Minneapolis Car Accident Lawyer

Every time you get behind the wheel, you assume the risk of getting into a car accident. A crash isn’t something anyone wants to think about, yet thousands of people are involved in motor vehicle crashes in America every day. Most car accidents are preventable. They result from someone else’s negligence – a distracted driver, careless vehicle part manufacturer, or inattentive roadway maintenance crew member. After any type of car accident in Minneapolis, speak to the attorneys at Knutson + Casey. We’ve successfully tried or settled more than 2,000 cases in Minnesota, and can help you understand your rights.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Virtually anything could cause a car accident. However, driver error is a leading cause of car accidents around the country. Distracted, drowsy, intoxicated, and reckless drivers contribute to thousands of injuries and deaths every year. It is every driver’s duty to reasonably prevent harm to others on the roadway. Failure to do so is negligence and may be cause for a personal injury claim by the victim(s). According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the four most common causes of road fatalities in the state during 2015 were:

  1. Impaired driving. Drugs and alcohol caused 95 traffic deaths.
  2. Failing to use a seatbelt. Lack of seatbelt use contributed to 91 deaths.
  3. Illegal or unsafe speeds contributed to 78 deaths.
  4. Driver distraction. Inattention contributed to 74 fatalities.

Eliminating these four negligence-related causes could save hundreds of lives in Minnesota every year. It could also save the state millions in accident-related health care costs. As a driver, you can do your part by paying attention to the road and driving safely. As a car accident victim, you can shed light on the problem and hold the drivers responsible for your injuries accountable for their actions with a civil lawsuit. Knutson + Casey are here to help you file your claim in Minneapolis and St. Paul and walk you through the legal process involved in seeking compensation.

Types of Car Accident Injuries

Car accidents are especially damaging because one person can sustain multiple serious injuries in an impact. An accident can injure any part of the body, inside and out. It often takes months or even years to completely recover from a car accident injury – if full recovery is possible at all. In other cases, victims can suffer permanent physical, emotional, or cognitive damages from their injuries. If you or someone you know has suffered any of these injuries or others, contact an attorney as soon as possible:

  • Head and brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can occur if the forces of an accident cause the brain to bounce around or strike the inside of the skull. This can lead to the brain swelling or bleeding. TBIs such as concussions might have only minor side effects – however, serious TBIs can lead to temporary or permanent disability.
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCIs). An injury to any part of the spinal cord can cause serious pain, loss of movement, and/or loss of sensation. A slipped disc can lead to chronic pain and lost capacity to earn, while a more serious SCI can cause full or partial paralysis and permanent disability.
  • Broken bones are common in car accidents, as the limbs can strike objects within the vehicle and fracture. Broken bones can take weeks or months to heal, on top of medical costs and temporary disability.
  • Burns and lacerations. Depending on the nature of the crash, victims can suffer burns and/or lacerations. Facial lacerations are especially common due to broken glass in the accident. Burns and lacerations can take a long time to heal and may leave behind permanent physical scars.
  • Internal organ damage. When the body abruptly stops moving, the organs continue to move in the same direction until coming into contact with something else – another organ, tissue, or bones. This can cause internal damage to the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and other body parts.

You might not notice symptoms of an injury right away – always seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident, even if you don’t feel injured. Medical tests and scans can detect injuries that have yet to exhibit symptoms, leading to immediate treatment and often a better prognosis for recovery. Seeking medical help as soon as possible can also help a personal injury case. It shows a judge or jury that your injuries were serious or painful enough to require immediate medical attention.

What to Do After a Car Accident in Minneapolis

No one plans on getting into a car accident – but you can prepare in case one does occur. There are things you can do directly after a car accident to limit the effects of a personal injury and protect your legal rights. Keep this list in your vehicle for reference in the event that you get into an accident in Minneapolis:

