Q. What should I do if I get involved in any auto/truck accident or crash?
A. If you are able, do the following immediately:
Q. What are the possible insurance claims a victim has following an automobile or truck accident?
A. There are five insurance claims involved in an automobile or truck accident:
Q. What Is A No-Fault Claim?
A. Prior to 1974, people injured in automobile accidents were paid for their medical bills and their wage loss only when their case was resolved, which in most cases took several years. Because many of the automobile crash injury victims were unable to work because of their injuries, the Minnesota Legislature passed the Minnesota No-Fault Act in 1974 in order to provide more timely benefits.
The Act provides that persons suffering injuries “arising out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle,” regardless of their fault or innocence, could quickly and easily recover “economic loss” benefits from their own insurance company. No-fault insurance provides for payment of up to $20,000 in reasonable and necessary medical expenses and up to $20,000 in wage loss and replacement services. No-fault medical/wage loss benefits coverage is used for passengers, pedestrians, and drivers who are or are not at fault in an accident. [Minnesota Statutes 65B.42 Purpose.]
Q. What is a bodily injury claim?
A. This is insurance that requires “fault” to be found. If you are in an accident and it’s not your fault, or a loved one has been injured or killed by someone else’s careless driving, you have a right to make a claim against that driver’s liability insurance. Before you are allowed to make that claim, you must meet one of 5 thresholds. A bodily injury claim is filed against the insurance company of the driver found to be at fault, or negligent, in the accident or against the at fault driver individually. These claims cover any injured party, including the at-fault driver’s passengers, pedestrians, or occupants of another vehicle involved in the crash.
In Minnesota, all drivers must buy liability insurance of at least $30,000 for injuries to one person and $60,000 for injuries to two or more people and $10,000 for property damage. Injured parties can be reimbursed for the expenses incurred from the liability insurance and or the at-fault driver’s assets including past and future medical bills and lost wages; permanent injury; and past/future pain and suffering.
Often, bodily injury claims are settled out of court, but other times they are brought before a jury. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Lord & Faris have helped thousands of clients get settlements they deserve, and to get their lives back on track.
Q. Why must my claim reach “Tort Thresholds” before I can sue the at-fault driver for my bodily Injury?
A. The Minnesota Legislature created “Tort Thresholds” when it created the laws for auto accident claims. To ensure that only serious injuries access the legal system, Minn. Stat. 65B.51 requires that before a victim (or their survivors) can sue the at-fault driver, they must have one of the following requirements:
Q. How will I know the value of my claim?
A. Establishing the value of a personal injury claim, is similar to establishing the value of a home for sale. In the Real Estate business, agents keep track of similar sales in various areas through the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Lawyers and insurance companies also keep track of trial verdicts and settlements which can be accessed and compared to the injuries of each client. The value cannot be established on the day of the injury, but rather at the end of the case. There are many issues to be considered once the claimant heals such as the total past and future loss of wages, cost of medical expenses, pain and suffering.
Q. After An Accident, Who Pays For Repairs to My Vehicle?
A. Collision insurance is an optional insurance product that pays for damages to your auto, no matter who is at fault. Collision insurance ensures that a driver will have the ability to repair or replace their vehicle, regardless of fault or the insurance status of the other driver(s) involved in an accident. If you are in an accident and another driver is at fault, their insurance will generally pay for your car repair, or for it’s replacement if it cannot be repaired. If another driver is at fault in your accident, but they don’t have insurance, your insurance will then cover repairs.
Q. Will I be able to be compensated if the at-fault driver has no auto insurance?
A. If you are so unfortunate as to be injured by an uninsured driver, your own insurance pays for your damages (such as pain and suffering and permanent injury) from your uninsured motorist coverage insurance. The required minimum amount of uninsured coverage you must have under Minnesota law is $25,000 per person and $50,000 for injuries to two or more people, but the personal injury lawyers at Lord & Faris recommend you buy at least $100,000 to $300,000, if not more, in uninsured motorist insurance. An uninsured claim must be pursued separately from the bodily injury claim and it requires that you work with a lawyer who has specific experience in resolving uninsured motorist claims. The personal injury attorneys at Lord & Faris have years of experience in collecting uninsured coverage for their clients who have been injured by the negligence of a person without any automobile insurance coverage.
Q. Who pays when the at-fault driver does have insurance but not enough insurance to pay for my injuries?
A. If you are injured because of another driver’s conduct and your damages exceed the other driver’s insurance coverage, you can recover additional compensation from your own underinsured motorist coverage. Under Minnesota law, the required minimum amount of underinsured insurance you must have is $25,000 per person and $50,000 for injuries to two or more people. After working with thousands of Minnesotans injured in car accidents, the personal injury attorneys at Lord & Faris recommend all drivers carry at least $100,000 to $300,000, if not more, in underinsured motorist coverage.
Like the uninsured coverage, this is a claim that must be pursued separately from the bodily injury claim and it requires that you work with a lawyer who has specific experience in resolving underinsured motorist claims. The personal injury attorneys at Lord & Faris have years of experience in collecting underinsured coverage for their clients who have been injured by the negligence of a person without sufficient automobile insurance coverage to cover the damages.
Q. What if the insurance company refuses to pay me for the damage to my automobile?
A. The State of Minnesota has established several rules for insurance companies to follow when it comes to dealing with automobile and truck insurance payments.
State Regulation Of Insurance Claims Practices – M.S. A. 72A.20
Q. What if my car is damaged, but not in an accident?
A. Comprehensive insurance coverage is not required by Minnesota law. If you have comprehensive insurance, you may be covered for auto damage that results from incidents other than typical accidents. For example, you may be able to recover from your insurance company in the event your car is stolen, vandalized, damaged in a flood or fire, or by animals. Coverage is limited by the terms of your agreement with the insurance company. This type of insurance is often required by your lender/financing company if you have a loan or a lease on your motor vehicle.
Q. Should I Buy Stacking Along With My Insurance?
A. If you have more than one auto, the personal injury attorneys at Lord & Faris recommend that you purchase “stacking” insurance coverage for a nominal fee. Stacking will double the amount of no-fault coverage you can collect from your insurance in the event of an accident. This is especially beneficial for drivers who don’t have medical insurance, because it provides affordable extra protection in the event of a major crash. Stacking does not apply to liability, uninsured, or underinsured coverage.
Q. What Actions Are Not Covered Under the No-Fault Act?
A. The No-fault Act does NOT cover the following: [Minnesota Statutes 65B.59, 60]
Our Minneapolis Personal Injury Attorneys are experienced in resolving and litigating issues resulting from a wide variety of injuries, including: