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What's the time limit for bringing an auto accident injury claim?

If you've been injured in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver in Montana, you have the right to sue that driver and recover monetary damages. But you have a limited time in which to do so. There are time limits, known as statutes of limitation, within which you must commence your suit.

In Montana, the statute of limitations to bring a personal injury lawsuit arising out of a car accident is three years from the date of the accident. If you don't actually commence a lawsuit within that time, you will be forever barred from claiming damages from the negligent driver. Sending a letter to the driver or their insurance company, or filing an insurance claim, is not enough. You must actually file a lawsuit within the three-year period. You will not receive any notice from the court that the statute of limitations is about to expire.

Three years may seem like a long time, but if you have been injured it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. If you wait until there are only a few months left to bring a claim, you may find that critical evidence has disappeared or that a witness who will support your claim has died or moved out of state.

In some circumstances the victim can have more than three years to bring a lawsuit. For example, if the accident victim is a minor at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the victim's 18th birthday.

The information in this post is general in nature and is not legal advice. If you have questions about your specific situation, it is best to consult an experienced Montana personal injury law firm.

Source: Montana Code Ann. ยง 27-2-204, accessed Oct. 13, 2014

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