Understanding No-Fault Coverage in Minnesota

  Everyone injured in a motor vehicle accident in Minnesota is entitled No-fault benefits. These benefits include coverage for medical treatment, including medical mileage, lost income, and replacement of essential services. These laws are meant to reduce the financial hardship that is caused by being involved in an accident relating to the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle.     No-Fault benefits allow the injured person to choose the type of treatment that you want to have.  The insurance company is not permitted to direct they type or amount of care a car accident victim needs.  In fact, the law specifically includes chiropractic, physical therapy, orthopedic or neurologic care.  If you would prefer acupuncture, you can choose it and, so long as the treatment is reasonably priced, helpful and related to the accident, your car insurance will cover it.   Sometimes, insurance companies will have you seen by a doctor of their choice  This is called an “independent medical exam” or “IME”.  Unfortunately, such exams are hardly independent.  Make no mistake, the doctor the insurance company chooses is someone who routinely offers opinions favorable to the insurance company.  The result of the “exam” is the insurance company refusing to pay any additional medical care relating to the car wreck.  Even worse, sometimes the insurance company will refuse to pay bills that were already incurred.  We call this unfair practice a “retroactive denial”.  In either case, you will need to have someone in your corner to force the insurance company to pay the benefits that you deserve.  Fortunately, the law provides an inexpensive and relatively quick way to resolve the dispute through an arbitration.The St. Cloud lawyers of Heller & Thyen, P.A. can explain the ins-and-outs of no-fault benefits and help you file a claim with your insurance company.They can also enforce your rights if your company refuses to pay a bill. Whether or not you retain our services, we will provide you with practical advice so you can make informed decisions.   What Do No-Fault Benefits Cover?   Minnesota legally requires residents who store or drive their vehicles in-state to carry certain types and amounts of car insurance. No-fault coverage includes the following:

Personal Injury Protection (PIP):

 
  • $40,000 per person, per accident, with up to $20,000 going toward medical costs and up to  $20,000 for lost wages  at 85% of your weekly gross income with a maximum of $500 per week.

  • Up to $2,000 for funeral costs in the event of death.
  No-fault benefits also cover mileage costs for trips to and from medical providers, replacement services costs, and a number of other costs incurred by the injured, insured party.   These are the minimum coverages.  You can purchase additional no-fault benefits from your insurance agent.  Make sure that you ask for the coverage!   What Happens if Car Accident Costs Exceed No-Fault Coverage Limits?   Because No-Fault insurance is designed to provide immediate relief for the financial hardship caused by car accidents, the amount of coverage available is limited.  On occasion, an accident will cause significant injuries and, therefore, result in more medical bills or lost wages than the no-fault benefits will cover.   If your bills exceed the amount of coverage you have under your policy, you will need to provide the medical providers with your personal health insurance.  Usually your health insurer will need verification from your auto insurance company that the medical benefits have been exhausted before they will pay.  If your insurance company has refused to pay a bill, even though you have additional benefits available, you will need to provide your insurance company with a letter from your auto insurer that they are denying further payment.   Can I get the other person’s insurance company to pay the excess expenses?   If your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover any medical bills or lost income that was not covered by your no-fault benefits.  In addition, you may also be able to recover damages for pain, suffering, disability, permanency of your injuries, as will as future damages that are reasonably certain to occur.  In order to make this claim, you will have to prove that you meet certain factors, which we call “thresholds”.  Keep in mind, if you do receive compensation from the at-fault party, and you had your personal health insurance pay some of your medical bills, your health insurer has a right of “subrogation” that allows them to get paid back some or all of what they paid.  An experienced attorney can help you deal with such a situation.   In Minnesota, drivers can only file a liability case if they’ve accumulated $4,000 or more in justifiable medical expenses related to the car accident, or suffered a permanent injury, permanent disfigurement, or can prove a disability for 60 days or more. policy coverage.   Liability cases can only be filed if the other driver is found to be responsible for the accident. With that in mind, hiring a personal injury lawyer can help victims of car accidents legally prove the other party was liable. Filing for compensation of these expenses can also be time- and paperwork-intensive. The personal injury attorneys at Heller & Thyen, P.A. are here to help you understand and navigate this lengthy legal process. Whether you want to file a simple no-fault case or also need to seek liability compensation, our St. Cloud lawyers will provide the legal assistance you need to recover after a traumatic car accident. Call us today for a free consultation!  

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