The No-Fault Act of Minnesota determines the rights and benefits of the people injured in motor vehicle accidents. If you have been in an accident, you will want to obtain your benefits. Because No-Fault Law is complicated, this post is a brief summary. If you or a family member is hurt in a motor vehicle accident, always talk to an attorney. In Minnesota, all motor vehicle owners must have No-Fault Insurance except for motorcycles, which only need liability coverage. For most out-of-pocket expenses, No-Fault Insurance will cover the costs. Some of these expenditures include medical bills, chiropractic bills, and lost wages. Because of the No-Fault Act, it doesn’t matter who actually caused the accident for someone to obtain benefits. If someone is seriously injured by a negligent driver, they may also recover for their losses, such as pain, suffering, disability, and embarrassment. You would collect those claims from the other driver’s insurance company. No-Fault benefits are also called Personal Injury Protection (PIP). The required coverages are as follows:
- Medical Expense Benefits: $20,000 per person. This covers almost every type of treatment available, and you can choose your own doctors. The insurer must pay your transportation costs or mileage to and from treatment.
- Work Loss and Replacement Service Benefits: $20,000 per person, which covers:
- Wage Loss: 85% of your gross lost income up to $250 per week. This includes lost wages while getting treatment.
- Replacement Services: up to $200 per week (starting one week after the accident) to pay for household help such as housecleaning, snow shoveling, and yard work. An injured “primary homemaker” receives payment for lost services, even if there is no out of pocket loss.
- Death Benefits: Lost wages up to $200 per week, replacement services up to $200 per week and funeral costs up to $2,000.
These are the minimum coverages. A person may buy higher coverages. If you own more than one vehicle, your insurer must offer to sell you No-Fault stacking, which multiplies all the No-Fault benefit limits. If you are injured in an automobile accident, the following is a checklist of what to do:
◊ Report the accident to the police immediately. Any involved driver must exchange identification and vehicle registration information.
◊ Get medical care for your injuries.
◊ If there is an injury or property damage of $1,000 or more, you must fill out an accident report and mail it to the Commissioner of Public Safety.
◊ Report the accident and your injuries to your No-Fault Automobile Insurance company in writing immediately. If you can, send copies of medical bills, proof of lost wages, and check stubs for prescriptions, replacement services, etc. Early notification will speed payments for medical expenses, wage loss and other benefits. You will need to fill out an “Application for Benefits” form. You may want to consult with an attorney before completing the Application for Benefits. There will usually be medical and employment authorization forms attached to the Application. The law may require you to sign authorizations for your insurer, but you should always check with an attorney. If you delay longer than six months to report injuries or seek treatment your insurance company may try to deny you benefits.
◊ Your insurer may ask that you be examined by a doctor of their choice. Consult an attorney immediately. The physical examination usually takes place in your hometown.
◊ Don’t give a written or tape recorded statement to any insurance company without talking to a lawyer first.
◊ You should see a doctor for your injuries at least once per year. If you skip all treatment for a full year, the insurer may be able to deny any more benefits.
◊ Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
If you have been injured in an automobile accident and would like a quote for getting No-Fault Insurance benefits, please fill out the intake form below.
The material on this page is provided for general information purposes only; it is not intended to constitute legal advice. Information is from the No-Fault Insurance pamphlet published in 2000 by the Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association.