Car Accident Advice from a St. Paul Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents are as American as apple pie, and in 2008 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that about 5.8 million police-reported traffic accidents occurred throughout the country’s roads. That same year, AAA reported that car accidents alone cost Americans about $164.2 billion every year.
More locally, in Minnesota, the numbers are just as bleak. In 2015, there were 74,772 reported traffic accidents brought to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. That same year 411 people died in Minnesota and 29,981 people were injured in car accidents. The 411 traffic fatalities in 2015 was a 13.9 percent increase from the previous year, and with these numbers likely to continue to rise, there are clear indications that traffic fatalities throughout Minnesota has become an epidemic.
The fact is Minnesota has struggled to lower these incidents. There have been successes over the years. There are fewer crashes involving speeding with better monitoring. A lack of seat belt related to fatalities has dropped 14 percent with increased education and awareness. Obviously, there is still more work to do.
Minnesota’s No-Fault Car Insurance Rule
Many have heard of this system, but don’t fully understand the meaning. For example, say you have a fender-bender in St. Paul. With this, you have to turn everything over to your own insurance company. This happens regardless of who is at fault. Many accidents are minor and handled with little legal intervention. With no significant injuries or issues, the insurance company settles the claim.
Exceptions to No-Fault in a Minnesota Car Accident
There are exceptions that allow a liability claim or personal injury lawsuit. In Minnesota one must meet one of two requirements:
1) The medical expenses must total more than $4,000 after the crash.
2) A liability claim or personal injury lawsuit is within legal rights if the victim suffered a permanent injury, a permanent scarring, or disfigurement. A 60-day period of disability is also a reasonable exception. If there one or both of these occur, the door for legal options opens.
Minnesota Statute of Limitations
This is something many don’t consider when considering legal options. However, this is important. In the state of Minnesota, a person generally has six years to file a lawsuit. This time period starts from the date of the accident. If this time runs out, then a person has lost the ability to bring a claim or suit.
Can you be partially at fault in a Minnesota auto accident?
Many times the blame for the accident gets decided in court. The person at fault pays for the costs including medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repair, and any pain or suffering caused by the accident. However, many times the court reveals that the plaintiff, the person bringing the case, is partially at fault.
This does happen sometimes. When it does, Minnesota has a modified comparative fault rule. This comes into play when the court decides both parties share some fault for the accident. For example, a jury finds the plaintiff 30 percent responsible for the crash. This means the plaintiff will still receive 70 percent of the total calculated damages.
If the fault is found below 50 percent, the plaintiff receives some damages. However, if both parties are found 50 percent responsible, or the plaintiff is found over 50 percent responsible, the plaintiff receives no damages. This rule is different from many other states. Many other states reward some damages even if both parties are equally responsible.
Contact an Experienced St. Paul Car Accident Attorney
People don’t think about how fast a car accident happens. One minute, you are driving home after work. In less than a second, everything changes. They are terrifying and frustrating to deal with. Luckily, many accidents occur with no extreme property damage or personal injury. They end up scaring drivers more than hurting them. However, do you know your legal rights when this isn’t the case?
With such statistics, it is obvious why your legal rights need to be understood. Having a car accident isn’t inevitable. However, there is an obvious possibility of it happening.
If you or a loved one has suffered an accident, contact us today online or call us at 651-291-7263 to schedule a free consultation. Don’t let time run out. Contact the award-winning car accident lawyers at Sand Law and let us help you to understand what legal options are available to you.