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Motor Vehicle Accidents

Recovering Damages Even if You Have Received a Payment From Your Own Insurance

October 3, 2019

Let our Billings Personal Injury Attorney Help You Get Just Compensation

Vehicle owners and drivers in Montana, particularly those who have spent time in other states, may have encountered advertisements, news articles, or other bits of information describing “no-fault” auto insurance coverage. Generally speaking, in a “no-fault state,” each driver or occupant in a vehicle looks to the insurance coverage of the vehicle that he or she was driving (or riding in) in order to collect damages. In “no-fault states,” it is often not important to determine which driver was at fault. A knowledgeable Billings personal injury attorney will advise, however, that Montana is not a “no-fault” state. Its auto accident settlement procedures typically require a determination of who was at fault in causing the accident.

Montana Drivers May Have Secured “Med-Pay” Coverage

While Montana doesn’t follow no-fault rules for auto liability insurance, many Big Sky vehicle owners purchase a type of supplemental auto insurance coverage that can function a bit like a no-fault policy. For example, it’s quite possible (and even advisable) to purchase “Med-Pay” coverage in addition to standard auto liability coverage. Though it isn’t required in Montana, this coverage pays medical bills and related charges (up to the limits of the coverage purchased by the policyholder) following a car accident, without regard to which driver was at fault. Most experts say Med-Pay coverage is inexpensive, particularly when one considers how quickly medical bills can accumulate. Another advantage of Med-Pay’s “no-fault”-like characteristics is that the bills are quickly paid; there is no need to haggle with the other driver’s insurance company about who was at fault. 

Once Med-Pay Has Paid Medical Bills, You May Still be Able to Recover Those Damages

If you have protection under a Med-Pay provision of an auto policy and you have received payment for necessary medical bills associated with the accident, you may still be able to include those amounts in the damages you recover against the responsible driver. As you would be advised by an experienced Billings personal injury attorney, the person who purchased the Med-Pay coverage (and the passengers in his or her vehicle) should have the benefit of the coverage — not the other “at fault” driver.

Your Med-Pay Insurer May Have an Interest in Recovering its Outlay as Well

Bear in mind that if your Med-Pay insurer (or the insurer of the vehicle in which you were a passenger) has paid out benefits under that provision of the respective auto policy, it has a potential interest in your recovery, at least to the extent of its outlay. In a state like Montana, the general rule is that the person at fault should bear the burden of his or her negligence. That means the person at fault should bear the cost of medical bills associated with the accident, not the Med-Pay insurer that paid without regard to fault. Negotiating this issue can be complex, requiring the services of a skilled Billings personal injury attorney.  

Having a Skilled Billings Personal Injury Attorney Can be an Important Link to Full Recovery of Your Damages

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, particularly if you sustained physical injury as a result of a negligent driver, you owe it to yourself and your family to recover your full measure of damages. Whether those damages include recovery under a Med-Pay provision or not, it usually takes a skilled attorney to represent your interests and help you move through the maze required to come to a successful conclusion. Recognize that the time you have to recover your damages may have important limitations. Don’t delay — seek the assistance and experience of the well-versed Billings personal injury attorneys at Ragain & Clark, PC. Contact us today.