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Serving all of Montana for over 25 years

Bliven Law Firm, P.C. is a Montana personal injury law firm located in Northwest Montana serving all of Montana. A group of experienced, dedicated professionals who care about their clients’ needs. Our Montana personal injury attorneys have over 25 years of experience in aggressively pursuing the goals of our clients.

TAG ARCHIVES: PERSONAL INJURY AND ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS

Summertime In The Flathead Valley

Each year, summertime in the Flathead Valley draws millions of people from all over the world. It is not only the unparalleled beauty and grandeur of Glacier National Park that people come in droves to witness and experience, but also the small town charm of the nearby mountain towns like Bigfork, Whitefish, Lakeside, Polson, and our own Kalispell.

Kalispell has no shortage of summertime festivities. Thursday! Fest, Picnic in the Park, the Northwest Montana Fair and Rodeo, Arts in the Park, and farmers markets are just a handful of family-friendly activities tourists and residents alike look forward to attending. All of these events have one thing in common: They are a place to gather with family, friends, and neighbors to try new foods and sip on cold drinks while most likely listening to fantastic music by talented local artists.

More often than not, those attending these events will have a wonderful time and return home with full bellies, lighter wallets, and fond memories. Sadly, that is not always the case. Earlier this week, a Georgia couple were nearly fatally injured when an alleged drunk driver sped through heavy traffic and struck them with his car on a sunny evening on the main road in nearby Whitefish, Montana. The male victim was impaled on a willow tree branch 15 feet off the ground and his wife was found on the ground below the tree. They are both very fortunate to be alive, and it is incredible that the drunk driver injured only 2 people. The story could be much worse.

Alleged Drunk Driver Hits 2 Pedestrians In Downtown Whitefish

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. There is a dark side to the social entertainment the Valley and any town in America has to offer. Our quiet mountain towns become more populated and where there are more people, there are generally more negligent and careless people, and as a result, there are generally more accidents. Whether you are a visitor or a resident, is important to be aware of your surroundings and practice caution when you are enjoying time out in any one of the Valley’s towns.

  • Simple precautions can make a big difference.
  • Know your surroundings.
  • When you cross the street, look both ways and then look both ways again. There are more people drinking and driving in the summertime months and you are more likely to see them than they are to see you.
  • Do not walk off of sidewalks and stay on the streets.
  • Wear reflective clothing if you are walking after dark.
  • Drink responsibly and do not ever get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you even suspect you may have had too many drinks. Uber operates in the Flathead Valley.
  • Keep your children nearby, hold their hands, and don’t let them walk nearest the street while walking on the sidewalk.

Vacations and excursions out and about should never end in disaster or months or years of treatment for injuries. Obeying the rules of the road, both as a driver or as a pedestrian, and paying careful attention to your surroundings can make all the difference.

DOCTORS, NURSES, PHYSICAL THERAPISTS AND PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS – YOUR TEAM – NATURAL ALLIES NOT ENEMIES

After over twenty years in the practice of law, I have not filed a single medical malpractice claim or pursued a claim against a doctor or health care professional for professional negligence. Why is this, since many attorneys that represent injured folks in motor vehicle injury claims and other injury claims also do medical malpractice claims?

Folks in health care fields dedicate their lives to helping the injured, sick and disabled. So have I in the practice of law. It would be contrary to our mission, and that of Bliven Law Firm, P.C., to pursue medical malpractice claims. I did not become an attorney to sue doctors – quite the contrary. My family is composed largely of medical professionals and counselors. At our office, at Bliven Law Firm, P.C., we work with doctors (medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, doctors of chiropractic, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, massage therapists and other health care professionals) to assist our clients in their recovery from their injuries and other losses. A big part of representing injured folks when they are injured in a car wreck is getting their medical bills paid. We work to get the bills paid, so clients can get their treatment and get better.

