Top misunderstandings about personal injury claims in Minnesota

Injury victims in Minnesota should be careful to avoid common misunderstandings about fault laws, claim deadlines and the availability of legal assistance.

Many people in Minnesota are aware that the victims of wrongful accidental injuries may be able to hold other parties liable. By filing personal injury claims, these victims may be able to recover compensation for direct financial losses as well as less easily quantified ones. Unfortunately, though, many Minnesotans may miss out on seeking appropriate recourse due to the following common misunderstandings about personal injury claims.

1. Partly at-fault parties can't seek recourse

According to the Minnesota Revised Statutes, people who contributed in some form to their own injuries aren't always barred from seeking compensation. The state allows people to seek compensation if they were less at fault than another party was. Any damages that an at-fault person recovers, however, will be reduced based on the amount of fault attributed to him or her.

People who have been hurt in car accidents should note that fault has no impact on insurance claims for more minor incidents. According to materials from the Department of Public Safety, Minnesota requires all motorists to carry no-fault insurance. This coverage allows injury victims to make claims against their own policies for lost wages, medical costs and more, regardless of who was at fault.

2. Fault never matters in car accidents

People familiar with the state's no-fault auto insurance laws may think that fault is never a factor in car accident claims. However, this isn't the case in serious or catastrophic car accidents. If the medical costs resulting from an accident exceed $4,000, a victim may make a claim against the at-fault party. This option is also available in accidents that cause permanent injury or disablement.

3. The statute of limitations never varies

For most personal injury claims in Minnesota, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of injury. However, according to the Minnesota Revised Statutes, the deadlines are shortened for the following types of claims:

  • Claims against the state or its employees - victims must give notice that they are making a claim within 180 days.
  • Claims against municipalities or their employees - the deadline for giving notice in these cases is also 180 days.
  • Claims against personal auto insurance policies - injury victims only have six months to make no-fault claims.

These shortened deadlines make identifying fault and determining what type of claim to file an immediate concern for most injury victims.

4. Seeking representation isn't reasonable

Injury victims who face substantial expenses often think that they can't afford to seek the assistance of an attorney. However, many attorneys offer free consultations and work on a contingency basis, in which payment is collected from the final settlement. Often, the expenses associated with working with a representative are favorable compared to the potential cost of going without a settlement.

The complexity of the personal injury claim process, along with the potential for harmful mistakes and misunderstandings, underscores why legal representation can pay off. An attorney may be able to help a person understand the relevant laws, avoid common pitfalls and pursue the maximum amount of compensation available.