Car Accidents FAQ
- What are personal injury cases?
- Can I sue the driver of the vehicle if I am a passenger?
- Is there anyone other than the drivers and passengers involved in a motor vehicle collision that I could sue for my damages?
- What if more than one driver is at fault?
- What if I am at fault for causing the accident?
- How is fault determined?
- Who can recover damages in a motor vehicle accident?
- How long do I have to sue if I am injured as a result of someone’s carelessness or negligence?
- What damages can I recover in a motor vehicle accident?
- How long will it take to get money in my case?
- How much money can I expect to get in a settlement? / What is my case worth?
- How am I supposed to get back and forth while my car is in the shop?
- I can’t work; can I file for unemployment even though litigation is pending?
- What can I expect the police officer to do at the accident scene?
- Who determines who is responsible for a traffic accident?
- Should I do an investigation of the facts of the accident on my own?
- What if the cause of a traffic accident is not clear?
- Can I be found liable if my car is rear-ended in a crash?
- Can I still win my case if my memory of the accident now conflicts with things I might have said at the time of the accident?
- What if I was not wearing a seat belt at the time of my accident? Can I still recover damages?
- Should I release my medical records to another driver’s insurance adjuster?
- I was in a car accident and the air bags in my car didn’t deploy. Do I have a case against the car manufacturer?
- Is it always necessary to file a lawsuit?
- Are there alternatives to going to court?
Questions & Answers
What are personal injury cases?
Personal Injury cases involve claims against a negligent individual or corporation, the result of which causes an innocent party to incur medical expenses, wage loss together with pain and suffering.
Can I sue the driver of the vehicle if I am a passenger?
If the driver of the vehicle in which you were a passenger is negligent, you can assert a claim. If at the time of the accident, you owned and insured your own automobile, your insurance company will be responsible for you medical bills and wage loss. If you did not, the vehicle in which you were a passenger would generally be responsible for your medical bills and wage loss. The mere fact that you were a passenger in a vehicle does not automatically give rise to a suit. The driver of the vehicle has to be negligent in some fashion.
Is there anyone other than the drivers and passengers involved in a motor vehicle collision that I could sue for my damages?
There are certain circumstances when individuals other than a driver of an automobile may be responsible for your damages. For instance, if the negligent driver were in the course of scope of his employment at the time of the accident, his employer would be responsible as well. Similarly, if the driver is operating a car owned by someone else with that individuals consent and permission, that individual will be responsible as well.
What if more than one driver is at fault?
Minnesota is a comparative fault state. Generally speaking, you’re entitled to recover from a negligent driver who causes an accident of subsequent injuries. If more than one driver is at fault, most cases are resolved by virtue of an apportionment of fault.
What if I am at fault for causing the accident?
Minnesota is a comparative fault state. As long as your fault is less than or equal to that of the other driver, a recovery can be realized. However, the recovery is diminished or reduced by the percent of fault attributable to you in causing the accident
How is fault determined?
Who can recover damages in a motor vehicle accident?
Answer: Any individual who satisfies the no-fault thresholds are entitled to recovery damages in motor vehicle accidents. Those thresholds include but are not limited a permanent injury, the incurring of medical expenses in excess of $4,000 (excluding diagnostic testing), a residual scar or deformity, sixty (60) days of disability or death. In death cases, the heirs of the decease are entitled to maintain a claim similarly, in certain circumstances the spouse of an injured person is entitle to recover damages as well. In the case of an injury to a minor, a parent or natural guardian is entitled to recover medical expenses incurred on behalf of the minor for care and treatment.
How long do I have to sue if I am injured as a result of someone’s carelessness or negligence?
The general rule is that the statute of limitations for car accident cases in Minnesota is six years. There are certain exceptions and every case has to be evaluated closely on an individual basis.
What damages can I recover in a motor vehicle accident?
