Is Minnesota a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?

In most states, if you are injured in a car accident, you file a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy. However, a few states have what’s called “no-fault” insurance coverage. Is Minnesota a no-fault state for car accidents?

The answer is yes. If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, that may sound disappointing. As anyone would, you probably want to hold the driver accountable for their actions. But there are many misconceptions about no-fault insurance — and one of them is that you cannot file a claim against the other driver at all. Here’s what you need to know about no-fault insurance in Minnesota and how it may impact you.

What Does “No-Fault” Mean?

In a no-fault state like Minnesota, the law requires you to carry what’s called personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. If you’re injured in a car accident — even if the other driver was legally at fault — you first must file a claim with your PIP insurance provider.

However, PIP doesn’t cover all expenses related to a car accident. It usually extends to the following:

  • Medical costs
  • Services like housekeeping
  • Lost income (up to 85% of your gross pay or $500 per week)
  • Childcare
  • Funeral costs (up to $5,000).

In Minnesota, drivers must carry a PIP policy with a minimum of $40,000 of coverage. That coverage is divided into two sections: $20,000 to cover medical expenses and $20,000 to cover non-medical expenses.

If you’ve recently been in a car accident, you know that the total damages you suffer can easily go beyond what PIP will cover. PIP insurance also doesn’t cover property damage or compensation for pain and suffering.

This is where no-fault insurance gets a little more complicated. Being in a no-fault state doesn’t mean that you can’t file a claim against an at-fault driver — it just means that you must go through your own PIP insurance first. Under Minnesota law, if another person is at fault for your accident, they are responsible for costs beyond the ones PIP covers.

Being in a no-fault state doesn’t mean you can’t file a claim against an at-fault driver.

How Car Accident Claims Work in Minnesota

Thanks to Minnesota’s status as a no-fault state and its modified comparative negligence rule, pursuing a personal injury claim after a car accident can be somewhat complicated. Your attorneys can guide you through the specifics of your case, but here is a general guide to how the process of filing an accident claim works.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, we may be able to help. Call Tyroler Leonard Injury Law at 651-259-1113.

File a Claim with Your Insurer

After your accident, your first step should be filing a claim with your PIP insurance provider. It’s a good idea to consult car accident attorneys before doing so. Like any insurance company, your PIP provider’s focus is on paying out as little as possible. Car accident attorneys have experience negotiating with insurance companies, so they may be able to help you secure a fair settlement. This step is usually faster than filing a claim against the other driver’s insurance company.

File a Claim with the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance

If you’ve been in a serious car accident and have extensive injuries, your PIP insurance probably won’t cover everything. If that’s the case, you’ll want to work with personal injury lawyers to file a claim with the at-fault person’s insurance. These insurance claims can be complex — your lawyers might believe that there’s another party at fault as well. For example, if you were hit by a truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel, the truck driver is at fault. However, if the trucking company violated laws that require truck drivers to take certain breaks, the trucking company might be at fault, too.

Determine Your Degree of Fault

Minnesota is a no-fault state when it comes to PIP claims. However, when it comes to filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance, the courts don’t simply view the other driver as 100% at fault.

Under Minnesota’s modified comparative negligence rule, you can only recover compensation if you were no more than 50% responsible for the accident. If you were at fault at all, the compensation you’re awarded would be reduced by your percentage of fault.

The courts determine who is at fault for an accident, so this isn’t necessarily a step you take yourself. However, you and your attorneys can submit evidence to prove the other driver was at fault (or at least more at fault than you were).

Here’s an example of how the system works. Imagine you and Bob are in a car accident. Bob was drinking and texting at the time of the crash, and you were texting (but not drinking). After considering evidence from both of your legal teams, a judge decides that Bob was 60% at fault and you were 40% at fault. Because Bob is more than 51% at fault, he will not receive compensation beyond what his PIP policy covers. The court awards you $100,000 in damages (beyond what your PIP policy covers). However, because you were 40% at fault, the amount is reduced by 40%. That means you receive $60,000.

Advantages of No-Fault Insurance

Minnesota’s no-fault insurance might seem complicated to navigate. However, it does have certain benefits. One of the primary reasons Minnesota (and 11 other states) uses the no-fault system is because it makes it easier for victims to be treated for their injuries. When you have PIP insurance, you can receive immediate medical treatment — and make sure your insurance pays for it — without first having to determine who was at fault or waiting for a settlement.

In a state without no-fault insurance, you typically have to wait for your case to be settled to be reimbursed for medical costs. In most serious accidents, victims are stuck with incredibly high medical bills, and they might face financial hardship or credit damage while waiting for a settlement.

Disadvantages of No-Fault Insurance

One of the system’s main disadvantages is the fact that it limits your ability to seek damages. PIP does not cover non-economic damages, and if you don’t exhaust your PIP benefits, you can’t seek non-economic damages (like payment for physical and emotional pain).

Critics of no-fault insurance also point to the fact that the at-fault driver often isn’t held accountable. This is a valid criticism, but, fortunately, if the at-fault driver caused especially serious injuries (that incurred medical costs beyond your PIP coverage), they can be held responsible for both economic and non-economic damages.

Have You Been Hurt in a Car Accident?

At Tyroler Leonard Injury Law, we understand the pain, fear, and frustration that come with being injured in a car accident. Having to contend with the confusion of no-fault insurance doesn’t make things any easier.

Our attorneys have helped countless people like you. If we take your case, you don’t have to worry about handling insurance on your own — we can guide you through filing PIP claims and any additional claims you need. If you’ve just been injured and don’t know where to turn, get in touch with us!

Contact Tyroler Leonard Injury Law online or give us a call at 651-259-1113.

Attorney Isaac Tyroler

Attorney Isaac Tyroler has been a strong advocate for injured people his entire legal career. He has a passion for righting wrongs, and he deeply cares about representing injured clients who may feel overwhelmed or uncertain about how to navigate the legal system. He is compassionate toward clients and aggressive with insurance companies and defendants. He is on the elected Board of Governors of the Minnesota Association of Justice (MAJ), the top personal injury lawyers’ group in Minnesota. And is currently the chair of MAJ’s legislative committee. [ Attorney Bio ]