After A Car Accident, What Should You Do?
Car accident injury claims are different from other types of claims in Minnesota and most other states. In car accident cases there are two possible types of claims:
Minnesota No-Fault Claim:
A no-fault claim is made to your own insurance company or the insurance company that insured the car in which you were riding. A no-fault provision of your insurance policy will cover medical expenses, wage loss, replacement services and other benefits up to the policy limits. You should call your insurance company promptly to report the accident and any claim. The company will send you an application for benefits form to get the claims process started.
The insurance company will verify your expenses before they will be paid or reimbursed to you. This means before you are paid, the company will need copies of your bills, medical records, doctors’ disability statement and wage loss verification from your employer.
Fault or Liability Claim
If another person is as much or more at fault than you, for causing the collision, you may have a right to compensation for your injuries including pain, suffering and mental distress from the person at fault and their insurance companies.
In addition to proving the other party or parties were at fault, you must be able to prove that your injuries meet a legal requirement called a “threshold”. This threshold must be met in order to bring a liability or fault claim which entitles you to go to court if the case cannot be settled out of court by agreement of all concerned.
Under Minnesota law your injury must involve at least one of five threshold requirements:
A permanent lasting injury
A permanent disfigurement, such as a scar
Medical expenses in excess of $4,000
60-days of disability
Wrongful death of a close relative, such as a child, spouse or parent
If your case does not involve at least one of these threshold requirements, you cannot bring a claim for compensation for the pain, suffering and emotional distress caused by your injuries.
This means you will be limited to the no-fault benefits, which essentially cover your actual expenses only.
It is very important to see a doctor right away, if you are injured. This will document your injuries in a medical record.
If you feel you possibly meet a threshold requirement and some other person is at fault, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.
Property damage from automobile accidents is generally covered under the fault or liability system. This means the insurance company, of the driver who was at fault, is responsible for paying the fair market value of the car if it is beyond repair or the reasonable cost to repair it.
If there is a dispute as to who caused the accident and you were partly at fault, your recovery will be reduced by the percentage that you are at fault. The other person must be determined to be at fault, at a level at least equal to yours or greater, for you to get any money for the damage of your car.
It is quicker and easier to claim property damage reimbursement under the collision coverage of your own insurance policy. Your insurance company will then try to collect from the other insurance company. This means you won’t have to worry about anything but paying the deductible amount under your own insurance policy.
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