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The Advocates Good Samaritan November 2023: Inge Buchholz

Each month, The Montana Advocates team up with NonStop Local News to recognize an individual or group that makes our state a wonderful place to live. This month, our honoree is Inge Buchholz, the owner of Inge’s Fashions in downtown Great Falls.

Inge has been living and working in the area for 41 years and is committed to bettering the lives of her fellow community members. She is involved with her church, the Toastmasters, the Great Falls Chamber of Commerce, and the Does with Elks Lodge 214.

“At the end of the year, after we know how much money we have in our account, then we divide up some of that for the non-profit organizations. We choose between six, seven, or eight non-profit organizations that have to do with children and women,” Buchholz says.

Another way Inge chooses to give back is through the Danny Berg Memorial Christmas Dinner. She has been helping with the dinner since its inception more than 30 years ago, when Danny was still alive.

When the dinner first began, they fed 75 people in the community. The most recent dinner served almost 600.

“Inge is a great example of somebody who’s not afraid to jump in with both feet on a huge project… she’s there making it happen,” said Montana Advocate Doug Day.

Inge’s giving spirit and love for her community has made her November’s Good Samaritan.

“It feels very good right in here, in my heart… and God willing, I can do it many more years,” she said. 

If you know someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the community, nominate them here. If chosen, they will be honored with a news story on the last Monday of the month.

What Is the Definition of Distracted Driving?

A distracted driver reaches for her cell phone

Distracted driving is one of the most serious problems on US roadways, especially since the proliferation of cell phones. When a driver’s attention is taken off the task of driving, the risk of a car accident increases substantially.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,000 Americans die in distracted driving crashes each year. This number represents around 8% of all fatalities from motor vehicle accidents in the United States. Around 12-14% of distracted driving-related fatal crashes include cell phone use as a factor.

While mobile device use is one of the most common types of distractions for drivers, there are many distracted driving behaviors that don’t involve cell phones at all.

There are three types of distracted driving, though many distractions fall into more than one category.

A man is driving distracted and looking at his passenger in the back seat

The Three Types of Distractions

The CDC identifies three types of distractions: visual distractions, manual distractions, and cognitive distractions.

Visual distractions

A visual distraction takes a driver’s eyes off the road. Taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds while driving at 55 miles per hour is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. 

Looking around at objects outside the car, turning to see something in the back seat, and checking the car’s navigation system all count as visual distractions.

Manual distractions

When you remove your hands from the steering wheel for any reason, it is considered a manual distraction. Some drivers believe they can drive effectively without both hands on the wheel, but if a hazard suddenly becomes present, you may find yourself unable to react in time.

Typing out a text message (even while looking at the road), reaching for a dropped object, eating, drinking, and fiddling with the radio are all manual distractions.

Cognitive distractions

Even with your eyes are on the road and your hands on the wheel, you may not be giving your full attention to driving. A cognitive distraction is one that takes your mind off driving.

Phone calls, daydreaming, and talking to other occupants of the car can all act as cognitive distractions.

Some distractions, like scrolling social media, typing addresses into a GPS app, or putting on makeup, fall into two or more of the categories.

It can be difficult to avoid distraction altogether, as some driver distractions are unexpected and hard to plan for. Safe driving, however, should be the top priority whenever you get behind the wheel. 

Handheld Device Use Statistics

Each year, the NHTSA conducts an observational assessment regarding electronic device use among drivers. The results of the study are compiled into a report detailing distracted driver demographics and trends.

The 2021 report found the following information:

  • Young drivers (those ages 16-24) are more likely to use a handheld device than older drivers.
  • Drivers aged 25-69 are more likely to use a hands-free device (like a headset) than teen drivers.
  • Women are slightly more likely to drive while holding their mobile phone to their ear than men.
  • Instances of texting while driving increased from 2020 to 2021, while instances of talking on a handheld cell phone decreased in the same year.

Many states have some form of distracted driving laws—in fact, 49 states in the country have a texting ban while driving. Montana is the only state with no texting ban,

How to Handle a Distracted Driving Accident

A woman who has been injured in a distracted driving accident contacts law enforcement to file a police report

If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle crash because of a distracted driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Take the following steps after your accident to protect your right to a claim:

  • Check for injuries and dial 911 if anyone is seriously injured.
  • Even if there are no severe injuries, call local law enforcement to file a police report.
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver.
  • Get contact information from any witnesses.
  • Seek medical attention, even if you do not believe you were injured.
  • Notify your auto insurance provider of the accident.
  • Consider contacting a personal injury attorney.

The Advocates Are Here for You

The Advocates Injury Attorneys have been helping car accident victims since 1993, and we can help you too. We are dedicated to helping clients get the financial compensation they deserve for their damages.

Our experienced auto accident lawyers will help you gather evidence for your claim, negotiate with insurance companies, and take your case to court if necessary. We will take on the stressful parts of the claims process for you, so you can focus on feeling better.

Contact us today for a free consultation. If you’ve been injured due to another person’s negligence, you do not have to navigate recovery by yourself. You deserve a representative who will advocate for you and make sure your needs are met. You deserve an Advocate.

2022: The Deadliest Year on Nebraska Roads Since ’07

254 people were killed in car accidents in Nebraska last year, the highest number of accident fatalities in a single year since 2007. This statistic represents a nearly 15% increase over 2021’s traffic fatality count, which was 221.

During the pandemic, the number of motor vehicle accidents in the United States fell considerably as fewer cars were on the roads. As restrictions have been lifted across the country, however, fatal crash rates have skyrocketed– in some cases, they are outpacing pre-pandemic levels.

These statistics are concerning for anyone who spends time on Nebraska roads. To keep yourself and everyone else safe, it’s important to stay informed and commit to driving safely. To find more information about Nebraska accident statistics, common causes of car crashes, and tips for handling motor vehicle accidents, keep reading below.

Nebraska Traffic Fatality Statistics 2022

  • Urban areas, like Omaha and Lincoln, saw fatalities increase by 58% from 2021 to 2022.
  • Fatalities in rural areas stayed about the same as totals from 2021.
  • The average number of fatal accidents from 2017-2021 was 232, while 2022 alone had 254.
  • 24 pedestrians were killed on Nebraska roads in 2022. This is tied with 2018 for most pedestrian deaths in the state in a single year (though data is only available from 2011 on).
  • 7 people were killed by trains last year, the most since 2007.

Causes of Nebraska Traffic Accident Fatalities

One of the best ways to prevent accidents is to know what causes them. Being aware of and avoiding risky behaviors can keep you and everyone you interact with on the road safe.


According to Sgt. Jeremy Thorson of the Nebraska State Patrol, more than 4,000 speeding citations were issued in 2022 for speeds of over 90 miles per hour.

Speeding is one of the leading contributors to fatal motor vehicle accidents. By traveling faster than is safe for road conditions, you may give yourself insufficient reaction time if a hazard becomes present. Speeding also increases the chances of losing control of your vehicle.

Additionally, when speeding is a factor in an accident, the risk of serious injury or death increases. Speeding kills thousands of people every year. By following the speed limit and slowing down in winter weather or other hazardous conditions, you can save lives.

Distracted Driving

Woman texting and driving

According to traffic cameras, around 10% of all Nebraska drivers are on their cell phones while driving, says Bill Kovarik, Nebraska Highway Safety Administrator.

When driving at 55 miles per hour, taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds means that you travel the length of a football field without looking. Texting, fiddling with the radio, applying makeup, and even talking to passengers can all create dangerous distractions for drivers.


When behind the wheel, commit to focusing solely on the task at hand: driving safely.

Impaired Driving

Alcohol is involved in about one-third of fatal motor vehicle accidents. Drivers ages 21-34 are overrepresented in alcohol-involved accidents in Nebraska.

Never, ever drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Assign a designated driver or don’t drive until you have sobered up.

Failure to Wear a Seatbelt

Seatbelts are required for all vehicle occupants under Nebraska law. Unfortunately, Nebraska ranks 47th in the nation for seatbelt usage. Only 81% of Nebraskans buckle up before hitting the road.

