The personal injury attorneys at Hall Law are experts in car accident cases. Our lawyers understand the profound effect such accidents can have both on the injured person and their family. We realize that many times people are unable to work, unable to pay their bills and have trouble dealing with insurance companies because of auto accident injuries. We can answer your questions and help resolve these issues in an orderly fashion. Firm attorneys have an excellent track record of obtaining fair compensation for clients who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents, both via settlement negotiations and via jury trial verdicts. If you, or a loved one, have been injured in a car accident, the dedicated and compassionate attorneys at Hall Law can help. Our law firm has more than 35 years of experience representing people who have been injured in car accidents.
There are typically three primary sources of recovery for injuries suffered in car accidents. These sources include: (1) no-fault insurance; (2) liability insurance covering the person or person’s who caused the accident; (3) and under-insured motorist coverage.
No Fault Insurance
Minnesota law requires insurance companies to provide no-fault auto insurance as a part of every automobile insurance policy insuring a motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in Minnesota. No-fault insurance provides certain basic insurance benefits to all people who are injured in automobile accidents irrespective of whose fault caused the accident.
Benefits recoverable under the No Fault Act include:
1. Medical Expenses
Most insurance policies provide $20,000.00 in medical expense coverage. Covered items may include:
(a) All reasonable expenses for necessary medical, surgical, x-ray, hospital, extended care, nursing services, optical, dental, chiropractic, rehabilitative services, prosthetic devices and prescription drugs.
(b) Ambulance expenses and mileage reimbursement for transportation to and from necessary treatment.
2. Income Loss and Replacement Services
Most insurance policies provide $20,000.00 for such coverage. Covered items include:
(a) Lost Income. Where an individual’s inability to work is proximately caused by the subject injury, such individual may recover 85 percent of his or her loss of gross income, up to a maximum of $250 per week.
Loss of income includes the costs incurred by a self-employed person to hire substitute employees to perform tasks which are necessary to maintain the income of the injured person, which are normally performed by the injured person, and which cannot be performed because of the injury.
(b) Replacement Services. If an individual is unable to perform housecleaning, snow shoveling, lawn mowing, and other household services, he or she may be able to recover the value of such services, or be reimbursed for hiring others to do those things, up to a maximum of $200.00 per week.
3. Benefits for the family of someone who is killed in a motor vehicle accident
(a) Funeral and burial expenses up to $2,000.00.
(b) Survivors economic loss benefits in the event of death occurring within one year of the date of the accident, caused by and arising out of injuries received in the accident, are subject to a maximum of $200 per week and shall cover loss accruing after decedent’s death of contributions of money or tangible things of economic value, not including services, that surviving dependents would have received from the decedent for their support during their dependency had the decedent not suffered the injury causing death.
Survivors replacement services loss benefits shall reimburse expenses reasonably incurred by surviving dependents after the date of the decedent’s death in obtaining ordinary and necessary services in lieu of those the deceased would have performed for their benefit had the decedent not suffered the injury causing death, minus expenses of the survivors avoided by reason of the decedent’s death. These benefits shall be subject to a maximum of $200 per week.
If you have been injured in a car accident, in addition to recovering no-fault benefits, you may have a claim against any person whose negligence caused the accident. Car and other motor vehicle accident claims are usually based on negligence law. “Negligence is the failure to exercise such care as persons of ordinary prudence usually exercise under similar circumstances.” Mingo v Extrand, 230 N.W 895, 896 (1930). In plain language, roadway negligence typically nothing more than a driver doing something wrong that results in a crash.
Courts look to a number of factors in determining whether a driver was negligent. Some examples of these factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Distracted driving (examples include: texting while driving)
- Driving too fast or too slow
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to signal while turning
- Disregarding weather or traffic conditions
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals
- Failing to drive on the right side of the road
Generally, where a driver operates his or her vehicle in a negligent manner, he or she may be required to pay for any harm caused by their negligence. The claims against the person who negligently caused the accident are normally covered by liability insurance, either the driver’s or the car owner’s liability insurance. If neither the driver nor the owner has liability insurance, the injured person’s uninsured motorist insurance is obligated to pay any damages owed by the uninsured driver. Thus any claim a person has for injuries sustained in a car accident will in all likelihood be covered by insurance.
An injured person’s right to make a liability claim for injuries received in a motor vehicle accident may be limited. Notably, a typical plaintiff in an auto accident case may recover for non-economic damages (non-economic damages include damages for items such as disability, scarring, disfigurement, pain and suffering) only if he or she meets one of the four tort thresholds enumerated in Minn. Stat §65B.51, subd.3. Specifically, no such plaintiff shall recover for non-economic losses unless the auto accident caused (1) $4,000 in medical expenses, or (2) a permanent injury, or (3) a permanent disfigurement, or (4) 60 days of disability.
Under-Insured Motorist (UIM) Insurance
Insurance companies sell UIM insurance to Minnesota drivers. When an auto insurer sells UIM insurance, they are essentially telling their customer “you pay us regular insurance premiums, and if there’s a crash in which you get hurt, and the other driver doesn’t have enough liability insurance to cover your damages, you can trust that we’ll cover the damages the other driver’s insurance did not.”
What the auto insurance companies typically do not focus on, is that when there is a crash and the other and the other driver doesn’t have enough liability insurance to cover your damages, your auto insurer is free to deny your claim for UIM insurance. In these cases, which are quite common, an injured customer’s only recourse against their auto insurer is a lawsuit.
The attorneys at Hall Law P.A. are experts at litigating UIM insurance claims, and our lawyers have enjoyed decades of success bringing UIM claims against auto insurers who refuse to honor the insurance policies they’ve sold. By way of example, our office has enforced our client’s UIM rights against auto insurers such as: Allied Insurance; Triple A, American Family Insurance; Western National Insurance, State Farm Insurance; Farmers Insurance; Farm Bureau, MetLife; Allstate; Progressive; Kemper Insurance and Travelers Insurance.