The Role of Comparative Negligence in Montana Personal Injury Cases

Montana follows the doctrine of comparative negligence, also known as comparative fault, in handling personal injury cases. This means that when an injured person files a lawsuit against a negligent party, the court will analyze the actions of both parties and determine the percentage of fault each party contributed to the injury. The injured person’s damages, or compensation, may be reduced based on their percentage of fault in the accident.

Understanding Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is a legal principle that allows a victim of an accident to recover damages from a negligent party, even if the victim was partially responsible for the accident. The court will determine each party’s degree of fault by analyzing the facts of the case and weighing the evidence presented.

In Montana, the court applies the pure comparative fault system. This means that the injured party can recover damages even if they are found to be 99% at fault for the accident. However, their compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if the injured party is 50% at fault, their damages award will be reduced by 50%.

How Comparative Negligence Affects Personal Injury Cases

Comparative negligence affects personal injury cases in several ways. First, it affects the amount of compensation the injured party will receive. The court will reduce the damages award based on the injured party’s percentage of fault, which means that if the injured party is mostly responsible for the accident, they will receive a smaller damages award.

Second, comparative negligence affects the chances of a successful lawsuit. If the injured party is found to be partially at fault for the accident, they may have a more difficult time proving the negligence of the other party. The other party may argue that the injured party’s own negligence contributed to the accident and that they should not be held fully responsible.

Finally, comparative negligence affects the settlement process. Insurance adjusters and attorneys will take into account the injured party’s percentage of fault when negotiating a settlement. If the injured party is found to be partially at fault, they may receive a lower settlement offer.

Montana’s Modified Comparative Negligence System

It’s important to note that Montana’s comparative negligence system is slightly modified from other states. Montana follows the 50% bar rule, which means that the injured party can only recover damages if their percentage of fault is less than 50%. If the injured party is found to be 50% or more at fault, they are barred from recovery.


In Montana, comparative negligence plays an important role in personal injury cases. The court will determine each party’s percentage of fault and adjust the damages award based on that percentage. If you are injured in an accident, it’s important to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate Montana’s comparative negligence system and maximize your chances of recovering damages.

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