Here in the Kalispell, in the heart of Flathead County and the Flathead Valley, as in other places in Montana, sometimes hospitals, hospital administrators, and even doctors see attorneys who represent injured people – personal injury attorneys – as an enemy – or perhaps a nuisance at best. Among hospital administrators, and even physicians and their staff, “trial lawyers” are not usually popular. We are used to being viewed with suspicion, and frankly, sometimes just flat out hostility. This occurs even when we have never met or had any contact with the office or provider. Unfortunately, because of what some of our colleagues have done and do, suspicion or concern is not entirely unwarranted in general. As they say, one rotten apple spoils the bushel. Physicians spent a great deal of time and energy practicing “defensive medicine” because they are concerned about getting sued for doing what they believe is right and in the interests of their patient, but something goes wrong. I understand. Medicine is an art as well as a science. Sometimes physicians and therapists doing everything correctly, as they are trained and their experience teaches them is the right approach, but patients don’t get better or have bad outcomes. A bad outcome does not mean the doctor or other health care professional did something wrong, and bad outcomes happen sometimes, even when the provider gave the best care possible. Some lawyers spend a considerable amount of their time and energy suing doctors and other health care professionals, others don’t bother to think about the providers concerns or issues. At Bliven Law Firm, P.C., we do not file medical malpractice claims – doctors, nurses and other health care professionals are our allies and friends – not the enemy or a target.Do physicians or other health care professionals make mistakes that contribute to unfavorable outcomes? Everyone makes a mistake at some point in their life, but even those errors do not mean they are below the “standard of care” or are irresponsible.

How do I know this? I grew up in a home where helping others with our careers was held out as a goal to aspire – and my brother is a family practice physician, one sister is a psychiatric nurse, and the other is a counselor. My mother was a nurse and my father a lawyer, then a judge. He taught me many lessons, including how to work with physicians to help clients in a professional and cooperative manner. Not all physicians and nurses are as highly trained, compassionate, dedicated and hard working as my brother and sister, but I believe most are, or try to be. I have great respect and admiration for my brother and sisters in the work they have done for patients, and sacrifices they have made to be care providers, and to continue to do so. Even my wife is a health care professional, and I have learned much from her, and with her while she did her professional education.

In over twenty years of representing the injured, sick and disabled, and working with physicians and other health care professionals – I have learned a few things about how the practice of medicine works, and the challenges health care providers face. Being a health care professional is challenging and demanding, and requires not just a great deal of education, but many skills and qualities. Generally folks enter these professions because they want to use their talents to help others. Unfortunately the economics of health care delivery has an impact on providers, who generally spend far more time than they wish on administration and paperwork, as opposed to the patient care they trained to do. I have also learned a great deal from talking to my family about these issues over the years. Most health care professionals have very long courses of study (physicians have at least 8 years of college, and then often 4-8 years of training in residency after medical school), high work loads, high stress, and tremendous demands placed upon them by the demands of patient care as well as administrative and other requirements. Physical therapists currently also generally earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, and have four years of physical therapy school after college. Many who do not have a DPT, who were educated under the former programs did more course work and hours than a PhD or even some current DPT programs even though they were granted a masters degree in physical therapy, an MSPT. If health care professionals are in private practice, they generally have the headaches of being involved in patient care and all those demands, and on top of it, have to try to run a business. Even those not in “private practice,” but working for the VA or some other agency, are still working to provide health care services to patients in a challenging environment in one form or another, such as the paperwork and the administration. I am very sensitive to these concerns and issues, and do what I can to facilitate care, communication and minimize the impact on them in seeking their opinions which are necessary to establish that treatment is necessary and related to the injury, accident or work exposure.

What sometimes is lost on providers in the system is the dramatic impact on the patient that the opinions expressed by a provider can have on the patient – often just as important as the care rendered. When an attending physician declares an injured worker at maximum medical improvement – MMI – the impact on the patient is dramatic in terms of the care they will (or not) receive, and the impact on their other benefits and life. This is one of many issues which cannot be addressed in detail here, perhaps another time on this blog.