  1. Remain calm. Stay on the scene until you’re sure everyone is okay. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Ask if everyone in the other vehicle is all right as well. Call an ambulance if anyone has noticeable injuries.
  2. Stay safe. If possible, move disabled vehicles to the shoulder of the road. Put out cones or flares to warn other drivers of the accident, and leave your emergency flashers on. Stay with your vehicle at all times.
  3. Don’t admit fault. Be courteous with the other driver, but do not admit fault or say anything that could place liability on you. Even if you think you caused the crash, wait for police to arrive and make that decision.
  4. Call the police. As soon as you’re in a safe location, call the police and report the accident. Even minor accidents should involve the police. The police can give you an official record of the incident and collect useful information, such as the name and contact information of the other driver.
  5. Gather information. Do some sleuthing on your own – take down the name, contact information, and plate numbers of the other driver. Get the names of any eyewitnesses to the accident as well.
  6. Take photos. Take a photo of his or her insurance card if possible. Take photos of the scene of the accident, including the roadway and any vehicles or pieces of property involved. If you are too injured to take pictures, ask a friend or relative to return to the scene and do so on your behalf.
  7. Seek medical attention for injuries. Unless your injuries are serious enough to require an ambulance, visit your doctor as soon as possible after a crash. Tell your doctor what happened so he or she knows to look for common crash-related injuries.
  8. Call your insurance company. Most companies require reporting within a certain time frame after an accident to cover damages, so don’t delay. Stick to only the facts when speaking to your insurer – don’t guess or make assumptions. Do not admit fault or record a statement over the phone until you speak to an attorney.
  9. Keep a record. Keep copies of your bills, police reports, and medical documents relating to your accident in an organized file. Staying organized with your information can help, should you need to file a personal injury claim.
  10. Call Knutson + Casey. Call (763) 259-3642 to speak with an attorney about your crash. Our team can investigate your accident and tell you if we believe you have grounds to file a claim. We can also help you settle your claim with the other driver’s insurance company.

Car accidents can be frightening. The aftermath of an accident can be just as complicated and confusing for victims. The sooner you talk to a lawyer, the sooner you can figure out your rights and potential legal actions moving forward. With help from Knutson + Casey, you can focus on recovering from your injuries while we take care of the rest.

No-Fault Car Insurance

Minnesota is one of a handful of states that follows a no-fault structure. If you live in a no-fault state, you don’t need to prove fault in an accident to collect compensation. In other words, you won’t file a claim with another driver’s policy – only your own. Your insurance company will pay for your medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation, and other expenses.

The law requires all drivers of cars and trucks in Minnesota to carry no-fault insurance (snowmobiles and motorcycles are excluded from this requirement). With your no-fault policy comes personal injury protection (PIP), which covers the expenses we mentioned above up to the dollar amounts included in your policy.

Minnesota sets certain minimums for auto insurance. These include:

  • Personal injury protection – $40,000 per person, per accident. These figures include a minimum of $20,000 for medical expenses and a minimum of $20,00 for lost wages.
  • Liability coverage – $30,000 per person or $60,000 per accident for bodily injuries, as well as $10,000 per accident for property damage.
  • Uninsured motorist – In case the other driver is uninsured, the state requires each citizen to carry $25,00 per person and $50,00 per accident as underinsured/uninsured coverage.

If someone injured you in a car accident, you’ll file a claim for your PIP benefits, which will cover both medical and non-medical costs after an accident. In the case of death, PIP will also pay for $2,000 in funeral expenses.

Do I Have Other Options for Legal Recourse?

Unfortunately, we all know medical care is expensive. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, treating a broken leg costs about $7,500, and the cost of a three-day hospital stay is $30,000. After a car accident, you may quickly exceed your claim maximums, leaving you with mounting medical bills and expenses, but are you stuck paying them?

Thankfully, no. Minnesota’s no-fault system sets tighter restrictions on tort actions, but there are certain circumstances when you may file a third-party lawsuit. You’re free to go outside the no-fault system when the following apply:

  • You’ve amassed more than $4,000 in medical expenses associated with the accident. It’s important to note these expenses must be “reasonable.” In other words, you can’t demand a $2,000 MRI just so you can reach the threshold and file suit.
  • You’ve incurred at least 60 days of disability, disfigurement, or permanent injury.

It’s also important to note that property damage is not privy to Minnesota’s no-fault laws. You’re free to pursue a lawsuit against another driver to compensate for property damages.

Reach Out to Knutson + Casey

After a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact us. We have more than 25 years of experience in personal injury law and want to help you after a devastating vehicle collision. We’ve handled a wide range of car accident types, and have earned million-dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients. With our help, you can pursue compensation for your accident-related medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Your future can look much brighter after a conversation with one of our friendly lawyers.

It’s time to hold negligent parties responsible for their actions. No matter who contributed to your accident, learn your rights at Knutson + Casey. Even if you were partially at fault for the crash, you can still receive compensation under Minnesota’s contributory negligence laws. As long as the courts find you less than 50% responsible for the crash, you can go home with partial recovery. The courts will simply reduce your award by the same percentage of your fault.

Regardless of the circumstances of your accident, it is worthwhile to take us up on our offer of a free consultation. You have nothing to lose in talking with one of our competent, experienced attorneys, and you could have thousands of dollars to gain. Not to mention a sense of closure and peace after a serious car accident. To schedule your consultation, call (763) 259-3642. If you can’t come to our Minneapolis office for a meeting, we’ll come to you at your hospital or home. Call now to explore your rights after a vehicle accident.