Minnesota Auto Accident Laws and Resources
From St. Paul to Rochester to Minnetonka, there are thousands of scenic miles to explore in this state on its roads. You can drive from the Twin Cities to the Eastern Big Woods to the Prairie Parkland. These roads are driven by approximately 3.2 million drivers each year, who drive approximately 10,600 miles per year. In all these miles, there are several serious accidents that lead to injury and death. If you live or work in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, it is important to carry enough auto insurance. Also, you should be well familiar with the laws and regulations of the state. That way, if you are in an accident, you will have a better idea how to proceed legally.
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Statistics and Notable Car Accident Lawsuits
For 2015, state statistics indicate 411 people died on roads in Minnesota; this was the same as in 2010. But the numbers are rising in the state for death and injury, while crashes have decreased. Also, 29,981 were injured in accidents, while 2/3 of the injuries were classified as minor.
Major factors for single vehicle accidents in the state in 2015 were:
- Unsafe speed: 22%
- Driver inattention: 14%
- Alcohol or drug impairment: 9%
- Overcorrecting: 9%
Major factors in crashes with multiple vehicles were:
- Driver inattention: 23%
- Failure to yield: 20%
- Following too closely: 14%
- Speed: 6%
2016 data showed that traffic deaths in Minnesota rose to the highest level in five years, per data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The data shows that 398 people were killed in 2016, but it is likely that the number will climb to 405 after the analysis is completed. The new statistics for 2016 were noted to be disappointing for public safety officials.
In 2016, bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians all were found to have died in higher numbers. Motorcycle deaths increased to 61, compared to 45 in 2014. Pedestrian deaths increased to 40, compared to only 16 the year before. The number of bikers killed on roads in the state rose to 10, from five in 2014.
Key factors for the increase in accidents and fatalities seemed to be speeding and distracted driving. Both involved 20% of the deaths in 2015, per the released data. Drunk driving was found to be a factor in 25% of the crashes. This is an increase of 10% over the year before.
Half of the people who died in car accidents did not have their seatbelts on. About 50% of people who died in motorcycle accidents were not wearing their helmets.
A significant personal injury settlement in 2018 occurred in a St. Paul, Minnesota case where a biker was struck by a St. Paul Parks and Recreation truck. According to media reports, the driver stated that he was trying to slow down to let the biker pass, but he accidentally stepped on the gas. The vehicle hit the cyclist and left him with serious injuries. The man, Trahern Crews, was a candidate for St. Paul mayor in 2017.
Crews is an organizer with the Black Lives Matter Minnesota organization and a spokesperson for the Green Party in the 4th congressional district. He stated last month that his bicycle accident injuries required him to have surgery and spend three days in the hospital. He also said that he had to put his mayoral campaign on hold and was lucky to be able to walk again after the driver ran them over.
Police cited the city worker for failure to drive with due care, which is a petty misdemeanor. The lawsuit stated that Crews was severely and permanently injured, and claimed the city was liable. The city denied this, but the case was settled for $62,000. The city did not admit responsibility, but it agreed to settle the case to avoid the high costs of lengthy litigation.
Crews said his injuries included a hernia, concussion, leg and knee injuries and two herniated discs in his back. He added that the settlement was not enough to pay for his lost work time, but he took the settlement because of financial duress.
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Auto Insurance Requirements in Minnesota
In Minnesota, you are required to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance. If you do not carry at least the amounts below, you could face heavy fines and even jail time. This is a no-fault state, so your insurance will pay for your personal injuries up to a certain limit, no matter who caused the crash. In a no-fault system, you surrender some rights to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages.
Below are the insurance requirements for this state:
- $30,000 bodily injury per person per accident
- $60,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
- $10,000 property damage liability
- $25,000/$50,000 for uninsured motorist liability
This state does not require you to carry collision, comprehensive or personal liability coverage. But if you own a lot of property and assets, it is recommended to carry additional insurance. Even in a no-fault state, you can be sued in some cases if you were negligent in a car accident that led to serious personal injuries or death.
