Negligence

In a Montana negligence action, a plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant owed a duty to commit an act or refrain from committing an act; the defendant breached their duty; the breach of the duty caused an injury to the plaintiff; the defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the injury and the plaintiff suffered damage as a result.

Modified Comparative Negligence

Montana follows a comparative negligence standard in negligence actions. In Montana, a plaintiff is able to recover monetary damages for an injury as long as the plaintiff was 50% or less at fault. However, the plaintiff’s monetary recovery is diminished in proportion to the percentage of negligence attributed to the plaintiff, if any. If a jury finds that a plaintiff was 51% or more at fault for their injury, they may be barred from recovery.

Joint & Several Liability

Montana follows a modified system which states that defendants who are deemed by a court to have been 50% or less at fault are not jointly and severally liable with other defendants. Such a defendant is only required to pay for his percentage of fault.

Joint tortfeasors have a right to contribution. Contribution may be sought in the underlying action or as a separate action.

Damages

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the plaintiff for injuries suffered as a result of the negligence of the defendant(s). The award is meant to restore the plaintiff – as much as possible – to the condition they were in prior to the injury occurring.

Actual damages are meant to reimburse the plaintiff for out-of-pocket expenses for items such as medical or treatment expenses. General damages may also be awarded for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of opportunity, and loss of future income.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant rather than to compensate the plaintiff.

In Montana, to obtain a punitive damage award, the plaintiff must make a showing that a jury could reasonably find that there is clear and convincing evidence that the acts of the defendant show a deliberate disregard for the rights or safety of others.

In Montana, a punitive damage award may not exceed $10 million or 3% of a defendant’s net worth (whichever is less).

DISCLAIMER:

The law firm of Walker Morgan is located at 135 E Main St., Lexington, SC 29072. All lawyers at Walker Morgan are licensed to practice law in the State of South Carolina. Should you wish to retain our firm for legal representation regarding a potential case in any other jurisdiction we are required to associate local counsel in that foreign jurisdiction and seek permission from a court of the foreign jurisdiction to temporarily engage in the practice of law therein for purposes of pursuing your potential claim only.

By offering the following information the lawyers at Walker Morgan are not offering legal advice or legal guidance. The lawyers at Walker Morgan are not licensed to practice law in Montana. Should you have a question/concern specific to Montana law, please contact an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Montana.