All across Minnesota, motorists are driving their cars, trucks and SUVs to work, the grocery store, soccer practice and a hundred other destinations. A recent annual report shows that 4.74 million people hold Minnesota driver’s licenses and 5.12 million vehicles are registered in the state. While most motorists drive safely and obey traffic laws, there are some who don’t. Careless drivers who are speeding, running stop signs or worse can create havoc, causing crashes that result in injuries and death. If you’ve been hurt in a crash, our Lake Elmo car accident lawyers can help you get the justice you deserve.
In Minnesota, there were 364 traffic deaths in 2019, a slight decrease compared with 381 deaths the previous year, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Of the 364 fatalities:
- 89 involved drunk driving.
- 75 were speed-related.
- 34 involved distracted driving.
- 73 were motorists not wearing seatbelts.
There were 80,636 traffic crashes in Minnesota in 2019, in which 27,260 people were injured. Cars and trucks traveled more than 60.7 billion miles on Minnesota roadways that year.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or your loved one was killed in a vehicle crash, you may be entitled to financial compensation. This is especially true if the injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence. People injured in car accidents often face mounting medical bills, time off work, and months of rehabilitation. You don’t have to face this alone. To find out more about how our Lake Elmo car accident attorneys can help, call Tyroler Leonard Injury Law at 651-259-1113 for a free consultation.
Car Accident Lawsuit FAQs
Our car accident attorneys in Lake Elmo, MN, answer frequent questions.
Clients often have similar questions about various aspects of a car accident lawsuit. These questions can include queries about timing, locations, dollar amounts, and costs. Following are some answers to frequently asked questions:
Can I sue if my loved one died in a car accident?
Yes. If your family member died in a crash in Lake Elmo that was caused by a drunk driver, a fatigued truck driver, a negligent driver, or another vehicle careening recklessly, you can recover a number of different types of damages – including out-of-pocket expenses like funeral and burial costs – by filing a wrongful death claim.
What is the average car accident settlement amount?
Because every case is different, there is no “average” settlement that a Lake Elmo car accident victim could receive. Each case is fact dependent. Generally, the more severe the injury, the higher the damages awarded. Different factors like income loss and medical bills can also play a role. Also, if multiple people are injured, if someone dies, or if there’s evidence of gross negligence where punitive damages are awarded, the payout can be higher.
When and where do car accidents happen most often?
According to the National Safety Council, fatal crashes happen more frequently on weekends, peaking on Saturday. On the other hand, non-fatal crashes occur more frequently on weekdays, especially Friday. The peak time of day for car accidents in the U.S. is between 4 p.m. and 7:59 p.m. Car crashes happen more frequently on holiday weekends than during non-holiday periods. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a significant number of car crashes happen within a few miles of home. In urban areas, crash statistics show that intersections are particularly dangerous.
Who is the defendant in a car accident lawsuit?
There can be one or several defendants in a car accident lawsuit. For example, if you’re hit by a commercial vehicle, potential defendants could include the other driver, his insurance provider, the company that owns the fleet of cars, and even the car manufacturer if there’s evidence of a manufacturing defect. Also, a government agency could be a defendant if the agency was negligent in road construction, design or maintenance.
How long does a car accident lawsuit take?
Each car accident case is different, depending on how long the injuries take to heal, how much treatment is needed, how many witnesses need to be interviewed, the amount of evidence to be examined, the number of defendants, who is at fault, and the willingness of the defendant(s) or their insurance companies to negotiate. Cases can take a few months to a few years to reach a settlement agreement or jury award. Settlements often happen faster than cases where litigation is required, but settling can result in less money. Your Lake Elmo car accident attorney can advise you about the potential timeframe for your particular case.
Can I get reimbursed for a rental car after a crash?
Typically when the other party is at fault, you are entitled to reimbursement from the responsible party’s insurance company for use of a rental car (similar to your own) for a reasonable period of time after the accident. If you have your own rental coverage, you can also get a rental through your own insurance company.
If I’m injured in a car accident and self-employed, how are lost wages calculated?
In most cases, paystubs and previous tax records, specifically 1099s or W2s, are used to determined past and present loss of income. By proving what you’ve earned in the past, you can calculate what you’re likely losing now. The more years of past tax documents you can show, the better. You can order copies of previous tax returns from the IRS.gov website.
Different Types of Injuries in Car Accidents
Our car accident lawyer in Lake Elmo, MN, can file legal claims for a variety of injuries.
Preliminary data from the National Safety Council (NSC) shows that as many as 42,060 people are estimated to have died in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2020. The estimated rate of death on the roads in 2020 spiked 24% over the previous 12-month period, despite miles driven in 2020 dropping 13%. This increase in the rate of traffic deaths is the highest estimated year-over-year jump in 96 years, according to the NSC.
An estimated 4.8 million additional roadway users were seriously injured in car and truck accidents nationwide in 2020, and the estimated cost to society was about $474 billion, according to the NSC. There are several types of injuries that commonly occur in traffic accidents. Some of these include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Neck and back injuries
- Broken bones
- Cuts, abrasions, and lacerations
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Puncture wounds
- Wrongful death.
