Personal Injury FAQ
In the stressful and emotional time following an accident, it is important to know how to protect your legal rights and options. Here, we provide answers to frequently asked questions about being involved in an accident and bringing a personal injury claim in Minnesota.
- What should I do if I’m involved in a car crash?
- Do I need to hire a personal injury lawyer if I’ve been involved in an accident?
- When should I hire a personal injury attorney?
- What will it cost to hire a personal injury attorney?
- Who pays for my medical bills and potential wage loss?
- Will my insurance rates go up?
- Will I have to sue anyone?
- If I do have to file suit, who will I be suing?
- How long will the process take?
What Should I Do If I’m Involved in a Car Crash?
If you are involved in a car crash, do these 10 things for your safety and to protect your legal rights:
- Report the accident to the police.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with all drivers involved in the collision.
- Get names and contact information of all witnesses.
- Take photographs of the scene, vehicles, and damage.
- Wait for the police to arrive at the scene to make a report.
- Get treatment if injured and tell your treating provider of the crash.
- Report the crash to your insurance company.
- Do not give a written or recorded statement to any insurance company without consulting with an attorney first.
- Contact an attorney who represents injured people for a free consultation.
- Follow your doctor’s advice for treatment.
Should I get a personal injury lawyer?
When another person’s or party’s negligence contributes to an accident, you will need an attorney to have the best chance at recovering fair and just compensation for your damages. Insurers don’t typically offer the full amount of money that you need to pay your bills and future costs. They usually offer a settlement much lower than what you actually require. Some studies demonstrate that you could recover up to three times as much compensation working with a lawyer as you would without one.
When do I need to get an attorney?
It is never too soon to hire a lawyer. Sometimes, insurance providers contact you the same day as the accident or the very next day after it. Their representatives have ways of getting you to admit fault, even if you did not do anything wrong. You will also be asked to sign certain documents to provide information about yourself that the insurance company could use against you in the future.
With a lawyer, you have a fighting chance against your insurance provider. We make sure that they treat you fairly. You should always contact an attorney as quickly as you can after an accident. This way, we can begin gathering evidence, investigating the scene and preserving testimony.
Evidence should be preserved before too much time has passed. Photographs of the scene, vehicles, and injuries should be taken as soon as possible after the accident because the evidence may disappear quickly. Taking photographs of these items is helpful to pursuing a case when the claim is ready.
What does it cost to hire an attorney?
Our personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means we only charge fees if we recover compensation for you.
Who will pay for my hospital bills and other damages?
Because Minnesota has no-fault insurance, which means that it does not matter who is liable in an accident. Every auto insurance policy must offer at least $20,000 in coverage and up to another $20,000 to cover lost wages. With additional policies stacked on your no-fault coverage, you may receive even more in compensation. For motorcyclists, no-fault insurance is elective; your policy might not contain it. If you do not have car insurance, you may still be covered by the policy of the vehicle you were in during the accident or by the insurance of a relative.
Be aware, though, that your insurer will try to fight you not to pay the full settlement. You will likely need a personal injury lawyer who can advocate for your rights.
Will My Insurance Rates Go Up?
Your insurance rates will not go up unless you are found more than 50 percent at fault for the accident. If you are found less than 50 percent at fault, then the law says your insurance company cannot raise your rates if you make a claim for medical benefits and wage loss.
Will I need to file a lawsuit?
Around 80% of all personal injury cases do not go to trial. Instead, the insurance provider settles them out of court. Of the rest, about 10% reach an out-of-court settlement before the trial. The remaining 10% proceed to litigation. The decision to go to trial or settle is up to you, but we will provide you with wise advice of your options.
Who do I sue if I need to?
The first step is to seek a settlement from the insurance company of the at-fault person or party. If you do not receive a fair settlement, a lawsuit is the next logical step. Generally, you sue the insurance company of the person who contributed to or caused the accident. In some situations, though, you may also need to sue the person or party themselves.
How long does it take to reach a settlement or verdict?
There is no simple answer to this question. After seeking medical treatment, investigating the scene, completing extensive paperwork and communicating back-and-forth with the insurance company, it may be a year or more. However, this long period may be crucial to understand the full extent of your injuries so we can seek a fair settlement. You only have one shot at settling with your insurance company, so it is critical to do it right the first time around.
Contact Our Firm to Learn More About Your Personal Injury Case
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident, call 612-254-6409 to schedule your free consultation. You can also contact the Woodbury lawyers of Bowden Cyr, PLLC, online. During a free initial consultation, we can discuss your options for receiving fair and reasonable compensation in your case.