When I practiced law in Oregon (and still do), or when seeking medical opinions outside our immediate area, I enjoy and benefit from talking to and meeting with doctors to discuss their patients I represent, and how best to help them. Communication and cooperation with the provider in the interests of the patient is to the benefit of all involved.This is common in the practice in many areas, but has become circumscribed in our area in the past few years. I miss this dialog and coordination to help patients, and it is frustrating that they are being prevented from speaking to us about their patients. We hope that someday this will be allowed again in this area so patient/clients needs can be served, and the innocent victims of other people’s negligence can get the care they need, while those services timely and appropriately paid. If you are a health care professional treating one of our clients, we welcome your phone call, or other communication.

— Michael A. Bliven

WINTER DRIVING DANGERS – CONSIDERATIONS AND REMEDIES

We have recently had the usual dangerous winter driving conditions in Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and other areas of Flathead County, Flathead valley, and surrounding areas, such as Lincoln County (Libby, Eureka), Lake County (Polson, Ronan, Mission Valley), Sanders County (Plains, Thompson Falls), Mineral County (St. Regis, Superior), and Glacier County (Browning, Cut Bank). The November ice rain, snow and ice gave way to December ice rain, snow, ice, fog and and other dangerous conditions -particularly in northwest Montana – as Flathead County sits on the west slope of the Swan Range of the Rocky Mountains. While one of the most beautiful places in the world, our weather can make driving more treacherous than it appears, even to local residents. The variable conditions can catch drivers off guard. Reference to local media shows us the dangers out on our roads, and sadly fatal car crashes are simply too common:

http://www.dailyinterlake.com/members/article_3610c362-87df-11e4-93b1-ebad69941f92.html?mode=jam

http://www.kpax.com/category/flathead-county-coverage/

http://www.nbcmontana.com/kcfw/news

In all of Montana we have many injuries in car wrecks. Factors that contribute to the high rate of injury crashes include a unique combination: high travel speeds, bad weather, challenging road conditions, and drunk driving – drunk driving that is unfortunately among the highest rates in the country. According to the latest statistics available in a recent article linked below, Montana ranks second worst,with only North Dakota, our neighbor to the east, with higher (worse) rates:

2. Montana
Drunk driving deaths per 100,000: 9.0
 Total DUI arrests: 4,418 (9th lowest)
 Beer consumption per capita: 41.0 gallons (3rd highest)
Pct. of minors consuming alcohol: 29.7% (7th highest)
pct. of binge drinkers: 19.2% (17th highest)

“Montana was among the states with the highest youth consumption of alcohol and the highest rates of binge drinking among underage residents. Sadly, for every 100,000 people in the state, 3.8 underage residents were killed in drunk driving accidents, second highest in the country. Montana residents, on average, drank 41 gallons of beer per capita, more than all but two other states — North Dakota and New Hampshire. Nearly 20% of minors said they engaged in binge drinking over the prior 30 days, sixth highest in the country. In total, 19.2% of state residents said they engaged in binge drinking over the previous month, among the highest percentages in the country.”

Read more: States With the Most Drunk Driving – 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com/special-report/2014/04/25/states-with-the-most-drunk-driving/#ixzz3N9Vwi3gO

Kalispell, Columbia Falls, Whitefish and the other areas around Whitefish Mountain Resort (formerly known as Big Mountain, as it is still known to most local residents) and Glacier Park are beautiful and provide winter recreation second to none. However, local residents and visitors must always be mindful of the conditions and dangers on our roads. Many of the visitors to the area find our road system that has struggled to keep up with population growth continue to be a challenge. While we look forward to the completion of the US Highway 93 bypass, and we have had significant upgrades to our local infrastructure in the past few years, we still are behind in terms of the infrastructure to handle the amount of traffic as our population grows and the number of visitors to Glacier National Park continues to set records. This creates conditions that are dangerous for local residents and our visitors from other states – as well as Alberta, British Columbia, the rest of Canada. While many of our visitors are from states like Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, the Pacific Northwest and other regions that see much snow and ice, we also have a large number of visitors each year from places like Texas, Arizona and California that do not. Car wrecks that occur even at low speeds can result in serious injuries – despite what insurance claims adjusters – and the “biomechanics experts” and insurance defense attorneys they hire to defend their denials of fair compensation for these injuries say.

