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Montana Car Accident Reporting Basics

The aftermath of a car accident can be hectic and confusing. In the moments following an accident, and in the days and weeks that follow, it can be difficult to understand your legal obligations as a motorist. For example, in some circumstances you have a legal obligation to report the accident to the police or the department of motor vehicles. Read on to learn more about how to file a car crash report in Montana.

Understanding When to File an Accident Report

Each state has laws in place dictating when motorists are required to report car accidents. Montana law distinguishes between your obligation to immediately report the accident to the police (for example, via cell phone) and to submit a written report to the department of motor vehicles. In certain circumstances, you may be obligated to do both.

There is good incentive to be accurate and prompt in making in any report following a car accident. The department of motor vehicles can suspend your driver's license until a required report has been filed. Montana law imposes a penalty of up to $500 and 6 months' imprisonment for knowingly providing false information in a car accident report.

The below chart provides more information about filing a car accident report in Montana.


Montana Uniform Accident Reporting Act Sections 61-7-108, 61-7-109, and 61-7-110

When to Report

A driver must report a crash if the accident results in:

  • Injury or death of any person
  • A vehicle striking the body of a deceased person
  • Property damage to an apparent extent of $1,000 or more

Unless the accident was investigated and reported by law enforcement, the driver must also file a written report with the Montana Motor Vehicle Division within 10 days if the accident:

  • Killed or injured a person
  • Caused property damage in excess of $1,000

How to Report

  • The driver must report the accident by the quickest means of communication
  • If the accident occurred within a municipality, the driver must report the accident to the local police department
  • If the accident occurred outside of a municipality, the driver must report the accident to the office of the county sheriff or the closest office of the Montana Highway Patrol

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related Resources

Problems With Your Car Accident Claim? A Montana Attorney Can Help

Car accidents can cause devastation in your life; but while you can't go back and erase what happened, you can get compensation for your losses if someone else is liable. Consider seeking professional help with your accident claim. Get started today by contacting a Montana injury attorney near you. 

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