By Ed Risch, Tentinger Law Firm, P.A.
You’ve just been injured in an automobile accident and someone else was at fault. Who is responsible for your pain and suffering? Who is going to pay your medical bills for treatment related to the accident? Who is going to pay your lost wages as a result of your injuries? These are the most common questions asked by a new client.
Depending on the severity of the injuries, there are essentially two types of claims for someone who has been injured in an auto accident caused by the negligence of another person: no-fault and liability.
After receiving medical treatment for injuries received in the accident, one of the first concerns of an injured person is payment of the medical bills and lost wages.
Minnesota is a “no-fault” state. All automobile drivers in Minnesota are required by law to carry no-fault insurance. No-fault insurance pays medical bills for injuries related to an accident, regardless of who was at fault. To put this in perspective, if you are rear ended while stopped at a red light, your insurance will pay for your medical treatment related to the accident. This often “does not sound right” to many clients. However, pursuant to the Minnesota no-fault laws, this is how medical bills are paid. There may be exclusions or others injured in the accident may be included on an insured’s policy based on particular facts of an accident.
No-fault insurance also pays for lost wages as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Generally, the no-fault policy allows for $250.00 per week for lost time. Typical no-fault policies allow payment of up to $20,000.00 for medical bills and up to $20,000.00 for lost wages. Some policies may allow additional coverage.
It is important to talk to an attorney about no-fault coverage and the benefits that may be available to you.
In addition to the no-fault claim, a person injured in an automobile accident may be able to bring a claim against the person who caused the accident. This is often referred to as the liability claim. Typically, this claim is brought against the at-fault person and their auto insurance company. It is possible to bring claims against more than one driver and insurance company if the facts warrant additional parties.
In order to have a liability claim, it is required that an injured person meets one of the following thresholds:
- medical bills related to the accident exceeds $4,000 (minus specific types of treatment);
- the injury results in permanent disfigurement;
- a doctor opines the injury is permanent;
- the accident results in death; or
- a person is disabled for 60 days or more as a result of injuries sustained in the accident.
Depending on the facts of the accident and coverage afforded under the insurance policies involved, there could be additional liability claims. It is important to discuss the accident with an attorney to ensure you are tapping into all resources available and are fully compensated.
*Tentinger Law Firm has experience representing people injured as the result of automobile and motorcycle accidents. Call 952-953-3330 to discuss your case with one of our attorneys.