Minnesota’s Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
When automobiles or other vehicles collide with pedestrians, the injuries are often severe. In 2005 there were 938 pedestrian injuries and 44 deaths as a result of collisions with motor vehicles. Pedestrian collision cases present unique issues that require the skill of an attorney experienced in auto vs. pedestrian litigation. The attorneys at Hall Law have considerable experience successfully handling such cases. As a result, we are well acquainted with the complex issues presented by these claims and are uniquely positioned to ensure our clients receive the best possible result for their individual circumstances.
Statistics obtained by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety suggest that young people are at greater risk of being involved in an auto vs. pedestrian accident. Persons less than 25 years of age accounted for 45% of all pedestrian injuries or deaths in 2005. Moreover, urban areas are much more prone to pedestrian accidents than other locales. In 2005, 91% of all pedestrian crashes within the state occurred in urban areas.
Any of a number of factors can lead to an auto vs. pedestrian collision. Factors cited most often by reporting officers include: (1) failure to yield the right of way, and (2) driver inattention or distraction. Alcohol is also a common contributing factor. In fatality cases, 44% of all pedestrians tested for blood alcohol level had concentrations over the legal limit.
Automobile vs. pedestrian claims usually involve 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). Generally, where a driver operates his or her vehicle in a negligent manner, he or she may be required to pay for any damages resulting from such negligence.
Notably, a typical plaintiff in an auto vs. pedestrian case may recover for non-economic damages (damages for 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, (2) a permanent injury, (3) a permanent disfigurement, or (4) 60 days of disability.
Notably, a pedestrian hit by a motor-vehicle is generally entitled to the benefits of Minnesota’s No Fault system. The No Fault system is an important aspect of all automobile accident cases in Minnesota. Generally every owner of a motor vehicle in Minnesota is required to maintain an insurance policy which has No Fault coverage. Minn. Stat §65B.48, subd.1. The No Fault Act requires an insurance company to pay basic economic loss benefits regardless of the fault of the insured. Minn. Stat §65B.49, subd.1.
Consistent with the above provisions, every person suffering an injury accident arising out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle in Minnesota has a right to basic economic loss benefits. Minn. Stat §65B.46, subd.1. Notably, the terms “maintenance or use” and “motor vehicle” are narrowly defined by statute, and do not necessarily conform to the otherwise common usage of such terms. For example, motorcycles are not included in the No Fault Act’s definition of a motor vehicle.
The basic economic loss benefits recoverable under the No Fault Act include:
1. Medical Expenses and Rehabilitation Services.
Most insurance policies provide $20,000.00 in medical expense and rehabilitation coverage. Covered items include:
(a) All reasonable expenses for necessary medical, surgical, x-ray, optical, dental, and chiropractic services, including prosthetic devices, prescription drugs, necessary ambulance, and mileage reimbursement.
(b) If an individual is disabled from work, a professional job seeking counselor, and education and retraining, if justified and recommended by your doctor.
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.
(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.
Preserve Your Rights
Where you or a loved one has been involved in an auto vs. pedestrian accident, it is important to act swiftly in order to preserve evidence and to ensure other key aspects of your case are not neglected. If you or one of your loved ones has a potential claim, please call today for a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.