When you woke up this morning did you ever think you may be a part of a personal injury claim or that you would be the one filing one? Probably not! But if you have been injured, including but not limited to bruises and broken bones by another person or automobile accident, filing a claim may be on the horizon.
Statute of Limitations
The great state of Montana, like any other state, has a statute of limitations on the filing of a personal injury claim. There is a three year limitation from the date of the accident or when the injury occurred. After the three years is up, the court system can reject even hearing your claim no matter how big or small.
Automobile Insurance in MT
If you are an automobile owner like most people are you know you must carry auto insurance. The state of Montana has some minimum requirements to the car insurance you have:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person, per accident
- $50,000 total bodily injury of multiple people hurt in an accident
- $10,000 property damage liability
Of course these are only the minimums you must carry on your insurance, however, there are plenty extras you can add. For example:
- Collision: Helps pay for damages to your car
- Medical payments: will help pay medical costs after the accident
- Uninsured Motorist: covers you if you are involved in an accident caused by a driver that in uninsured.
- Comprehensive: You would get this added to help pay for damages to your automobile caused by things like hail, tree falling, anything that is not collision-related.
Who is at Fault for an Accident in Montana
Montana uses what you may call a modified comparative fault when ruling on cases. This form of fault can reduce your total amount of compensation depending on how much you may have been at fault in the accident. If you are found 50% or more at fault you ultimately receive nothing. Example:
Sally was walking through a store one day, shopping and also texting. While texting, she walked over a floor tile that was broken and she tripped and fell. She twisted her ankle and injured her knee in the fall. It was determined that because she was texting and not paying full attention, she was partially at fault for the accident. The comparative fault ruling was that the accident was 20% Sally’s fault and 80% the store’s fault. Therefore, her award of $5,000 in damages was reduced to $4,000.
A Prior Montana Personal Injury Claim
There are many claims that occur during a year but in 2008, one of Montana’s biggest was a personal injury claim. According to the Billings Gazette, two women were killed in a car crash in Park Country, MT. Patrol Helicopters Inc., a fuel company, was found at fault in a crash that killed two people. In this situation, the driver of Patrol Helicopters’ fuel truck did not signal before turning. The two women tried to pass the truck, not knowing it was about to turn. The federal jury found Patrol Helicopters at fault for the crash and awarded the families of the deceased $2.5 million.
The Caps on Damages in Montana
Montana sets punitive damage caps on the damages a person can be awarded in any claim. However, the caps for most personal injury claims in Montana are high, at $10 million or 3% of the defendant’s net worth, whichever is less. For medical malpractice cases, the damage cap is set at $250,000 per patient.