A seatbelt won’t prevent a crash, but it can decrease your risk of injury or death. Make sure everyone in your car is buckled up before beginning your drive.

What to Do if You Are Involved in an Accident

Even if you’re doing everything right, you may still be involved in a traffic crash. The time immediately following a wreck is often overwhelming and stressful, but it’s important not to panic. Remain at the scene of the accident– leaving the scene when property damage or injuries have occurred can lead to fines and jail time.

Take the following steps to protect yourself and your right to a claim after a car accident.

Check for injuries

As soon as an accident occurs, check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If anyone has serious injuries, call 911 right away. Be sure to pay attention to any pain you are feeling– your wounds might not be visible.

If no one is seriously hurt, move your vehicle out of traffic if possible. If the other driver is seriously injured and needs assistance, call 911 for them.

Contact law enforcement

Even if no one is seriously hurt, you should call the police and file an accident report. Your auto insurance company may require a police report before approving any accident claims. This also ensures there is a record of your accident, should you choose to file a personal injury claim later.

When the police arrive, keep your statements factual. Do not admit fault or apologize to the other driver. The police may conduct an investigation that finds you were not responsible for the accident. If you take the blame right away, the investigation may never be conducted.

Document the scene

While waiting for law enforcement to arrive, pay attention to the scene of the accident. Take pictures and videos of your vehicle, the other party’s vehicle, your injuries, marks on the pavement, and the scene as a whole.

This evidence can be used to build your case later. Even if you do not believe something is important, take pictures anyway. Your attorney can help you decide what information is helpful later on.

Two people exchange insurance information after a car accident

Exchange information

Calmly exchange the following information with the driver of the other vehicle:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Insurance information
  • License plate number

Keep this conversation short and avoid speculating or talking about the accident. You may be feeling upset with them, especially if the accident was caused by their negligence. However, raising your voice, becoming aggressive, or assigning blame will not help the situation.

Seek medical attention

Even if you do not believe your injuries are serious, you should see a medical professional right away. Tell them you were involved in an auto accident– they will be able to look for hidden injuries that you may not be aware of at the time.

If you plan to file a personal injury claim, you will need to complete treatment before your case can settle. The sooner you see a doctor, the more quickly you can begin the road to recovery.

Consider hiring a personal injury attorney

If you were injured due to another person’s negligence in the state of Nebraska, an Advocate can help you. When dealing with physical pain, emotional trauma, medical bills, and property damage, fighting insurance adjusters is probably the last thing you want to do.

The car accident attorneys with The Advocates have been taking on injury cases for three decades. We know how to build a solid accident case, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight for the best settlement possible. 

In addition to fierce legal representation, a car accident lawyer with The Advocates will be there to listen to your story, make sure your needs are met, and provide regular updates on your case. Our job is to take the stress off your plate so you can focus on feeling better.

If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, you deserve a legal team who truly cares about you. You deserve an Advocate.

Most Common Personal Injury Claims

Light blue sedan rear-ends a grey SUV

Personal injury cases can range from minor accidents with few damages, like a fender bender, to multi-million-dollar cases with hundreds of parties, such as product liability claims. Regardless of how large or small a claim is, it is important that accident victims receive the compensation they are owed for their losses, including medical expenses, property damage, and more. Many personal injury lawyers understand this and make it a priority to represent multiple case types. Below are the most common types of personal injury claims in the United States.

Car Accidents

Car Accident
Millions of people are injured in motor vehicle accidents every year in the United States. The causes of these accidents can vary greatly, but often they are the result of negligence or recklessness behind the wheel. Auto-related crashes include motorcycle and truck accidents, as well as those involving bicyclists and pedestrians. Some of the ways a motorist might cause a crash include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Failure to yield
  • Drunk driving

People who are injured in auto accidents due to someone else’s carelessness often choose to file a personal injury claim to be compensated for their damages. Because car accidents are so prevalent in the US, they are the most common type of personal injury cases.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere at any time. These kinds of incidents are especially dangerous for elderly people. In fact, thousands of Americans over 65 are treated for injuries related to slipping and falling each year. Common injuries stemming from slip and fall accidents include:

  • Broken bones
  • Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
  • Lacerations and bruising
  • Sprains or strains
  • Back injuries

Uneven footing, wet floors, and improper signage can all create a hazardous environment. People who have been injured in a slip and fall accident, whether on public or private property, may be entitled to compensation for their losses.

Medical Malpractice

Negligence by medical professionals can cause serious injuries to patients, and unfortunately, it is far too prevalent in the United States. It is estimated that more than 250,000 people die each year from medical errors. Medical malpractice injuries can be devastating physically, emotionally, and financially.
Examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnoses
  • Birth injuries
  • Medication mistakes
  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Improper treatment
  • Premature discharge

If a healthcare professional takes improper or negligent actions that result in injuries to their patient, the patient may file a medical malpractice claim. On average, there are more than 12,000 paid medical malpractice claims in the US each year.

Workplace Accidents

Even with modern labor laws in place, unsafe working conditions exist at a variety of companies all across the country. In fact, there are over one million nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses in the United States each year. Businesses may provide insufficient training to employees, neglect to fix broken equipment, or fail to provide proper safety equipment for their workers in the interest of saving money. All of these actions can directly result in employee injuries.
The occupations with the highest rates of workplace injuries include truck drivers, nursing assistants, construction workers, janitors, and maintenance workers. Employees who have experienced a workplace injury due to dangerous conditions at their job often file a worker’s compensation claim. The laws regarding these claims vary from state to state, so it is a good idea to hire a worker’s compensation lawyer to navigate the process of filing a claim.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death claims are brought about when a person is killed due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness. Car accidents, medical malpractice, construction site accidents, and defective products are all common reasons for wrongful death suits.
Wrongful death claims are unique compared to other personal injury claims, in that the damages are often different. Wrongful death settlements help the family of a victim cover the costs of funeral expenses, lost wages of the loved one, and non-economic damages, such as lost companionship. All states allow immediate family members, such as spouses, children, and parents of unmarried children to make wrongful death claims. Some states also allow life partners or distant family members to file these suits.

Assault and Battery

Most personal injury cases arise from accidents and cases of negligence. However, assault is also a common reason for people to file claims. Assault is defined as an intentional act that causes the victim to expect they will be hurt in some way. In most states, the reasonable fear of imminent harm is enough for an act to be considered assault. Battery, on the other hand, requires harmful contact to be made with the victim.
Not all assault and battery incidents result in serious injuries, but some can be life-threatening, necessitating medical attention or even hospitalization. When someone is injured by the intentional harmful acts of another, they may have grounds to file a claim. Some damages that can be recovered in an assault claim include medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Product Liability

Product liability claims are not quite as common as some of the others on this list, but they can be just as dangerous. They can also affect far more people than other types of personal injury cases and require much larger payouts from the at-fault parties. If a product manufacturer releases defective or dangerous products into the market, consumers who were injured by the product may be able to file a claim.
For example, one of the most famous product liability claims is the “hot coffee” incident involving McDonald’s. In this case, a consumer purchased a cup of coffee from the McDonald’s drive-thru. The coffee accidentally spilled on her legs, giving her third-degree burns that required extensive medical treatment. The consumer brought a claim against McDonald’s for not warning her about how hot the coffee was.
Some types of product liability cases, such as those against pharmaceutical companies or car manufacturers, can have thousands of plaintiffs and result in millions of dollars paid in settlements.

