Should I Settle With the Insurance Company?

Minnesota is a No-Fault Insurance State

Minnesota is a no-fault insurance state, which means that your own insurance company pays for your accident injuries, regardless of who is at fault. If your insurance limits are not high enough to cover all of your injuries and other compensation you are entitled to, the at-fault driver’s insurance should kick in.

However, if both insurances are not enough, then you would sue the at-fault driver. It sounds easy enough to get compensation for an accident if you are dealing with your own insurance company, right? Not so fast. Insurance companies are for-profit companies and look out for their bottom lines. If you are suffering from injuries from an accident, contact Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.

For-Profit Companies

Insurance companies are for-profit companies, which means that they are in business to make money. Even your own insurance company, which lets you know how much they love your business, doesn’t care about your injuries, because if the insurance has to pay out, that is money lost to them. Insurance companies love it when people settle with them because they often get away with paying out a pittance – just enough to make you “happy.”

However, the amount the insurance company pays out might not cover all of your medical expenses, never mind other compensation you might be entitled to. When you retain a personal injury lawyer, most insurance companies realize that they are not going to get away with paying a pittance and are more likely to pay a higher amount. But, that amount might not be a fair amount.

Insurance companies know that if they don’t pay a fair and reasonable amount, personal injury lawyers will take the case to court. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you are making a claim on your insurance and that you’ve paid premiums for many years, that the insurance company is going to be fair when you need it to be fair.

No-Fault Coverage

In Minnesota, no-fault insurance (pg. 5) covers medical costs, lost wages and convenience services, such as house cleaning or home maintenance, when your injuries force you to hire someone to do the things you used to do. It also covers $2,000 in funeral expenses. And, your insurance policy only covers the amount you pay for. For example, if you have a low PIP amount of $50,000, but your medical bills are $100,000, you’ll have to get the other $50,000 from somewhere else.

How Much Could an Accident Cost?

Depending on the type of injuries you have, or if a loved one died in the accident, you could be entitled to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. Injuries such as severe traumatic brain injuries and back and neck injuries often cost in the hundreds of thousands to treat because of the length of time you might need care. You might be entitled to three types of damages: Economic, non-economic and punitive damages.

Economic Damages

Special damages or economic damages have a set cost associated with them. They include:

  • Past medical expenses, including:
    • Ambulance or air ambulance;
    • Emergency room treatment;
    • Hospitalization;
    • Surgeries;
    • Doctors’ care in the hospital;
    • Follow-up doctors’ appointments; and
    • Prescriptions.
  • Future medical expenses, including:
    • Additional surgeries;
    • Additional doctors’ appointments related to injuries you suffered in the accident;
    • Cognitive therapy sessions;
    • Physical therapy sessions; and
    • Psychological therapy sessions to help you deal with the depression that often comes with serious injuries that take a long time to heal. Many people also suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome after an accident, which could make it difficult to drive again and otherwise affect your life.
  • Replacement or repair of your vehicle and other personal property damaged in the accident.
  • Past lost wages for the time you were in the hospital and the time you were not able to work during recovery.
  • Future lost wages for the time you are not able to return to work because of your injuries.
  • Funeral and burial expenses if you lost a loved one in an accident.

Non-Economic Damages

General damages, or non-economic damages, are those that do not have a set price. Generally, non-economic damages are for long-term injuries.

  • Pain and suffering if your injuries are expected to last over 12 months.
  • Loss of companionship if you are not able to participate in family events, including but not limited to taking the kids camping, hiking with your family, being bedridden, other things you usually did with your family.
  • Loss of consortium if you are not able to have a physical relationship with your spouse.

Loss of companionship and loss of consortium are often paid to compensate for the loss of a loved one. While the money cannot bring back your loved one, it can relieve the stress of having to pay the mortgage and bills yourself.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are only awarded in the defendant was grossly negligent or if his or her actions were with the intent to harm you. The court orders punitive damages as a punishment for the defendant in the hopes that the defendant does not take the same actions that injured you.

Get the Compensation You Deserve with Patterson Dahlberg in Rochester, Minnesota

Instead of trying to settle with the insurance company yourself, contact a personal injury lawyer at Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers to help you get the compensation you deserve. Instead of arguing with the insurance company, which just adds stress to an already stressful situation, let us handle that part for you.

When you come in for a consultation, bring any medical invoices you have, the police report for the accident if you have it and any other documentation you think will help us help you. If you cannot get these documents, let us know and we will help you get the documents to go up against the insurance company or to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve.