What is a “personal injury?”A personal injury is any type of injury that results in harm or death. Even if you have only suffered emotional pain, you may qualify for a personal injury lawsuit.
What is “contingency?”We bill for personal injury services on a contingency fee basis. That means you will not pay unless we resolve the case and recover money for you.
Do I have a case?If you are dealing with a personal injury or wrongful death issue, it’s important for us to understand any details that might impact the outcome of a case. Call today to schedule your free initial consultation and case evaluation.
Can’t I just handle a case between myself and my insurance company without hiring a lawyer?You could, but keep in mind that a personal injury and wrongful death attorney will work for you, while an insurance company agent will work toward the company’s interest – paying the smallest possible settlement.
What is a statute of limitations?A statute of limitations caps allows only a certain amount of time you are able to sue. Every case type has a different statute of limitations, so contact our office today to discuss your situation.
Define recklessnessRecklessness occurs when an individual blatantly ignores the potential consequences of their actions.
What is premise liability?When someone fails to keep their property safe for visitors, they can be held accountable for injuries that occur on the premise.
What is a product defect?A manufacturer can be held liable for injuries that result from use of product that is not safe or does not warn of potential hazards.
Car crashes are not simply accidents. They may be unintentional, but there is always a cause, and often that cause is someone’s negligence. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, there were 79,215 traffic crashes in 2018, involving over 146,000 vehicles and over 172,000 people. We hope you are never involved in one these crashes, but if you are, and especially if you are one of the nearly 200,000 Minnesota residents injured in a car crash, you will want an experienced car accident lawyer as your personal injury lawyer.
Minnesota is a No-Fault State
You may have heard the term “no-fault” before. You may have also heard that Minnesota is a “no-fault” state. The term “no-fault” means that every Minnesotan who purchases car insurance is required to purchase “no-fault” insurance. No-fault insurance is also called Personal Injury Protection insurance or “PIP”.
No-fault insurance gives some basic protection to any driver who hurt in a car accident regardless of who is at-fault for an accident. This means that if you are in a car crash, regardless of whether you unintentionally drove in front of that other car or you were hit head-on by a drunk driver, your insurance will provide a minimum level of financial protection. Drivers who are hurt in accidents do not need to wait for an insurance company to determine who is at fault for an accident to get medical bills paid for and for some limited wage loss.
No-fault insurance applies to anyone covered by your insurance policy. A covered person includes the following:
PIP is also sometimes called “basic economic loss benefits”. Claims for these benefits, typically medical payments and wage loss, are first made on your PIP coverage. If your medical expenses and wage-loss are more than the PIP limit on your policy, you might make a claim against the other driver’s liability insurance for things that have not been covered by your PIP coverage. A claim against the other driver’s liability insurance would also typically include money for pain and suffering and other losses that are not covered under a PIP policy. PIP pays towards medical treatment and other out-of-pocket expenses for the covered person, including things like a portion of your lost wages and even childcare.
It will also pay a portion of the cost of services the covered person is unable to perform for themselves because of injuries, such as house cleaning and other chores. These are called “replacement services.” It will also pay towards the covered person or their passenger’s funeral expenses. It sounds like a good deal, and it is.
You may be wondering why you need a lawyer since Minnesota is a no-fault state. Can’t you just work with your insurance company yourself? The answer is yes, you can. But should you?
Understanding What PIP Covers
PIP covers all “reasonable expenses for necessary medical care” due to an injury you suffered in a car crash. This includes things like broken bones, head trauma, or whiplash.
Necessary expenses might include the following:
This coverage is mandatory for any person that drives and registers a vehicle in Minnesota. Any Minnesota PIP policy must provide a minimum amount of PIP coverage. In Minnesota, all car insurance policies must provide a minimum PIP coverage of $40,000.00 per person per crash. $20,000.00 of that is apportioned for medical expenses and the other $20,000.00 is for non-medical expenses, like wage-loss and replacement services. The question then becomes, “What does PIP not cover?”
Understanding What PIP Does Not Cover
PIP does not cover money to compensate an injured person for the pain and suffering that accompanies every car accident. PIP also does not cover damage to your vehicle or the other driver’s vehicle. Additionally, PIP will only may for medical expenses up to the limits of the policy (typically $20,000). Medical expenses over and above those limits will not be paid by PIP.
Simply because there is $20,000 coverage available does not guarantee that an insurance company will automatically pay medical expenses until the money runs out. Frequently, insurance companies take the position that a person’s medical expenses are no longer necessary and are therefore no longer covered under a PIP policy. Essentially, the insurance company says, “You should be better now so we’re not paying for your treatment anymore.” If this happens, what should you do?
Insurance companies are often for-profit corporations that are in business to make money and remain profitable. Denying a claim and failing to may medical bills can often save an insurance company money. What do you say to the insurance company that denies your claim? What if they do not think all those chiropractic visits were necessary? What if they argue that the cost of your treatment is unreasonable. Do you have to accept their decision? The answer, almost always, is no.
Most insurance policies allow a dispute about whether treatment is reasonable, necessary or related to a car accident to be resolved through a process called arbitration. An experienced attorney can be a tremendous benefit to a person facing an arbitration or a denial of coverage.
What an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Can Do for You
What is a car accident attorney? A car accident attorney is an attorney who specializes in representing clients for their personal injuries caused by car wrecks. A personal injury is any injury that causes harm or death. A personal injury lawyer, then, is one who fights on behalf of their clients to ensure they are fully compensated for the injuries that caused harm or death.
You may feel the person who caused the car wreck you were injured in is truly sorry and you do not want to hold them responsible. You may also think your no-fault coverage will be enough to pay for all your expenses incurred as a result of the car crash, that your $20,000 of no-fault coverage for medical expenses is enough to cover your bills.
But what if the ER bill for the car crash you were in is almost half of your PIP coverage? What if you need to take off work for 60 days or longer to recuperate? What if you have a permanent and even painful injury or a humiliating disfigurement you will be forced to live with the rest of your life? What if you suffer from depression and get angry quickly and for no apparent reason? What if you panic every time you find yourself in a situation like the one that resulted in your wreck?
You should have the opportunity to be made whole. In fact, this is the goal of our laws; to adequately and fully compensate someone for his or her losses. That may not mean being returned to the same place you were before the wreck. But if you are injured due to the negligence of another, that negligent person needs to be held accountable for the damage they inflicted on someone else. This usually means their insurance company will financially compensate you for your injuries, all your injuries, including your pain and suffering. The best way to obtain this kind of recovery is through a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney who can walk you through every step of the process.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is a key component of many personal injury cases. Under the no-fault rules, though, drivers cannot make a pain and suffering claim against their own insurance provider.
There are two types of pain and suffering. These are:
A car wreck that involves head or chest injuries or broken bones can prove quite serious. Recovery might take many weeks or even months. As a result of the injuries, a car accident victim may become depressed or angry. He or she may lose sleep and be unable to return to their employment. All of this is related to the car crash. Relying on one’s no-fault coverage alone or entering into a settlement that fails to fully compensate a person’s loss, could prove financially and emotionally devastating. Without the help and support of an experienced and skilled attorney, crash victims often fall victim again to quick-fix insurance settlements.
A pain and suffering recovery claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance may be pursued. An experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to secure the compensation you will need can put you on the road to being made whole. You need an attorney with experience dealing with whatever your case presents. The legal system can be very confusing and overwhelming. Your choice of legal representation can make all the difference. An experienced car accident lawyer has only one person’s interest in mind – yours. In fact, lawyers have an ethical obligation to look out for their clients’ interests first.