Premises Liability

Premises liability claims happen on other people’s property, whether public or private. If dangerous conditions are present on the property and the property owner does not warn others about the danger, someone could be injured. The injured person could then file a premises liability claim against the property owner.
Examples of this could include injuries from dog bites, toxic chemicals in the area, or exposed electrical wiring. Potential dangers in an area should be properly marked or announced, and then fixed as quickly as possible to avoid injuries.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Injuries of any kind, whether they are from a car accident, improper medical treatment, or assault and battery, can be incredibly stressful. When paired with vehicle repairs or property damage, things can quickly become overwhelming.
An experienced attorney can help by providing legal advice, helping you build your case, and negotiating with insurance companies. The Advocates personal injury law firm is a team of competent, compassionate attorneys who are ready to help you recover as fully as possible.
An Advocate can help you:

  • Access medical treatment
  • Find body shops for vehicle repair
  • Get into a rental car if needed
  • Understand your medical bills
  • Communicate with your employer regarding your injuries
  • Gather evidence for your case
  • Negotiate a settlement
  • File a personal injury lawsuit if necessary

With a team of skilled representatives behind you, the recovery process can be much easier than if you try to go it alone. Call or chat with a live attorney online for a free consultation. The Advocates are ready to help you get back on your feet.

Do I Need a Lawyer After a Minor Car Crash?

Car accidents can be upsetting and dangerous for everyone involved. Serious accidents can cause life-threatening injuries and devastating damage to your vehicle. Minor collisions, where the associated injuries and property damages aren’t severe, may seem like no big deal in comparison. It may be tempting to just walk away. It is important, however, to take the accident seriously. Even after a fender bender, you should report the accident to the police and your insurance company, seek medical attention, and consider contacting a car accident lawyer.

What Is Considered a Minor Car Accident?

The severity of a car accident depends on your injuries, the damage to your car, and the amount of money involved in any potential settlements. If no one involved in the car crash was seriously injured and the vehicles are still operable, the accident was likely a minor one. Some examples of minor vehicle damage may include:

  • A broken headlight or taillight
  • A cracked windshield
  • A small dent or scratch to the body of the vehicle
  • A broken side view mirror

Minor car accidents usually occur at low speeds, like being rear-ended in a parking lot. After a minor crash, you should be able to drive your car away from the scene of the accident.

What to Do After a Minor Car Accident

Every auto accident, even ones that don’t seem major, should be taken seriously. Regardless of the severity of your accident, you should follow the guidelines below after any vehicle collision

Check for injuries

Check your body for any visible injuries as well as any pain you may be feeling and be sure your passengers do the same. If anyone has serious injuries, seek medical care immediately. Even if no one appears to be injured, see a physician soon after your accident in case of hidden injuries. Tell your doctor you were in a car accident so they know what to look for. This will also ensure that your injuries are documented.

Move vehicles out of traffic if possible

If your car is operational, move it to the shoulder of the road or even into a nearby parking lot. This will allow traffic to continue to move and keep everyone safe as you deal with the accident.

Take photos of the scene

Document the accident with pictures. These can be used as evidence when determining who was at fault. Take pictures of all vehicles involved in the collision from multiple angles, as well as the scene of the accident itself. 

Report the accident to the police

Many insurance companies require a police report in order to file a claim. Even if you do not need an ambulance, call your local non-emergency line and ask them to send a police officer to the scene. Give the officer a factual account of the incident without speculating on whose fault the accident was.

Exchange information with the other driver

Calmly and professionally exchange contact information with the driver of the other vehicle. Be sure to get their name, address, phone number, and insurance information. Ask any witnesses for their contact information as well, in case they need to provide statements later.

Notify your insurance provider

Report the accident to your auto insurance company. Even if it is determined that you were not responsible for the accident, your insurance policy may cover initial damages until you receive a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. It is important that you notify your insurer as soon as you can to protect yourself and any insurance claims you may be entitled to.

Consider contacting a car accident lawyer

Not all car accidents require the assistance of an attorney. However, you may be entitled to compensation for any injuries or damages you suffered due to the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you with your car accident case.

What NOT to Do After a Minor Car Accident

What you don’t do after an accident is just as important as what you do. Saying or doing something you shouldn’t can harm your case. You may even enable the other driver to file a claim against you.

Don’t admit fault

It may seem natural to apologize or say “it was my fault,” after a car accident. Do not do this. Insurance companies may see something as simple as an apology as an admission of fault. When giving the police a report of the accident, simply state the facts of the event. Do not give opinions or speculations on what happened. Do not admit fault to the police, the other driver, an insurance adjuster, or anyone else involved in the case.

Don’t leave the scene

In many places, leaving the scene of an accident is against the law. Regardless of how minor the accident may seem, stay put until law enforcement clears you to leave.

Don’t discuss the accident on social media

Anything you post on your social media page can be used against your claim. Avoid talking about the accident, your injuries, or your case in a public way.

Common Injuries From Minor Car Accidents

Immediately after a minor accident, you may feel fine physically. This might mean that you are uninjured, but it could also mean that you have hidden injuries. Thanks to the adrenaline produced by your body after an accident, you may have suffered injuries that you won’t notice for hours, days, or even weeks after the crash. 

In the time following the car accident, pay close attention to your body. Take note of any new symptoms or pain you are feeling, and get them looked at by a medical professional as soon as possible. Some common car accident injuries include:

  • Whiplash
  • Concussion
  • Muscle strains or tears
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries

While you may not have suffered broken bones or large lacerations, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately after a car accident, even if you believe you are not hurt. Some serious injuries, such as back pain, may progress gradually. This can make them difficult to notice. Easily overlooked injuries can cause serious physical and emotional distress if left unchecked.

What Damages Can I Recover After an Accident?

Even after a fender bender, you may find bills and expenses piling up around you. If you were in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical bills, including ambulance rides, doctor visits, chiropractic care, and physical therapy
  • Vehicle repairs, tow truck fees, and rental car costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Pain and suffering

A car accident attorney can help you determine whether you have a case and what damages you may be owed according to the law.

Insurance Companies Are Not Your Friend

Insurance providers will often do anything they can to avoid offering fair compensation for injuries and other damages. They have a number of tactics to get out of paying a full settlement. Some things an insurance adjuster might do to try and minimize your settlement are:

Deny liability

An insurance company may try to insist that their client was not at fault for the accident. Documenting your crash thoroughly can help you provide evidence for your claim.

Offer a quick settlement

By giving a settlement offer quickly, the insurance provider may hope to satisfy you with less money than you deserve. Your medical treatment needs to be completed before receiving a settlement so that you know the full extent of your damages.

Claim that your injuries were not a result of the accident

An insurance company may try to claim that your injuries were pre-existing conditions, not caused by the car crash. This is why it is crucial to seek medical care after your accident and have all your injuries documented by your doctor.

Diminish the severity of your injuries

Insurance adjusters will use any evidence they can to assert that your injuries are not as bad as you say. Avoid posting anything on social media that could give the insurance provider proof that you are not hurt. For example, a picture of you participating in physical activity could serve as evidence that you are not in pain.

Attempt to be friendly

The insurance adjuster may ask you questions about your injuries or recovery. This might seem like a kind, caring thing to do. Avoid talking to the adjuster about these things– they are likely trying to gain your trust and gather information from you.

Encourage you not to hire an attorney

Insurance companies know that accident victims who hire a personal injury lawyer are more likely to receive a larger settlement than if they were not being represented by an injury attorney. They do not want you to have legal representation that can negotiate your settlement for you.

When Should I Hire an Attorney?

If you have medical expenses, vehicle damage, or ongoing pain as a result of your motor vehicle accident, it is a good idea to contact an attorney. If your damages were due to another driver’s carelessness, you may have a legal right to compensation. A car accident lawyer can help you understand the claims process and receive the payout you deserve.

The Advocates are a law firm of compassionate, competent attorneys who can help you receive the car accident settlement that you are entitled to. An Advocate can help you access medical care, find a body shop for car repairs, build your personal injury claim, and negotiate a fair settlement.  

Call or chat online with a live attorney for a free consultation. You deserve a legal team that communicates openly, cares about your recovery, and doesn’t take a dime unless you win your case. You deserve an Advocate!

Tips For Driving Safely on Rural Roads

More than half of all accidents occur on rural roads while only 13 percent of the country’s population lives in rural areas. Here are some tips to avoid accidents on these potentially dangerous roads.

1. Slow Down

While rural roads may give you the impression that you are all alone on the open road, you must be watchful for other drivers. Follow the speed limit. If you do not see any signs go a reasonable speed – slower than freeway speed.

