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When you get behind the wheel, you assume the risk of getting into a car accident every time. A crash isn’t something anyone wants to think about, yet thousands of people are involved in motor vehicle crashes in America every day. Most car accidents are preventable. They result from someone else’s negligence – a distracted driver, careless vehicle part manufacturer, or inattentive roadway maintenance crew member.
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a car accident while driving in Minneapolis, contact our experienced accident team at Knutson + Casey for a free evaluation of your case. We’ve successfully tried or settled more than 2,000 cases in Minnesota, and can help you understand your rights.
Although the scenarios that could lead up to a car accident are almost limitless, certain causes are more common than others. In our years representing crash victims throughout Minnesota, we’ve come to learn the most common reasons why accidents happen in the region. We can also identify the most likely defendant for a collision based on the cause of the crash. The following are the top five causes for Minnesota car accidents, based on crash facts and figures.
Driver inattention or distraction is deadly. A driver must pay 100% attention to the road and the driving task at all times. Looking away from the road or taking the hands off the wheel for even a second could result in a collision. Although the state of Minnesota prohibits texting and driving, thousands of drivers are guilty of this popular form of distraction every day. A distracted driver may be liable for damages if he or she causes an accident, injuries, or death.
In 2016, 3,450 people died around the nation due to distracted drivers. Cell phones are the largest source of driver distraction, but other distractions include food, friends, the radio, GPS systems, personal grooming, and cognitive distractions. Proving a driver’s distraction may be possible through photographs of the inside of the driver’s vehicle as well as the roadway surrounding the crash.
The 2018 spike in distracted driving accidents has driven local law enforcement to crack down on perpetrators; issuing an aggressive campaign against distracted driving in Minneapolis.
Speeding is the number-one contributing factor in single-vehicle crashes in Minnesota and the fourth-leading factor in multiple-vehicle crashes. “Speeding” means exceeding posted speed limits on a road, but it also refers to driving too fast for conditions. During Minnesota snowstorms and bad weather, a speed that’s safe for conditions can be considerably less than the posted limit. It is every driver’s duty to use prudence in determining how fast is safe. If a reasonable and prudent driver would have driven slower, the driver speeding in a crash might be guilty of negligence.
Other broken roadway rules and unsafe practices besides speeding, such as failing to yield, following too closely, and overcorrecting a vehicle, are also top contributing factors to car accidents in the state. It is every driver’s duty to obey the law, follow traffic rules, and drive as safely as possible. Breaking the law and driving recklessly are preventable human errors that point to driver liability for resultant collisions, injuries, and property damages.
The most recent year data is available, 137 people died in drunk driving accidents in Minnesota. Drunk drivers also caused 2,203 injuries out of the 3,643 alcohol-related accidents in the state that year. Drunk driving is a serious hazard that stems from the total recklessness of the intoxicated driver. All but 30 of the alcohol-related fatalities involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit of 0.08%. Seventy-two drivers tested at .10 or higher.
According to statistics, the most dangerous times for drunk drivers in Minnesota occur between nine o’clock at night and three in the morning, especially on Saturdays. More than half (55%) of all drunk driving accidents in Minnesota happen on the weekends. Police arrested more than 25,000 drivers in Minnesota for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in a single year. This equates to about 68 DWI arrests every day.
Hundreds of accidents in Minnesota stem from bad weather. Just this past winter, one Minnesota snowstorm and intense wind caused more than 400 auto accidents. Heavy snowfall, sleet, ice, and winds can make the roads treacherous in the winter months. Crashes that result from bad weather might not be anyone’s fault. In some cases, however, negligent drivers, unreasonably dangerous roadways, and malfunctioning car parts can contribute to these collisions. Talk to our lawyers today to discuss what may have caused your recent Mankato car accident.
Car accidents are especially damaging because one person can sustain multiple serious injuries in an impact. An accident can injure any part of the body, inside and out. It often takes months or even years to completely recover from a car accident injury – if full recovery is possible at all. In other cases, victims can suffer permanent physical, emotional, or cognitive damages from their injuries.
If you or someone you know has suffered any of these injuries or others, contact an attorney as soon as possible:
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can occur if the forces of an accident cause the brain to bounce around or strike the inside of the skull. This can lead to the brain swelling or bleeding. TBIs such as concussions might have only minor side effects – however, serious TBIs can lead to temporary or permanent disability.
