All across Minnesota, motorists are driving their cars, trucks and SUVs to work, the grocery store, soccer practice and hundreds of 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 White Bear Lake car accident lawyer 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 White Bear Lake car accident attorney can help, call Tyroler Leonard Injury Law at 651-259-1113 for a free consultation.
Car Accident Lawsuit FAQs
Our car accident attorneys in White Bear Lake, 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 White Bear Lake 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 White Bear Lake 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 White Bear Lake car accident attorney can advise you about the potential time frame 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, pay stubs and previous tax records, specifically 1099s or W2s, are used to determine 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
Today’s cars are so large that even a low-speed crash could cause permanent injuries.
Coronavirus lockdowns had some unintended consequences. The number of fatal car accidents increased to a twenty-year high in 2022. When roads emptied during the lockdowns, drivers picked up some bad habits, such as speeding and driving drunk. As is usually the case, these bad driving habits are very easy to form and very hard to break.
Additionally, car crashes seriously injure millions of Americans every year. Some of these serious injuries include:
- Head Injury: A severe brain injury is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed car crash injuries. Disorientation, soreness, and other initial symptoms usually mimic accident shock. As a result, these victims don’t immediately get the treatment they need, so their physical condition deteriorates. Advanced Traumatic Brain Injuries kill over 60,000 Americans every year.
- Broken Bones: These injuries usually aren’t life-threatening. However, they are very serious and usually permanent. Most vehicle collisions don’t just break bones — they shatter them. Since doctors must use more aggressive measures to surgically correct these injuries, physical therapists must work harder and longer to restore lost function. Even then, lingering injuries, like reduced range of motion, are almost inevitable.
- Internal Injuries: The extreme motion in a car crash forces internal organs to bump and grind against each other. A slight laceration could cause serious bleeding. These organs don’t have protective skin layers. In fact, by the time many car wreck victims reach the hospital, they are already on the edge of hypovolemic shock and organ shutdown.
These injuries are even more intense in pedestrian accidents and truck accidents. No seat belts, airbags, or other restraint systems protect pedestrians from oncoming cars. As for truck accidents, a fully loaded semi-truck weighs over 80,000 pounds and carries hundreds of gallons of highly explosive diesel fuel.
Most vehicle collisions are not “accidents.” People accidentally leave the lights on. They don’t accidentally drive carelessly and cause crashes. Common causes of vehicle collisions include:
- Aggressive driving, like speeding, turning unsafely, or tailgating
- Impaired driving, like driving under the influence of a substance, while fatigued, or while distracted.
Bad weather, like ice, rain, and snow, often contributes to vehicle collisions. But these conditions never “cause” crashes in a legal sense.
Damages Car Accident Victims May Be Entitled To
Compensation in a car crash claim begins with economic losses, such as medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.
Under Minnesota law, car crash compensation must put victims in the same place they were in before the wreck. Therefore, money for noneconomic damages is available as well. This compensation includes:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium (companionship).
No sum of money can possibly make up for these things. Activities like pushing a child in a swing or climbing stairs without pain are priceless. However, financial compensation enables victims to put the past behind them and move on with their lives. At this point, that’s the best possible outcome.
Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some extreme cases. Jurors may award these damages if there is clear and convincing evidence that the tortfeasor (negligent driver) intentionally disregarded a known risk. For example, drunk driver crash victims may be entitled to punitive damages, if the tortfeasor’s BAC level was extremely high.
Minnesota Shared Fault Rules
If you were partially at fault for a car crash, a White Bear Lake car accident lawyer may still obtain compensation in court.
Tragedies like vehicle collisions often have multiple causes. Sometimes, both drivers are legally responsible for a crash.
There’s a difference between fault and liability. An insurance adjuster might say you were at fault for a crash, but that’s not the same thing as legal responsibility for the wreck, just like there is a difference between a halftime score and a final score.
Minnesota, like most other states, is a modified comparative fault jurisdiction. If the tortfeasor is at least 51 percent responsible for the wreck, the victim is entitled to a proportionate amount of compensation.
Assume Vicki, who was speeding, collided with Shelly, who changed lanes without signaling. The fault proportion isn’t necessarily 50-50. If Vicki was only speeding 5 mph over the limit, her excessive speed probably didn’t substantially contribute to the wreck. If Vicki was speeding 20 mph over the limit, that’s different.
At any rate, jurors must listen to the evidence and divide responsibility according to the evidence presented in court. The judge then adjusts the damages in accordance with Minnesota law.
How Do You Prove Negligence in a Car Accident Lawsuit?
In a White Bear Lake 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:
- Duty – The defendant owed the plaintiff a legal “duty of care” to ensure that an environment or location was safe.
- Breach – 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.
- Causation – A plaintiff must show that the defendant’s actions, or inaction, caused the injuries to another person.
- Damages – Damages means that there’s a monetary way of compensating a plaintiff for their injuries and property damage.
Choosing the Best White Bear Lake Car Accident Attorney
Skill, experience, and a track record of success make all the difference.
Choosing the right White Bear Lake car accident lawyer is one of the most important decisions you will make. Not all attorneys are created equal. Some have more experience, skill, and determination than others. Attorney Isaac Tyroler and Attorney Rachel Sperling Leonard are among the best and the brightest. They are compassionate with clients and understand that many have been through traumatic experiences. At the same time, they are aggressive negotiators and fierce litigators. We take each case personally and are entirely focused on getting our clients the justice they deserve. We are 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. We will not stop until we have achieved the best possible outcome for every client. To learn more about what our satisfied clients have to say, you can read these client testimonials.
Contact Our White Bear Lake Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and need help getting the compensation you deserve, Tyroler Leonard 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.