Minnesota has plenty to offer visitors: from the Mall of America, complete with an indoor amusement park, to the home of F. Scott Fitzgerald, a road trip across America would be incomplete without a stop in this Midwestern gem. But drivers should be especially cautious driving during Minnesota's harsh winters because, while it is simple for drivers to recover for minor damages and injuries, the state of Minnesota does not look kindly upon drivers at fault for serious accidents. If you have suffered serious damages in a car accident in Minnesota, you will want to equip yourself with knowledge of Minnesota car accident compensation laws.
The chart below covers some of the most important parts of Minnesota’s car accident compensation laws.
'No Fault' and 'Modified Comparative Negligence' Rules Apply
Minnesota's legal system for insurance claims is seemingly set up to reduce litigation as much as possible. The 'no fault' system requires parties injured in the state of Minnesota to first bring a claim against their own insurance policy. The state of Minnesota requires drivers to carry a minimum of $40,000 of what is known as Personal Injury Protection insurance. That amount is available to each party injured in an accident and the amount is further divided to allow $20,000 for medical expenses and $20,000 for non-medical expenses. A party must first exhaust these funds before bringing a claim against another driver. However, a party injured while riding a motorcycle is exempt from this rule.
The 'modified comparative negligence' rule further reduces litigation by permitting only parties that are less than 50% at fault to recover for their injuries. The rule also reduces an injured party's recovery according to that party's percentage of fault in the accident. Minnesota adds an additional twist: to successfully recover damages, your reduced recovery must exceed $4,000 in medical expenses, or your injury must result in permanent disfigurement, permanent injury, death, or disability for 60 days or more. For example, if you suffered $10,000 in damages, but the court found you to be 30% at fault, you would be still be able to recover $7,000 from the other party.
Types of Damages
If you are injured in an accident, the court system will divide your damages into two different types: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are typically the type of damages you have received a bill for and include the cost to repair your vehicle, the cost to rent another vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired, any lost wages, and any medical expenses you might incur. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are harder to calculate and include damages such as disability or disfigurement, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
The following are some typical car accident damages:
- Lost wages
- Loss of companionship
- Medical expenses
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Pain and suffering
- Disability or disfigurement
Limits on Damages
Minnesota has a complicated set of deadlines which dictate how long a driver may wait before bringing a claim for damages. This is known as the statute of limitations for car accidents. Injured parties must bring a no-fault claim within six months of the accident. Should an injured party's damages exceed their no-fault insurance coverage, that party must bring a claim for personal injury damages within two years of the accident and must wait no longer than six years to bring a claim for property injury.
Once an injured party has navigated through the Minnesota legal system and established that she has the right to recover damages, Minnesota does not impose any kind of damage cap on the amount of damages recoverable.
Have Specific Questions About Minnesota Car Accident Compensation Laws? Ask a Lawyer
Minnesota may make it tough to recover for your injuries if you are at fault in the accident, but you should not give up hope. If you've been injured in an accident in Minnesota, the modified comparative negligence rule and the lack of damage caps can make it difficult to estimate the strength and value of your claim. That's why it's best to speak with a local car accident attorney who can explain how Minnesota car accident compensation laws apply to the facts of your case.