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How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Montana?

When a person sustains an injury caused by the actions of another individual, entity, or business, they may need to file a personal injury claim in order to recover compensation. However, personal injury claims must be filed within a specified amount of time, per Montana law. Failing to abide by the personal injury statute of limitations in the state will likely result in an injury victim becoming unable to recover compensation for their losses.

The Montana Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

Montana state law specifies that personal injury claims must be filed within three years from the date an injury occurs. This time limit applies to most types of injury claims, but there are a few exceptions. For example, if the injured individual is a minor under the age of 18, then the statute of limitations clock will not begin ticking until the individual turns 18 years of age.

Montana Car Accident Statute of Limitations

In some states, the statute of limitations for vehicle accidents differs from the overall personal injury statute of limitations. However, in Montana, car accident victims also have three years from the date the incident occurs to file their claim against the alleged negligent party. However, if individuals need to file a lawsuit against another party to recover property damage compensation after a vehicle accident, then the lawsuit must be filed within two years after the incident.

Why You Should File Your Claim Quickly

We strongly encourage individuals to file their personal injury claim in civil court as quickly as possible. Waiting to file the claim could significantly jeopardize the eventual outcome of the case. First, insurance carriers typically have their own internal reporting deadlines, and these are usually very short. In order to have the best chance of recovering fair compensation through an insurance settlement, individuals should at least notify the insurance carrier about the incident.

Another significant benefit of filing the claim relatively soon after the incident occurs is evidence preservation. Unfortunately, as time goes on after an incident occurs, evidence can disappear, and memories can fade. The quicker a claim goes through the investigation process, the easier it is to properly determine liability for the incident.

Be Wary of Early Settlement Offers

If you file your personal injury claim with an insurance carrier or file a lawsuit in civil court against another party, we want you to remain wary of any early settlement offers that come your way. One of the main tactics insurance carriers use to limit how much compensation they pay out is to make a fairly quick settlement offer soon after the claim gets met. Typically, these early settlement offers do not reflect the actual value of the case.

If you receive an early settlement offer, we encourage you to have it reviewed by a skilled personal injury lawyer who has experience handling complex claims. An attorney can help you understand whether or not accepting a settlement offer is in your best interest or whether you should move forward with the claim against the other party.