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Personal Injury

How Long Do I Have to Pursue a Claim for Personal Injury in Montana?

June 16, 2020

If you’ve been injured, your first concern is getting the appropriate medical care so that you can make a full recovery. After that, you need to consider whether you should pursue a legal claim in order to recover your losses. Many people don’t realize that the law imposes deadlines on pursuing personal injury claims, and these deadlines vary from state to state. If you’ve been injured and are considering pursuing a claim, we strongly encourage you to speak with a Billings personal injury attorney as soon as possible. 

The Statute of Limitations in Montana

In legal terms, the deadline by which you can file a lawsuit is referred to as the “statute of limitations.” The statute of limitations is established by law and varies according to the type of claim you may have. If you fail to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you will be barred from pursuing legal action. This means that you will lose all of your rights to compensation, no matter how strong your case is or how obvious it is that the other party should be held responsible. There are very few exceptions to this rule. A knowledgeable Billings personal injury attorney should be able to tell you which statute of limitations applies to your case.  

Montana law imposes a three-year statute of limitations for most types of personal injury cases. However, there is a two-year statute of limitations for most intentional torts such as assault and battery or libel and slander. Medical malpractice cases are also subject to a two-year statute of limitations. 

Determining the Deadline

This sounds straightforward, but determining when the deadline expires can be somewhat complex. In most cases, the statute of limitations begins running from the date of your injury or accident. However, in medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations may not start running until the injury is discovered, but no more than five years after the treatment or procedure took place. Cases involving injury to a minor can also be complicated. For minors, the statute of limitations does not begin running until they turn 18. If you’re not sure how this applies to your case, contact a Billings personal injury attorney for help. 

It Still Applies…Even if You Don’t Plan to Go to Court

The statute of limitations applies to your claim even if you don’t plan to go to court. You should always submit any claim to the insurance company as soon as possible, but if you do not submit the claim until after the statute of limitations has expired, they will not even consider it. This is because the insurance companies know that you no longer have the legal right to sue for the injuries you suffered.

You Have Less Time Than You Think

Two or three years may seem like a lot of time, but the sooner you contact a Billings personal injury attorney the better. Waiting to pursue your claim will likely make it more difficult to prove your case. The evidence may be more difficult to gather, witnesses may be difficult to find, and important documents may go missing. 

Injured? Contact a Billings Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you’ve been injured, you could be facing exorbitant medical bills and other losses. Some of your losses may be covered by insurance, but others will not. Billings personal injury attorney Jim Ragain can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 406-651-8888 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.