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Missoula Personal Injury Law Blog

How can I cope with the wrongful death of a loved one?

If you recently lost a loved one due to another person's negligent actions, the pain can also be too much to bear. Losing someone close to you is never easy, but it can be especially difficult when the loss is senseless or happens suddenly. The Mayo Clinic offers the following tips on how to cope with grief, which can help you navigate the process to the best of your ability.

Give yourself time

Tips on driving safely in the winter

Winter in Montana often means treacherous roads and poor driving conditions. As a result, local motorists must take the proper precautions to ensure a safe experience for all, including themselves and their passengers. The following information explains what to do when encountering snow and ice, so you can reduce your risk of having an accident during winter.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests keeping certain items in your vehicle during the winter season. This includes an ice scraper, salt or kitty litter to increase traction, flares, jumper cables, a flashlight, and a snow shovel. Keeping warm blankets and clothing in your vehicle is also recommended in the event you're involved in an accident and stranded until help can arrive.

Snow removal, plows and traffic accidents

Driving during the wintertime can be particularly dangerous in many parts of the country, especially areas that see heavy snowfall and brutal temperatures. There are a number of risks associated with snowy roads, and aside from losing control of a vehicle or becoming stuck, drivers should also be mindful of trucks that are plowing snow. Whether someone collides with a county-operated plow truck or a small truck with a plow attached, the outcome of these collisions can be disastrous. Moreover, these trucks often take to the road when conditions are terrible and there is poor visibility, increasing the risk of a wreck.

If you regularly drive in an area that requires snow plowing during the winter months, it is pivotal to watch out for plows whenever you are on the road. Unfortunately, an accident may still occur, even if you are extremely cautious. For example, you or the driver of a snow plow truck may lose control after driving over a patch of ice. Moreover, those driving a snow plow truck may have problems with visibility due to the massive size of their vehicle.

What should you know to stay safe on an icy road?

Each year when the snow begins to fall, you may be caught off guard by how it affects the road conditions in Montana. When the winter season arrives, you will undoubtedly have to drive in less-than-ideal weather on roads that may sometimes be covered in ice. Understanding how to safely operate your vehicle and modify your driving is critical to protecting yourself and your passengers. 

Before you get into your vehicle, you should make sure that all of the snow is cleared on the windows. Sometimes, it takes several minutes for the ice to thoroughly defrost before your windshield wipers can clean your window entirely. It is imperative that you wait the entire time to make sure that there are no obstructions to your visibility before you begin driving. Additionally, you should always make sure that your lights are on when it is foggy or snowing outside and that you and your passengers have fastened seatbelts. 

How can I keep my kitchen safe this holiday season?

Families all over Montana will be hosting holiday gatherings in their homes complete with lavish feasts. While preparing a meal for loved ones is certainly fun and fulfilling, it's also important that you take the proper steps to keep you and guests your safe. Accordingly, Everyday Health recommends the following kitchen safety tips.

Keep multitasking to a minimum

How safe are Montana roads?

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident in Montana, even a relatively minor fender bender, you know all too well how upsetting these events can be. When a crash leaves one or more people with serious injuries or, even worse, results in the death of a person, the experience becomes even more fraught with challenges for those involved. While vehicle safety features have improved and laws are designed to keep people safe, there are still many people who end up dying unnecessarily in accidents every year.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,021 people lost their lives on Montana roads and highways between 2013 and 2017. Excessive speed and alcohol were noted factors in 339 and 382 of these deaths, respectively. Large commercial trucks, like tractor-trailers, were involved in 97 of the fatalities. Of the people who died, 122 were on motorcycles and 72 were pedestrians. 

Does Montana law enforce liability waivers?

As a state, Montana is known for its many fun and exciting recreational opportunities. Some of these opportunities may bring with them certain inherent risks. These risks may be due to the physical features or attractions involved, or the nature of the opportunities themselves. To help shield themselves from liability concerns, the providers of said opportunities may ask you (and other participants) to sign a waiver prior to your participation. Are such waivers enforceable? 

In Montana, waivers are not even required in some instances. Section 27-1-753 of Montana's Annotated Code states that you assume the risks of any sporting or recreational activity in which you choose to participate. This assumption of risk means that if you are injured while participating in said activity, you cannot hold the provider liable. The only exception to this rule is if your injury is due to an activity provider's own negligence. 

You versus a moose: What to do if you hit one

At Terrazas Henkel, P.C., in Montana, we know the serious injuries you can receive in an auto accident. We also know that not all accidents represent cars colliding with each other. Sometimes you collide with one of our state's most recognized large animals: a moose.

Unfortunately for drivers, this time of year is exactly when female moose and their offspring tend to roam a lot, especially at dusk and dawn. Your best strategy when driving, particularly at these times of day, is to slow down and maintain constant vigilance for moose. If you see one, assume more are nearby.

What should I do after a hit and run?

Being in a car accident is stressful enough, but when you're the victim of a hit and run it can be even more so. That's why it's important that you know just what to do after a hit and run accident occurs, which can increase your odds of receiving justice while also ensuring that you and other motorists remain safe. State Farm offers the following information you can take the right steps if involved in a hit and run.

Contact law enforcement

The Glasgow Coma Scale explained

The challenges facing one who was suffered a traumatic brain injury in Missoula have been detailed on this blog in the past. Yet it is important to remember that not every TBI (or its after-effects) are the same. One's long-term prognosis following a TBI will likely have a strong influence on his or her decision (or that of his or her friends or family) to seek compensation to help cover any expenses related to it. According to study data cited by the website brainline.org, 2.8 million people in the U.S. suffer some form of TBI every year. The question is whether there is a way to know what the outcomes of these injuries may be? 

A clinical indicator has been developed to attempt to assess one's TBI prognosis called the Glasgow Coma Scale. This scale measures the responses demonstrated by one who has suffered a TBI in the immediate aftermath of the event. These responses include:

  • Visual
  • Verbal
  • Motor