What is Minnesota’s No-Fault System and How Does Minnesota’s No-Fault Insurance System Affect Car Insurance Claims?
In most states, car crash victims pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy after an accident. However, Minnesota is one of a handful of states that follows a no-fault insurance system after car accidents.
This system can have a significant impact on your ability to recover compensation for your accident and whether you can pursue a claim against the at-fault party.
The experienced Minneapolis car accident lawyers at TSR Injury Law have helped many victims obtain compensation. Call for a free, no-obligation consultation to ask your questions about Minnesota’s no-fault system.
What Does No-Fault Mean?
No-fault means fault is not a consideration in awarding medical bills, wage loss or some property damage claims. Rather than pursuing compensation for these damages from the at-fault party, injured parties must file a claim with their own insurance companies. The insurance company will provide compensation for covered losses, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
A no-fault claim must be presented within a reasonable amount of time after a crash. Each policy will contain language determining the time, but the general rule is the sooner the better. If you are injured in a crash, call your agent and set up a claim immediately. Legal help can assure the forms are correctly filled out and preclude the insurance company from gathering improper information. It is common for insurance companies to ask for an Application for Benefits, medical releases, wage loss forms and statements of crash facts. Some require an independent doctor to review before bills are processed.
The no-fault system was established to ease the burden on courts and allow accident victims to receive prompt treatment for their injuries without worrying about who was at fault or if the bad driver even had proper insurance.
Personal Injury Protection Coverage
Minnesota law requires all licensed drivers to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which is the no-fault component of your insurance.
The state minimum for PIP coverage is $40,000 per person per accident. The $40,000.00 is divided into two $20,000.00 claims. Up to $20,000 of this amount can be used to pay for hospital and medical expenses and the remaining $20,000 covers non-medical expenses like lost wages and replacement services like housekeeping. There are limits and time considerations for each claim. For example, the first 7 days are free for replacement services.
PIP also covers $5,000.00 for funeral expenses in case the crash caused death.
You can purchase more than the minimum amount of PIP insurance if you want to. If you own multiple vehicles with the same company, “stacking” the benefits is also available. This will double or triple the coverages available. For example, if you own two cars and stack benefits, you would have $40,000.00 in medical and $40,000.00 in wage coverage. The weekly wage benefits would also go from $500 to $1000.00 and replacement services from $200.00 a week to $400.00.
How No-Fault Affects the Ability to File a Car Accident Lawsuit
After a crash, you first collect on your PIP benefits. In order to make an injury claim (often called a bodily injury claim for pain and suffering) against the at fault driver’s insurance, you must also meet a threshold. There are five thresholds.
- $4,000.00 in medical treatment not including X-Ray or MRI scans;
- Permanent injury;
- Miss 60 days of work; or
- Have a permanent disfigurement like a scar from the crash
All Minnesota drivers are required to carry a minimum of $30,000 in liability coverage for one person’s bodily injury, $60,000 for injuries to two or more people and $10,000 for damage to the victim’s vehicle.
Minnesota law also requires drivers to carry uninsured coverage of $25,000 for injuries to one person and $50,000 for injuries to two or more people and $10,000 for property damage.
Additionally, drivers must carry underinsured coverage of $25,000 for injuries to one person and $50,000 for injuries to two or more people. You can make a claim under these policies if the other driver’s liability insurance is insufficient to cover the damages stemming from the crash because they do not have any coverage or not enough. You may also be able to make a claim under your comprehensive or collision coverage.
What Else Should You Know About No-Fault?
There may be various no-fault policies that may cover you in the event of an accident.
There are priorities for no-fault coverage. There are exceptions, but usually they are:
- The vehicle you own and are insured with;
- If you do not own an insured vehicle, you may get coverage from a resident relative’s policy;
- If you do not live with a relative with an insured vehicle you may go to the car you are a passenger in or that strikes you as a pedestrian.
- Assigned Claims is free no-fault coverage also available to certain injured people. If you do not own an uninsured vehicle, do not reside with anyone who owns an uninsured vehicle and the car that you are in (but do not own) or that hits you has no insurance, then you may qualify for free coverage.
How an Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you were injured in a crash, it is important for you to seek medical attention. After that, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim.
Although no-fault insurance is intended to make the claims process easier, many of our clients have not had this experience until they hire us. Their claims are sometimes wrongfully denied, or they are subjected to unnecessary delays.
The personal injury team at TSR Injury Law is dedicated to helping victims receive maximum compensation. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your claim in more detail.
Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and options. (612) TSR-TIME