Pursuing compensation through an auto accident claim in Montana takes an understanding of how the state’s insurance laws work. Like most states, Montana uses a traditional fault-based insurance system for crash claims. The insurance company of the at-fault party will receive the request, investigate the car accident, accept or deny the claim, and issue a settlement check (if applicable). The entire settlement process could take 30 days or longer to complete.
The 30-day timeline stems from Montana’s insurance law. This law states that an insurer must respond to a claim within at least 30 days from the date of receiving the initial paperwork. Most insurance companies will send letters to claimants within a few days stating that they have received the claims and are investigating. They will then work to resolve the claim within 30 days, in most cases. The company will either accept the claim and offer the victim a settlement or deny the claim and explain why.
If the insurance company cannot reach a decision within 30 days, it has the right to request an extension. An insurance company in Montana can receive extra time to review and investigate a case if it has a valid reason for the extension. The insurance company must send a letter to the claimant within the 30-day period explaining that it will need additional time to complete the case. On average, more time means 15 additional days.
During the investigative period, an insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to the case. A claims adjuster will be the individual responsible for analyzing evidence, determining fault and communicating with the claimant. The adjuster may contact the claimant within a few days of the accident. Then, the adjuster may make an appointment to assess vehicle damages in person. Other elements of the investigation process can include hiring experts, talking to witnesses, returning to the scene of the accident, and obtaining video footage or photographs. It could take days or weeks for an insurance company to determine who was at fault for a car accident.
If the insurance company decides to accept your claim, you will enter into settlement negotiations. This phase could last a few days or weeks depending on how much you go back and forth. If you come to an agreement, you could receive a settlement check within two weeks. If you cannot agree on a reasonable settlement, your Montana personal injury lawyer may need to take your car accident claim to court for fair compensation. A trial will take longer to settle than an insurance claim. Many different factors could alter the overall length of a case.
It may be possible for you to speed up the settlement process in Montana by hiring an attorney. A lawyer can take care of complicated and time-consuming legal processes for you, such as filing your claim and negotiating with claims adjusters. A lawyer can also help you avoid issues that commonly delay claims, such as missing information. The efficiency and speed with which a lawyer can handle your personal injury claim could cut days or weeks off your settlement timeline.