Montana has specific laws that prohibit an insurance company from taking advantage of people in situations where car crashes and resulting injuries are not their fault. Montana is unique this way, as most other states do not give their citizens the same protections.
Unfortunately, that means most insurance companies are not familiar with these laws or just outright ignore them in a blatant attempt to get you to settle for less money. Judnich Law Office is here to help people fight these companies and sue them when necessary to stop their illegal acts.
Here are three ways insurance companies are illegally taking advantage of people in Montana:
1. Insurance companies are not paying for medical bills when they have a legal duty to.
One of the most victim-friendly laws that exist in Montana is called Ridley law. Ridley is the name of a legal case where the Montana Supreme Court imposed an actual duty upon the responsible insurance company to pay for medical bills related to injuries caused by a crash, before a final settlement. This means a victim does not have to go to collections or cut their treatment short for fear of bills not getting paid. The law requires the at-fault insurance company to pay related bills right away without delay.
However, insurance companies are not doing this, even when lawyers demand they do. There are all sorts of tricks the insurance companies try to employ in a determined effort not to pay the bills they have a duty to pay. This results in innocent victims being responsible for those bills, providers harassing the patient for payment, and even collections adversely affecting your credit. At the Judnich Law Office, we sue insurance companies that break this law and obtain what our clients are entitled to.
2. Insurance companies are not properly evaluating and settling claims in good faith
Another unique law to Montana is an express duty imposed upon insurance companies to be fair to people. In the law, we call this “good faith” in dealing with an innocent victim. Insurance companies are legally required to complete their “evaluations” of claims within a short time period, and when they attempt to settle a claim it must be done in good faith, and be fair. This means, under the law, the insurance company should not be low-balling a claim or denying payment or compensation for any illegitimate reason.
The unfortunate reality is that the insurance companies have a laundry list of reasons they give for either undervaluing claims or not evaluating claims in a reasonable time frame. All of these excuses are actually illegal and a violation of their legal duties in Montana.
If you have been a victim of this, or are currently experiencing the runaround by an insurance company, now is the time to get a free evaluation of your claim from the Judnich Law Office and learn what your rights are. Give it a try. It’s FREE and with no obligations!
3. Insurance Companies are not being truthful with you about your own policy coverage you pay them for
Have you been told you have “full coverage”? Do you think you really know what insurance you have? More importantly, do you know exactly what insurance you DON’T have?
The notorious “fine print” of an insurance policy and misrepresentations by an agent are all too common these days. The phrase “full coverage” doesn’t actually mean anything, nor does that have any legal definition in an insurance contract.
Learning the vernacular of an insurance policy is the only way to protect yourself, and getting a local agent that is aware of your budget and needs is the only way to be confident you have adequate insurance for yourself and your loved ones.
Protect Yourself By Learning How To “Speak Insurance”
Here are a few insurance terms you should fully understand in order to make sure you’re not at risk of being taken advantage of:
Basic Liability Policy
A “Basic Liability Policy” is the bare minimum legal amount of coverage you need to operate a vehicle on the road – it is also basically worthless. This is a minimum amount of money your insurance will pay someone else if you are at fault for a car crash. It does not insure you in any way, nor anyone else in your car, unless you are at fault. No insurance agent should ever sell you a basic liability only policy.
Comprehensive and Collision Coverage
Comprehensive and Collision coverage is coverage to repair your vehicle through your insurance company after you pay a deductible. It doesn’t matter if it was your fault, or their fault, it will get fixed. The price of the deductible and potentially the “policy limit” amount of coverage are important here.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical Payments Coverage (Also called Med Pay or PIP) is coverage that is not included in a “basic liability policy”. This is an important additional coverage that is very affordable. This coverage pays your medical bills in the event you are injured in a car crash. It does not matter if you are at fault or someone else is at fault, it pays your bills so you don’t have to worry about getting proper medical care.
These policies can be worded by tricky companies to not give you what you think. Coverage should be available for at least three (3) years from the crash date, should have at least $20,000 in coverage, and should not allow the company to refuse to pay for medical costs, just because they decide they don’t want to pay for them – yes those kinds of policies exist.
Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage (Also called UM and UIM) is coverage that literally insures you if another person causes a crash and is uninsured, or has an irresponsible “basic liability policy” that is inadequate to compensate you. This insurance policy essentially steps in the place of the other driver, and you are compensated by your own company for the wrongs of the other guy. Simply put, it’s great stuff.
Only with all of the above coverages are you anywhere near having “full coverage” for you and your family. Don’t just take an insurance agent’s word for what you are getting, you have to read the policy to know what you have.
Also, never, EVER buy a policy online – you will never know exactly what you are getting and you will not be able to read any fine print of policies before you “agree” to accept them without knowing exactly what is in them.
How Judnich Law Can Help
At Judnich Law Office, we fight for you to get what you deserve from your insurance company. Look at what our clients have to say:
“The insurance company finally stopped calling and harassing me after Marty represented me. I couldn’t handle how the insurance company made me feel bad for their mistake. Marty fixed it and got me a good settlement.”— Ben T.
“Marty and Vinny walked me through every step of the process and helped me get the settlement I deserved from the insurance company after my car accident. I would tell anyone looking for a lawyer to call them!” — Christina B.
If you think you may have been taken advantage of by an insurance company — illegally — we invite you to get in touch with us. Judnich Law Office offers a free consultation to discuss your situation and answer any questions. Contact us by phone or email to get started.