Student Missionary Receives $26 Million Settlement After Montana Car Crash.

A reckless or negligent driver can cause tragic results on the road. Car accidents can result in severe, life-changing, and even fatal injuries. If the injuries suffered in a car accident are caused by the negligence or recklessness of a driver, the victim of the accident may be able to sue the driver for money damages. These damages are for such things as pain and suffering and medical care.

In the summer of 2009, Jeremy Vangsnes, now age 27, traveled to Montana for a ten-week recreational missionary program, known as Yellowstone Christian Innovators. The program was sponsored by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, Inc. While on the mission trip, Vangsnes was the victim of a tragic car crash caused by Scott Minear, a fellow missionary.

The Vangsnes family sued the Baptist Convention for their role in the car accident. Vangsnes was represented by attorneys Anders Blewett and Zander Blewett. They argued that the missionary who caused the car accident was acting within the scope of his employment as a missionary when the crash occurred. However, the attorneys for the Baptist Convention argued that the missionary was not acting within the scope of his employment because Minear and Vangsnes were traveling back from a recreational trip to Glacier National Park.

District Judge Mike Salvagni ruled that the driver was in fact acting within the course and scope of his duties as a missionary because he had permission from the program to take the recreational trip. Furthermore, the Court found that the students continued to discuss their faith with each other and others while on the trip. Therefore, the Baptist Convention was deemed liable for the accident. This ruling pushed the Baptist Convention to settle with the Vangsnes family for an unprecedented $26 million. This amount is the largest single-plaintiff personal injury payment in Montana history.

At the time of the accident, Vangsnes, then aged 21, was about to start his senior year at Coastal Carolina University, where he was an All-American athlete. As a result of the accident, Vangsnes is now a quadriplegic. According to the Great Falls Tribune, Vangsnes’ father has said that the settlement will allow the family to hire 24-hour skilled nursing care for the victim and to buy a more handicap-accessible house.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a car accident or other motor vehicle accident, please call 617-787-3700 now to speak with one of our expert Massachusetts car accident lawyers or email us at

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