Two Rules to Know About MN Car Accident Claims

With its icy winters and busy city roads, Minnesota sees its fair share of car accidents. Recent data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) reveals the extent of our state’s traffic crash problem.

According to the report, there are 207 car crashes per day on average in Minnesota. In 2018 alone, more than 79,000 crashes were reported to the DPS.

As a Minnesota driver, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the laws surrounding traffic accidents in our state. In the unfortunate event that you are involved in an accident, an understanding of state laws can help you protect your rights.

Although there are many different laws that apply to car accidents, there are two, hard and fast rules for all Minnesota traffic crash claims: No-fault insurance and modified comparative negligence. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at both.

The No-Fault Insurance Law

In Minnesota, the legal system for insurance claims can make it difficult to pursue a claim after being injured in a car crash. Minnesota is a no-fault insurance state, which means your car insurance covers medical expenses, wage loss, and out-of-pocket damages up to policy limits — no matter who caused the crash.

In Minnesota, you are required to carry a minimum amount of liability, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist, and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This includes:

Liability Insurance

This type of insurance protects drivers who are at fault. If you are found to have caused an accident that caused harm to another driver or their car, your liability insurance will cover certain costs that exceed the other driver’s PIP coverage.

In our state, every driver must have at least $30,000 in coverage for damages to one person,  $60,000 in coverage for injuries to two or more people, and $10,000 in coverage for any property damage.

PIP Insurance

Synonymous with no-fault insurance, PIP covers the medical treatment and other out-of-pocket losses for you, your spouse and children, any relative living in your home without coverage of their own, and any driver using your car who doesn’t have coverage of their own.

As a driver in Minnesota, you are required to carry a minimum of $40,000 in PIP coverage per person per accident. Half of your PIP insurance covers medical expenses and the other covers non-medical costs.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance

This type of coverage kicks in if your PIP insurance does not cover the cost of your injuries and the at-fault driver does not have sufficient liability insurance to cover your injuries.

In Minnesota, you are required to carry at least $25,000 for injuries to one person and $50,000 for injuries to two or more people.

When to File a Claim Against Another Driver

What does this mean for injured drivers? Under our no-fault system, you are only allowed to pursue a claim against the other driver if your injuries are severe. In Minnesota, you may only file a claim against another driver in the following situations:

  • The incident resulted in $4,000 in medical expenses or more.
  • The incident resulted in permanent injury, scarring, or disfigurement.
  • The incident resulted in 60 days of disability or more.

To pursue legal action against an at-fault driver, you must file a claim within two years of the crash. Modified comparative negligence is a large part of how much the other party will wind up paying.

The Modified Comparative Negligence Law

Duluth Car Accident Lawyer

Under our state’s modified comparative negligence rule, an injured party who files a claim will not recover anything if they are determined to be at least 51% at fault for the crash.

If the injured party is found to be 50% at fault or less, they can claim the percentage of the total damages they are at fault.

Let’s say you file a car accident claim and you are found to be 50% at fault. If the damages are $10,000, you would be eligible to recover $5,000.


About the Author:

A lifelong Minnesotan, founding partner Ronald R. Envall has spent his entire legal career fighting for the little guy, focusing on workers’ compensation, Social Security, and personal injury cases. He has been recognized by SuperLawyers as a Top Rated Attorney in Duluth, placing him in the top 5 percent of all workers comp lawyers across the state. In his free time, Mr. Envall serves on the boards of several area government and nonprofit organizations and is a member of the Minnesota Association for Justice, which supports consumer rights.