2. Watch for Blind Curves

Rural roads can be difficult to navigate because they are not as well kept as urban roads. They may not be graded like urban roads, and the visibility may be limited. If you are driving around a curve where you may not be able to see other drivers. Stay as far right as you can without sliding off the road. Go slow enough that you have time to react and respond to anything that crosses your path.

3. Pass carefully

Some rural two-lane roads allow for passing on the left. Always approach these areas carefully. As you pass you will be moving into the path of oncoming traffic. Always check to make sure your path to pass is clear.

4. Watch for slow-moving vehicles.

Rural roads can be home to certain slow moving vehicles like tractors and farm trucks. Tractors move slowly and may be wider than other vehicles, but it is legal for them to be on the road. Treat them like you would any other vehicle. Give them space to travel, and do not follow too closely.

Statements To Avoid After an Accident

After an accident, you may be feeling shaken and confused. This is a common reaction for most people. The scene of a collision can be a very hectic place. Many factors come into play and emotions are usually running high.

Despite your efforts to do everything right behind the wheel, some accidents are simply out of your control. When you’ve been involved in a crash due to another driver’s negligence, there are certain statements you should avoid saying at the scene of an accident.

In the following article, we will outline what words can hurt your legal claim and stop you from getting maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. Don’t worry. Our car accident lawyers with The Advocates are here to guide you through the aftermath of a collision.

What Not to Say After a Car Accident

One of the most common mistakes people make at the scene of an accident is unintentionally giving an admission of fault, especially in situations where you are not the driver responsible for the crash. Some statements can accidentally allude to an admission of guilt. These words often include:


1. Do not say “I am sorry” after the accident– While it’s human nature to want to reconcile a very stressful environment, you should not apologize for something you didn’t do. Even though this advice can be used in most life situations, you certainly do not want to say you are sorry at the scene of an accident because this is considered an admission of fault.

2. Do not speculate or give inaccurate information– Giving information that may or may not be true about the exact cause of your accident can potentially hurt your legal claim. If the statements you give prove to be inaccurate, the at-fault party’s insurance company may misinterpret your words or even portray a new narrative suggesting that you are the driver responsible for the crash.

3. Do not say “I am okay” at the scene of an accident– Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been injured, you should avoid stating that you feel fine. Some accident injuries take several days or even weeks to notice. If you plan on filing a personal injury claim, this type of statement can be used against you and the legitimacy of your injuries.

4. Do not say the accident was your fault– Unfortunately, we sometimes admit to things that are not our fault to simply de-escalate a tense situation. However, if you are ever involved in an accident that is not your fault, you should avoid saying this at all costs. It may help to take a few seconds to collect your thoughts right after the collision occurs before speaking to the other driver, any witnesses or the police.

In addition to the above statements, you should keep communication at the scene of an accident very limited to what is absolutely necessary, i.e. contact and insurance information.

When to Contact a Montana Attorney

If you or a loved one were involved in an accident through no fault of your own, you will need an Advocate on your side. Our car accident attorneys know the ins and outs of determining fault and getting you the recovery you are owed.

Don’t wait to contact our law firm. You can call The Advocates today at 406-534-7179 or chat directly with one of our lawyers on our homepage.

Common Airbag Safety Issues You Should Know

Did you know that more than 41 vehicles in the US have been recalled due to faulty airbags? Airbags are designed to help protect you from a serious injury during a collision, but what if they don’t?

Over the last 30 years, car manufacturers have worked tirelessly to make motor vehicles safer to driver. It’s no doubt that when airbags work properly, they do save lives. In fact, frontal airbags have helped reduce driver fatalities by 29%.

However, sometimes airbags deploy too forcefully or fail to deploy at all. In the following article we’ll discuss some of the most common airbag safety issues you should know about and what you can do if you were injured by a defective airbag.

What can go wrong with airbags?

Car Accident

It’s important to first understand that when airbags are deployed during an accident, they’re released out of the dashboard at an extremely high speed. Unfortunately, if something goes wrong with this safety feature at a high velocity, this can cause significant, if not fatal, injuries.

While most airbags function properly, here are 4 of the most significant airbag defects to know:

  1. Airbags can fail to deploy
  2. The airbag sensor can deploy too aggressively
  3. One airbag might deploy, but not the other
  4. They can deploy at the wrong time

Timing is everything. If an airbag deploys just a second too late, the driver or passenger’s head is often too close to the airbag, causing a serious injury to the face or head.

Some airbag brands, such as Takata, have even exploded at the time of deployment due to a mere defect. A defect that claimed the lives of 16 people and left hundreds more with severe injuries. Other brands, like Fiat-Chrysler, recalled more than 1 million vehicles due to faulty wiring, causing airbags to deploy randomly.

Mazda recalled 60,000 vehicles due to the opposite problem: failure to deploy in the event of an accident. Airbags that deploy at the wrong time, too abruptly or not at all can be deadly.

What are common airbag-related injuries?

A malfunctioning airbag can cause a range of injuries. These injuries include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Lacerations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Abrasions or burns
  • Eye injuries
  • Damage to the lungs or airways

If you suffered an injury due to a faulty airbag, you should seek medical attention right away. Your safety is a top priority. If you believe your injuries were caused by an airbag malfunction, it’s best to preserve your vehicle so that a team of accident experts can determine what happened.

Can I sue for an airbag-related injury?

If you were injured by a defective airbag, you have the right to pursue a legal claim for your pain and suffering. Car manufacturers are responsible for the effectiveness of their products. Airbags are an automotive product, so if the airbag was defective you can pursue a product liability case.

It’s in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible, so that you don’t have to pursue this claim alone. Here at The Advocates, our accident lawyers know the ins and outs of product liability law and are ready to fight for your recovery. You can chat with us here on our homepage or call us at 406-780-3982. 

Don’t wait. You deserve an Advocate!

Tips to Prevent Road Rage Accidents

How to Handle Road Rage and Potential Dangers

1. Leave in plenty of time.

The best tip for avoiding road rage is to avoid stressful situations, which lead to an annoyed, angry, easily tipped off driver. If it is in your control, leave in enough time to get your destination on time with plenty of wiggle room. If you are not worried about being late, you may be less agitated when you run into thick traffic or an annoying driver.

2. Move over if someone is tailing you.

Drivers who follow too closely are annoying and rude. It can seem like they are impatient to go faster, trolling you, or just being plain stupid. Instead of slamming on your brakes or going exactly the speed limit to give the trailing driver a dose of their own annoying medicine, just pull over and allow the vehicle behind you to pass you. Sudden braking and following too closely are some of the most common causes of auto accidents. If you can avoid those situations, you will have a safer time on the road.

3. Give up trying to be the fastest car on the road.

Some people just want to be the fastest, best, coolest car on the road. Increased speed is another of the most common causes of automobile accidents. Remember that traveling is not about status and reputation. It is more important to get to your destination alive and in one piece.

4. Do not take it personally.

If you are late, you cannot stop someone from tailing you, and you are having a hard time giving up your reputation as a street racer, avoid road rage by staying calm. Do not get angry because people do stupid things. The actions of other drivers are their actions, and they have nothing to do with you. Do not worry about things you cannot control. In other words, do not allow other drivers to damage your calm.

Statements to Avoid After an Accident

After an accident, you may be feeling shaken and confused. This is a common reaction for most people. The scene of a collision can be a very hectic place. Many factors come into play and emotions are usually running high.

Despite your efforts to do everything right behind the wheel, some accidents are simply out of your control. When you’ve been involved in a crash due to another driver’s negligence, there are certain statements you should avoid saying at the scene of an accident.

In the following article, we will outline what words can hurt your legal claim and stop you from getting maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. Don’t worry. Our car accident lawyers with The Advocates are here to guide you through the aftermath of a collision.

