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What You Need To Know About No Fault Insurance In Minnesota

Written by James J. Kirshbaum. Posted in .

In 2019, 80,636 car accidents were reported in Minnesota, with 27,260 people being seriously injured in some way as a direct result of the accident. Injuries from car accidents are expensive, especially when you do not have the proper car insurance coverage. Some states offer no-fault benefits where your own insurance company covers part of the damages, but others require the at-fault driver’s insurance to pay for medical bills, wage loss, and pain and suffering.

It is vital to understand the protection available in Minnesota and what it means as you prepare for emergencies. Accidents happen to good people every day and can cause long-term or permanent injury, permanent disfigurement, or disability, changing your life instantly. It is horrible when it happens, but the compassionate attorneys at Kirshbaum Injury Law are here to help people just like you. If you have been in an accident in Minnesota, we will fight for your rights. Schedule a virtual consultation today from the comfort of your own home.

What is the Difference Between No-Fault and At-Fault Coverage?

A no-fault state does not necessarily mean that nobody is at fault for an accident. It means that your car insurance company pays for your medical bills and lost wages, assuming you have personal injury protection (PIP coverage), also called no-fault insurance. In an at-fault state, the at-fault party’s bodily injury car insurance coverage pays for the medical expenses and non-medical expenses of the auto accident.

Even in no-fault states, however, your PIP coverage does not necessarily cover all losses in your accident. As stated above, PIP stands for personal injury protection, and it only covers certain aspects of the injury, such as your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages.

Is Minnesota a No-Fault State?

Eleven states have no-fault laws for auto accidents. Minnesota is one of these no-fault system states. If you have questions about seeking loss benefits under Minnesota’s no-fault law or holding the other driver responsible, Kirshbaum Injury Law can help. Get in touch with us at 952-545-2700 or use our online contact form for a free consultation about your case today.

How Does the No-Fault Insurance System Work in Minnesota?

According to state laws, all in-state drivers must carry Minnesota no-fault insurance. This personal injury protection insurance policy is supposed to cover certain losses, such as your medical treatment and bills after any motor vehicle accident. It does not matter who was at fault for the accident; you file a no-fault insurance claim for your injury related medical bills to be paid by your own insurance company under Minnesota law.

What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?

Personal injury protection is a type of insurance coverage you carry on your auto insurance policy. It is a part of minimum coverage requirements under Minnesota law, so all drivers in the state of Minnesota should have it. It is designed to ensure that your medical bills are covered after a car crash, regardless of who is at fault in an accident.

What Does PIP Cover?

Personal injury protection, or PIP coverage, pays for certain expenses of any covered person up to the policy limits. These expenses include all of your medical treatment and medical bills related to the accident, your income loss from being unable to work due to the accident, and your costs of replacement services, such as the need for in-home care and housekeeping. Finally, in the case of death from a car accident, PIP coverage will cover up to $2,000 in funeral expenses.

Is There a Minimum Amount of PIP Coverage in Minnesota?

Yes, the minimum PIP coverage in Minnesota is $40,000 per person per accident. You can use $20,000 to cover medical bills and the remaining $20,000 for non-medical expenses. Drivers may, however, purchase coverage above this minimum level.

Who Does No-Fault Insurance Cover?

No-fault insurance covers a range of people; you do not have to purchase additional coverage for everyone who drives your car. PIP coverage will cover you as the policyholder, your spouse and children, relatives who live in your house who do not have their own insurance policy, and anyone using your car with your permission who also does not have their own coverage. Even if more than one person is in the car, PIP insurance will cover them so long as they meet the requirements.

Can I Use PIP for Slip and Fall or Product Injury Accidents?

No, you cannot seek personal injury protection benefits if you slip and fall in a parking lot or get injured in any other way besides a car accident. PIP is expressly a part of your car insurance policy and only applies in car accidents. If, however, you are a pedestrian who gets struck by a car in Minnesota, you can recover some of your damages through your personal injury protection or PIP coverage.

Is There a Deadline for No-Fault Claims in Minnesota?

Man sitting down across from an attorney

Yes, and filing a no-fault claim is much different than a personal injury lawsuit. No-fault claims must be filed within six months of the car accident. You must provide proof of the expenses and complete an application. You must also submit to any medical examination requested. According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, you should submit any bills to your insurance company as you receive them.

Are There Any Other Coverage Requirements in Minnesota?

Yes, Minnesota state law requires several other types of insurance coverage for all drivers. Besides personal injury protection coverage, you must also carry liability coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, and underinsured motorist coverage. Each of these provides essential protection should you get into an accident.

Technically, if another driver causes you serious injury and is found to be at fault for the accident, they are responsible for paying damages that exceed your PIP coverage. This is where their liability coverage comes into play. If they do not have insurance coverage, you may have difficulty collecting the damages they owe you. While the other driver is still technically required to pay you, they cannot pay what they do not have.

This is why uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is necessary. These forms of insurance are important additional protections intended to make sure your injuries are covered.

