I've been in a car accident

What do I do now?

Remember that documentation can make or break a case so be sure to make and keep records.

 

What should I expect from the insurance company when I make a claim for injuries?

Insurance companies usually require significant documentation of injuries including medical records and bills, a report from your doctor identifying the extent of your injury, documentation of wage loss and photographs of scarring. Proof that a threshold (see below) has been met is required.

What is a threshold?

The no‑fault law provides that a person who is injured as a result of an automobile accident in Minnesota may commence a lawsuit for noneconomic loss, otherwise known as pain and suffering or general damages, where one or more of the following thresholds are met as a result of the accident (Minn. Stat. §65B.51, subd. 3):

  1. Medical/chiropractic expenses in excess of $4,000.00; or
  2. Disability for sixty days or more; or
  3. Permanent injury; or
  4. Permanent disfigurement (scarring); or
  5. Death.
Who pays my medical expenses?

Minnesota is a no-fault state, which means that your own automobile insurance company pays your medical expenses.  Your automobile policy provides for a minimum of $20,000.00 in coverage for medical bills, chiropractic bills, hospital bills, prescriptions, and mileage reimbursement, along with $20,000.00 in coverage for wage loss reimbursement and replacement services.  Usually the doctor will bill your automobile insurance directly, so make sure to give your automobile insurance information to your doctors.

Your insurance rates cannot be increased unless the accident was your fault.

How do I get compensation regarding mileage for trips to receive medical treatment?

Send your automobile insurance company a list of days you went to the doctor along with the number of miles of round trip travel. Request 55¢ per mile from the insurance company.

How do I get compensation for lost wages?

First, you need a doctor’s note indicating that you were off  work due to the collision. Next, provide proof from your employer that you missed time from work. You can be paid 85% of your wage loss up to $500 per week, even if you used sick time or vacation time for the time you missed work due to accident related injuries.

What are replacement services and how do I get compensated for them?

If your doctor gives you a note indicating that you should refrain from certain activities or if he/she places restrictions on you that prevent you from performing your regular chores or tasks (such as housecleaning, lawn mowing, shoveling, etc.), you may be able to recover the value of those services or be reimbursed for the cost of someone else performing those services, up to $200.00 per week.  All documentation must be submitted to your automobile insurance company for reimbursement.

What do I do if I cannot drive my vehicle because of the damage?

If your vehicle cannot be driven or if it is totaled as a result of the collision, you can get a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired or while you look for a new vehicle and submit the bill it to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

What is an IME or independent medical exam?

Whenever a person brings a claim for personal injuries, his or her physical condition becomes an issue. The law requires the injured party to submit to an “independent medical examination” by a physician of the insurance company’s choice at their request. We refer to this as an adverse examination because the examination is not for treatment of the person’s injury. The doctor you will be seeing for the adverse medical exam is hired by the insurance company.  Depending upon the results of this examination, your no-fault benefits may be terminated by your insurance company.

 

Contact Otten Law Offices today.

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