Do you know what to do if you get hurt in a car accident?
After an accident, an attorney can help you protect your rights
At best, getting injured in car accident is an incredibly frustrating experience. At worst, it can mean a complete disruption of your life and livelihood.
Thankfully, Minnesota has laws in place that protect accident victims. However, many people do not know how to take advantage of their rights under the law. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, here’s what you need to know.
Your insurance will pay your medical bills
In Minnesota, every driver is required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which is sometimes referred to as “no-fault” insurance. This is because the coverage applies regardless of who was at fault for causing the accident.
If you are injured in a car accident, your PIP coverage will pay your medical bills. Every driver is required to carry at least $20,000 in PIP medical coverage, though it is possible to purchase additional coverage.
In addition, a basic no-fault policy also provides $20,000 in non-medical expense coverage. This is for lost wages and for “replacement services” (house cleaning, lawn mowing, etc.) if you are too injured to take care of these tasks on your own.
You have a right to get the medical care you need
After a crash, you should seek medical care as soon as possible. This is true even if you think your injuries are relatively minor, since it is very common for car accident injuries to get progressively worse over time if they are not treated. If you hit your head in the crash or start to develop a severe headache, you should go to the emergency room right away, as this could be a sign of a traumatic brain injury.
Your no-fault insurance is required to pay for all medical care that is related to your car accident. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always act fairly, and they sometimes try to force people to stop treatment before they have fully recovered.
When it comes to treating your injuries, it is always best to follow your doctors’ recommendations. If your insurance company has cut off your benefits or is not treating your fairly, a personal injury attorney can help you recover compensation through a process called “No-Fault Arbitration.”
You can take action against the person who hit you
If your injuries are serious and the accident was caused by another person’s negligence, you may also be able to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This is intended to cover losses such as past and future medical expenses, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, and pain and suffering. All drivers are required to carry a minimum of $30,000 in liability coverage for injuries to one person, and $60,000 for all injuries stemming from an accident.
If the driver who hit you was uninsured, it may be possible to pursue coverage from your own uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage is included in all basic Minnesota car insurance packages.
Similarly, if the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage was not sufficient to compensate for the damages you incurred, you may be able to get coverage from your own underinsured motorist policy.
Working with an attorney is key
After an accident, it can be very difficult to navigate this complex web of insurance coverage on your own. In addition, many insurance companies will try to take advantage of accident victims’ confusion, and may try to get you to settle your claim for far less than it is worth.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorney will review the circumstances of your case and advise you on your rights and options for moving forward. Accident victims in the greater Twin Cities area can contact the St. Paul personal injury firm of Paige J. Donnelly, Ltd. for a free initial consultation.