Like most in Missoula, you likely assume that all of the other drivers on the road have auto insurance (after all, who would want to drive without it?). However, if and when you are involved in a car accident, you may be unpleasantly surprised to learn that not everyone has such protection. Indeed, data shared by The Insurance Information Institute shows that nearly 10 percent of drivers in Montana do not have auto insurance coverage. Many come to us here at Terrazas Clark Henkel PC after having been involved in accidents with uninsured drivers concerned over who will cover their expenses. Knowing this requires understanding Montana’s stance on insurance coverage.
Montana is a tort state when it comes to auto insurance, meaning the at-fault party is the one that pays. Typically, his or her insurance company would actually be the one to pay, yet if the driver that strikes you is uninsured, then you would simply submit a claim to your own insurer to invoke your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Yet what happens if your coverage limits keep your insurer from paying you all that you need?
At this point, because Montana is a tort state, you are left with the option of suing the at-fault driver. However, if said driver does not have auto insurance, then the likelihood that he or she has the financial resources to cover your remaining expenses may be slim. Yet there may be other options to consider before accepting that you will have to pay out of your own pocket. If, for example, the driver was using another’s vehicle, then depending on the circumstances, you may be able to hold the vehicle owner liable.
You can learn more about dealing with gaps in uninsured motorist coverage by continuing to explore our site.