What Not to Say After a Car Accident

One of the most common mistakes people make at the scene of an accident is unintentionally giving an admission of fault, especially in situations where you are not the driver responsible for the crash. Some statements can accidentally allude to an admission of guilt. These words often include:


1. Do not say “I am sorry” after the accident– While it’s human nature to want to reconcile a very stressful environment, you should not apologize for something you didn’t do. Even though this advice can be used in most life situations, you certainly do not want to say you are sorry at the scene of an accident because this is considered an admission of fault.

2. Do not speculate or give inaccurate information– Giving information that may or may not be true about the exact cause of your accident can potentially hurt your legal claim. If the statements you give prove to be inaccurate, the at-fault party’s insurance company may misinterpret your words or even portray a new narrative suggesting that you are the driver responsible for the crash.

3. Do not say “I am okay” at the scene of an accident– Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been injured, you should avoid stating that you feel fine. Some accident injuries take several days or even weeks to notice. If you plan on filing a personal injury claim, this type of statement can be used against you and the legitimacy of your injuries.

4. Do not say the accident was your fault– Unfortunately, we sometimes admit to things that are not our fault to simply de-escalate a tense situation. However, if you are ever involved in an accident that is not your fault, you should avoid saying this at all costs. It may help to take a few seconds to collect your thoughts right after the collision occurs before speaking to the other driver, any witnesses or the police.

In addition to the above statements, you should keep communication at the scene of an accident very limited to what is absolutely necessary, i.e. contact and insurance information.

When to Contact a Montana Attorney

If you or a loved one were involved in an accident through no fault of your own, you will need an Advocate on your side. Our car accident attorneys know the ins and outs of determining fault and getting you the recovery you are owed.

Don’t wait to contact our law firm. You can call The Advocates today at 406-534-7179 or chat directly with one of our lawyers on our homepage.

Who Is At Fault In A Car Accident?

Identifying the responsible party for a car accident is critical at times. There is a significant difference between the person who legally is at fault and who actually caused an accident. The one who is at fault will have to face serious consequences as in he/she has to pay for damage to vehicles as well as properties. Besides this, which driver will be held liable for personal injuries! Generally, the one responsible for an accident will have to pay for all the damages caused due to the accident. Moreover, there are multiple states that have complicated systems of determining fault, there, a fraction of the blame is thrown on each driver that had any part in causing or failing to avoid that accident. Hence, such a situation lead to different monetary obligations on each party for an accident and their respective insurance providers.

Generally, any driver who violates traffic law is responsible for a resulting car accident. If any of the drivers are issued a citation for speeding, violation or running a light then he/she will most likely be at fault and carries the heaviest burden of the resulting liability. However, this is not the rule of thumb. A case in point is a car driver who cuts across several lanes of traffic to turn, and causing cars behind him to slam on their brakes. Meanwhile, another driver fails to stop in time, resultantly, colliding into another vehicle. Now, in such a scenario, the accident was caused primarily by the recklessness of the first driver, who may be cited; however, the driver who failed to stop the other one in time will also be primarily at fault, as it was too closely following the other car.

Therefore, it is highly advisable to begin collecting evidence at the scene, to support your defense or claim regarding fault in the accident. Besides this, try to record any comments made by the other drivers after the accident. Also, the witnesses present on the spot often have a definite opinion about a fault in an accident, irrespective of the legal requirements or who is ultimately quoted by the police. Further, record witnesses names as well as their phone numbers. Ask them to relate their account of the accident as well as adding the reason why they think one or the other of the drivers are at fault.

Summarizing the above discussion, the ultimate determination of who is at the fault will be decided by the combination of admissions by the drivers, citations by the police, statements by witnesses, and the prudent reasoning of a judge or jury. Anyhow if you build a strong defense, it is likely possible to settle a case well before a final determination on the due merits of the court. It is advisable to immediately contact an experienced Florida car accident attorney. As these skilled people help you not only in avoiding jail time but also a time reducing the penalties or fines.

Records You Should Keep After A Car Accident

Records have an immense importance in a car accident case. There is no doubt that the moment immediately after a car accident can be very confusing. However, if you have decided to file a claim for a car accident, you might require to give prove from two dimensions. Firstly, the damages you have suffered. Secondly, the driver was at fault. Let’s have a look at the certain type of records you will be needed in order to have a fair chance of proving above cited two things. Hence, in such a situation, it is imperative to have an experienced car accident lawyer by your side to get the maximum financial coverage for the injuries you have sustained in the car accident.

1. Accident Records

It is advisable to keep the records of the accident, as they are critical to your claim. These are as follows:

  • Pictures– Taking the pictures of the damaged car and the accident proves to be a strong point in the long run. Further, take the pictures of the injuries sustained in that accident and how they progress.
  • Police Report– The accident report given by the police contains valuable information in it. It is not only that a law enforcement officer has indicated his/her opinion about how the accident occurred but also it shows that the driver received the ticket or not. Besides this, it also includes statements from the witnesses such as weather conditions or location of the crash.
  • Repair Records– Keeping the car records related to the damage to your vehicle is important. As the records indicate the value of the vehicle before the accident and the probable financial loss.
  • Car Accident Journal– yet another important thing which can be used as an evidence is a car accident journal. It is advisable to the victim from his/her attorney to write down everything about the accident while your memory is fresh. This journal can help the potential victim or the insurance adjuster or the jury get a better sense of what you have been through after the accident.

2. Medical Records

  • After the car accident, the victim normally sustained severe injuries. In such a scenario, their medical expense makes up a significant portion of their demand for the compensation. While you wait for the accident claim to be resolved, medical bills may pile up. Therefore, keep the records of the following medical information:
  • Diagnostic records related to your injuries
  • Emergency medical service records, such as paramedic expenses or ambulance
  • Emergency room treatment records
  • Test results, lab reports, MRI Scans, and other pictures or visual depictions of your injuries
  • Medical reports prepared by your physician as well as notes from medical consultations
  • Physical therapy records
  • All of your medical bill receipts

Hence, it is advisable to keep a detailed summary of your medical records as you receive them, as they are often quite exhaustive.

The bottom line is if you are injured in a car accident, call Santa Fe Springs Personal Injury Attorney who can help you identify as well as gather important documents related to your claim.

5 Steps to Take During Your Personal Injury Case

If you were injured and plan to file a personal injury claim, you should continue reading. The key to building a successful personal injury case is being fully prepared for any possible outcome along the way.

Here at The Advocates, our personal injury attorneys will guide you through the aftermath of an being injured due to someone else’s negligence. Even though the legal claims process can feel overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Our attorneys know the ins and outs of personal injury law and have the experience you will need to build a strong legal case.

While no two personal injury cases are exactly the same, the following article outlines 5 steps every injury victim should take so that your injury claim has the best chance of success.

What Steps Can Help Strengthen Your Legal Claim?

Much of the personal injury claims process is time sensitive, so it’s important that you start taking the steps necessary as soon as possible. These steps include:

1. Speak With an Experienced Attorney Right Away

If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, you will need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. Once you contact The Advocates, we will work diligently to make sure you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses in a timely manner.

Being injured by another person can cause a range of issues for everyone involved, including you and your family. While you focus on recovering, our attorneys will fight for fair settlement to help cover your medical bills, lost wages and any other damages from your accident.

2. Only Speak to Your Attorney About Your Case

This is one of the most important steps you can take to help strengthen your legal claim. Whether you’ve been contacted by an insurance adjuster or simply have questions about your case, you should keep all communication about your personal injury case between you and your attorney.

Oftentimes, insurance companies will contact you about information regarding your accident. Speaking to insurance without your attorney present, if at all, can seriously impact the outcome of your case.

3. Don’t Post About Your Claim on Social Media

We can’t stress this one enough. Defense attorneys and insurance companies are trained to look at your social media accounts and potentially misinterpret anything you say about your injuries online.

The at-fault party’s legal team will look for any reason to diminish the seriousness of your case. Put simply, don’t post on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

4. Continue Visiting Your Doctor

If you were injured by another person, you should continue going to your medical appointments. Going to these visits will help strengthen your legal claim and prove that your injuries are serious. However, if you stop going to your appointments, the party responsible for your injuries will hold this against you and insurance will likely offer the lowest compensation amount, knowing that you haven’t been receiving treatment.

