Auto Insurance Basics
Most drivers pay their auto insurance premiums for years without ever needing to file a claim after an accident. When it comes to getting help, they find themselves at the mercy of what the insurance adjuster tells them. At Yaeger & Weiner Law in Minneapolis, we think protecting your financial interests starts with knowing your legal rights. We hope this information will serve as a basic outline of what you have been paying for when you pay your insurance bill.
Call 612-345-8002 to get all of your legal questions answered after a car accident.
Minnesota “No-Fault” Auto Insurance
If you are injured by a motor vehicle accident, auto insurance referred to as personal injury protection (PIP) protects you from certain expenses or financial costs. Minnesota is a “no-fault” auto insurance state. In this “no-fault” system, your insurance company will pay, up to certain limits, medical bills, lost earnings, and replacement services due to your crash or injury regardless of who is at fault.
After an accident occurs, a PIP claim is the claim that you make against your own insurance company for payment of medical bills, lost earnings and replacement services. Your PIP insurer will pay these expenses up to Minnesota’s no-fault limit (or higher amounts if you bought higher coverages).
Minnesota’s no fault law also requires certain “thresholds” be met by an injured person in order to make a claim against the negligent driver:
- The injured person has incurred medical expenses of more than $4,000, or
- The injured person has a permanent injury or disfigurement, or
- The injured person has a disability for at least 60 days.
Shared Fault Rules:
The amount of compensation you receive may be affected if you have been injured and are found to be partly at fault for the accident. Minnesota follows modified comparative negligence. Modified comparative negligence is a rule for compensation that is actually rather simple. If it’s decided that you are 20 percent at fault for the accident and the other side is 80 percent at fault, the comparative fault rule in Minnesota subtracts the 20 percent (your fault) from your total damages. Therefore, you can collect 80 percent of your loss. This rule is valid as long as your fault is equal to or less than the other person’s. However, if your fault is more than the other driver’s you cannot collect anything.
Did You Think You Had Enough Insurance — But It Turns Out You Didn’t?
A new tactic for insurance companies trying to make more money at the expense of the people buying their policies is to sell them “drop-down” insurance. Although only a few companies are using this tactic, the harm to people buying these policies may be catastrophic. An insurance company selling “drop-down” insurance will provide high coverage– $250,000 for example–only in certain circumstances, but minimum coverage –$30,000–in others. The most common “drop-down” occurs when a family member is injured, the very person you would want to have the most coverage. Please call us at any time, particularly before anyone in your family is injured, to make sure your insurance company has not sold you “drop-down” coverage, and for a free evaluation of all of your insurance coverages.