Frequently Asked Questions

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1. I've been involved in a motor vehicle accident. What should I do?

  1. Call the police if there are injuries. If you are injured, seek medical treatment. If you or someone with you are able, obtain the following information after the collision:
    • The full name of the driver of the other vehicle, his/her address and a telephone number
    • The full names of any witnesses, their addresses, and telephone numbers
    • The name of the other driver's auto insurance carrier, policy number if available, and a telephone number for the insurance claim department - this should be on the back of their proof of insurance card which all drivers are required to carry in their vehicles.
    • The license numbers of the vehicles involved, noting the one that hit your vehicle and how the others were involved. Include any notes like make/model, the type of vehicle if not a car, and whether or not the vehicle was a commercial vehicle.
    • The name of the police officer and the case number if a police officer responds to the scene.
    • Information regarding the scene, such as: What streets and lanes were you and the other vehicle traveling? What direction were you each moving? What were the road conditions and visibility that day? Were there any traffic signs or signals? What damage did you notice to your car and the other vehicles or property involved?
    • If you have a camera on your cell phone, take photos of the damage to the vehicles. If you don't have access to a camera, photos can be taken later by your attorney or someone you know.
    • If you have cuts, abrasions, or bruises, take photographs.
  2. Call your insurance company to report the accident.
  3. If you were injured on the job you may also have a workers' compensation claim. An experienced Minnesota workers' compensation attorney can determine if you have a claim and the additional benefits you may be entitled to in addition to your personal injury claim. > Learn more.
  4. If you develop increasing pain, stiffness, or any otherwise unexplainable headaches, dizziness or nausea, see a doctor as soon as possible.
  5. Do not sign any documents or give any recorded statements prior to speaking with a personal injury lawyer.

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2. Do I need a lawyer, and if so, when should I contact one?


You should speak with an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Actions taken early on in your claim can substantially affect your claim later on down the road. A Minnesota personal injury lawyer can advise you as to your rights, and help protect your interests.

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3. The insurance company contacted me with a settlement offer. Should I take it?


More and more commonly, insurance companies contact injured parties within a few weeks after the accident and offer them a few thousand dollars "to go away." Often, insurance companies like to make these early offers before an attorney is involved, before a personal injury claimant knows their rights, and possibly before a claimant knows the full extent of their injuries. Before accepting a settlement, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney to make sure the settlement is fair, and that it is in your best interests. How long will my case take?

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4. How long will my case take?


A personal injury case can take anywhere between a few months and a few years to resolve. Simple cases involving minor injuries generally take less time to resolve, whereas more complicated cases or cases involving more serious injuries may take longer to resolve. If a case goes to trial, that generally takes longer. Some factors that affect how long a case takes to resolve are the number of parties involved, the severity of the injuries, how many medical providers are involved, whether there are pre-existing conditions or subsequent accident, how many insurance companies are involved, whether there is wage loss involved, and whether liability is disputed.

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5. What are no-fault benefits?


In Minnesota, the no-fault law provides that your own insurance company covers up to $20,000.00 in medical expenses, and $20,000.00 in wage loss and/or replacement benefits following an auto accident, regardless of fault. Frequently, an injured person's own insurance company will seek to cut off their no-fault coverage after sending them to an independent medical exam. This denial of coverage can be disputed by filing a petition for No-Fault Arbitration.

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6. What are the requirements for filing a civil claim against an at-fault party in a car accident case?


In Minnesota, there are minimum requirements, or "tort thresholds" that must be met in order to claim non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment in life, in a motor vehicle liability case. You must meet one of the following tort thresholds in order to pursue non-economic damages:

  • Death.
  • A permanent injury as determined by a doctor.
  • Disablement for at least 60 days.
  • At least $4,000.00 in non-diagnostic medical care or treatment. This amount does not include "diagnostic" treatment such as MRI's and CT-scans.

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7. My insurance company has scheduled me for an independent medical examination (IME). Do I have to go?

As a rule, yes, you do have to attend. The insurance company has the right to request that you be examined by a doctor of their choosing. These so-called independent medical examinations are, however, anything but independent. After your exam, the doctor will provide an "expert" opinion to your insurance company regarding the nature and extent of your injuries and the reasonableness and necessity of any medical care or treatment. After your insurer receives this report, they will send you a letter advising you that your no-fault benefits are being discontinued. In the vast majority of cases, this report will say that you are fully recovered, that your ongoing symptoms are due to a pre-existing condition, or that you weren't injured at all. Once your insurance company has discontinued your no-fault benefits, your attorney can file a Petition for No-Fault Arbitration to dispute the discontinuance.

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8. I received a letter scheduling me to attend a deposition. Do I have to attend? What should I expect?


You do have to attend. A deposition is a formal statement taken under oath from witnesses, doctors, claimants and defendants. An attorney for the insurance company will ask you questions about your medical history, the circumstances of the accident, and your medical treatment. Your attorney will meet with you prior to the deposition to answer any questions you may have. You do not need to study or memorize dates before your deposition. You are simply required to testify truthfully to the best of your ability.

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