At this time of year, snow tires (whether with studs or similar), and careful driving are highly recommended. The use of seat belts at all times is also essential. The failure to utilize a seat belt and ejection from the vehicle are factors in many fatal car wrecks. Wearing a seat belt is a critical and well established way to reduce fatal injuries, regardless of the cause of motor vehicle crashes. Another factor to consider is the time of day or night – at this time of year in particular given holiday parties – staying off the roads after midnight and recognizing that between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. that a rather significant percentage of drivers on the road that have been drinking – makes staying at home (or at the hotel etc.) a good decision.

One winter driving danger that folks do not consider – in addition to driving without adequate or appropriate tires, awareness of conditions, not using seat belts – is driving (or being a passenger) without adequate insurance coverage.

We have a high rate of uninsured and underinsured drivers in Montana. “Defensive driving” as far as we concerned, also includes carrying substantial uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to protect your family and passengers from irresponsible drivers on the roads. Underinsured motors coverage is some of the least expensive, and most critical coverage one can purchase. I have seen underinsured motorist coverage of $100,000 for $21 per year. The most challenging part of underinsured motorist coverage is asking for it from your agent or the insurance company, and making sure everyone is covered under the policy you believe is covered under the policy. “Full coverage” means that you have enough insurance and kind of insurance to meet your needs. This includes having substantial med pay coverage, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. A good agent will strongly recommend adequate uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, even insist on it or require you to sign an acknowledgment and waiver if you decline it, or simply decline to write an inadequate policy. An agent should write the policy coverages and sell you a policy with adequate coverage that considers your potential expenses and potential lost earning capacity, among other factors. However, if buying a policy online or over the phone in a few minutes, it requires that the consumer be aware and seek the coverage, or even seek it from a different company if not offered. This is a lot to ask of the consumer, and buyer beware. Of the ways to save money on an auto policy, skipping underinsured motorist coverage is not the way. A better approach would be to increase the deductible for collision or comprehensive coverage. Please also make sure that everyone who lives in your home is listed on the insurance policy, family member or not, so that the insurance company does not have that as a basis to try to deny coverage.

At Bliven Law Firm, P.C., the attorneys are happy to answer questions about your auto insurance converge, including reviewing your policy, and we counsel clients about getting coverage that will address their situation and needs to help protect their family in the event of a motor vehicle crash that results in injuries.

At Bliven Law Firm, P.C., we emphasize representing the insured, sick and disabled. Whether a car wreck, other injury, workers’ compensation injury, or disability claim, we have the skill, experience and dedication to assist you and your family. We are located in Kalispell, Flathead County, Montana, in the heart of the Flathead Valley. We are a law firm the represents the innocent victims injured by the negligence and wrongful conduct of others. We do not represent the insurance companies – or the wrong doers. We are firmly rooted in the community, and we are here to serve you.

BOZEMAN CRASH INJURES TWO

The driver of a Subaru caused a two-car accident in Bozeman after the driver of the Subaru turned left into oncoming traffic.

The Bozeman car accident occurred on Secondary Highway 205 and Valley Center spur.

A woman in a Subaru wagon sustained an injury to her face but was talking and coherent, Montana Highway Patrol Sergeant Patrick McLaughlin said. She was taken to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. The second occupant of that vehicle was also taken to the hospital.

For updated information on the Bozeman crash, visit KAJ18

Bliven Law Firm, P.C. a Kalispell law firm with three attorneys who represent personal injury clients, aggressively represents the victims of car accidents in Bozeman and other towns in Montana including Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Kila, Lakeside, Polson, Missoula and throughout the state of Montana.

For Montana residents injured in a car accident, we provide a free consultation to discuss your case. For most car accident cases, in Bozeman, Kalispell, Missoula or elsewhere, we represent car accident clients on a contingency basis. We aggressively represent our clients rights to reach a fair and just outcome, inside or outside of the courtroom.

KALISPELL CAR ACCIDENT LEAVES 1 DEAD AND AT LEAST 2 SERIOUSLY INJURED

20130607-112016-resized-jpgThree people were injured and one died Friday morning when a gray Nissan crossed the center line and struck a mini-can traveling in the opposite direction. It was the second fatal Kalispell car accident on Highway 2 this week.

