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Motor Vehicle Accidents

Common Defenses in Montana Car Accident Cases

June 2, 2020

Car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. In some cases, it can be difficult to determine what happened – it happened so quickly that no one really saw anything. In other cases, it may be obvious what happened and that the other driver was at fault. Nevertheless, many clients are shocked and even angry when the other driver denies any responsibility for the accident. A Billings car accident attorney can help you anticipate, understand, and overcome the common defenses you may encounter in your car accident case. 

The Other Driver Wasn’t Negligent

In most car accident cases, you have to prove that the other driver was negligent. In other words, you have to prove that they did not exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. This can involve many complicated legal issues and requires careful examination of the facts available. The other driver may claim that the accident wasn’t their fault and was the result of some other factor: 

  • Weather conditions
  • Road hazards
  • Poor visibility
  • The accident was caused by someone else

Don’t be deterred if the other driver has a plausible explanation as to why they were not at fault. For example, weather may have been a factor, but they are expected to drive in a manner appropriate for the conditions. An experienced Billings car accident attorney can review the other driver’s claim and determine whether or not you have a case. 

Comparative Negligence in Montana

A common defense in car accident cases is to argue that you are at least partially at fault. Montana law recognizes the principle that both parties’ negligence can contribute to the accident. This is referred to as “comparative negligence.” If you were partially at fault, your claim against the other driver is reduced by your share of the responsibility. For example, if it is determined that your negligence contributed to 20% of the accident, then your damages award would be reduced by 20%. The important point to remember is that your negligence may not necessarily bar you from pursuing a claim. An experienced Billings car accident attorney can evaluate whether and how much your negligence may have been a factor so that you can decide how to proceed. 

Prior Injuries

Another common defense is to argue that the injuries you are claiming damages for are actually from injuries prior to the accident. This defense isn’t always available, but for those who have prior injuries or medical conditions, it can complicate their case. However, just because your accident aggravated a prior injury, it does not mean you don’t have a case. You are entitled to compensation for any harm that you may have suffered as a result of the accident, even though the original injury or condition was caused by something else. In order to prevail, however, you need to understand how to properly claim your damages. An experienced Billings car accident attorney will know how to correctly calculate your damages and document your claim so that you can get the compensation you need. 

Call Billings Car Accident Attorney Jim Ragain

Billings car accident attorney Jim Ragain has decades of experience in helping clients get their lives back on track after a car accident. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and don’t know what to do, we can help. Call us today at 406-651-8888 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and what we can do for you.