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Montana Negligence Laws

Most personal injury cases hinge on the legal theory of "negligence," whereby an individual who owes a duty to another fails to exercise a certain degree of care, causing injury. For instance, a restaurant whose cook fails to check the temperature of a roasted chicken may be held negligent for the diners' resulting food poisoning.

Below is a brief overview of Montana negligence laws.

General Negligence Law

There are several elements of a negligence case you must prove in court in order for your negligence claim to be successful:

  • Duty: the other party owed you a duty of care;
  • Breach of Duty: the other party failed to meet that duty;
  • Cause in Fact: but for the other party's failure, you would not have been injured;
  • Proximate Cause: the other party's failure (and not something else) caused your injury; and
  • Damages: you have actually been injured and suffered some loss.

Montana Negligence Laws

Montana negligence laws follow the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. This means that a plaintiff can't be more than 51 percent negligent or responsible for the injury, or they will be barred from recovery. If a plaintiff is at fault for less than 50 percent, their recovery will be reduced by the percentage they are found at fault.

The following chart highlights some of the main provisions of Montana's negligence laws. See Negligence: Background for a general overview.

Code Section

§ 27-1-702 of the Montana Code

Modified Comparative Negligence

51 Percent Bar: Claimant's negligence does not bar recovery if less than that of the defendants. Damages diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable.

Contributory Negligence-Limit to Plaintiff's Recovery


Contribution Among Tortfeasors

Yes; § 27-1-703

Uniform Act


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.

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Injured in Montana by Someone Else's Negligence? A Lawyer Can Help

As you can see with the 51-percent Bar Rule, Montana's negligence laws can be complicated. If you were hurt in an accident and aren't sure who was at fault or who was more at fault, a personal injury attorney can tell you how Montana's negligence laws might apply in your case.

Start the process today by contacting a personal injury attorney in Montana.

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