According to Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Patrick Herman, the male occupant of a gray Nissan Sentra died, and the female occupant is in critical condition after the collision with a white minivan in the Highway 2 crash. The two passengers in the minivan, both men, were taken to receive medical treatment for non-life-threatening injuries, Herman said.

The driver of the car was killed on impact, with Lieb adding that a female passenger was critically injured in the Kalispell fatal car accident and was taken by Alert Helicopter to Kalispell Regional Medical Center. The driver of the mini-van in the Kalispell car accident is hospitalized with serious injuries.

More information on the fatal Kalispell car accident can be found at the following news sources:

http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/two_dead_after_head_on_crash_on_highway_2/33851/

http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/head-on-collision-near-glacier-airport/-/14594602/20468964/-/cucuyaz/-/index.html

Bliven Law Firm, P.C., a Montana law firm with three Kalispell Lawyers, has helped thousands of clients and their families who were seriously injured in accidents like the Kalispell car accident described above.

Injured victims, and their spouses (in some circumstances) may be legally entitled to advance payment of medical expenses, lost wages and medical care.

If you or someone you know has been seriously injured or hurt in  a Kalispell car accident, our lawyers will provide a free consultation to discuss your case. In cases of serious injuries we can even visit you. Call now for a free consultation at (406) 755-6828.

DOWNPOUR CAUSES 2 CAR ACCIDENT OUTSIDE OF MISSOULA

51ad03c61020e.preview-620Heavy rain and bald tires caused a two-car accident outside of Missoula A two-car crash caused by a heavy downpour and bald tires slowed westbound traffic on Interstate 90 early Monday afternoon.

Emergency crews responded to the accident near East Missoula at mile marker 108 at roughly 1:30 p.m.

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Paul Pfau confirmed what witnesses said after the accident: The driver of the Nissan was going too fast for conditions.

“The car was going a little too fast for conditions with bald tires,” Pfau said. “It hydroplaned on the bridge deck, hit the bridge guardrail and bounced into traffic, where it was T-boned by another vehicle,” Pfau said.

Dave and Theresa Scott were traveling from Twin Falls, Idaho, to Spokane, Wash., when the accident occurred in front of them. The couple pulled over to see what they could do to help.

“We didn’t know if anyone was calling 9-1-1,” Scott said. “The rain was coming down pretty hard. We were one of the first who pulled over.”

Pfau said the driver of the Nissan was cited for driving too fast for conditions.

For more information click here

Our office has three Montana attorneys who practice personal injury law for injured Montanans. If you or someone you know has been injured in a Missoula car accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Bliven Law Firm, P.C. for a free case evaluation.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or worse in a Montana or Missoula car accident, you may be entitled to advance payment of medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. Each case is different and depends on the facts. Our Kalispell lawyers aggressively represent and fight for the rights of innocent victims of car accidents in Montana.

ROLLOVER CRASH ON I-90 NEAR CLINTON LEAVES SEVERAL HURT

download (2)The Montana Highway Patrol reported that a pickup truck carrying at least five people rolled over on Interstate 90 near Clinton on Sunday night.

The pickup was heading west on Interstate 90 when the driver lost control and rolled through the median and into oncoming traffic.

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer says he believes all five people were taken to the hospital, but there’s no immediate word on their conditions.

For more information, click here

If you or a family member has been injured a car accident or a rollover accident in Montana, contact the attorneys of Bliven Law Firm, P.C. for a free consultation. If you have suffered injuries from a Kalispell car accident, you may be entitled to advance payment of medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.

The Montana Attorneys of Bliven Law Firm, P.C. help individuals injured in Montana car accidents. Representation is usually based upon a contingency basis depending on what our firm can do for you. For personal injury cases, consultations are free.

COLUMBIA FALLS MAN FACES CRIMINAL CHARGES AFTER KALISPELL CAR ACCIDENT

Sean Francisco West, A 27-year-old Columbia Falls man, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Flathead District Court to negligent vehicular assault, criminal endangerment and failure to remain at the scene of a Kalispell car accident.

