Posted in News on March 31, 2021
Any time a person sustains an injury in an accident caused by the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of another driver, they should be able to recover compensation for their losses. However, securing compensation can be challenging, particularly if an injury victim is partially responsible for causing a vehicle accident.
It is not impossible for a person who is partially at fault to recover compensation. Here, we want to discuss whether or not Montana is a modified comparative negligence state or a contributory negligence state. This is important because the difference between the way that states handle these claims significantly alters whether or not a person can receive compensation after a car accident.
Is Montana a Modified Comparative Fault State?
Some states operate under a contributory negligence system which means a person who is responsible for a crash in any way will be unable to recover any compensation. However, Montana operates under a “modified comparative negligence” system. This means that even a person partially involved for causing a vehicle accident can still recover compensation, so long as they are not more than 50% at fault.
If I am at Fault for the Accident – Can I Recover Damages?
Yes, a person who is partially at fault for a vehicle accident can still recover damages. In a modified comparative negligence system, the total amount of money that a person recovers in a vehicle accident case will be reduced based on their percentage of fault. For example, suppose a driver is injured in a vehicle accident and sustains $100,000 worth of medical expenses and lost wages due to the incident. However, suppose the driver was found to be 20% at fault for the incident. In this case, the driver would receive $80,000 in compensation instead of the full $100,000 to account for their 20% of the fault.
Under the modified comparative negligence system in Montana, any person who is more than 50% at fault will be barred from recovering compensation. For example, if we stick with the incident above where the driver sustained $100,000 worth of damages, suppose instead of being 20% involved, he was 55% at fault. In this case, the driver would be unable to recover compensation for his losses.
Should You Work With an Attorney?
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a vehicle accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual, you need to work with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you through your case. One tactic that the insurance carrier of the other driver may use is to try to shift more of the fault onto you in an effort to pay less compensation on their end. In fact, if the at-fault driver can somehow shift more than 50% of the blame onto you, they will not have to pay your expenses at all.
When you work with a skilled Montana vehicle accident lawyer, your attorney can combat these tactics and work diligently to prove the fault of the other party. Additionally, an attorney will work with trusted medical and economic experts to properly calculate your total losses in order to demand the appropriate compensation amount from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact our law firm for additional information.