WHAT DOES NO FAULT MEAN AFTER CAR ACCIDENT? MN ATTORNEY
People frequently ask our car accident lawyers what No-Fault means in Minnesota, or what is a No Fault state? If you are injured in a car accident in MN, you are automatically entitled to certain medical and wage loss benefits, regardless of who caused the accident. These benefits are called “no-fault” benefits, because they are available to anyone injured in a car accident regardless of fault. Every automobile in Minnesota is required to be insured and part of that insurance includes compulsory No-Fault insurance. In other words, No Fault insurance is automatically included in every automobile insurance policy in MN. Even if you caused the auto accident, you are entitled to no-fault benefits.
However, determining who was at fault in the car accident is still important for other reasons. No Fault insurance benefits have specific dollar limits, and then any additional compensation after the No-Fault coverage runs out comes from the driver’s insurance that caused the crash. So who was at fault is still be very important. When you call our office, a top MN car accident lawyer will listen to your case and explain your rights to you for your specific situation.
No-fault coverage pays for your medical bills (usually up to $20,000) and a portion of your income loss (usually up to $20,000). If your medical bills become more than $20,000, you will need to access other types of insurance. See also, How To Get Medical Bills Paid.
The income loss you are paid through car accident No-Fault insurance is usually either $500.00 per week or 85%, whichever is less, up to a total of $20,000 (but you may be able to recover the rest of your wage loss from the other driver, if the other driver was at fault).
Of course, No Fault benefits only cover medical bills and lost wages that are related to the auto accident. Therefore, the insurance company may challenge whether you were actually injured in the accident (as opposed to having a pre-existing condition) by having you attend an independent medical examination. Our car accident lawyers frequently get new clients after the auto insurance company has cutoff someone’s medical or wage loss benefits.
No-fault coverage also pays for medical mileage (for trips to and from your medical providers), re-training costs if you need to change careers, replacement costs (if you need assistance from another person), funeral expenses, and a few other costs. Click here to read more about survivors benefits if a family member was killed in a car accident.
Reimbursement of these expenses can involve significant time and paperwork. This is something our office can assist you with when you call and speak with a car accident lawyer in MN. Click here to see the No-Fault Benefits statute.
What confuses most people about “no-fault” benefits is that it is YOUR automobile insurance company that pays these benefits to you if you are injured, even if your car was not even involved in the accident. In other words, even if you were a passenger in someone else’s car, your own automobile insurance company pays your No-Fault benefits. Although this doesn’t seem to make sense, the Minnesota legislature decided that since EVERYONE is entitled to no-fault insurance benefits, the cost for no-fault insurance should be spread equally among auto insurance companies by having each company pay for its own insureds’ benefits. Your insurance also covers every member of your family (including children) who live with you or who is listed as a driver on your policy, as long as you or they do not also have an uninsured car. If you did not cause the crash, your insurance rates won’t go up for making a No Fault claim.
What if I don’t own a car? You may be covered under an auto insurance policy of a relative you live with, or the policy of a car involved in the accident. There is a priority system of which car insurance company pays No-Fault Benefits if you do not own a car at the time you are in an accident. To find out who is responsible for paying your no-fault benefits, contact our law firm and an experienced car accident attorney in MN law will provide you with a free consultation.
Will submitting a claim for no-fault benefits increase my insurance premiums? No. An insurance company cannot increase your insurance premiums simply because you make an application or claim for no-fault benefits. Your insurance rates will go up only if the car accident was your fault.
What if I have health insurance – shouldn’t my health insurance pay my bills? By law, your automobile insurance company has to pay your medical bills under the No-Fault coverage in your policy before your health insurance pays anything. If you exhaust the $20,000 in no-fault medical coverage, or if your automobile insurance company refuses to pay any of your medical bills, then your medical bills can be submitted to your health insurance company.
Can I see any doctor I want to with No-Fault Insurance? Yes. Unlike a lot of health insurance companies or HMOs, the no-fault laws do not limit you to treatment with certain doctors or medical providers. You can choose any doctor that you want to see for treatment of your injuries.
To provide you with more detailed information about your right to no-fault benefits and how to obtain them, please call our office and our Minnesota car accident lawyers will be happy to discuss your rights with you.