A person is entitled to recover damages for past medical expense, past wage loss, past pain and suffering, future medical expense, future impairment of running capacity and future pain and suffering.
How long will it take to get money in my case?
Every case is unique onto itself. Most physicians who care for and treat accident victims generally require 9-15 months of care and treatment in order to perform final opinions relative to injuries. Once final evaluations are in hand from treating physicians, a demand is provided to the appropriate insurance company. Thereafter, settlement negations would begin. If they were not productive, a lawsuit would be started. Most lawsuits are resolved through settlement or trial with in one year of commencement as required by the rules of court
How much money can I expect to get in a settlement? / What is my case worth?
There is no hard and fast rule for placing a financial value upon a case. Cases are evaluated based upon the circumstances of the accident, severity of the injury and its impact upon an individuals day-to-day affairs including employment.
How am I supposed to get back and forth while my car is in the shop?
Insurance companies do offer replacement or rental coverage while automobiles are being repaired. In some circumstances, the adverse insurance company is willing to provide a rental car.
I can’t work; can I file for unemployment even though litigation is pending?
Under the Minnesota No-Fault Act, a person is entitled 85% of their weekly wage up to a maximum of $250.00 per week for wage loss occasioned by injuries arising out of an automobile accident. To the extent that those damages are uncompensated, they become part of the general claim for damages against the appropriate party. When filing for unemployment, you are generally certifying that you’re available for but cannot find work. Accordingly, unemployment would not be generally available on these circumstances.
What can I expect the police officer to do at the accident scene?
The police officer will gather the necessary information from the parties involved in the accident as well as neutral witnesses. When appropriate, photographs and measurements will also be taken. The report is than available within a short period of time thereafter.
Who determines who is responsible for a traffic accident?
Fault is determined by totality of these circumstances surrounding the accident. That includes independent witnesses observations, the observations of the parties and expert witnesses in the form of accident reconstructionist when appropriate.
Should I do an investigation of the facts of the accident on my own?
It is rarely productive to conduct your own investigation concerning the facts of an accident. Lawyers, professional investigators and accident Reconstructionist are in the best position to act on your behalf.
What if the cause of a traffic accident is not clear?
If the cause of an accident is unclear, it is important that a professional be employed for the purposes of investigating the crash. Accident Reconstructionist is uniquely qualified to perform these tasks.
Can I be found liable if my car is rear-ended in a crash?
Under some circumstances if a quick stop is made, you certainly can be found liable in a rear-end crash. However, it is also obvious that the driver traveling behind you is responsible for observing traffic and keeping a watchful eye on the flow of traffic and road conditions.
Can I still win my case if my memory of the accident now conflicts with things I might have said at the time of the accident?
Answer: At the time of an accident, emotions are high. If independent witnesses are available to cooperate earlier it counts, that will eliminate concerns about memories fading.
What if I was not wearing a seat belt at the time of my accident? Can I still recover damages?
Whether or not a person was wearing a seat belt at the time of an accident is inadmissible as a matter of law at that time a case is tried. Therefore, that information would not be an influence factor in evaluating a claim for injuries.
Should I release my medical records to another driver’s insurance adjuster?
It is generally not a good ideal to provide blanket releases to a liability insurance adjuster. Those records do have to be provided in order to substantiate a claim however; there are safe guards, which can be employed to protect your privacy.
I was in a car accident and the air bags in my car didn’t deploy. Do I have a case against the car manufacturer?
Air bag product liability cases are extremely difficult cases. In some circumstances, the cost of advancing a claim of this nature may exceed the amount ultimately to be recovered.
Is it always necessary to file a lawsuit?
Most cases are resolved without the commencement of a lawsuit. However, even in those circumstances were lawsuits are commenced; most cases do resolve themselves short of a trial. It is always important to be represented by an individual skilled in the trial of cases of this nature in the event if settlement cannot be achieved.
Are there alternatives to going to court?
Many cases are resolved through negotiation, mediation, or binding arbitration.