Should I Hire A Lawyer For A Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault?
Nobody wants to get into a car accident. Unfortunately, most people will experience a crash at some point in their lifetime. If you or a loved one are involved in a car accident that was caused by another person, you may not think you need a lawyer. However, there are various reasons why you may indeed need an attorney after a Minnesota car accident.
Understanding Minnesota’s no-fault system
If you are injured in a crash in Minnesota, you will not immediately be able to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver. The “no-fault” system is designed to allow faster access to compensation for victims in a crash, and each driver is required to carry $40,000 in Personal Injury Protection Insurance (this is the no-fault insurance). Out of this insurance, $20,000 is allowable for medical expenses, and $20,000 may be used for non-medical expenses.
A Minnesota car accident victim can only pursue compensation from the at-fault driver if their expenses are greater than what the Personal Injury Protection Insurance will cover and if one of the following thresholds are met:
- More than $4,000 in total medical expenses
- Permanent injury as a result of the crash
- Scarring or disfigurement due to the crash
- 60 days of disability after the crash
Why you may need an attorney
Your attorney will understand the complicated no-fault system. If you have sustained major expenses that are above your PIP coverage amounts, your attorney will be able to help ensure you properly pursue compensation against the at-fault driver. Not only will your attorney ensure all of the thresholds are documented, but they will gather the evidence necessary to prove the other party’s liability in the case.
When you file a claim against the other party’s insurance carrier, you can be sure that the other side will work to limit their liability. Insurance companies will work to lower the amount of money they pay out in a settlement. This could include trying to claim that you caused your own injuries.
They could say you were totally or partially at fault. Under Minnesota’s modified comparative negligence system, you cannot recover compensation from the at-fault party if you were more than 50% at fault in the incident. If you were less than 50% at fault, your compensation will be reduced based on your percentage of fault in a crash. For example, if a jury awarded you $100,000 in total damages but it was determined you were 40% at fault for the crash, you would only receive $60,000 of the total damages.
Your attorney will work to gather all of the evidence necessary to prove your case and ensure you receive the compensation you need.
What type of compensation is available?
If your expenses have surpassed the $40,000 PIP limits and you meet the threshold to file a claim against the at-fault driver, you could be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages such as the following:
- Coverage of medical expenses
- Recovery of lost wages if you are unable to work
- General household expense coverage
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of companionship damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages
Your attorney will work to properly calculate your total damages and negotiate vigorously to ensure you receive all injury-related compensation.
Contact Knutson + Casey
If you’re in doubt as to whether to consult with an attorney, contact our office today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. You will be able to discuss the details of your case with an experienced attorney and learn whether you have a strong case and if you need an attorney.