Some common causes of vehicle crashes include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving (texting, talking on the phone, adjusting the radio, etc.)
- Failure to follow rules of the road
- Illegal lane changes
- Running through traffic lights and stop signs
- Ice, snow, rain, and inclement weather
- Vehicles with manufacturing defects.
Damages Car Accident Victims May Be Entitled To
If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to damages. Damages can be both economic and non-economic. They include:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses (current and future)
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress (including trauma, humiliation, and disfigurement).
In some instances, there can also be punitive damages in addition to the damages listed above. Punitive damages are awarded by a court when there is evidence of gross negligence by a defendant who knowingly or recklessly placed persons in danger or if the defendant had a history of safety violations. Punitive damages, as the name implies, are designed to punish a defendant and prevent any other would-be wrongdoers from being similarly negligent.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims in Minnesota
In most cases, the statute of limitations for a car accident claim is six years in Minnesota.
The 6-year statute of limitations for Minnesota car accident lawsuits can be found at Minnesota Statutes section 541.05. There are a few scenarios in which the “clock” on the 6-year statute of limitations might be delayed. These include:
- If the injured person is under the age of 18, then the statute does not run until the later of 6 years or when the person turns 19 years old.
- If the injured person is legally insane, then the clock won’t start running until the period of legal disability is over (mental competence is restored). However, this filing deadline won’t be extended beyond five (5) years, and once sanity is restored, the suit must be filed within one (1) year. (Minnesota Statutes section 541.15.)
Minnesota Shared-Fault Rules
Lake Elmo car accident claims follow a “modified comparative negligence” rule.
Some states, including Minnesota, follow a rule known as modified comparative negligence. This means the law recognizes that in many situations, more than one person may be at fault for an accidental injury. The court will determine the amount of fault that belongs to each party based on the facts in a case. As long as your share of the fault is 50% or less, you will be entitled to collect some amount of damages for your injury.
Let’s take a look at an example that illustrates this rule. Suppose you’re driving to your mother’s house on a road where the speed limit is 40 mph, but you’re in a hurry so you’re driving 50 mph, 10 mph over the speed limit. In all other ways, you’re correctly following road signs and traffic rules. You enter an intersection where cross traffic has stop signs, but you do not. Suddenly, your car is hit broadside by another vehicle crossing the intersection after that car failed to stop at the stop sign.
In this scenario, you were driving over the speed limit, but the other driver failed to stop at a stop sign and crashed into your car. Eventually, it’s determined that you are 25% at fault for the accident, and the other driver is 75% at fault. Let’s say the total damages for the accident are calculated to be $80,000.
Under Minnesota’s comparative fault rule, 25% (the percentage of fault assigned to you) will be subtracted from that $80,000. This means you will collect 75% of the total, or $60,000.
If you have additional questions about the particular facts in your case and how fault might be determined, talk to a skilled and experienced Lake Elmo car accident lawyer at Tyroler Injury Law.
How Do You Prove Negligence in a Car Accident Lawsuit?
In a Lake Elmo car accident lawsuit, your attorney will need to prove that the other party acted negligently when they caused the accident in which you were injured. A defendant can be a person, a business, an insurance company, a government entity, or any combination of these.
To prove negligence, your attorney will have to prove 4 elements in your lawsuit. These include:
The defendant owed the plaintiff a legal “duty of care” to ensure that an environment or location was safe.
A plaintiff must show that the defendant breached this duty by doing, or failing to do, something that a reasonable person would have done in a similar situation.
A plaintiff must show that the defendant’s actions, or inaction, caused the injuries to another person.
Damages means that there’s a monetary way of compensating a plaintiff for their injuries and property damage.
Choosing the Best Lake Elmo Car Accident Attorney
Skill, experience, and a track record of success make all the difference.
Choosing the right Lake Elmo car accident lawyer is one of the most important decisions you will make. All attorneys are not created equal. Some have more experience, skill, and determination than others. Attorney Isaac Tyroler is among the best and the brightest. He is compassionate with clients and understands that many have been through traumatic experiences. At the same time, he is an aggressive negotiator and fierce litigator. He takes each case personally and is entirely focused on getting his clients the justice they deserve. He is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with insurance companies to negotiate a favorable settlement or litigate a case in front of a judge and jury when necessary. He will not stop until he has achieved the best possible outcome for every client. To learn more about what his satisfied clients have to say, you can read these client testimonials.
Mr. Tyroler has been practicing law for more than a decade and is admitted to the bar in Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as in U.S. District Court. He has received the Super Lawyers Rising Star Award multiple times and is a frequent speaker at legal seminars.
Contact Our Lake Elmo Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and need help getting the compensation you deserve, Tyroler Injury Law can help. We have a track record of success in holding careless drivers accountable for the injuries and harm they cause. We represent all our clients aggressively and fight for their rights. To find out more about how we can help, call us for a free initial consultation at 651-259-1113.