A collision on 13th Street West in Billings claimed the life a motorcyclist on September 15. A distracted driver may be the cause of the tragic motorcycle crash.

According to reports, the accident took place when the driver of an SUV traveling eastbound on Avenue D tried to beat traffic crossing the intersection. A northbound motorcycle carrying two occupants crashed into the passenger side of the SUV. A female passenger on the motorcycle was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, but emergency responders could not resuscitate the male driver.

Reports indicate that the motorcycle was traveling at the posted speed limit at the time of the crash, so it appears that lack of motorcycle awareness played a major role in this sad accident.

Although the motorcycle passenger appears to have suffered only minor injuries she will undoubtedly face steep medical bills and other possible costs, such as lost wages. Since it appears that the driver of the SUV was at fault for causing the accident, the injured passenger may be able to seek compensation from the SUV driver’s insurance company.

Unfortunately, neither of the motorcycle riders was wearing a helmet. Apart from potentially reducing the severity of the passenger’s injuries and possibly saving the life of the driver, a helmet might have increased the passenger’s opportunity to recover expenses from the SUV driver.

Montana law reduces an accident victim’s entitlement to compensation in proportion to the degree to which the victim’s negligence contributed to the accident or to the injuries resulting from an accident. Because insurance companies know how to use the law of damages to their advantage, the passenger’s failure to wear a helmet may hurt her in more ways than one.

Source: KTVQ, “Motorcycle accident in residential area kills one,” Sept. 15