ST. PAUL BOAT ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
Summers in Minnesota mean boats and more boats. As much fun as it is to be on the water, boating can also be extremely dangerous. Every year, people suffer serious injuries because someone driving a boat is drunk or not paying attention. Over the past ten years, an average of 14 people die each year in Minnesota waters and almost 100 per year report injuries from Minnesota boating accidents.
IS BOAT INSURANCE REQUIRED IN MINNESOTA?
Boat insurance is not required in Minnesota. With over 800,000 registered boats in Minnesota, a good number are likely to be uninsured. When you get in a boat accident in which the at-fault driver has no insurance, you still have a claim against the uninsured boat driver.
DOES INSURANCE COVER MY INJURIES FROM A MINNESOTA BOATING ACCIDENT?
If the driver of the boat who was at fault for the boat accident has boat insurance, there will be insurance to cover medical bills, wage loss, and noneconomic damages, sometimes referred to as pain and suffering. The coverage for these policies can be anywhere from $15,000 into the millions with an umbrella policy.
Because settlements are usually a one-time lump sum payment, medical bills and wage loss will not be paid up front. Health insurance will pay for medical bills, even if someone with boat insurance caused the boat accident. The health insurer may be entitled to get that money back out of a settlement through a process called subrogation, but it depends on the injuries, settlement, and type of health insurance.
Some boating policies have medical payments, or “med pay,” coverage. This coverage usually pays medical bills up front and without regard to fault, but the policy is usually small, often only $1,000. For people who have been seriously injured in a Minnesota boating accident, this amount pays a very small amount of their total medical bills.
For noneconomic damages, or pain and suffering, the law looks at the following factors to determine the value of the case:
- Emotional distress
- Other factors
Compensation for suffering losses in these categories is owed to the injured boating accident victim when the boat crash is not the person’s fault.
DO I HAVE A MINNESOTA BOATING ACCIDENT CASE?
Whether you have a case depends on whether you are fault. Minnesota boating accidents are often complicated because there are often two or more versions of what happened. Unlike with Minnesota car accidents, there are multiple witnesses to the boating accident who can be identified and give a statement.
If the injured victim is a passenger in a boat accident, it is very unlikely that person will have any fault. In that circumstance, fault will need to be allocated between the drivers.
If the injured person is a driver in the boat accident, fault will need to be compared among the drivers. Minnesota is a comparative fault state, meaning that we compare the fault of one person to another to determine if you have a case. If the injured person is 50% or less at fault for a boat accident, that person will have a claim against the other driver or their insurance. The damages will be reduced by the percentage the injured person is at fault. For example, if the injured person’s damages are $100,000 but they are 30% at fault for the boat accident, the injured person will recover $70,000. Someone who is more than 50% does have a claim against the other person involved in the boat accident.
Analyzing the value of your case can be difficult. To make sure you are maximizing the value of your case, you should contact an experienced Minnesota boat accident attorney for guidance.
WILL INSURANCE COVER ME IF A FAMILY MEMBER CAUSED THE BOAT ACCIDENT?
That depends on the language of the boat insurance policy. Most boat policies have exclusions when one family member injures another. The Minnesota House of Representatives voted in 2019 to make these policies invalid. Unfortunately, the Minnesota Senate did not pass the bill. You will have to check the language of each individual policy to see if it has this exclusion.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE BOAT DRIVER THAT CAUSED MY INJURIES DID NOT HAVE INSURANCE?
If an injured boat accident victim is on a boat hit by another uninsured boat, the injured person’s recourse depends on whether the boat they are on had uninsured boating coverage. When boat owners purchase boat coverage, often they also purchase uninsured boat coverage for this reason. Uninsured boat coverage will protect a person who is injured as the result of an uninsured boat driver’s negligence. If neither boat has insurance that covers the injured person, there will still be a claim against the at-fault boat driver.
HOW DO ATTORNEY FEES WORK?
At Tyroler Injury Law, we work entirely on contingency fees, meaning you will not pay any fees unless we are able to recover money for you. Consultations are entirely free, and we are happy to give advice to help you in any way we can.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO START A LAWSUIT AFTER A MINNESOTA BOAT ACCIDENT?
You have six years to start a lawsuit after a Minnesota boat accident based on the negligence of the boat driver. An uninsured boat claim will six years unless the policy sets a shorter time period.
If you have questions about a St. Paul car accident, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at 651-259-1113. You deserve to have compassionate, experienced representation. Please see here why we are the right choice for you.