Liability Coverage

Liability insurance means the insurance company will cover expenses if you are in an accident that you cause. It is designed to protect you when the other driver needs additional medical care and for their recovery of lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages from a car accident where you are at fault. Minimum liability coverage in Minnesota is called 30/60/10 coverage; it requires $30,000 for bodily injury per person, $60,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $10,000 for property damage per accident.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Even though it is illegal to drive without car insurance in Minnesota, some people sadly do so. Suppose you are in an accident with a driver who does not have coverage. In that case, uninsured motorist protection allows you to recover your losses (over and above PIP benefits) through your own insurance company. In Minnesota, the minimum coverage for uninsured motorists, also called UM coverage, is $25,000 for injuries to one person or $50,000 for injuries to two or more people.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Similar to uninsured coverage, underinsured motorist coverage protects you if you are in an accident with a driver who does not have enough insurance to cover your damages. For example, if you are in an accident with someone with only the minimum liability coverage, but your injuries exceed their $30,000 policy limit, your underinsured motorist policy may cover the remaining balance.
In Minnesota, underinsured motorist coverage (or UIM) minimums are $25,000 for injuries to one person or $50,000 for injuries to two or more people, over and above PIP benefits and liability coverage for the other driver.

Can I Buy More Insurance?

Yes, you can always buy more insurance coverage than the minimum required, and it may be a good idea if you can afford it. However, buying more insurance results in higher premiums. This is why so many people drive with the state minimum allowable insurance: to save money on their monthly bills.

Can You File a Car Accident Lawsuit in a No-Fault State?

Man sitting down wearing a neck cast

A no-fault claim does not cover what is commonly known as pain and suffering to an injured party. Pain and suffering covers all of the non-economic damages an injured person might face, such as depression, PTSD, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and other invisible injuries. You need to file a personal injury claim to receive payment for pain and suffering. Likewise, the no-fault car insurance system does not cover property damage to your vehicle.

To pursue a claim in Minnesota, your injuries must meet certain specific requirements. The “thresholds” for commencing a liability claim are 1. Medical expenses exceeding $4,000 (not including diagnostic tests like X-rays or MRI scans); 2. at least 60 days of disability; 3. Scarring or disfigurement; or 4. permanent injury from the accident. Even if you meet these thresholds, you can only sue for any damages your PIP does not cover.

Suppose you file a lawsuit in Minnesota. In that case, you can seek damages for pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other losses you face. A personal injury lawyer at Kirshbaum Injury Law can help you file a lawsuit if you decide to go that route.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Lawsuit in Minnesota?

In the state of Minnesota, you have a six-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit. This means you must file your case within six years of the accident. If your case involved fatalities, you have three years after the death and six years from the date of the accident to file.

Why Should I Hire a Minnesota Car Accident Attorney?

Filing for PIP benefits and filing against the other driver’s insurance if your injuries exceed those limits seems straightforward.

However, these cases almost always get complicated. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They do not make money by paying out large claims. Often, the insurance adjuster will seem very compassionate when they first meet you, but then they will try to get you to sign off on a very low offer. When you ask for more, they will bully you, cajole you, strong-arm you, and even threaten you with no settlement whatsoever if you do not agree.

When dealing with your insurance company, having a car accident lawyer in your corner can help keep them honest. Your attorney can take over communications and will know how to fight back when the insurance company delays or tries to get out of paying your claim.

When filing a personal injury suit against the other driver, the insurance company will most certainly try to avoid paying. They will also have attorneys on their side who know how to use the law against you. Minnesota, for example, uses a doctrine known as modified comparative fault in personal injury cases.

This doctrine states that your award in a personal injury lawsuit will be reduced by whatever percentage of fault you hold. Further, if you hold more than 50% fault, you are barred from recovering any damages. This means that the other driver’s insurance company will try to blame you for the accident.

Your car accident attorney knows how to fight back, prove that the other driver caused the accident, and hold the at-fault driver responsible. They will improve your chances of getting a significant settlement for your long-term or permanent injury, permanent disfigurement, or disability.

Hold At-Fault Drivers Accountable With Kirshbaum Injury Law

When your injuries and property damage exceed your no-fault coverage limits, you still have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. The experienced and compassionate personal injury lawyers at Kirshbaum Injury Law can help you hold at-fault drivers accountable and determine the true cost of your injuries while helping you navigate Minnesota’s at-fault insurance laws.

We have over 80 years of combined experience dealing with personal injury and car accident cases. We know how difficult this time is for you and your family, and we want to be the caring and compassionate yet dogged ally fighting in your corner for the compensation you deserve. You have a story to tell, and we are ready to listen and battle for compensation to cover lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical bills.

You do not have to take our word for it. Read testimonials from satisfied clients before contacting us. When you are ready, call us at 952-545-2700 or use our online contact form to schedule your free consultation with a dedicated client concierge today.

James J. Kirshbaum

Written By James J. Kirshbaum

Jim is a very experienced trial lawyer having conducted jury trials in multiple states both on behalf of injured people and on behalf of defending insurance companies.

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