How Do I Know If I Have A Personal Injury Case in Minnesota? Do I Need A Lawyer?

Answered by: Paul R. Dahlberg

Phone: 507-216-8056
Fax: 507-288-7753

If you have been injured through no fault of your own or at work, you may wonder what you need to do to hold the party or parties who caused your injuries accountable. The best way to find answers is to consult with an attorney.

The good news is it doesn’t cost you anything to work with a higher-end attorney because personal injury lawyers work on a contingent fee basis. That means your attorney only gets paid if you recover. You pay nothing out of pocket to hire the best lawyer possible to protect you and your family.

What Is A Personal Injury Claim?

Personal injury cases arise when someone’s negligent actions harm another person. Many of these claims involve massive medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. Claims commonly arise from:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Boating accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Premises liability
  • Dog bites
  • Wrongful death
  • Workplace injuries

Experienced personal injury lawyers protect your interests when you’ve been hurt or someone you love died due to negligence. Much is involved in this process, including scrutinizing police reports, working with experts to prove your claim and calculating future medical and non-medical expenses. Your attorney also deals with insurance companies so you can focus on your recovery.

Getting Medical Treatment

Receiving immediate medical attention after an accident is crucial for your health. It’s also an essential component for your personal injury case. Some injuries may not appear serious, or symptoms may not show up immediately after a car crash or other type of accident. In Minnesota, injured persons must reach a “tort threshold” to file a personal injury lawsuit. Tort thresholds include:

  • Injuries leading to disability for 60 days or more where you can’t work
  • Permanent disability
  • Permanent bodily disfigurement
  • Death

In addition to receiving prompt medical attention, you must follow all the doctor’s orders for your recovery. If you fail to follow their recommendations, insurance companies will claim they are not responsible for your medical expenses. You should also keep detailed records of all physical therapy sessions, medications and follow-up doctor appointments. Maintaining a comprehensive journal of treatments related to your accident helps your physical and financial recoveries.

How Long Will My Case Take?

The length of a personal injury case can be several weeks or months, or even a few years. Reaching a fair settlement depends upon many factors, such as:

  • The nature and severity of your injuries
  • The medical treatment plan, which may include future surgeries or ongoing physical therapy
  • Calculating current and future medical costs and lost wages
  • Factoring in noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering
  • The willingness of the negligent party and their insurance company to cooperate

There are six elements of damage in a personal injury case. They are current and future medical expenses, current and future wage loss and current and future pain and suffering. Until you know what the future holds, you can’t calculate the value of your claim.

Patience Is A Key Component

When people are hurt and unable to work, and the bills keep rolling in, insurers inevitably tempt them to take a quick settlement offer. Insurance adjusters try to take advantage of people when they are most vulnerable. Remember, whether it’s your insurance company or that of the negligent party, the adjuster’s goal is to save the insurer money, not protect your future. There is no such thing as “Minnesota Nice” for insurers.

Patience is crucial during this time. Your attorney works with doctors, economists and other experts to calculate current and future expenses. Having all this information is important because you’ll receive a one-time, lump-sum payment. Trying to settle early is like betting on your poker hand with only two cards. When an adjuster contacts you, always have them speak to your lawyer.

Too many people regret taking quick settlement offers because future medical expenses come out of their own pockets, and there is no recourse for lost wages or additional pain and suffering. Your chance for a fair outcome increases by working with a lawyer who can establish those costs and who has a proven record negotiating fair settlements or taking the responsible party and their insurer to trial.

The Benefits Of Experienced Legal Guidance

A higher-end personal injury attorney understands how these cases work and can guide you through every step of the process. Your lawyer will fight for the compensation you deserve by thoroughly investigating your case, requesting and analyzing police and witness reports and medical records before negotiating a settlement or filing a lawsuit and taking the claim to court.

Knowledgeable lawyers who have handled thousands of these cases can also offer advice on medical treatment options or opportunities to return to work. Remember, you don’t pay anything extra to consult with more experienced attorneys. Now that you understand what’s involved, it makes a lot of sense to work with a Minnesota personal injury attorney who has recovered over $60 million for clients.