Most Montanans understand that they are required to stop and wait for police if they are involved in a traffic accident. This rule applies with special force to accidents involving injuries. A driver in Billings violated this rule and several others in a driving rampage that has left three people hospitalized with injuries.
On April 23, 2020, police received an accident call at 5:52 p.m. When they arrived at the scene at South Billings Boulevard and Stone Street, they learned that the suspect vehicle had been involved in a previous accident a few minutes earlier at Collier Road and Blue Creek Road. According to police, the driver fled the scene of the second accident. In attempting to flee, the fugitive struck a construction worker in a work zone on South Billings Boulevard.
The suspect then ran over a school zone sign at the intersection of South Billings Road and Stone Street. The driver then crossed the median strip and hit two other vehicles, a Mazda passenger car head-on and then a GMC Denali. The fleeing driver was not stopped until he hit a power pole and was apprehended by police. According to police, all victims have been hospitalized with serious injuries, but none of the injuries appears to be life-threatening. The driver of the fleeing vehicle was also hospitalized for treatment of injuries.
The driver who caused the accidents described above is plainly at fault for the injuries and damages that he caused. More than one of the victims may attempt to recover damages from him. The issue of fault is not likely to be seriously disputed, but the plaintiffs’ recoveries will depend upon insurance coverage. The fleeing driver may not have insurance, and the victims will be required to look to their own policies for coverage.
In Montana, drivers can purchase insurance with what is called uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage pays for medical expenses if the negligent driver does not have insurance. Untangling the maze of insurance coverage may require the assistance of a capable auto accident lawyer who can decipher the various policy provision defining coverage.