Wrongful Death Archives

Blizzard Conditions Don't Excuse Bad Driving

The Montana legislature repealed the old "basic rule" speed statute in 1999. The relevant part of the statute now reads:

Subject to the maximum speed limits set forth in subsection (1), a person shall operate a vehicle in a careful and prudent manner and at a reduced rate of speed no greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions existing at the point of operation, taking into account the amount and character of traffic, visibility, weather, and roadway conditions.

Mont. Code Ann. § 61-8-303(3)(emphasis added). In other words, you can never legally drive faster than the posted limit but sometimes the law may require you to drive slower.

Safety Violations of an At-Fault Semi Truck Company

david-small.jpgIf you have been involved in a semi truck accident, the big rig driver and the trucking company may very well have violated safety rules issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Violations of FMCSA regulations are direct factors in most collisions caused by semi truck drivers.

How to Beat the Colossus

If you have been involved in an automobile collision where another person is at-fault their insurance company may use a computer program known as Colossus to evaluate your claim.  Many insurance companies including Allstate, Farmers, The Hartford, Travelers, USAA, Zurich, Ohio Casualty, Metropolitan, and Aetna use Colossus. Colossus was first licensed by Allstate as a way to standardize claims and to save money on claims payments.  Colossus also identifies lawyers who file lawsuits and will litigate your case and conversely those who are known to settle claims for the best offer insurance companies give.  Colossus attributes a higher value to your claim when you are represented by a lawyer who is experienced and who will proceed with litigation on your behalf when an insurance company is unwilling to fairly resolve your claim.  At Paoli Law Firm we do exactly that for our clients.

Safety Violations of an At-Fault Semi Truck Company

If you have been involved in a semi truck accident, the big rig driver and the trucking company may very well have violated safety rules issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Violations of FMCSA regulations are direct factors in most collisions caused by semi truck drivers. Not all trucking companies and truck drivers are unsafe and negligent. Unfortunately, some semi truck drivers and companies break the rules. Other drivers on the roadway then fall victim to these rule violations, unsafe practices, and negligence. If this happens, Paoli Kutzman can help you. Trucking companies often boast about their dedication to getting shipments and packages to their destinations by strict deadlines. For example, a FedEx Ground full page ad in USA Today on November 28 showed a photo of a pleasant-looking gentleman in a FedEx uniform.  The ad said, "We'd like to thank our 300,000 team members for being there every step of the way this holiday season." This ad came just months after a FedEx truck crashed into a tour bus in Southern California filled with high school students, leaving 10 dead and 30 injured.  The ad came just 8 days after a bicyclist died after a collision with a FedEx truck in Oregon. On FedEx's busiest shipping day of the year (December 15), a FedEx truck overturned in New Jersey after the driver lost control of the double-trailer.  (FedEx officials say company crews got to the scene shortly after the crash and quickly reloaded packages to help reduce possible delivery delays.)  On December 16 another FedEx truck driver hauling double trailers lost control after his second trailer became loose. His truck veered across the interstate and hit the median.  Both of the December crashes reportedly resulted in injuries. If you've driven on the interstate or highways you've likely seen first hand that there are some truck drivers and trucking companies whose dedication to meeting deadlines can scary and incredibly dangerous. Unfortunately, to save time and money, these drivers and trucking companies overlook or deliberately ignore the rules and the safety of other drivers on the roadway to get their cargo to its destination as quickly and cheaply as possible. This fixation on the bottom line too often results in trucking companies hiring drivers who are not adequately trained or qualified, and then working them on tight deadlines in unsafe truck and trailer combinations. The semi drivers are under pressure to meet these unrealistic deadlines and often lack proper training or knowledge of the FMCSA regulations.  This is a recipe for disaster. Some of the most common FMCSA violations include driver fatigue (exceeding hours of service), speeding, operating unsafe vehicles, driving recklessly in dangerous weather, distracted driving, and defective or worn tires and brakes. If you or a loved one were involved in a collision caused by a semi-truck driver you have very likely suffered significant injuries and damages. The semi truck driver and trucking company's actions (or lack thereof) may be part of an ongoing pattern of safety violations. We can find out for you whether the trucking company has a history of safety violations. Information we can gather about the trucking company that caused your injuries includes:

Interstate 90 - High Crash Corridor in Mineral County, Montana

Highway driving, as everyday and simple as it always seems, can be dangerous business.  Some roadways are especially dangerous. Highway statistics reveal these places as "High Crash Corridors." These are roadways with statistically high concentrations of crashes.

Free Safer Bus App

If you' re planning a bus trip there's more to consider than just the price of your ticket. Safety should be not only your top priority, but the bus company's top priority as well.  Before you book your ticket you can easily download the SaferBus App and make a more informed decision about what bus company to do business with.  This App, developed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), allows users to easily access a bus company's safety performance record or file a complaint, among other features outlined below.  The mobile application provides 24/7 access to essential safety information for bus companies.

The Professional Truck Driver in the Next Lane May Be Over His Hours of Service

Winter driving is dangerous to begin with. But as individual motorists we also have to share the roads and highways with heavy tractor-trailer combinations driven by what we hopefully assume are "professional" drivers. Unfortunately, sometimes these drivers aren't nearly as "professional" as they would have us or even their own trucking companies believe.

Winter Driving Tips

At Paoli Law Firm we're well aware of the hazards of all types of driving, especially highway driving. Couple that with severe weather conditions, and winter driving can make the most joyous season the most tragic. We've represented many individuals and families who have experienced these severe crashes. From passenger vehicle crashes and rollovers to eighteen-wheel tractor-trailer fatalities, we've learned of many hazards on the road and valuable tips to help stay safe.

Winter Driving


Montana has one of the highest highway fatality rates in the nation. All too often people are injured, sometimes fatally, by someone else's negligent driving. The Montana Highway Patrol's 2012 annual report includes alarming statistics:

  • There were 20,295 crashes reported (one crash every 26 minutes).

  • There were 205 fatalities in 192 fatal crashes (one fatality every 43 hours).

  • There were 7,470 injuries in 5,426 injury crashes (one injury every 70 minutes).

  • The top five contributing causes of crashes (from highest to lowest) were inattentive driving, driving too fast for conditions, failing to yield right of way, driving erratically, recklessly, or negligently, and following too closely.


Many of these 2012 crashes were close to home:

  • There were 1,560 crashes investigated and 24 MHP Traffic Fatalities in District I (Sanders, Mineral, Missoula & Ravalli Counties).

  • There were 202 crashes in Mineral County, resulting in 3 fatalities and 54 injuries.

  • There were 2,054 crashes in Missoula County, resulting in 7 fatalities and 571 injuries.

  • There were 168 crashes in Sanders County, resulting in 6 fatalities and 58 injuries.

  • There were 578 crashes in Ravalli County, resulting in 5 fatalities and 171 injuries.

  • There were 2,036 crashes in Cascade County, resulting in 7 fatalities and 468 injuries.


Although severe weather and road conditions can happen during any month of the year in Montana, drivers face additional risks and responsibilities while driving in winter weather. The Montana Highway Patrol reports that more crashes occurred between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. than any other hours of the day, more on Thursdays than any other day of the week, and more in December than any other month of the year.

Email Us For A Response

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Firm Location:

Paoli Law Firm, P.C.
257 W Front St
Suite A
Missoula, MT 59802-4351

Toll Free: 800-332-4308
Phone: 406-542-3330
Fax: 406-542-3332
Missoula Law Office Map

Firm Number