If you find yourself involved in a car accident, do these immediately:
- Call the police, even if the accident is minor. The police will file a report that will help you later with your insurance claim. The police officer should give you a case number before he or she leaves.
- Gather information from the other driver, such as Driver’s License, insurance information, telephone number, and make and model of the vehicle.
- If there are witnesses, gather their statements and contact information as well.
- Take pictures of the scene.
Dealing with Insurance
You should report your accident to an insurance company immediately after the accident. Most companies have a 24-hour accident reporting hotline. Your insurance company will ask you several questions, such as details about the car accident, the police report, etc.
It is extremely important to give your insurance company as much accurate details as possible. After you file a claim with insurance, you will be assigned a claims adjuster, who will be your point of contact going forward. Your insurance adjuster will coordinate a team to investigate the accident, examine medical reports, schedule repairs, and ultimately, determine fault.
There are only a dozen states that instituted no-fault insurance laws and Minnesota is one of them. In Minnesota, no-fault coverage applies only to expense that resulted from the car accident. This is a Minnesota law, and was established to help ease the court burden and to make payments for accident victims timelier.
No-fault is the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) listed in your policy (see Minnesota Minimum Coverage above). No-fault covers medical costs, wage loss, replacement services, and some funeral expenses.
No-fault claims are first made on your own PIP. If your expenses are more than your PIP limit, then you will make a claim against the other driver’s liability coverage if the other driver is determined to be at fault.
In other words, if you have the minimum coverage in Minnesota, and your medical expenses surpass $20,000, AND you are not at fault, you can make a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy.
When You Need an Attorney
Once you make a claim on the other driver’s insurance policy, you will be assigned a claims adjuster from their company. Their insurance agency may dispute the claim or try to negotiate for a lower settlement. It is extremely important to have an attorney represent you at this stage. Negotiating with an insurance company by yourself could potentially leave you with tens of thousands of dollars in outstanding medical bills. An attorney well-versed in negotiation, insurance law, and personal injury law can help you recoup the maximum amount.
Thooft Law has effectively represented many clients on a variety of personal injury claims, including auto accidents. For a free consultation, call Derek Thooft at 651-485-1254 or by email [email protected]