A drunk driver T-boned your car at an intersection, and you and your children ended up in the emergency room. Your kids are fine, thank goodness, but they will need follow-up appointments as they recover from broken bones, lacerations and soft-tissue injuries. You need a couple of weeks off work while you are taking the pain medications, but even after your wounds have healed, the doctor thinks you may have permanent nerve damage in your arm and hand.
Your insurance will cover some of the damages, but it really seems as if you should be able to hold the other driver liable personally for the pain the person has caused your family through irresponsible actions. Can you sue?
In Minnesota, lawmakers designed the system to reduce the number of personal injury lawsuits. So, you would not be able to sue if your Personal Injury Protection insurance covers the cost of the damages, unless you suffered an injury that has left you with a disability for a minimum of 60 days, or if you have a permanent injury or disfigurement.
If you were negligent in any way and contributed to the accident, your actions must contribute less than 50 percent to the collision, or you cannot sue. Even if your actions only accounted for 49 percent of the fault for the crash, or less, the judge would subtract that percentage from the award he or she has determined would cover the amount of damages you suffered.
The medical bills have far exceeded your own insurance, and the other driver was completely at fault. You may even have a permanent disability. Your attorney advises you to take the matter to court. What kind of award can you expect?
The at-fault driver will have to pay the damages that have a price tag on them. For example, the medical bills, the replacement of your car and the wages you did not earn are specific amounts of money, and awards cover these economic damages. However, the court may also place a value on intangibles, such as the pain and suffering of you and your children. The court may order that the driver should compensate you for your disability or disfigurement.
You must file the no-fault claim with your insurance no later than six months after the crash, and you have two years from the collision to file your action in court. Because of the time limit and the importance of gathering evidence for your claim, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.