Personal Injury in Minnesota

When you have been injured by someone else's carelessness, it is important to take some initial steps toward making sure your injury claim can be settled fairly and as quickly as possible:

Write down everything you can remember about how the injury occurred, including the names, addresses and phone numbers of potential witnesses, police officers, insurance company representatives (or company or workers' compensation representatives if it was a work injury)

Talk to a Minnesota personal injury lawyer before making any statements, written or verbal, to insurance company adjusters or representatives

Let anyone you think may be responsible for the injury know right away that you are intending to file a claim against them

Take steps to protect any evidence you may need to prove your injury, such as your totaled car, photographs of an accident or injury scene, clothing you were wearing, damaged personal belongings, and so forth

How Do I Figure Out Who Is At Fault?

In most cases, in order to collect on an injury claim in Minnesota, you must prove the person who caused the injury was "negligent" – which is a failure to exercise ordinary care. In Minnesota, you must prove:

  • The existence of a duty owed to you by the person who caused your injury
  • The other person failed to carry out the duty that they owed you
  • You suffered damages
  • The other person's failure caused you to have the injury

If you were careless, and your carelessness contributed to your injury, the amount you can recover will be reduced in proportion to your carelessness under Minnesota comparative negligence law. If you were more careless than the other person, you cannot recover any damages.

Under Minnesota law, where two individuals are each responsible to you for an injury that cannot be divided between them, they are jointly and severally liable for the whole damage award to you. They can then seek contribution from the other in proportion to the percentage of fault attributable to each.

If you have been injured using a consumer product, the manufacturer of the product may be responsible under a "products liability" legal theory, which is based on "strict liability in tort." Under Minnesota law, you would need to prove that:

  • The product was defective or there was a failure to warn, which made it unreasonably unsafe
  • The unreasonably unsafe nature of the product caused your injury
  • You suffered damages
  • The defect existed when the product left the hands of the manufacturer
  • The injury was not caused by any voluntary, unusual, or abnormal handling of the product by you

What Is My Claim Worth?

Under Minnesota law, the person who injured you is responsible for:

  • Past, current and future estimated medical expenses
  • Time lost from work, including time spent going to medical appointments or therapy
  • Any property that was damaged, such as your vehicle
  • The cost of hiring someone to do household chores when you could not do them
  • Any permanent disfigurement or disability
  • Your emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, and any interference with your family relationships
  • A change in your future earning ability due to the injury
  • Any other costs that were a direct result of your injury

A lawyer will know what type of expert witness to hire to best prove your damages.

How Long Do I Have To File A Legal Claim?

In Minnesota, you have six years to file a lawsuit against the person who injured you. However, different time limits apply if, for example, you have a medical malpractice claim or an action against a municipality. But as to a general personal injury claim, if your lawyer has not been able to come to an agreement with any involved insurance companies, you will definitely want to file a lawsuit before the six-year statute of limitations runs out.

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