When Liability Is Reasonably Clear

When a car accident causes injury, it is easy for the injured person to be anxious about the payment of medical bills resulting from the accident. For those in car accidents where liability is reasonably clear, or when an insurance company admits liability, the injured non-fault driver can breathe easy. According to Montana law the at-fault driver’s insurance company must advance pay medical expenses.

For example, if a driver is rear-ended at a stop light and suffers injury as a result the at-fault driver’s insurance company will have to pay for the injured driver’s medical expenses incurred from the accident.

This was settled in the Montana Supreme Court in Ridley vs Guaranty National Insurance Company. In the Ridley case the Montana Supreme Court had to weigh whether the Montana Unfair Trade Practices Act requires an at-fault person’s insurance company to pay for the injured person’s medical costs. Ridley had requested that the insurance company assist him in the bills attributed to the accident. When the company didn’t pay up the case went to court and the Court ruled in Ridley’s favor.

Similar litigation that took place later provided for the at-fault person’s insurer to also pay wage loss after an accident. In Dubray vs Farmer’s Insurance Exchange it was determined that, “The essence of our holding in Ridley is that where liability is reasonably clear, injured victims are entitled to payment of those damages which are not reasonably in dispute without first executing a settlement agreement and final release … medical expenses are just one of the obligations incurred by victims that mandatory liability insurance laws were designed to alleviate. Lost
wages which are reasonably certain and directly related to an insured’s negligence or wrongful act are another example.”

Not only are both wages and medical expenses covered for the non-fault driver, in a case where liability is reasonably clear these payments must be made in advance even prior to a settlement being made on a claim.

It is important to note that even though Montana Law ensures the protection of an injured person insurance companies aren’t always quick to note these laws. When a situation arises and you need someone to go-to-bat for you take care of yourself and let our attorneys handlethe fight.