A Billings man faces charges including a fifth offense of drunk driving after causing serious injuries to a passenger who drank with him at a local bar. The drunk driver tried to flee the scene of the car accident but did not get far before being picked up by sheriff’s deputies.

According to reports of an accident investigation, the drunk driver crashed his pickup truck into two power poles and overturned at least one time. Residents in the neighborhood of 56th Street West between Danford Road and Neibauer Road reported the accident around 6:46 p.m. on October 13.

There are no reports of any harm to the driver, but his passenger suffered back fractures and a head wound in the car crash. The passenger said that he and the driver had been drinking together prior to the accident. Reports indicate that the driver failed a field sobriety test and a Highway Patrol trooper found marijuana in the glove compartment of the pickup truck.

Given the strong indications of negligence on the part of the driver in this incident, the driver may face civil liability in addition to criminal charges. Even if the driver has insurance, his insurance company may be resistant to providing fair compensation for injuries to the passenger.

Because Montana law reduces the liability of a negligent driver based upon the degree of fault or negligence of the accident victim, insurance companies frequently try to shift blame onto victims. An experienced personal injury attorney can make sure that insurance companies do not turn the law against injured accident victims and can help victim get the money they need to pay for medical expenses and lost wages.

Source: Independent Record, “Prosecutors: Man tried to flee crash that seriously injured passenger,” Greg Tuttle, Oct. 16, 2012