Montana Personal Injury Laws

Wintery Car Accidents – Get A Lawyer

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auto accident lawyer billings, auto accident attorney billingsThese winter months are not the easiest to drive in. According to SafeWinterRoads.org, 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur in snowy, slushy conditions. Not all of these accidents are caused by the driver of the vehicles. Many of these accidents happen just because of the conditions of the roads. But Montana has seen its share of winter accidents where other factors, like alcohol, are involved. Unsafe drivers make unsafe driving conditions even worse and can cause significant life-altering events for others on the road. If you have been involved in an auto accident, it is important to contact an auto accident lawyer that can help you determine your rights and the rights of all involved. If you live in the Billings area, you can rely on the professional attorneys at Tourtlotte Law Firm.

Why Might I Need An Auto Accident Lawyer?

If you have been injured in an automobile accident, you might be entitled to a compensation that could cover your losses due to the accident. The compensation could cover medical bills, car repairs, and even wages lost while you were unable to work. If anyone else was killed during the accident, an attorney can help you receive compensation for the loss of a loved one.

But it isn’t just about the compensation. If anyone is pointing their fingers at you and blaming the accident on something you have done, you may not be responsible. It is extremely important to understand your rights so that you do not admit fault when you may not be at fault for the accident.

Insurance Settlements 

Insurance companies are not always known for compensating the rightful amount due to an auto accident victim. Many insurance companies seek to pay less than the required amount which is not fair or just to an auto accident victim. Tourtlotte Law Firm is aware of your rights and what you are rightfully entitled to. Without the help of an auto accident lawyer, you may end up settling for much less than you realize you are entitled to. Do not sign an offer of settlement from an insurance company without first seeking the help of a qualified professional that can let you know if you are getting a good deal or not. Get in touch with Matt at  Tourtlotte Law Firm by calling 406-294-3400.

What Information Should You Ask A Lawyer?

Don’t think that every attorney is going to be the best one to help with your case. Ask some questions so you know what type of lawyer you are working with.

-Find out how many auto accident cases they do. Ask what percentage of their cases are auto accident related.
-Ask how much experience they have with your specific type of injury.
-Ask about fee structures and your out of-pocket-expense.
-Find out how much of the case you will be responsible for.
-Ask about typical settlements for the type of accident you were involved in.

The more information you have and know up front will help you move through and understand the process before it starts. This will limit the amount of stress and frustration you have to deal with while already dealing with a difficult and traumatic event.

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Personal Injury Lawsuit: Proving Your Side

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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!

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@108.160.148.62.

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.