5. Fight for Maximum Compensation for Your Injuries

It’s a very common tactic for insurance companies to offer the lowest settlement amount for an accident victim’s injuries. Our attorneys won’t settle for less and neither should you. We encourage you to fight for full compensation for your injuries and losses.

When working with The Advocates, you can receive up to 3x more in compensation than without the legal experience of our law firm. Get your free consultation today and we’ll help you retrieve the recovery you are owed. Don’t wait. Contact our attorneys at 307-466-0003 or use the chat form fill on our homepage.

What Not to Say at the Scene of an Accident

The scene of a car accident can be a very hectic place. Nerves are usually jangled, emotions are running high and trying to remember all the right things to say isn’t exactly first on the agenda when dealing with a collision.

Sometimes you can do everything right behind the wheel only to end up having another car crash into yours, causing significant damage and stress. It’s important to understand, however, that there are some statements you should mindful of in the aftermath of a crash. What you say can potentially come back to haunt you if you decide to seek compensation for your injuries and losses later down the road.

In the following article, we will explain what words may hurt your legal case, how your statements can be misconstrued or misunderstood and when you should call a car accident lawyer with The Advocates.

What Shouldn’t I Say at the Scene of a Crash?

One of the most common mistakes car accident victims make at the scene of a crash is giving an admission of fault. Even if you don’t directly admit you were at-fault, there are certain statements that can allude to an admission of fault. Here are a few words you should avoid:

  • Do Not Apologize After the Accident by Saying “I’m sorry” While apologizing after a collision occurs, whether it was your fault or not, may come as instinctual for most people, it can be considered an admission of fault. If the other driver is responsible for the accident, then you have nothing to be sorry for and you should let your car accident attorney determine liability with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
  • Do Not Say the Accident Was Your Fault This may seem like an obvious statement to avoid, but it can be easy to accidentally admit fault in the heat of the moment. In fact, many drivers unintentionally blurt out to the other driver that the collision was their fault. Sometimes we do this out of anxiety or mid-panic, but easing tension with an admission of guilt can impact how you are compensated later on.
  • Do Not Say “I am okay” or “I am fine” After the Accident Another simple mistake accident victims often make is saying that you are okay or giving any statement along those lines. If you plan to file a personal injury claim, this phrase can be used against you and the validity of your injuries from the accident. It’s true that some accident injuries take days or even weeks to notice. You may not have symptoms at first but this does not mean they aren’t there.
  • Do Not Speculate or Give Inaccurate Information Accidents occur for many reasons, the most common being a driver’s negligence. However, you should never speculate about the exact cause of the crash without concrete evidence. Your statements can be misconstrued and turned into a different narrative portraying you as the at-fault driver. Leave the speculation up to the insurance adjusters and the accident investigators.

In addition to statements you should avoid saying at the scene of an accident, it’s possible that even correct statements can be misinterpreted. Car accident witnesses might mistake a statement such as “I was paying attention” for “I was not paying attention.” It’s important to only speak about what is absolutely necessary, such as insurance and contact information.

When to Contact a Wyoming Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one were recently injured in a car accident, you should contact The Advocates right away. Determining liability is the most important step in building a successful personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Here at The Advocates, our car accident lawyers are dedicated to you and getting the recovery you deserve. Don’t wait. Contact us today at 307-466-0003 or use our Live Chat feature on our homepage. You deserve an Advocate.

Who is Liable for a Blown Semi-Truck Tire?

What is a Tire Blowout?

Did you know that tire blowouts cause over 75,000 traffic accidents each year in the U.S? If you’ve ever experienced a tire blowout, you understand first-hand just how dangerous and scary it can be.

A blowout is a rapid, explosive loss of air pressure in any kind of inflatable tire. Blowouts can occur in a matter of seconds or slowly accumulate over time, depending on the cause of the blowout.

When a tire blows out, drivers face the sudden danger of losing full control and maneuverability of their vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, tire blowouts kill more than 400 people each year.

Tire blowouts most commonly occur when drivers haul an overloaded vehicle, a sharp object punctures the tire or a massive cut or tear goes unnoticed in the tire for a long period of time. Each of these causes, no matter how quickly they come to fruition, increase the risk of being injured in a serious accident.

In the following article, our Wyoming semi-truck accident lawyers with The Advocates will explain the process of determining liability for defective tires in a truck accident. If you have any legal questions about being injured in a truck accident due to defective, you can call The Advocates 24/7 at 307-466-0003.

Determining Liability for Defective Tires in Truck Accidents

It’s no doubt that for truck drivers, tire blowouts are nothing short of catastrophic. For this reason alone, truck drivers have to think about swapping out old or defective tires on a daily basis, as well as constantly be on the lookout for sharp objects in the roadway.

That being said, the federal government mandates that all truck drivers must complete daily inspections before their trip. This includes a thorough inspection of all tires on the truck. But even with these regulations put in place, defective tires continue to cause problems in the trucking industry.

If you were involved in a truck accident due to defective tires, you may be wondering which party is responsible for the collision: the truck driver, the trucking company, or the tire manufacturer.

In most cases, tire manufacturers are responsible for providing faulty products. In 2019 alone, U.S. tire manufacturers listed 14 different tire recalls from several major companies. Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. was one of the major brands to issue a recall that affected over 4,000 commercial trucks. The company, like many others, stated that this defect that could “develop into a tire failure in the sidewall.”

When it comes to proving negligence in a defective tire case where determining fault can be tricky, it is pivotal to work with an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer.

When to Hire a Wyoming Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer

Whether you were driving in a passenger vehicle or are the truck driver who was injured by faulty tires, you will need the best legal representation on your side. The Advocates are here to determine who is responsible for your injuries and losses and make sure you are fully compensated for your accident.

Our semi-truck accident attorneys have decades of experience working with insurance companies of manufacturers and are ready to fight for your legal obligation to justice. Don’t wait to contact The Advocates. You can call us today at 307-466-0007 or speak with an attorney using our Live Chat Feature on our homepage. You deserve an Advocate!

Top 5 Things to Do After an Accident

Top 5 Accidents in Montana History

Despite having a statewide population of just over a million, Montana sure has seen its fair share of dramatic crashes. Indeed, did you know that the highway death rate in Montana currently ranks as the third highest in the entire United States? Montana, also, has the unfortunate distinction of being the deadliest state for teenage drivers involved in car accidents. In fact, Montana’s teen driver crash rate surpasses the national average by over 200 percent.

Montana has a long history of crashes, however. From planes to trucks to buses and even trains, here are the top 5 most dramatic accidents in the history of Montana.

The Great Custer Creek Train Wreck of 1938

Known unanimously as the worst train disaster in all of Montana railway history, this horrendous accident killed 47 train passengers and caused nearly twice as many injuries. The train accident occurred when the bridge supporting

the Milwaukee Road train company’s Olympian collapsed about Custer Creek just outside of Saugus, Montana. The bridge collapsed after a flood had washed away many of its foundations.

The train accident took place shortly after midnight as the Olympian was carrying over 150 passengers from Chicago to Tacoma at around 50 miles per hour. The train accident happened so quickly and with so little warning that when emergency personnel retrieved the body of the train’s engineer, he was still in his seat with his hands still on the controls of the train.

The 1957 Great Falls Truck Crash

Easily one of the saddest accidents in Montana took place in 1957 when five local high school students and a music teacher were killed in a tragic collision with a truck. The students and the teacher were from Ford Benton high school and were traveling to a music festival to perform when their vehicle collided with a freighter semi-truck. The driver was survived the semi truck accident the only person to survive the crash, suffering a minor injury to his knee. To this day, the residents of Fort Benton still talk about the tragic loss of life that terrible day in March.

The Wrestling Team Bus Crash of 1984

Ask anyone in Whitefish about the worst crash in the town’s history and they’ll likely point to the 1984 bus crash involving the local wrestling team. The infamous bus crash claimed the lives of 9 people and injured nearly two dozen more. In a town of less than 5,000, the 1984 bus accident was a shock to nearly everyone in Whitefish.