An injury to any part of the spinal cord can cause serious pain, loss of movement, and/or loss of sensation. A slipped disc can lead to chronic pain and lost capacity to earn, while a more serious SCI can cause full or partial paralysis and permanent disability.
Broken bones are common in car accidents, as the limbs can strike objects within the vehicle and fracture. Broken bones can take weeks or months to heal, on top of medical costs and temporary disability.
Depending on the nature of the crash, victims can suffer burns and/or lacerations. Facial lacerations are especially common due to broken glass in the accident. Burns and lacerations can take a long time to heal and may leave behind permanent physical scars.
When the body abruptly stops moving, the organs continue to move in the same direction until coming into contact with something else – another organ, tissue, or bones. This can cause internal damage to the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and other body parts.
You might not notice symptoms of an injury right away – always seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident, even if you don’t feel injured. Medical tests and scans can detect injuries that have yet to exhibit symptoms, leading to immediate treatment and often a better prognosis for recovery. Seeking medical help as soon as possible can also help a personal injury case. It shows a judge or jury that your injuries were serious or painful enough to require immediate medical attention.
Minnesota is one of a handful of states that follows a no-fault structure. If you live in a no-fault state, you don’t need to prove fault in an accident to collect compensation. In other words, you won’t file a claim with another driver’s policy – only your own. Your insurance company will pay for your medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation, and other expenses.
The law requires all drivers of cars and trucks in Minnesota to carry no-fault insurance (snowmobiles and motorcycles are excluded from this requirement). With your no-fault policy comes personal injury protection (PIP), which covers the expenses we mentioned above up to the dollar amounts included in your policy.
Minnesota sets certain minimums for auto insurance. These include:
If someone injured you in a car accident, you’ll file a claim for your PIP benefits, which will cover both medical and non-medical costs after an accident. In the case of death, PIP will also pay for $2,000 in funeral expenses.
No one plans on getting into a car accident – but you can prepare in case one does occur. There are things you can do directly after a car accident to limit the effects of a personal injury and protect your legal rights. Keep this list in your vehicle for reference in the event that you get into an accident in Minneapolis:
Car accidents can be frightening. The aftermath of an accident can be just as complicated and confusing for victims. The sooner you talk to a lawyer, the sooner you can figure out your rights and potential legal actions moving forward. With help from Knutson + Casey, you can focus on recovering from your injuries while we take care of the rest.
Unfortunately, we all know medical care is expensive. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, treating a broken leg costs about $7,500, and the cost of a three-day hospital stay is $30,000. After a car accident, you may quickly exceed your claim maximums, leaving you with mounting medical bills and expenses, but are you stuck paying them?
Thankfully, no. Minnesota’s no-fault system sets tighter restrictions on tort actions, but there are certain circumstances when you may file a third-party lawsuit. You’re free to go outside the no-fault system when the following apply:
It’s also important to note that property damage is not privy to Minnesota’s no-fault laws. You’re free to pursue a lawsuit against another driver to compensate for property damages.
After a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact us. We have more than 25 years of experience in personal injury law and want to help you after a devastating vehicle collision. We’ve handled a wide range of car accident types, and have earned million-dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients. With our help, you can pursue compensation for your accident-related medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Your future can look much brighter after a conversation with one of our friendly lawyers.
It’s time to hold negligent parties responsible for their actions. No matter who contributed to your accident, learn your rights at Knutson + Casey. Even if you were partially at fault for the crash, you can still receive compensation under Minnesota’s contributory negligence laws. As long as the courts find you less than 50% responsible for the crash, you can go home with partial recovery. The courts will simply reduce your award by the same percentage of your fault.
Regardless of the circumstances of your accident, it is worthwhile to take us up on our offer of a free consultation. You have nothing to lose in talking with one of our competent, experienced attorneys, and you could have thousands of dollars to gain. Not to mention a sense of closure and peace after a serious car accident. To schedule your consultation, call (763) 259-3642. If you can’t come to our Minneapolis office for a meeting, we’ll come to you at your hospital or home. Call now to explore your rights after a vehicle accident.