat to others on the road around you. Given this attitude, you too may be frustrated if another’s negligence behind the wheel caused you harm. Of the many forms of recklessness demonstrated by drivers, speeding may be the most common. Understanding Montana’s speed limit laws may prove beneficial when trying to determine liability following an accident.
Anyone who has seen youth and adults alike walking around Bozeman while staring at their cell phones can attest to the fact that Pokémon Go has quickly become a global phenomenon. While the game has prompted millions to start being more active and become better acquainted with their local communities, problems have arisen with distracted players not being cognizant of their surroundings. Cases have even been reported of people being robbed by while playing the game. Yet even more troubling may be the potential of encountering distracted drivers tracking Pokémon while on the road.