Anoka Car Accident Attorneys
Car Accidents in Minnesota
Every year, thousands of people are injured or killed in car accidents throughout Minnesota. For survivors and their families, it can be difficult to navigate the process of recovering compensation after a serious accident—but Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm is here to help.
Car crashes are not simply accidents. They may be unintentional, but there is always a cause, and often that cause is someone’s negligence. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, there were 79,215 traffic crashes in 2018, involving over 146,000 vehicles and over 172,000 people. We hope you are never involved in one of these crashes, but if you are, and especially if you are one of the nearly 200,000 Minnesota residents injured in a car crash, you want an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side.
From our office in Anoka, our car accident attorneys represent clients throughout Anoka County and the surrounding areas. We take the time to get to know our individual clients, learn about the unique details of their situations, and share how we can help during free, confidential consultations. If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident anywhere in Minnesota, we encourage you to get in touch with our team today to discuss your best options and next steps.
Understanding Minnesota’s No-Fault System
You may have heard the term “no-fault” before. You may have also heard that Minnesota is a “no-fault” state. The term “no-fault” means that every Minnesotan who purchases car insurance is required to purchase “no-fault” insurance. No-fault insurance is also called Personal Injury Protection insurance, or “PIP.”
No-fault insurance gives some basic protection to any driver who is hurt in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault. This means that if you are in a car crash, regardless of whether you unintentionally drove in front of that other car or you were hit head-on by a drunk driver, your insurance will provide a minimum level of financial protection. Drivers who are hurt in accidents do not need to wait for an insurance company to determine who is at fault for an accident to get medical bills paid for and for some limited wage loss.
Who Is Covered by No-Fault Insurance?
No-fault insurance applies to anyone covered by your insurance policy.
A covered person includes the following:
- You, the policyholder
- Your spouse and children
- A relative living in your home, unless they have a car insurance policy of their own
- Anyone you have allowed to drive your car unless they have their own coverage
What Does PIP Cover?
PIP is also sometimes called “basic economic loss benefits.” Claims for these benefits, typically medical payments and wage loss, are first made on your PIP coverage. If your medical expenses and wage-loss are more than the PIP limit on your policy, you might make a claim against the other driver’s liability insurance for things that have not been covered by your PIP coverage. A claim against the other driver’s liability insurance would also typically include money for pain and suffering and other losses that are not covered under a PIP policy.
PIP pays towards medical treatment and other out-of-pocket expenses for the covered person, including things like a portion of your lost wages and even childcare. It will also pay a portion of the cost of services the covered person is unable to perform for themselves because of injuries, such as house cleaning and other chores. These are called “replacement services.”
Necessary expenses might include the following:
- Medical services
- Medication and prescriptions
- Dental work
- Chiropractic care
- Rehabilitation, such as physical therapy
- Hospital stays
- Transportation to your medical services
What PIP Does NOT Cover
PIP does not cover money to compensate an injured person for the pain and suffering that accompanies every car accident. PIP also does not cover damage to your vehicle or the other driver’s vehicle. Additionally, PIP will only pay for medical expenses up to the limits of the policy (typically $20,000). Medical expenses over and above those limits will not be paid by PIP.
Simply because there is $20,000 coverage available does not guarantee that an insurance company will automatically pay medical expenses until the money runs out. Frequently, insurance companies take the position that a person’s medical expenses are no longer necessary and are therefore no longer covered under a PIP policy. Essentially, the insurance company says, “You should be better now so we’re not paying for your treatment anymore.”
Navigating Insurance Disputes After a Car Accident
Insurance companies are for-profit corporations that are in business to make money and remain profitable. Denying a claim and failing to pay medical bills can often save an insurance company money. What do you say to the insurance company that denies your claim? What if they do not think all those chiropractic visits were necessary? What if they argue that the cost of your treatment is unreasonable? Do you have to accept their decision? The answer is almost always no.
Most insurance policies allow a dispute about whether treatment is reasonable, necessary, or related to a car accident to be resolved through a process called arbitration. An experienced attorney can be a tremendous benefit to a person facing arbitration or a denial of coverage.
What an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Can Do for You
You may feel the person who caused the car wreck you were injured in is truly sorry and you do not want to hold them responsible. You may also think your no-fault coverage will be enough to pay for all your expenses incurred as a result of the car crash—that your $20,000 of no-fault coverage for medical expenses is enough to cover your bills.
But what if the ER bill for the car crash you were in is almost half of your PIP coverage? What if you need to take off work for 60 days or longer to recuperate? What if you have a permanent, painful injury or a humiliating disfigurement you will be forced to live with for the rest of your life? What if you suffer from depression and get angry quickly for no apparent reason? What if you panic every time you find yourself in a situation like the one that resulted in your wreck?
You should have the opportunity to be made whole. In fact, this is the goal of our laws: to adequately and fully compensate someone for his or her losses. That may not mean being returned to the same place you were before the wreck. But if you are injured due to the negligence of another, that negligent person needs to be held accountable for the damage they inflicted. This usually means their insurance company will financially compensate you for your injuries—all your injuries—including your pain and suffering. The best way to obtain this kind of recovery is through a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney who can walk you through every step of the process.
Going Outside the No-Fault System
While it is possible to go outside the no-fault system and seek compensation from the liable party’s insurance company, there are several things you must prove.
In Minnesota, you may only go outside the no-fault system if you can prove at least one of the following:
- You have more than $4,000 in non-diagnostic medical expenses that arereasonable and necessary OR,
- You have suffered a permanent injury, disability, or disfigurement lasting at least 60 days OR,
- You have been disabled for 60 days because of your injuries
At Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm, our Anoka car accident lawyers can represent you in this process. We understand the laws, and we know how to navigate the legal system on your behalf. Our attorneys strive to maximize our clients’ recoveries, seeking fair settlements or verdicts that fully compensate them for all of their damages.
What Is Pain & Suffering?
Pain and suffering is a key component of many personal injury cases. Under the no-fault rules, though, drivers cannot make a pain and suffering claim against their own insurance provider.
There are two types of pain and suffering:
- Physical pain and suffering: This is the pain caused by actual physical injuries. It includes not only the short-term pain and discomfort suffered, but it also involves the harm you will likely suffer in the future because of your injuries.
- Mental pain and suffering: This results from physical injuries, but it is more a consequence of those injuries. The mental anguish, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life you may experience are the mental pain and suffering that can manifest as any kind of negative emotion, including fear, anger, humiliation, anxiety, and shock that you suffer as a result of enduring the physical pain and trauma of the crash.
A car wreck that involves serious injuries may result in lasting pain and suffering. Recovery might take many weeks, months, or even years. As a result of their injuries, a car accident victim may become depressed or angry. He or she may lose sleep and be unable to return to their job.
Relying on one’s no-fault coverage alone or entering into a settlement that fails to fully compensate a person’s loss could prove financially and emotionally devastating. Without the help and support of an experienced and skilled attorney, crash victims often fall victim a second time, this time to quick-fix insurance settlements.
Call Our Car Accident Attorneys Today
An experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to secure the compensation you need can put you on the road to being made whole. You need an attorney with experience dealing with complex car accident claims. The legal system can be very confusing and overwhelming, but your choice of legal representation can make all the difference.
At Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm, we are committed to our clients. Our top priority is recovering the full compensation you are owed, including compensation for your pain and suffering. If you have been injured by the negligence of another, reach out to our Anoka car accident lawyers to learn more about your legal rights and options.