If you’ve recently been injured, you may have noticed your bills start to add up. Between immediate medical care and follow-up care, made worse by lost wages for missing work as you heal, the aftermath of an injury can make a bad situation even worse.
If someone else hurt you, whether by accident or on purpose, you shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of their actions alone. With a personal injury lawsuit, you could require them to pay you monetary damages for the harm they’ve caused. You could potentially get compensation for all of your medical bills, your lost wages, and even non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Each state has its own laws when making a personal injury case, so it’s important to know which rules will directly apply to Montana.
In Montana, nearly any injury that someone else caused you could be grounds for a personal injury case, including:
Intentional injuries are those someone else causes on purpose, whether or not they intended to create as much harm as they did. Just making intentional, physical contact with you can count as intentional infliction, such as through battery.
Negligent injuries, however, are usually purely accidental, but they could have been avoided if the injurer had exercised a reasonable level of care and responsibility. A Missoula driver who lost control of their vehicle because of their excessive speed could be liable for any injuries their accident caused. Medical malpractice cases also usually fall under negligence laws.
Montana, unlike some other states, has what’s called a comparative negligence rule. This means that if the court thinks your actions contributed to the circumstances of your accident, you can only be awarded a reduced amount of money. If they find you 20 percent responsible, you’ll only be able to recover 80 percent of the costs you’re seeking. If they think you are more than 50 percent responsible, however, you’ll likely be prevented from recovering anything at all.
Strict liability injuries are typically also accidents, but in these cases, the injurer could still be liable even if they did act responsibly. In Montana, this is commonly seen in dog bite cases. Even if a Billings dog owner handled their dog safely and carefully, they could still be liable for any injuries their dog caused if it bit anyone, as long as the injured person was legally allowed to be where they were when the injury happened.
Product liability is another example of strict liability. If you eat prepackaged food in Great Falls and get injured because a piece of metal from the factory accidentally fell in during the packaging process, the manufacturer could still be liable, even if they followed strict safety processes.
Montana caps damages in certain types of personal injury cases. This means there’s a limit to how much you can recover from the person who hurt you.
In most situations, there is no cap on the economic damages of a personal injury case in Montana, such as medical bills. However, when it comes to medical malpractice cases there’s a cap on non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. You wouldn’t be able to recover more than $250,000 per patient.
Every state sets a statute of limitations, or time limit, for filing your personal injury lawsuit. In Montana, that limit is usually three years. If you wait more than three years from the date of your injury, you’ll likely be barred from filing your suit and getting compensation.
If your injury was so severe that you were temporarily incapacitated, the time for the statute of limitations begins when you were no longer incapacitated. This changes if you were hurt by a government employee or agency. You only have 20 days to file your suit in those cases.
Injuries cost money, including time away from work, medical bills, and other complications. Before taking legal action or trying to negotiate a settlement on your own, you should talk to an attorney about your case. You can search LawInfo’s legal directory to find a local personal injury attorney to discuss the merits of your case. This one step can level the playing field, help you protect your rights, and put you in the best position for recovering the compensation that you deserve.