In the unfortunate event of a personal injury, a person is under a great deal of physical pain and emotional distress. There is also the mental exhaustion that comes with handling your medical treatment, medical billing, and expenses, coordinating with insurance, handling property damage, and many other similar concerns. Often, the loss of wages and lost earning capacity are added burdens. When injured in an accident, your focus and attention should be on healing both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, receiving compensation that is fair for injury or death can be an exceptionally complex process. Navigating the paperwork, the legal process, and the required evidence to protect one’s rights adds to the load an individual must carry.
Personal Injury Key Concepts
The Value of Experience
When it comes to personal injury, knowing how to proceed, how to prepare for trial, and how to ensure that you are compensated appropriately requires knowledge, experience, and skill. Most individuals are simply unable to produce all that is required for suitable legal representation, especially in conjunction with the many other struggles they face. It is through these experiences that a caring, dedicated, and thorough personal injury lawyer can provide all that is needed to negotiate a proper settlement on your behalf.
A personal injury lawyer offers the knowledge of the legal process, the experience through successful representation, the support team to manage your case, and the expertise to negotiate for your benefit. Though legally an individual has the right to manage their case alone, a quality personal injury lawyer can be a massive relief, and a significant benefit to ensure you receive what should be rightfully yours. Insurance companies may work against you to limit their expense. Having a lawyer working for you is an important method of dealing with any insurance pushback.
The Importance of Prompt Representation
It is important that if you are injured, you seek medical attention immediately. Be sure to keep any records such as medical receipts or other documentation. The faster you consult with a personal injury lawyer following your accident, the stronger your case and the more likely you to be awarded compensation. Over time, it becomes harder to prove injuries are related to your accident. Furthermore, the damage to your body and your life go beyond medical expenses alone. A skilled personal injury lawyer can seek compensation for general damages such as pain and suffering also. Personal injury claims do have a statute of limitations, so it is best not to delay a visit with a lawyer as soon as you are able.
Motor Vehicle Accidents (car, truck, motorcycle)
There are two aspects of an automobile personal injury claim in the State of Minnesota. One is for no-fault benefits and the other is the liability claim against the at-fault driver.
- No-Fault benefits are paid by your own auto insurance company. When you are in an auto accident and you are injured you are entitled to the following regardless of who was at-fault:Payment of Medical bills up to $20,000.00 (unless you have stacking) which includes but is not necessarily limited to payment for:
- Medical treatment (includes x-rays, surgery, etc.)
- Prescription medication
- Non-Prescription medication
- Hospital bed
- Mileage to and from medical appointments
Payment of Wage Loss and Replacement Services up to $20,000.00 (unless you have stacking). Wage loss reimbursement is calculated at 85% of the injured person’s gross income loss subject to a maximum of $250 per week.
Replacement Services reimbursement up to $200 per week. Replacement services are all expenses reasonably incurred by or on behalf of injured person in obtaining usual and necessary substitute services in lieu of those that, had the injured person not been injured, the injured person would have performed not for the income but for the direct personal benefit or for the benefit of the injured person’s household (snow removal, cutting wood, mowing lawn, house cleaning, vacuuming, laundry, etc.).
- A person who is injured in an automobile accident must meet one of the following thresholds before he or she can bring a liability claim against the at-fault driver for payment of their pain and suffering:
- $4,000.00 in medical expenses (X-rays, MRI’s, or CT Scans);
- Sixty (60) days of total disability;
- Permanent scarring;
- Death; or
- Permanent disability.
If you are pedestrian and you are injured by someone driving an automobile and the automobile driver is negligent, you are entitled to the same benefits listed under “Motor Vehicle Accidents”.
If you are riding your bicycle and you are injured by someone driving an automobile and the automobile driver is negligent, you are entitled to the same benefits listed under “Motor Vehicle Accidents”.
ATV or Boating Accidents
If you are injured on an ATV such as a 4-wheeler or are injured in a boating accident as a result of another person’s negligence, you can bring a claim against the person who caused the accident.
Farm and Home Accidents
If you are injured on or in the premises of someone other your own farm or home as a result of another person’s negligence, you may have a claim against owner of the farm or home for payment of your damages. Please keep in mind that most farm and homeowner’s policies contain a medical pay provision which will pay up to a certain dollar amount for your medical bill regardless of fault.
Dog Bite Accidents
A dog owner is 100% responsible for their animal. If you injured by someone else’s dog, or you were bit by someone else’s dog without warning, you likely have a claim for the injuries you received when you were bitten.
Slip and Fall
Slip and fall describes the type of injury suffered on someone else’s property as result of a defect, slippery substance, or other dangerous condition. These injuries often occur in supermarkets or restaurants when someone fails to clean up a spill on the floor. They can also occur when inadequate steps are taken to remove ice and snow from sidewalks, driveways and parking lots.
Product liability holds product manufacturers liable accountable for injuries suffered from an unsafe product. Defective or dangerous products are the cause of thousands of serious injuries every year including broken bones, burns, spine injuries, head injury, brain trauma and even death.
Manufacturers have an obligation to design and make safe products for their consumers to use. They also have a duty to alert consumers of any potential problems related to their product such as product defects and product recalls.
Sexual Assault or Harassment
Victims of sexual assault can file a lawsuit against the perpetrator in civil court. The amount and type of compensation available in a civil lawsuit depends on the specific facts of the case.
Pursuant Minnesota Statutes §573.02. A wrongful death is defined as a death caused by the wrongful act or omission of any person or corporation that involves negligence or an intentional action. A wrongful death claim is similar to a standard personal injury claim. However, in a wrongful death matter, it is the surviving family members of the deceased person who bring the claim against the negligent party.
The Dram Shop Act in the State of Minnesota provides a the right of a spouse, child, parent, guardian, employer or other person who is injured, suffers property damage, loss of support or other pecuniary loss by an intoxicated person against a person employed by a liquor establishment that caused the intoxication by illegally selling alcoholic beverages. See Minnesota Statute §340A.801, subd.1 (2010).