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Personal Injury Lawsuit: Proving Your Side

personal injury law firm billings

personal injury law firm billingsA common question asked by personal injury clients is “Does filing a personal injury lawsuit require me to go to trial?”

More than likely not. Although there is the possibility that a trial will take place, more than 95% of personal injury lawsuits settle without a trial. A settlement doesn’t always happen the same way. Sometimes a settlement will happen during meditation, or even right after a lawsuit is filed. But sometimes a settlement won’t occur until just before trial or after a plaintiff has given his disposition. It isn’t necessary to stress about having to go through a grueling trial, but be aware that it could happen.

If a lawsuit actually does go to trial, the plaintiff/victim will need to provide a burden of proof in order to win the lawsuit. What is a burden of proof? In criminal cases, it basically means that you have to prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a more difficult thing to prove than civil personal injury lawsuits where the plaintiff/victim only needs to prove that they are more than likely right – over 50%.

When a lawsuit goes to trial, both the plaintiff and the defendant are even on a judicial scale. During the trial, the evidence is brought out to help prove each sides case. The evidence isn’t always a physical piece of evidence like photos or documents. Evidence can also be witness and expert testimonies, or plaintiff/defendant testimonials. The evidence is meant to help the arguments of either side and encourage the jurors to side with them.

The justice scale is tipped each time evidence is shown during the trial. The scale tips in the plaintiff/defendant’s favor more as he/she provides more evidence. However, some evidence is much stronger than others and really have more of an effect on the scale of justice. So, the scale isn’t necessarily going to tip in each parties favor as they present evidence. If the plaintiff provided very strong evidence that tipped the scale in his direction, the opposing party would have to present evidence of a much stronger nature to tip the scale back to their side. The winner of the trial is the party that has provided stronger evidence and ends the trial with the scale tipped more in their favor.

This type of scenario is common in lawsuits that are trying to prove negligence on the defendant’s part. This happens in auto accidents, bicycle accidents, and other similar types of accidents. Some personal injury lawsuits begin with the defendant already presumably at fault. In these types of cases, the plaintiff has no need to provide a burden of proof. He/she only needs to prove damages made to them.

Personal injury lawsuits should not be handled on your own. It is extremely important to consult with personal injury attorneys’ that know the laws regarding different types of personal injury lawsuits and what you will need to prove to win. Having a consultation with a personal injury attorney can make the difference between winning a lawsuit and failing to provide enough evidence to prove your case and losing.

In Billings Montana, reach out to the professionals at Tourtlotte Law Firm. Our team is experienced and ready to help you win your case!

What To Expect From The Personal Injury Claim Process

We at Tourtlotte Law in the Billings, Montana area handle many personal injury cases every year. One of the most difficult things for you, as a client, in this process is understanding what is going on and what will be happening next. To help you with this, below are the eight major steps that go into a personal injury case.

Obtain Medical Treatment

Before any legal action is taken, it is critical that you get medical treatment. Not only is this important for obvious health reasons but putting off getting treatment leads the judge and the jury to think that you weren’t seriously injured aren’t justified in your personal injury claim.

Hire An Attorney

For anything larger than a small claim, you will need a lawyer to help you through the process. Even with small claims, a lawyer is beneficial, however. The sooner you hire an attorney the better as personal injury cases can drag out for a long time.

Your Attorney Learns The Details Of Your Case

The first thing your lawyer will do is examine the details surrounding your case. Your lawyer needs to know everything about the accident and doesn’t want any surprises. Thus, you need to be totally open and honest with your lawyer about everything that happened. At this point, your lawyer will be able to really see how strong of a case you have.

Demands And Negotiation

Most personal injury claims are settled before ever going to a trial. Thus, this step is a critically important part of the process. Your lawyer will make demands to other attorney or insurance company seeking to get you the best deal possible. Both sides will go back and forth on a deal. If they agree upon one, the case will settle stopping the process here as you are rewarded your settlement.

A Lawsuit Is Filed

If an agreement is not made in the pre-trial stage then your lawyer will file a lawsuit. This starts the clock running on when you case will go to trial. The system is fairly slow so it usually takes a personal injury somewhere between one and two years to finally get to trial. Remember that a lawsuit must be filed within the timeframe given in the statute of limitation for the state you live in.