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Minnesota Accident Settlement Taxes
So, you have received a personal injury settlement in Minnesota. After spending weeks or months settling the case, it must feel good to finally get that check. But have you considered if the compensation you received is taxable? Many people assume this money is never taxable. While this is largely true, it is important to know the exceptions. Otherwise, you may end up with a big tax bill that you cannot pay.
Generally, the money that you get in a personal injury settlement is not taxable at the Minnesota state or federal level, as long as it is related to a personal physical illness or injury. The IRS states this is not taxable, but it must be related to an actual physical injury or illness.
Where you can get into trouble with the tax man is if you receive compensation for only emotional pain and suffering that is not related to a physical injury. In that case, this is taxable as income at the state and federal levels.
Another key exception is for compensation related to lost wages. Anything that you receive for lost wages during your physical injury or illness can be taxed as income. The thinking is that this money that you would have received as income which would have been taxed. The good news is that your attorney can often structure the settlement, so you do not have a lot of lost wages compensation anyway, and the tax implications are less.
Next, remember that any compensation received for punitive damages will always be taxable as income. These damages are designed to punish the defendant for improper conduct so as to discourage such behavior in the future.
Always be sure to talk to your tax advisor if you have any questions about taxes and your personal injury settlement in Minnesota.
Negligence Laws in Minnesota
Minnesota law has a standard established known as contributory negligence. This means that if you contributed to an accident, your settlement for injuries would be reduced based upon your percentage of fault. If you are more than 50% at fault, you are barred from recovering damages for your injuries. Therefore, it is important to hire a qualified Minnesota personal injury attorney to work on your behalf to determine fault for the crash. If you are found 51% at fault, you would not be able to recover any damages.
This state also has an unusual twist on contributory negligence: If you are partially at fault, the reduced recovery based upon your level of fault must be more than $4000 in medical costs. Or, the injury must result in permanent disfigurement, permanent injury, death or disability for at least 60 days.
Regarding the no fault system in this state, you are required to first bring a claim against your own auto insurance policy. The state requires you to have personal injury protection in the amount of $40,000. That is the amount that each party has available in an accident; it is further divided into $20,000 for medical costs and $20,000 for non-medical costs. You must exhaust these funds on your own policy before you can bring a claim against the other driver. However, a motorcyclist who was injured is barred from this rule.
Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Minnesota
This state has a deadline or statute of limitations to file a personal injury action in state court. For personal injury in a car accident, the limit is two years. This means your lawsuit or claim must be filed within two years of the date of the crash. If a car accident results in death, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is three years from the date of death.
Other Minnesota Driving and Accident Laws
Minnesota has passed a ban on all types of texting while driving. There also is a ban on all types of cell phones for novice drivers. As of 2013, illegal immigrants are still barred from getting a driver’s license in the state.
There are no caps on recovering damages for personal injury lawsuits involving car accidents or any other type of accident.
Minnesota Car Accident Resources
If you have been in a car accident in Minnesota, it is recommended to review the resources below.
- If have serious accident injuries in a Minnesota car accident, you may have a lot of medical bills, lost earnings and pain and suffering. If you are considering a claim or personal injury lawsuit, it is a good idea to use Lawsuit Info Center. Our free website is designed to help you find a qualified personal injury attorney who can get you the best verdict or settlement. You also can use our site to get a good idea of what your car accident case could be worth. Your attorney can check what recent settlements and verdicts have been in Minnesota for your types of injuries.
- If you were in a car accident in Minnesota, you should file a Motor Vehicle Crash Report about the crash. This could be very important if you decide to file a lawsuit or claim later. If the police responded to the scene, they will fill out this form on your behalf. A report should be filed for every accident that results in death or injury, or property damage of $1000 or more. This report must be filed within 10 days of a Minnesota car accident.
- All drivers who are involved in a car accident in Minnesota must stop at the site of the crash. You should call for the police or an ambulance if it is needed. It is also required to aid anyone who is hurt. When the police arrive, they will ask for evidence of auto insurance.
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