Minnesota is a no-fault insurance state. This means that a driver or passenger involved in an auto accident must seek payment from their own insurance company for income loss, medical expenses and replacement services, regardless of who is ultimately found to be at fault in causing the accident.
Minnesota No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act
The Minnesota No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act can be found in Minnesota Statutes §65B.41 to §65B.71. The statute provides that every automobile insurance policy issued in Minnesota must include coverage that provides a minimum of $40,000 per person for losses that come about due to a motor vehicle accident.
The $40,000 is divided into two portions: $20,000 in medical benefits and $20,000 in wage loss, replacement services, funeral expenses and survivor’s economic loss benefits. The no fault insurance carrier will pay 85 percent of an injured persons’ average weekly wage at a maximum of $500 per week. If the accident causes death, the insurance company will pay for the decedent’s medical expenses incurred before death, the economic losses of surviving family members, and up to $5,000 in funeral and burial expenses pursuant to the Minnesota law.
Many individuals purchase additional coverage or elect to stack multiple insurance policies which can increase the amount of benefits you may be eligible to receive. The Meshbesher Law Firm advises all of our clients to talk to their insurance agent about these relatively inexpensive insurance upgrades, as medical bills from a serious car accident can quickly exceed $20,000. We have seen clients with noncritical injuries exhaust their medical coverage after just one night of tests in a hospital.
Unfortunately, many insurance companies will try to get out of paying these mandated no-fault benefits following an accident. This can result in accident victims having to try to pay medical bills out of their own pocket even though they paid for insurance coverage. The insurance companies can try to claim that medical treatment is unreasonable or has not been submitted for payment properly. The insurer can request at any time that their insured either submit to an independent medical examination or lose their coverage for noncooperation. The insurer will then pay a doctor of their choosing to examine their insured. If that doctor says no further treatment is necessary, the insurer will stop paying for medical care and wage loss.
Minnesota Statute §65B.54, subd 5 provides that an insurer who rejects a claim for benefits must give the claimant prompt written notice of the rejection. This is to give a claimant a chance to either correct a submission error or file for a no fault arbitration pursuant to Minnesota no fault arbitration rules.
This is the point at which you will typically need a Minnesota no-fault insurance lawyer to review your claim, commence arbitration and force the insurance company to pay your medical bills and wage loss, with interest, as required by Minnesota law.
Claims Against The Other Driver
When there is another driver involved in the accident and they are at fault, you may be able to make additional claims. These claims include pain, suffering, disfigurement and emotional distress. You can also bring a claim for any bills or wage loss not covered by the no-fault insurer.
Your Minneapolis no-fault insurance attorney can help you determine whether or not you can pursue additional compensation. Examples of some of the individuals and companies you can pursue in such cases include:
- The owner of the other vehicle involved in the accident
- The driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident
- The manufacturer of the vehicle if there was a defect that caused the accident
- Bars and restaurants for the illegal sale of liquor to a person who caused a drunk driving accident
- Municipalities and individuals responsible for road hazards that should not have been present, thus causing an accident
- Your own insurance company for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
There may be other entities that can be held liable for an accident, depending upon the circumstances surrounding the collision. This may mean the difference between an inadequate recovery and just compensation.
Contact A Minnesota No Fault Insurance Attorney
If you have been in an auto accident and you’re having difficulty receiving the compensation that is rightfully yours, then you need the help of a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer. Call the Meshbesher Law Firm today at 612-349-5215 for a free consultation.