The charges stem from a Jan. 19  Kalispell caraccident where West allegedly ran a red light in his sport utility vehicle and smashed into another car.

According to a court document, when Kristy Elrod entered the intersection of Reserve Drive and U.S. 2 on a green light, West T-boned her vehicle.

The crash ejected Derrick Hayward, one of Elrod’s two passengers. Hayward flew approximately 63 feet before landing in the road. Hayward was hospitalized for several days after the Kalipsell car accident with a lacerated liver and other injuries.

A witness reported hearing a crash and running around the corner of a gas station to see a man running away from the SUV. She told him to stop, to which he responded, “I can’t do this,” and kept running.

For more information on the story, click here

For more than 18 years, the Kalispell lawyers of the Kalispell law firm, Bliven Law Firm, P.C. have been aggressively representing innocent victims of Kalispell car accidents.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls or Montana car accident, contact the Kalispell attorneys of Bliven Law Firm, P.C. for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to advance payment of medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.

THREE CAR CRASH ON HIGHWAY 93 IN VICTOR STOPS TRAFFIC

5115029bb0c92.preview-620A three car crash in Victor on Highway 93 stopped traffic on Thursday.

The accident was first reported a few minutes after 1 p.m., Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Lath Keith said.

A pickup truck was in the southbound lefthand lane, stopped to turn into the Axmen Propane in Victor, when it was rear-ended by a utility truck. The collision sent the pickup into the northbound lane, where it was struck by a white SUV, Keith said.

The white SUV rolled numerous times, crossing Highway 93 and ending up on the southbound side of the highway in the ditch heading west.

“The scene was so spread out,” Keith said.

“Both impacts were probably near highway speed,” he said.

The male utility truck driver was transported to St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula for a compound fracture. The two occupants in the white SUV were taken to Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital in Hamilton.

Keith said that the accident was technically a four-car accident, although the fourth car was not struck. He said the fourth car was not impacted, as it swerved to avoid the head-on collision. He said the individual in the fourth car is now a witness in the accident.

Shortly after the accident occurred, Keith said they blocked Highway 93 off for two reasons: first for safety and second to see what exactly took place. Highway 93 was blocked for almost two hours from Bell Crossing to Victor Crossing.

For more information on the crash, visit the Missoulian

For more than 18 years, the Montana attorneys of the Montana law firm have represented injured innocent victims of car accidents in the Flathead and Mission Valleys.

If you or someone you know in the Flathead or Mission Valleys has been injured in a car accident, you may be legally entitled to lost wages, advance payment of medical expenses and other damages. Contact the Montana attorneys of the Montana law firm Bliven Law Firm, P.C. for a free case evaluation.

MISSOULA THREE-CAR CRASH LEAVES ONE DEAD, OTHERS INJURED

The driver of a vehicle traveling north on Reserve in Missoula lost control of his vehicle and entered into oncoming traffic, Sunday, causing a three-car accident in Missoula.

Sergeant Scott Pastian with the Missoula Police Department says the accident occurred just south of the Reserve and Mullan Road intersection. He says two vehicles were southbound and one was northbound when it entered the southbound lane and was struck by the other two vehicles.

Pastian says the 35 year-old male victim was pronounced dead after being taken to a Missoula Hospital. He said two of the injured parties were transported to St. Patrick Hospital, while the third was taken to Community Medical Center.The other two individuals were treated and released.

The crash occurred around 10:30 a.m. Sunday near the intersection of Reserve and Mullan Road, according to a Missoula Police Department press release.

All three drivers involved in the Missoula crash were injured.

More information is available on Montana news sites

If you or someone you know has suffered a wrongful death or serious injuries from a Missoula car accident, the attorneys at Bliven Law Firm, P.C. can help you receive compensation you may be entitled to receive.

Contact the Montana attorneys of Bliven Law Firm, P.C. who represent the families of innocent victims of Missoula car accidents. Victims of Missoula car accidents may be legally entitled to advance payment of lost wages, medical expenses and home assistance.

Contact the law offices of Bliven Law Firm, P.C. for a free consultation. Our Montana lawyers aggressively represent the families of injured victims of Missoula car accidents.