The bus accident, itself, took place in the middle of a snowstorm in the dead of winter when the bus carrying the local wrestling team collided with a fuel tanker. The bus, carrying wrestlers, cheerleaders, and several other Whitefish High School students, was returning from a match when it hit the fuel tanker head on. The bus driver was killed instantly, as were several of the wrestlers sitting near the front of the bus. At the time it was considered one of the worst accidents ever in Montana, one people from Whitefish still remember to this day.

2009 Cemetery Plane Crash

Without a doubt the most tragic plane crash happened in 2009 when a single-engine plane carrying 14 people crashed in a nearby cemetery. What’s so tragic about this plane crash accident is that half of the victims were children.

A witness to the plane crash said the plane looked like it was doing stunts as it jerked wildly from side to side before coming down in the cemetery. Investigators later said the plane was likely exceeded it’s weight limit due to overcrowding. Typically, this model of plane can carry no more than 10 people at a time. The purpose of the plane trip was to take the children on a ski trip to Bozeman. No one in the cemetery at the time of the crash was injured.

Christmas Eve Crash of 2016

One of the worst crashes anyone on the Montana Highway Patrol ever witnessed happened on Christmas Eve in 2016. During the middle of the afternoon on Highway 93, a pickup truck attempted to pass the cars in front of him by crossing the center line and collided with a massive semi-truck. The collision was so violent and was with so much force that it ejected the driver of the pickup, killing him instantly.

Indeed, the pickup truck hit the semi truck so fast that investigators found debris from the truck accident over 500 feet from the crash site. Even the local sheriff admitted that he hadn’t seen a truck accident so violent in all of his 25 years working for the police force.

Call the Attorneys With the Advocates Today

There you have it. The top 5 accidents in the history of Montana. Crashes and accidents on the road are an unfortunate reality for far too many people. If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like to be involved in a real life accident, the Montana Highway Patrol put together this instructional video.

If you’re ever the victim of an accident through no fault of your own, you will need an Advocate to help you during the aftermath. The car accident attorneys with the Advocates have decades of experience helping accident victims just like you. You can either call our office at 406-629-1194 or chat online right this minute with a live attorney from our homepage. Don’t wait to get back on the road to recovery. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case. You deserve an Advocate!

Speak with an Advocate Today!

Causes of Distracted Driving in the U.S.

Did you know that distracted drivers kill nearly 10 accident victims every day in the United States? In fact, distracted driving has become one of the primary causes of accident fatalities in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Whether you’re changing radio stations or quickly glancing over at a snow-capped mountain beyond the freeway, distracted driving is a dangerous risk that can be avoided altogether. Our accident attorneys at The Idaho Advocates have worked with numerous personal injury cases involving distracted driving, which is why we’d like to offer some personal insight.

The Idaho Advocates have put together a Top Five Causes of Distracted Driving list below to help ensure your safety.

How to Avoid Distracted Driving Safety Tips:

#5 The Quick Reach ‘N’ Swerve (A Distracted Driving Go-To) 

Whether you’re swatting at a big furry spider on the dashboard or trying to nudge your dog off into the backseat, your hands should stay on the wheel at all times. Reaching for objects or maneuvering other parts of the vehicle that have nothing to do with driving automatically puts you and other drivers at risk of being injured.

One quick grab at your sandal to hit the spider isn’t worth rear-ending another driver in front of you, or worse, slipping into the bed of a pickup truck. It’s extremely dangerous to let go of the wheel, not to mention that spiders can’t hurt you nearly as much as slamming into the back of another vehicle.

#4 The Hunger Pains of Distracted Driving

Man eating an hamburger while driving car

After a long day of work people typically want to get home, relax, and most importantly, eat. But oftentimes we end up grabbing a bite to eat on the way home, which may be quicker but makes it all the more tempting to eat and drive.

Eating or drinking at the wheel requires at least ONE hand to drift away from the road, a huge distraction. And while you may think you’re still concentrated on driving, your mind is probably more focused on that delicious sandwich you just picked up. It’s simple: just wait to eat until you get home.

#3 Car Buddies—The Distractors of all Distracted Driving!

Say you’re carpooling to work or enjoying a Friday night out with a friend, it’s highly unlikely that you and your passenger will be sitting in silence. And while it may be beneficial to have an extra set of eyes on the road, it can also be relatively dangerous.

Because having a passenger distracts and nearly doubles your chances of being in an accident, maybe it IS better to sit in silence, rather than blast your favorite 90’s playlist.

#2 Your Life or The Life of Your Social Media 

Did you know that ONE in every FOUR car crashes involving a teenager is a result of texting and driving? According to Teen Safe, texting while driving increases the risk of a car accident six times more than if a teen had been drinking and driving.

We get it though. Social media is a critical component of social status in the age of technology. But what we don’t get is the enormous amount of risk you put on yourself, your loved ones, and other drivers.

#1 The Daydream Effect, And The Worst of All Distracted Driving

Do you ever leave the office, hop in the car, and then suddenly roll into your driveway thinking, ‘Uh, how did I get here?’ Over the past five years, traffic deaths researchers have found that daydreaming is even worse than using a cell phone at the wheel.

It’s understandable that, on our commutes to and from work, we can let our minds drift into autopilot, but NOT at the wheel. Be sure to keep yourself alert and aware AT ALL TIMES!

What To Do If You’ve Been Injured by a Distracted Driver:

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you should report it to the police right away. Keep in mind that if you’re ever injured or involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, it’s extremely important to consider the following:

  • Report it to the police
  • Seek medical attention if necessary
  • Gather as much evidence as possible (i.e. location, witnesses, # of vehicles involved)

Our accident attorneys at The Idaho Advocates are able to help you get your life back in order. We represent thousands of car accident victims each year and have decades of legal experience. We know how to get you just compensation for your injuries and losses. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for a FREE case evaluation. You can call us at (208)-995-2444 or chat online with one of our attorneys. You deserve an Advocate!

Boise Drivers Cited for Left Lane Driving

Idaho State Police have begun to ticket drivers who travel too slow in the far left passing lane. A law recently went into effect that levies a $90 fine against slow-moving drivers clogging up the left lane.

Since the law began to be enforced on July 1st, Idaho police have cited two drivers for driving too slowly.

“If vehicles are moving slower, it can cause accidents and crashes,” said Idaho State Police Lieutenant Shawn Staley. “Guys will make traffic stops on it. But it would have to be fairly egregious.”

Idaho is just one of many states to implement so-called “slow poke” laws that reserve the left lane for passing motorists. States such as Indiana and New Jersey charging a maximum fine of $500 for repeat offenders.

Indeed, in late June Indiana Police Sergeant Stephen Wheeles was hailed on social media for pulling over a driver for driving too slowly in the passing lane. Over 20 cars were reported to have been trailing the woman’s vehicle.

Enforcement of the law is left up to the discretion of Idaho police officers. Drivers in the left lane who are traveling at the maximum posted speed limit will not be cited, nor will driver who exceed the speed limit in order to pass another vehicle. Drivers who speed above 15 mph over the posted limit, however, should expect to be cited for excessive speeding.

If you’ve been involved in an accident due to a slow-moving driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Don’t worry. The Idaho Advocates can help you recover what you are owed according to Idaho law. Our attorneys are available 7 days a week to answer all of your legal questions. Don’t wait to call our office at 208-995-2444 or chat online right now with a live attorney. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case. You deserve an Advocate!

The Top 10 Most Dangerous Animals in the United States

What are the Most Dangerous Animals in the US?

The United States is home to a panoply of animals and creatures from literally every walk of life. From a cutesy ring-tailed cat to a strange mole with a nose right out of a science fiction nightmare, North America has an extraordinary collection of life. While 99% of these animals pose no risk of harm to humans. A few species should be avoided at all costs. Below is the definitive list of the most dangerous animals in the United States:

 #10: Sharks

Despite being cast as the villain in far too many schlocky Hollywood movies, shark attacks are incredibly rare. On average, the United States experiences just 16 shark attacks each year, with only 1 death every 2 years. The most recent attack occurred near Santa Cruz, California when a surfer had a fatal encounter with a Great White. While 99% of beachgoers are considered to be safe as they swim and splash about in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, surfers and bodyboarders are at risk due to sharks mistaking them for fleeing seals. Sadly, tubular aerials can sometimes come at a steep price.

