Navigating Automotive or Injury Lawsuits
Navigating your first automotive accident or injury lawsuit can be a stressful and confusing time. To make things easier, we have put together an automotive personal injury lawsuit timeline.
We will discuss how long you have to file an auto personal injury lawsuit in Montana, as well as what you can file for, and what steps you need to take. This article will familiarize you with the process and what you can expect.
First Step After an Automobile Injury
If you have been in a car accident in Montana you should report the crash immediately. Depending on the severity of the accident, you may be required to report the incident to the police immediately. To ensure there is a record of what happened, it is important to attempt to request that the police investigate all accidents that cause injury or property damage. If the police refuse to investigate, it is important to get the person who caused the accident to admit in writing they caused the accident.
When do you have to report a car accident in Montana?
You must report a car accident in Montana to the police immediately if one of these three requirements are met:
- The accident resulted in injury or death.
- A vehicle involved struck the body of a deceased person.
- The accident caused apparent property damage of $1000 or more.
Seek Medical Attention for Your Injury ASAP
Receiving medical attention for your car accident injury is important for both your health and your lawsuit. If the injury is severe enough, this step will come before reporting the accident to the police as your health is more important. However, you should still report the incident as soon as possible.
The medical report will be critical in putting together your auto accident personal injury lawsuit. The insurance company will attempt to use any delay in treatment to argue that your injuries were not serious. Your car accident attorney will review your medical records and accident report to assess the merits of your case.
How Long Do I Have To File A Written Report After A Car Accident?
For a serious automotive accident, you have only 10 days to report the incident to the Montana Motor Vehicle Division.
This time limit applies if you meet either of these requirements:
- A person is killed or injured in the accident.
- If property damage exceeds $1000.
When Do I Need To Consult A Personal Injury Lawyer?
Once you have reported the accident to the police and received a medical assessment it is important to contact a personal injury attorney. This step can be started before filing a written report to the Montana Motor Vehicle Division. However, be sure not to exceed the MMVD’s 10 day limit to report your automobile accident.
In your consultation, you will go over the claims you intend to make, discuss the case and enter a contingent fee agreement. Then your personal injury lawyer will examine your medical records and auto accident crash report.
Automobile Injury Settlement Negotiation
Your car accident attorney may decide to file a personal injury lawsuit at this point. In most automobile accident cases, however, there is usually some attempt to pursue an informal settlement prior to litigation.
In the event that the settlement negotiations do not result in a resolution of your personal injury claim, the will typically file a civil lawsuit. Taking the case to court may mean a higher payout, but there is a possibility of recovering less than what was offered during the settlement negotiations. If your case is going to court you need car accident lawyers who have experience and are willing to go to trial for you.
How Long Do I Have To File A Personal Injury and/or Automotive Accident Lawsuit?
In Montana, you have 3 years to file a personal injury lawsuit. The starting date is the day your auto accident is reported to have occurred. You also have 3 years to file for property damage in Montana. If you are approaching the statute of limitations you should contact an auto injury lawyer immediately to ensure enough time to file a lawsuit.
First party insurance claims for no fault medical pay coverage, underinsured motorist coverage and uninsured motorist coverage are governed by the written contractual statute of limitations of eight years. However, most no fault med pay policies written in Montana typically only cover medical bills for injuries that are incurred between one to three years following the accident.
|Statute||Written Contract||Oral Contract||Injury||Property Damage|
|Mont. Code Ann. 27-2-202 et seq.||8 years||5 years||3 years||3 years|
Auto Accident Personal Injury, What Can I Claim?
In Montana, car accident settlements for personal injuries may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages (Due to missed work)
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Loss of established course of life
- Loss of household services
In Montana, car accident settlements for property damage may include:
- Car repair costs
- Car replacement costs
- Costs for loss of use of a vehicle
- Costs for damaged personal property in the vehicle
Who Do I File An Automotive Personal Injury Claim With/Against?
There are three primary sources for claiming compensation from an auto collision. Your auto accident attorney will help you select the right one for your case:
- You can file a 3rd party claim with the at-fault driver and the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- You can file a 1st party claim with your own insurance company for claims such as underinsured motorist coverage, uninsured motorist coverage or no-fault medical payments coverage.
- If you are a passenger in another person’s vehicle when you are injured in a car accident by a third party, you may also be entitled to assert additional 1st party claims under the policy of the person whose vehicle you are occupying as well the 1st party claims under your own auto policy.
- If you live with family members who have their own separate insurance policy, you may also be entitled to assert 1st party claims under their auto policy.
Who Can Collect On Auto Accident Personal Injury?
Montana uses the modified comparative negligence rule. In short, this means that if you are found 50% or less at fault you are eligible to recover damages. If the insurance company blames you for an accident that was caused by someone else, it is highly recommended you contact an experienced auto accident lawyer.
Whether you are partially at fault or seeking damages for an automobile personal injury lawsuit, your best bet is to contact the experienced automotive injury lawyers at Hoyt & Blewett. We fight for the highest compensation for you.