Want to Make a Liability Claim for Your MN Car Crash? Prove These 4 Elements
Accidents happen. And when you’re driving a car on Minnesota roads, the chances of an accident happening are fair – so it’s important to be prepared for incidents on the road.
Most people prepare for car accidents by buying vehicles with a good safety rating and making sure their vehicle insurance is up to date, but what about after an accident? If you’re injured, then how do you pursue a liability claim. And what needs to be shown to the court to prove it?
Here’s where you need to know about liability in Minnesota car accidents and the four elements that must be proven in order to win your case.
Minnesota’s No-Fault Law
The state of Minnesota is what is considered a “no-fault state” when it comes to claims for vehicle accidents – and even some pedestrian accidents. The idea behind no-fault laws is that they can resolve issues that follow an accident quickly, so you can be reimbursed for your losses without a lawsuit.
What does the no-fault law mean? Well, it means that, if you’re injured in a car accident, you have a right to make a claim for the accident with the insurance company under your no-fault coverage. This is your own insurance that you carry, not the other driver’s – which is why it is referred to as no-fault. It doesn’t matter who was responsible for the accident, each party files a claim with their own insurance company first.
No-fault insurance usually covers these types of claims:
If you are injured in the accident, then your medical bills can be paid by the insurance company.
If you require medications as a part of your medical treatment that resulted from the accident, then you can be reimbursed by your no-fault insurance company for the price of these medications.
Loss of Wages
No-fault insurance policies typically pay about 85 percent of lost wages that are a result of the accidents. However, wage reimbursement is often capped at around $500 per week.
If you are unable to clean your home or care for your lawn as you recover from your injuries, then this can be covered by your no-fault insurance. Keep in mind that this is only the case if it’s medically necessary that another person complete those jobs for you – basically, if the services are recommended by a doctor.
For any accident in which you’re involved, you could possibly be dealing with no-fault claims as well as liability claims. This is a separate type of claim from a no-fault claim, because it seeks to file a claim against the driver who is responsible for the accident – and thus responsible for the injuries you sustained in the accident.
It differs from a no-fault claim in that it is not automatic. You must prove a liability claim in order to be successful in getting the compensation you need. That’s why you need a skilled attorney on your side to help prove the elements required by law and ultimately be successful in your pursuit of the case.
The Elements of Liability Claims
You have to prove these four elements when in pursuit of a liability claim for a car accident:
You must be able to show that the other driver was at fault or negligent. You’ll want to demonstrate that this caused the accident in which you two were involved. If you happened to also be negligent in your actions leading up to the accident, you simply have to show that the other driver was more at fault or more negligent than you were.
Once you have established that the other driver was negligent or at fault, you have to show how that negligence or fault lead to the accident and any injuries you sustained. Do your symptoms relate to the accident? You likely will need a doctor to help prove this element in court.
Due to the fact that Minnesota operates under no-fault in car accidents, you have to show that you have reached the tort threshold before any damages can be recovered from the negligent or at-fault driver. The following are examples of exceeding your tort threshold:
- $4,000 or more in medical expenses
- Permanent injury
- Permanent disfigurement or scarring
- 60 or more days of disability in which you were unable to participate in your usual daily activities
The last element is damages. This can include things such as pain and suffering, disability, and emotional distress.
Once you have shown all of these elements in court, you have a chance to be successful in the pursuit of your case.
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.