A Gallatin County, Montana, car accident claimed the life of one man and threatened that of another, after a horrific early morning one-car crash on Oct. 25. A 1997 Ford Explorer was said to be traveling westbound on the frontage road near Manhattan between 2 and 3:30 a.m.
A Montana Highway Patrol Trooper said it appears the car accident occurred when the vehicle drifted off the north edge of the road, causing the driver to overcorrect and swerve into the eastbound lane. The man apparently overcorrected again, and the car spun clockwise before it ended up in a ditch. The car flipped one and a half times, ricocheted out of the ditch and struck a power pole, landing on its roof.
One occupant was declared dead at the scene, and the other was ejected from the vehicle and thrown approximately 100 feet. He was rushed to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, where further word of his condition was not immediately disclosed. Police are continuing their investigation and attempting to determine how fast the vehicle was traveling, who was driving and whether or not alcohol was involved. Neither was said to be wearing a seatbelt.
Any fatal car accident is tragic, and while the families of the men involved deal with shock and grief, they will also want to know exactly what happened. But what is known is that one man is dead and another seriously injured. Montana law provides for the right of those injured due to the negligence of another to recover monetary damages, and in the case of a fatality, family may have grounds for a wrongful death claim. While it may be a hard decision to make, the family of the passenger could be within their rights to sue the other family for monetary damages.
Source: The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, "Manhattan man dies in frontage road accident," Jason Bacaj, Oct. 26, 2011