Lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering … when you are involved in a car accident, these are the consequences. While you are trying to recover physically, you are concerned about your family finances, the long-term consequences of an accident, and whether you will be able to return to work. Because of Minnesota’s no-fault insurance, you can only file a personal injury lawsuit if your expenses are not fully reimbursed by your insurance company.
These claims are called “PIP” claims for Personal Injury Protection claims. This means your insurance company will pay your medical bills and lost time from work up to the maximum amount of your PIP coverage. Additionally, if you suffer an injury which results in medical costs exceeding $4,000, assuming those costs are not covered by your insurer, you may file a personal injury claim against the other driver. The other circumstances under which you may file a personal injury lawsuit are if you suffer an injury which results in an injury causing disability which is expected to last more than six (6) months.
The Predicament: Minnesota Shared Fault Rules
The number of annual accidents on Minnesota roadways is significant. Due to the high number of injuries and deaths which occur, the potential of serious injury is high. Serious injury such as traumatic brain injury, spinal injury and paralysis will exhaust most PIP coverage. Therefore, if you are one of the unfortunate victims who suffer from one of these injuries, you may file a personal injury claim against the other driver.
Once you file a personal injury lawsuit for compensation over and above your PIP coverage, the other driver’s insurance company will get involved. The first thing they will attempt to do is claim you are partially at fault for an accident. The next thing is they will try to prove you are partially responsible which can be done in various ways.
Shared fault rules state that any final amount of your compensation may be reduced by the percentage you are found to be at fault. This means if a court or jury determines you are 25 percent at fault, any final compensation awarded may be reduced by 25 percent. However, if there is a determination you were 50 percent at fault, you may be ineligible to collect any additional compensation over what your insurance covers, regardless of the level of your injury.
Reasons You May Be Partially at Fault For an Accident
There are several reasons you may be partially at fault for an accident. For example, if a driver rear ends you because you failed to signal, you could be partially at fault. If you were going faster than road conditions allowed and another driver hit you, then you may be partially at fault. This is one of the reasons it is so important to make sure you do not admit any fault when discussing your accident with police, your insurance adjuster, or the adjuster from the other driver’s insurance company.
Crucial Steps After a Car Accident
Immediately following a car accident, you must seek medical attention. Even if you are seen by emergency room physicians, you should follow up with your personal physician. This is important because they know you better than anyone and they may be able to identify issues which went unnoticed by emergency room personnel.
You should also contact your insurance agent and notify them of the accident. This is important to do so your medical bills will be covered. If your insurance agent starts asking questions about the accident, advise them you will be seeking legal assistance and let them know you will forward a copy of the police report to them immediately upon receiving a copy. You should also let them know your attorney will be in contact with them.
After these items have been addressed, you need to contact a car accident attorney. This step is important because you have rights which must be protected. The best way to protect your rights is to make sure you are working with a Minnesota personal injury firm with the experience needed to navigate the system.
When Hiring a Minnesota Personal Injury Firm
When you are planning to hire a personal injury lawyer, you need someone who has the skill and experience needed to handle these cases. Working with someone who has knowledge of Minnesota’s personal injury laws is imperative since they understand the system and how insurance companies work hard to place fault on victims of car and motorcycle accidents.
That is why you should consider hiring Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers. For more than a decade this group has collectively been representing victims of other people’s negligence. Individually, the group has more than 10 decades of providing personal injury legal assistance to victims of car accidents, families of those who have lost their lives, and victims of other types of negligence.
You have up to three years after an accident to file a personal injury claim. However, the fact is the sooner you contact our offices to set up an appointment, the better off you will be. Recovering from a car wreck can be a lengthy process and if you are worried about how you are going to remain financially stable, it can dramatically increase the length of time you take to recover because of stress.
Even if you believe you are partially at fault for an accident, you should contact an attorney who has experience with personal injury lawsuits. Until an attorney reviews the circumstances surrounding your accident, reviews your out-of-pocket expenses and understands your case, there is no possible way to make a recommendation.
Whether you believe you are partially at fault for an accident, or you know you are not at fault, we may be able to help. Victims of any type of a car wreck should contact Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers when you are looking for experienced, dedicated, and personable, legal assistance. You can count on us to work hard to deliver results in your personal injury law case, even if you are partially at fault for the accident.