MN No Fault Claims
The Minnesota No-Fault Act is a complicated but important area of law. This page summarizes just some of the important aspects of the No-Fault law. These pages are not legal advice, but merely provide a little information. Do not hesitate to contact me regarding your individual circumstances. I am happy to discuss your case with you.
Making sure an injured person’s medical bills and wage loss benefits are paid is one of the most important things an attorney can do in the months that follow an accident. Many personal injury attorneys actually leave such complicated procedures up to a paralegal or even the client. However, I will personally handle every aspect of your No-Fault claim. In addition, if the insurance company wrongfully withholds benefits, I will even pursue a separate legal challenge (called arbitration). If you are shopping around for legal representation, make sure the lawyer you select provides the same level of service.
Minnesota No-Fault guarantees up to $20,000 for wage loss and $20,000 for medical expenses arising out of an accident-related injury.
The Minnesota No-Fault Act (Minn. Stat. §65B.42 et seq.) is one of the most misunderstood pieces of law for non-lawyers. The Minnesota No-Fault is designed to make sure that everyone involved in an auto accident in Minnesota is entitled to certain minimum benefits, regardless of fault. These benefits are supposed to be paid quickly and according to guidelines set by the Minnesota legislature. It does not mean, however, that fault is unimportant following an accident.
In order to provide some clarity on this topic, I have briefly summarized how this law works below. Please understand that this is not an exhaustive legal analysis, but a starting point to help your understanding of this law.
Please CONTACT ME for answers to your specific questions regarding your situation.
As a general rule, if you are injured in an auto accident, your own insurance policy will provide you these basic benefits, under the law:
- $20,000 in medical expenses
- $20,000 in wage loss benefits (paid at 85%, with a $250 weekly maximum)
In the case of a death, the benefits include $2,000 in funeral expenses, and up to $20,000 in Survivor’s Economic Loss benefits.
In order to receive these benefits, after an accident, you must report the claim to your insurance company and fill out an Application for Benefits. Please be very careful when filling out the Application for Benefits to be as complete and accurate as possible. It is especially important that you list all of your injuries. I recommend people list each injured part of their body, but leave the specific diagnosis to your doctor. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, you should hire an attorney to assist you in filling out this important paperwork.
CONTACT ME for help filling out your Application for Benefits.
Seek proper medical treatment immediately
Speaking of doctors, after an accident, you should begin by seeing your family doctor, if you have one. Make sure that you let your doctor know your injuries were caused by an accident, and follow up regularly if you continue to have pain or other symptoms. The quickest ways to lose your rights to benefits is by not seeing a doctor soon after the accident and/or failing to follow up with your doctor.
Your insurance company wants you to see their doctor. What should you do?
Under the terms of all insurance policies in Minnesota, you are required to see a doctor selected by your insurance company for an examination if they request it. Be aware, however, this examination is being requested by your insurance company so that they have a basis to deny past and/or future benefits. Nevertheless, you are required to attend this exam under all, but the most unusual circumstances. If you have receive a Notice of IME (independent medical exam) from your insurance company, and have any questions about the exam and/or your rights, please CONTACT ME.
Your benefits are being denied following an examination by the insurance company’s doctor. What are your options?
So long as the benefits being denied total less than $10,000 combined (medical and wage loss), you have the right to file for a No-Fault Arbitration with the American Arbitration Association. If the denial of benefits exceeds $10,000, you must file your claim in District Court. While these type of proceeding can be done without a lawyer, you are much better off to have a lawyer assist with preparing for and presenting your case at an Arbitration or Trial.
CONTACT ME for assistance if you would like help following a denial of benefits.
Stacking No-Fault coverage should be considered for anyone making more than $300 per week.
Your No-Fault coverage can easily and inexpensively be increased if you own more than one vehicle. Stacking your No-Fault insurance coverage multiplies the amount of coverage available from $20,000 for wage loss and $20,000 for medical expenses to $40,000 for each. Perhaps more importantly, it also multiplies the weekly maximum wage loss coverage.
The Minnesota No-Fault Act states that an injured person’s wage loss is to be reimbursed at a rate equal to 85% of the total wage loss with a weekly maximum of $250.00. Those making more than $300 per week will only receive $250.00 per week in wage loss payments. Unless you feel you can meet all your financial obligations with $250 per week, those with higher incomes should seriously consider stacking their policies. If your family owns two vehicles, the maximum weekly benefit goes to $500; with three vehicles, the maximum is $750, and so on. Best of all, stacking coverage is very affordable.
Even if you caused the accident, you are entitled to No-Fault benefits.
While the No-Fault system not only protects the innocent victims of automobile accidents, it also provides important benefits to those who are at fault for the accident. When you think about your friends or family members who may have caused an accident due to their inattention, inexperience or just bad luck, you can appreciate the safety net that is in place. No-Fault insurance ensures they will get good medical treatment and can maintain a base income while they are unable to work.
If you have been injured in an accident that was your fault, you are still entitled to benefits. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to find a lawyer willing to stand up to the insurance companies to fight for the benefits you are entitled to receive. I have successfully represented many people with no-fault claims, and at little or no cost or risk to my client.
Is fault unimportant in a No-Fault state?
The Minnesota No-Fault system is misunderstood. Just because we operate in a No-Fault state does not mean that fault is unimportant. No-Fault insurance ensures that everyone hurt in an automobile accident will get good medical treatment and a base level of wage loss payment while unable to work. These benefits can be minor compared to the damages which an innocent victim is entitled.
A person who is seriously injured due to the negligence of another, in addition to wage loss and medical expenses, can sue the at-fault party for other damages. These damages include compensation for past pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, and loss of earnings capacity.
I am happy to answer your questions about Minnesota No-Fault Insurance or Accident Law without cost or obligation.