If you become injured due to someone else's negligence, Minnesota law allows you to file a lawsuit to recover several types of damages. While the particular process of your case may depend on the type of accident involved, the general principles remain the same. Minnesota law also allows you to recover even if the accident was partially your fault.
Getting injured can force you to spend quite a lot of money. Topping most accident victims' immediate expenses are medical bills for treatments. Medical expenses may begin with the ambulance ride from the scene of the accident and go on to include rehabilitative therapy, psychological counseling and prescription medications. Sometimes you may have to travel to another state to get the care you need. Serious injuries can also necessitate hiring assistants for daily living tasks that you cannot perform yourself.
Another major out-of-pocket expense can occur when you lose money because your injury stops you from working. If you are employed, you can recover lost salary amounts. Injured business owners will not lose salary but may have to close or downsize their business or spend money on hiring additional help.
Pain and suffering
In addition to covering expenses, personal injury judgments may include payment for pain and emotional suffering that result from the accident. This award can be difficult to get, as it can be hard to put a dollar amount on your individual experience of pain and mental anguish.
Punishing deliberate recklessness
In cases where the party who caused the accident acted in deliberate disregard for other's safety, you may be able to get punitive damages. Courts determine these damages based on the conduct of the defendant, not on the seriousness of your losses. Generally, "deliberate disregard" in this context means that, in the situation, it was clearly obvious that the defendant's behavior was highly likely to injure others.
There also exist factors that can decrease the amount of your recovery. Chief among those is Minnesota's rule of comparative fault. This rule means that you can recover even if you were also negligent, as long as your negligence contributed less than 50 percent to causing the accident. However, the court will calculate the percentage of your negligence and subtract that percentage from your award. For example, if you were 20 percent negligent, your award will decrease by 20 percent.
Figuring out damages in personal injury cases can be complicated and involve several types of expert assessments. To increase your chances of getting the full amount you are entitled to, consult an experienced attorney who knows how to assert your interests.