#9 Bears

The United States is home to three species of bear: Black, Grizzly, and Polar bears. Of these three, the Black bear is the least dangerous. Black bears aren’t aggressive if you keep your distance and stand your ground. If you happen upon one, the best strategy is to try to scare it off. Yelling aloud and waving your arms about can make the bear think you are bigger than you are and a real threat. If the bear does charge you, do not attempt to escape into a tree. Black bears are savvy climbers and have no problem knocking you to the ground.

most dangerous animals in the United StatesHikers and campers should be especially wary of the two most infamous and terrifying types of bears, the Grizzly and Polar. If you are ever unlucky enough to encounter one of these two fearsome beasts off the beaten path, you should probably consider praying to your preferred deity of choice. Whatever you do, running is the worst option. Both species will see you as prey if you try to hoof it to safety. When it comes to Grizzlies, you should first stand your ground and then slowly back away. If the Grizzly begins to charge, hit the dirt, curl into a ball, and play dead. Be sure to cover your head with your hands and arms for protection.

If you bump into a Polar bear, on the other hand, you are likely in for a fight. Playing dead does not work with these massive one-ton killers. Polar bears out and about are looking for food no matter its size, shape, or form, and a meandering human makes for a tasty snack. Again, do not run. If you have bear spray, get ready to use it, spraying the bear directly in the face. If the bear physically attacks you, fight back at all costs, particularly the eyes and nose. Playing dead simply helps them finish the job. If, by some miracle, you somehow manage to survive an encounter with a Polar bear, you should probably reconsider the life decisions you’ve made to put you in such a dangerous position.

most dangerous animals in america#8 Mountain Lions, Cougars, and Pumas

Known as mountain lions, cougars, or even pumas, these giant cats once occupied all 50 states. Due to hunting and human expansion, they can only be found in 14 western states and in Florida. Thankfully, mountain lion attacks are just as rare as these cats. When attacks do occur, it’s almost always due to the cat mistaking a bicyclist, skier, or hiker for its prey of choice: deer. Just as you would with a bear, it’s best to fight back if a mountain lion attacks you. Go for the eyes and nose, since these are tender areas you can exploit. If you’re lucky, the animal will realize you aren’t its delicacy of choice and flee back to where it came.

#7 Venomous Snakes

To date, there are up to 20 species of venomous snakes in the United States, with 16 belonging solely to the rattlesnake family. The remaining 4 species are coral, cottonmouth, and copperhead. Unfortunately, snakebite victims often don’t know they’ve been bitten by a snake until it is too late. The best strategy is to not get bitten in the first place. Hikers, campers, and nature enthusiasts should wear thick hiking boots and look down as they walk as often as possible. It’s also wise to have an anti-venom kit handy if the area you are visiting is known for poisonous snakes.

If you are bitten, you should get to an emergency room as soon as possible. Try not to move the bitten limb as this increases blood flow and spreads the venom faster throughout your body. Be sure to remove any jewelry or clothing around the bitten area in preparation for swelling,  and try to memorize the snake’s appearance if possible. This will help attending medical staff with treating your particular bite.

#6 Black Widow and Recluse Spiders

In the United States, alone, there are over 3,000 species of spiders. Out of this extraordinary amount of spiders, only 3 are known to be venomous. The Recluse spider, the Hobo Spider, and the infamous Black Widow. If not treated both promptly and properly, Black Widows and recluse spiders (Brown and Chilean) are especially dangerous and even deadly to children, the elderly, and the sick. Luckily, these spiders are mostly rare for humans to encounter. Nonetheless, you should remain vigilant, particularly when it comes to Black Widows. These dangerous creatures tend to live in closer proximity to humans and their bites are extremely painful and can have long-lasting consequences. Thankfully, their distinct red markings are easy to spot.

#5 Hornets, Bees, Wasp

Most people consider flying insects of this variety to be little more than a pest. Yet, for many people these insects are actually potential terrors of death and destruction. Gram by gram, hornets, wasps, and bees are easily the most deadly creature in the entire country. Without a doubt they kill far more Americans each year than any other animal. The CDC reports that flying insects caused the deaths of a total of 1,109 people between the years 2000 and 2017 for an average of 62 deaths each year. Understandably, most of these deaths were due to allergies, but this shouldn’t diminish the risk, as the majority of victims likely did not know they were allergic in the first place. Besides, being stung by a flying insect is rather painful, so you should just avoid these winged scourges at all costs.


Here are a few symptoms to look out for if you believe you are suffering an allergic reaction:

  • Red or white discoloration of the skin
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Hives on the skin
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shock

#4 Horses, Cows, and Other Farm Animals

Yes, you read that right. Farm livestock is one of the most dangerous class of animals in the entire US. To those in the know, though, cattle and horses certainly have a deadly reputation. Horses are known for being temperamental and will throw nasty kicks if they are unhappy. Goats, too, have no qualms with butting their heads along with their sharp horns into humans whom they disagree with.

The most surprising entry, however, is that of cows. Typically slow and docile, few people would ever consider cows to pose a threat. Yet, cows can be dangerous if they all begin to stampede at the same time, and they will certainly stampede if they feel threatened or if they are provoked. Joggers and bicyclists whom exercise in the countryside or near farmlands can attest to the danger of spooking herds of cattle. It’s best to keep your distance if you happen upon a group of cows roaming in the road. They are faster than you think and will fling their massive weight into your body if you don’t get out of the way. You should also leave Fido at home, as dogs can spook cows since they frequently mistake them for their far more predatory cousin, the wolf.

#3 Deer

Another surprising entry is that of deer. Yes, sweet, docile Bambi is actually one of the biggest killers in the United States. The threat deer pose to commuters in and out of rural areas is greater than most assume. Deer cause so many car accidents each and every year that the financial toll alone is astronomical. For example, take California. The Golden State pays upward of $300 million dollars in compensation for accidents caused by deer wandering in highways and country roads. Statistics show that you are far more likely to be killed by a collision with a deer than you are by the bite of a shark or the claws of an angry bear. Some states have even gone so far as to adopt sterilization programs in the hopes of reducing the number of deer within their borders. So, the next time you decide to take a drive out into the country, keep an eye out for Bambi bounding across the blacktop. It could be the last sight you see before disaster.

#2 Dogs

Everyone is familiar with humanity’s best friend. The simple fact is that your cute, furry companion is actually dangerous for a variety of reasons. Statistics compiled by the Center for Disease Control show that each year there are an estimated 5 million dog bites in the United States. Such a harrowing statistic translates to 1 bite for every 70 Americans, far higher than any other animal on this list.

An even more disturbing statistic is that 20% of these bites are so serious that victims often require immediate medical attention afterward. The next time you feel the need to pet a random dog on a leash, no matter how cute, remember that a full third of all dog bites potentially become infected. So, it might be smarter to simply admire that furry pooch from afar than to risk a deadly encounter with a Campylobacter infection.

#1 Humans


Of course humans top this list. One look at the statistics below should quell any doubts about who the most dangerous animal is in the United States. Below are crime statistics straight from the FBI:

  • 810,825 Aggravated Assaults
  • 1,401,840 Burglaries
  • 319,356 Robberies
  • 1,247,321 Violent Crimes
  • 17,284 Murders

What makes these statistics even more disturbing is that each of these crimes took place solely in 2017. To make matters worse, over 1.25 million people worldwide die each year from car accidents, with another 20-50 million people being injured. The simple fact is that you are more likely be hurt or killed at the hands of your neighbor, by an incredibly wide margin, than you are by any other animal on this list. Combined. And, to be honest, it’s not even close. Not that this is news to anyone who has spent time in the company of humans.

Thanks for reading The Advocates list of Most Dangerous Animals in the United States. Be safe out there, America.