What is Minnesota’s Statute of Limitations For Car Accidents?

September 1, 2021

In Minnesota, there is a time limit known as the “statute of limitations” for filing a car accident lawsuit. In most cases, victims harmed by another driver’s negligent actions have two years to bring a claim. Failing to do so within the allotted time will typically cost you your right to obtain any amount of compensation for the car accident. 

Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Minnesota

Under Minnesota Statutes section 541.07, the two years designated for car accident victims to file a lawsuit typically begins on the date the accident occurred. It is important to note that this deadline does not apply to insurance claims. Drivers are required to “promptly” report an accident to an insurer or “within a reasonable time.” The wording leaves it up to interpretation, but it typically means within several days or, at the most, a few weeks. 

It is usually in your best interests to begin the claims process relatively soon after your car accident. However, that does not mean that you should resolve your claim quickly. A personal injury attorney will advise you to wait until you fully recover or reach “maximum medical improvement” (MMI) to settle your case. That way, you understand the full extent of your losses and the total value of your case. 

Deadline for Government Claims

If your claim is against a Government agency in Minnesota, you must first give notice of the claim within 180 days of the crash. Your notice will be reviewed then a determination will be made on whether to pay it. 

Deadline for Wrongful Death Claims

When an accident causes a fatality, the surviving family or another representative of the deceased person has three years to file a wrongful death claim. The clock begins on the day the victim dies. 

Is Minnesota a No-Fault State?

Minnesota is a no-fault state, which means after a car accident, you can file a claim with your own insurer under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage regardless of who was at fault. Some of your medical treatment, wage loss, and replacement expenses will be covered. 

Minnesota allows victims to step outside of the no-fault system and pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver or their insurer if:

  • You have more than $4,000 in medical expenses; or,
  • Your injury meets the state’s “serious injury” threshold, which is: 
    • A permanent injury
    • Scarring or disfigurement; or
    • Requires at least 60 days of disability

What Happens If I File a Case After the Statute of Limitations Has Passed?

There is typically no way around the statute of limitations. If you wait until after the deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit, the defendant (at-fault party) you are attempting to sue will file a “motion to dismiss.” Their motion will point out that the statute of limitations has run, which will almost always result in your case being dismissed. There are a few rare exceptions that can entitle you to more time, which a Minneapolis Car Accident Accident Lawyer can advise you on.