From the state’s “financial responsibility” requirement for vehicle owners, to state laws that could affect a car accident settlement or lawsuit, this page provides a guide to all of the Montana-specific resources available on All-About-Car-Accidents.com. We’ll also provide tips on when it may be time to contact a Montana lawyer for help with your car accident claim.
If you decide to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver after a car accident in Montana, there are a few state laws you need to be aware of, starting with the time limit for getting a car accident lawsuit started in civil court (this is a state law called a “statute of limitations”).
Montana’s relevant statute of limitations gives an injured person three years after the occurrence of an injury (the date of a car accident, for example) to get the lawsuit started -- a step that usually consists of filing the initial complaint and summons in civil court.
The three-year filing deadline is the same whether your lawsuit is for personal injury or for vehicle damage. You can find this law codified at Montana Code section 27-2-204.
If you don’t get your complaint filed before Montana’s three-year window has closed, the court will refuse to hear your case altogether. So it’s crucial to pay attention to this deadline, and that’s true even if you think your case is going to settle out of court. You always want to leave open the option of filing a lawsuit, not just for leverage in settlement negotiations, but also to make sure you can turn to the court system for a remedy if settlement doesn’t offer a satisfactory solution.
Get details on other Montana laws that could impact your car accident case in our article Car Accident Laws in Montana.
Montana requires drivers to show evidence of their "financial responsibility" in order to legally register and drive a motor vehicle in the state. Most vehicle owners in Montana do this by purchasing a car insurance policy.
The minimum coverage required for a car insurance policy in Montana is: $25,000 per person for injuries in a car accident, $50,000 per accident when more than one person is injured, and $10,000 per accident for property damage.
Car insurance companies in Montana are required to offer -- but consumers are free to reject, in writing -- uninsured motorist coverage. Learn more about how UIM coverage works and how it can protect you in our Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage topic.
For more details on “financial responsibility” and car insurance in Montana, check out our companion article Montana Car Insurance Laws.
You don’t necessarily need a lawyer for every claim you decide to make after a car accident. For example, in a situation where the other driver’s insurance carrier isn’t disputing that its insured was at fault for the crash, you suffered only minor injuries, and the settlement seems more than fair, it’s probably fine to handle that kind of claim yourself.
But what if the other driver’s insurer is saying that you caused the car accident? Or what if you suffered serious injuries and the insurer is balking at the costs of your treatment? In those situations, things can get complicated (not to mention contentious) very quickly, and it may be time to discuss your situation with a local car accident lawyer in Montana. Remember that most lawyers will take a car accident case on a contingency basis, meaning that the lawyer only gets paid a percentage of any successful settlement or court award.
A good attorney knows how to successfully navigate not just the back-and-forth of settlement negotiations with car insurance adjusters, but also the car accident lawsuit process if your case proceeds to Montana civil court.