Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Advance payment of medical costs and lost wages

In Montana, in many injury cases we can force liability insurance companies to advance pay medical bills and lost wages. By advance payment, I mean that you can get certain costs paid in advance of having to sign a final settlement. This option is only available when 'liability is reasonably clear', and the cost is directly related to the injury suffered in the accident. If liability is disputed, the advance payment option will be very hard to obtain.

This option is unavailable in most other states. It is available in Montana thanks to a couple of good Montana Supreme Court decisions.

In Ridley v. Guar. Nat'l Ins. Co., 286 M 325, 951 P2d 987, 54 St. Rep. 1430 (Montana 1997), the Court held that the insurer had a duty to pay plaintiffs' undisputed medical expenses up to the limits of its coverage and without the benefit of a settlement agreement.

In DuBray v. Farmers Ins. Exch., 2001 MT 251, 307 M 134, 36 P3d 897 (Montana 2001), the Montana Supreme Court stated that an insurance carrier must also pay lost wages that are reasonably certain and directly related to an insured's negligence or wrongful act.

This is one example of why most people are better off hiring an experienced personal injury attorney. Most people who are injured in an accident have no idea about these specific Montana rules for advance payment of medical bills and lost wages. They think that the only way to get their bills paid is to sign a final settlement, and they easily get rushed into settling before they know the full duration and extent of their injuries. Don't get rushed into settling before you should... Consult with an experienced injury lawyer first! You can see my web site for further information:, or call us at (406)563-3195 for your free initial consultation.