“Well, Minnesota is a No-Fault state so….”
July 11th, 2014
[wpsr_socialbts][wpsr_sharethis][wpsr_facebook] I’m sure you have heard one of your friends, family, or others say the phrase. What does this mean? This legal terminology can be very confusing for non-lawyers or persons not involved in the legal industry. The phrase “No-Fault” typically comes up when we talk about Automobile accident injuries and/or Family/Divorce law. With regard to Automobile Accidents, “No-Fault” does NOT mean that nobody is at fault for the accident. “No-Fault” is actually the title of an area of law that covers what type of medical and wage loss benefits your automobile insurance provider must pay if you are injured in an accident. Think of it this way, “regardless of fault”, whether it be your fault, or the other driver’s fault, you pay premiums for automobile insurance, and one of the coverages that your insurer has to offer you (per Minnesota law) is no-fault coverage. This is also referred to as “personal injury protection.” So, regardless of fault, if you are injured, your insurer has to pay you certain medical and wage loss benefits under your automobile insurance policy. Your insurance company always pays these benefits first, not the other driver’s insurance. This would be referred to as a “No-Fault Claim”. If you are hurt, or miss work, generally under your policy you are entitled to $20,000.00 worth of medical, chiropractic, and other medical benefits, and up to $20,000.00 worth of wage loss, or replacement loss benefits. You can bring a claim against the other driver and their insurance company, typically referred to as a “liability” or “bodily injury” claim if the other driver is at fault. However, Minnesota Law requires you meet one of the following conditions: 1. you have incurred greater than $4,000.00 worth of treatment, 2. your doctor opines you have suffered a permanent injury as a result of the accident, or 3. you have suffered a 60 day disability as determined by your doctor. If not, and you don’t meet one of these conditions, your claim for a settlement for bodily injury is barred. The second place we hear about “no-fault” is with regards to divorce law. Minnesota is a “No-Fault” divorce State. This means that regardless of who is at fault, you can get a divorce in Minnesota. Generally, the court is not interested in hearing testimony about who did what or who said this or that. The court is also not interested in hearing about cheating, adultery etc. The Court’s main focus in these proceedings is to make an “equitable” or fair division of the property and to determine what is in the “best interests” of any children of the marriage. The Court usually takes great care with making sure the “best interests” of the child are examined and determined. The Court usually does not want to hear stories of who is at fault unless there are specific problems with abuse or endangerment to the child or another party. Of course, both of these subjects are extremely complicated and if you have an issue, you should speak to a lawyer. Doug and I have practiced law in both of these areas for years. We are experienced automobile accident injury lawyers and family law/divorce lawyers. We are happy to chat with you at any time about these issues, simply give us a call, or contact us via our website fore more information, or to learn more about how we can help you.