Discovery is a legal term that basically means the process during which both sides of the case investigate the claims of the other party to understand what their legal claims and defenses will be. Depending on the court’s deadlines and the complexity of you case this process usually takes somewhere between six months and a year.

Mediation And Negotiation

Once the discovery period ends, there is one more opportunity for your case to settle in the mediation and negotiation stage. Mediation is the process in which the clients and lawyers go in front of a mediator to try and reach a settlement for the case.

TrialPersonal Injury Attorney

Last of all is the trial stage. This is where everything in this entire process comes to a head. Hopefully, a favorable ruling will be coming your way at the culmination of the trial!

This step-by-step process of a personal injury is very compact and generalized. Even so, it is still a lot of information to take in. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed in this complex and drawn out process. Hire an attorney that will represent you well and help you gain the compensation you deserve. At Tourtlotte Law Firm in the Billings, Montana area our specialized attorneys are here to help you do exactly that.

Making Your Workers’ Comp Claim Count

Workers compensation is a great asset for employees, especially those who suffer injuries related to the job and are forced to take time off work but don’t have the resources to do so. If you suffer an injury related to your job you could likely qualify for workers’ compensation of some form. To get the full compensation you deserve and not be so worried about the time off work your injury may force you to take you will want to hire a qualified lawyer to represent you. Tourtlotte Law in the Billings, Montana area specializes in workers’ comp law and will help you earn all the compensation you deserve and be right alongside you every step of the way. Below are five tips for really making your workers’ comp claim count.

Be Mindful of Who is Watching

Insurance companies obviously want to avoid paying out money as much as possible. As a result, they will sometimes put surveillance on your to determine the credibility of your claim. They may go as far as to hire PI’s to surveil you at home and in public.
Attend All Meeting and Appointments-
This is obvious, yet many people still fail to do it. Never miss a meeting, hearing, or appointment related to your claim. Failing to attend all these meeting and appointments could result in the termination of your benefits.

Report Your Injuryworkmans compensation

Don’t hesitate to report your injury. As soon as you possibly can, you should report the injury to your boss and write a statement. Your employer should have the documentation you need to fill out already on hand.

Receive Immediate Medical Treatment

Receiving medical treatment as soon as possible is important in the obvious sense so that your injuries are tended to. However, there is another aspect of quickly receiving medical treatment that relates to your workers’ comp claim. If you delay receiving medical treatment. Delaying medical treatment will give the insurance company the argument that there was no accident or that it wasn’t serious enough to warrant workers’ comp benefits.

Attend Your IME

IME stands for Independent Medical Examinations. These are scheduled by the insurance company to determine the extent of your injury. These are required. Not attending could lead to the termination of all benefits. You should prepare for these appointments by consulting with an attorney that is skilled in workers’ comp benefits.

Understand You Benefits

Last of all, it’s important to understand that there are many different types of workers’ comp benefits. You should become familiar with the different types of insurance offered by your state. If you don’t know what is available, you won’t know what is best for you.

Above is a valuable guide for what you can do maximize your workers’ comp claim. However, there is one more thing you do. That is hiring a qualified lawyer to help you through this difficult process. If you are in the Billings area, Tourtlotte Law is only one call away from helping your receive the benefits you deserve.

How to Know When you Need a Personal Injury Attorney in Billings

Suffering any kind of personal injury can be a traumatic experience. Navigating through murky legalese in simply attempting to earn the compensation you deserve can compound the difficulty of such a situation. At Tourtlotte Law Firm in Billings Montana, we are committed to working individually with you to help you obtain the compensation and treatment you deserve. First of all, we want all our clients to understand when they might need out services in the first place. Below are three common situations that could make our services at Tourtlotte Law Firm right for you.

personal injuryLong Term/Disabling Injuries-

Injuries such as this often the have the most far-reaching consequences because they affect you over such a long period of time. However, figuring what compensation for such injuries amounts to in actual dollars is a very difficult and complicated process that requires a quality lawyer. Furthermore, a quality lawyer doesn’t just help you get through the process, but they can help you obtain more money in compensation.

