Cok Kinzler: What Is a No-Fault State, And Is Montana One of Them? - Cok Kinzler

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What Is a No-Fault State, And Is Montana One of Them?

January 11,2022

The ins and outs of auto insurance certainly aren’t the most exciting topic, but they have a big impact on most people in one way or another. And in the event of a crash, the specifics become even more essential. In the United States, driver requirements for insurance coverage vary depending on the state, so it’s important to know what applies to you and the other drivers around you. The first step there is finding out whether you’re living and driving in a no-fault state. Here’s everything you need to know, and how it applies to residents of Montana.

What is a no-fault state?

No-fault states are relatively few and far between. In no-fault states, it doesn’t matter who’s responsible for an accident when it comes to getting medical bills covered. Typically, each driver on the road is required to have personal injury protection (PIP) on their own insurance, and each person involved in an accident needs to file a report with their insurance company to be covered.

Policies in these states tend to be more expensive, and drivers are very limited in their ability to sue the other driver in an accident. You pay for yourself, and it’s not easy to take recourse against the other driver in court. In fact, some PIP requirements keep you from pursuing recourse in court at all.

How is that different from a Tort state?

Tort states are much more common than no-fault states. In a Tort state, the person responsible for the accident (or more commonly, their insurance) bears the financial burden if someone is injured. “Tort” refers to a civil wrong that causes a plaintiff to suffer loss or harm.

But what if the person responsible doesn’t have insurance? That’s where the underinsured/uninsured motorist portion of your auto policy comes in. This is often optional, but having it can help protect you in a Tort state.

What’s the deal in Montana?

Montana is a Tort state, not a no-fault state. So that means drivers here don’t need the more costly PIP insurance, and they can opt to carry only liability insurance. But that also means that pursuing payouts for damage or injury claims can be more cumbersome, depending on the insurance company of the at-fault driver. And determining fault can be a challenge in and of itself.

What does that mean if you’re in an accident?

In a no-fault state, it can be a bit faster to get medical reimbursement in the event of injury from an auto accident. So in a Tort state like Montana, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention if needed after an accident, keep documentation of any treatment or other expenses, and follow up with the insurance company on reimbursement. But if you’re struggling to get the money that is due, it may be time to get professional assistance.

The legal professionals at Cok Kinzler can help you decipher the Tort landscape that’s laid out in front of drivers in Montana. Get in touch for your free consultation, and find justice for your unique situation.