Insurance Company’s Refusal to Pay-

If your insurance company is refusing to pay you for damages or is not paying the amount you think they should be, then it is a good time to reach out to Tourtlotte Law Firm. Trying to deal with the insurance company on your own is a complicated and time-consuming process. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied by an insurance company. With a quality lawyer on your side, you will be able to successfully get through this process and receive the fair compensation that you deserve.

Medical Malpractice-

Do you feel like you may be a victim of medical malpractice? This is another type of personal injury claim that is not possible without the help of a lawyer. In some cases, the medical professionals that are trained to help you are careless, negligent, or simply just don’t do their job right. This can, and often does, result in personal injury to those the medical professional made the mistake on. This doesn’t just relate to physical health treatments either. If you feel like you have been mistreated or received incompetent treatment from a mental health professional you may still be able to receive compensation for medical malpractice. A lawyer will be able to help you navigate you through this complicated field of law

Don’t let yourself bullied around by your insurance company, go without the compensation you need for devastating injuries, or suffer from medical malpractice without receiving the payment you deserve. To wade through the confusion of personal injury law and receive the greatest amount of compensation you deserve, don’t hesitate to call Tourtlotte Law Firm in Billings, Montana. We will personally work with you so you can understand the process you are going through and know that we will be here to listen to your concerns. If you find yourself in one of the above categories or simply wonder if you may have a personal injury claim, Tourtlotte Law Firm is here for you.



Adding Insult to Injury

Who exactly is taking care of you or your loved one when you are admitted into the hospital? Obviously your first response to this question would be “the doctor”, “the nurse”, “physician’s assistant”, etc.  Each of these persons, as well as other professionals, is routinely involved during a patient’s stay at a medical facility.  But who is this person from Cardon Outreach or Continum who has been stopping by the hospital room every half hour?  What are all these documents they are trying to get you to sign?  Who do they work for…Is this person from Cardon Outreach even part of the hospital staff?  

If you or your loved one has been visited by a “Patient Advocate” from Cardon Outreach or Continuum, my two cents is that you kindly ask them to leave you alone and call someone for legal advice immediately.  It turns out that if you are being visited by one of the Cardon Outreach or Continuum ‘Patient Advocates’, you have unfortunately been in an automobile accident.  These companies and the individuals who represent them are trying to get information from you so they can make claims against your insurance coverage and/or against insurance coverage that would otherwise compensate you for future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost future income, and other damages you may have incurred on account of the automobile accident.   Once you give your personal and insurance information to the representatives of Cardon and/or Continuum, it appears they and the hospital facility to which you are admitted will do everything they can to avoid submitting your hospital bills to your health insurance carrier.

Tourtlotte Law Firm has received several complaints from clients who have been approached and harassed by representatives from these firms.  It has been reported that ‘Advocates’ from Cardon and/or Continuum will camp outside the hospital patient’s room, waiting for an opportunity to introduce themselves as a ‘Patient Advocate’, there to “help” get the patient’s hospital bills paid. Other reports have stated that these firms encourage and/or advice hospital patients that they do not need to seek the advice of legal counsel. Indeed, it appears that some patients are being approached by these ‘Advocates’ while they are most vulnerable, often times under the influence of medications that have been prescribed in relation to severe injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

If you or a loved one are involved in an auto accident and are admitted to the hospital, rest assured that you will be receiving a visit from a representative of Cardon and/or Continuum.  When this happens, proceed with caution.  If you are asked to sign any documents, take time to read the document and decide whether or not the ‘Patient Advocate’ is acting in your best interest.  If there is any doubt in your mind, feel free to call me, Matt Tourtlotte, at the Tourtlotte Law Firm immediately, (406) 294-3400 or email Matt Tourtlotte at attorney@

Waiting to talk to an attorney could cost you and your family tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.  More importantly, providing information to and/or signing paperwork provided by the ‘Patient Advocates’ of Cardon and/or Continuum could result in your medical bills not being billed to your health insurance carrier and ultimately, to collection actions being taken against you.