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How long does it take to settle a car accident case?

Once you make a claim for injuries sustained in a car accident, the time to reach a settlement can vary. Many factors influence the average timeline for finalizing a car accident settlement, including the extent of the injuries and liability. Our goal is to promptly resolve a case where possible and if necessary, we start your lawsuit. 

If you were in a car accident where you sustained injuries, you have the right to make a personal injury claim for damages against the at-fault party. Most personal injury claims are resolved via settlement. 

A settlement occurs when the parties and insurer involved in the claim come to an agreement on a resolution of the case. The settlement is typically a one-time lump sum. By settling, you forgo the option to pursue additional damages against the responsible party for your injuries. 

The time frame for finalizing a settlement varies from claim to claim. Every car accident settlement is calculated based on the unique details of the injuries and facts of the collision.

How long do I have to file a car accident claim in Minnesota?

The statute of limitations, which is the deadline for filing a claim, depends on the state in which you live. Under Minnesota Statute 541.07, a car accident victim who suffered injury has six years from the date of the accident to file a claim against the liable party or parties. Uninsured claims may be shorter depending upon the terms of your specific policy. 

Exceptions to Minnesota statutes of limitations for car accidents exist, and without the depth of knowledge that only an experienced personal injury lawyer can bring, you may miss your opportunity to take legal action.

What factors affect the settlement process?

When you get into a car accident, the following factors will impact your settlement:

Auto Insurance

Following a car accident, you must submit a claim to your insurance company, which will pay only up to your no-fault policy’s limit. Various other factors can affect your recovery, including whether you or the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.

Your insurance company will initiate an investigation, review your medical records, bills and wage verification, and may address your damages and at some point, may make a settlement offer. If you cannot resolve the dispute, you can file an arbitration against the no fault insurance company.

Liability for the Accident

Determining liability can be complicated and will depend on the type of accident and the degree of fault established. Minnesota follows the modified comparative negligence doctrine, meaning that you are legally entitled to recover damages only if you have crossed the no fault threshold and share no more than 50 percent fault.

The amount of fault you share will be reflected in your compensation. For example, if you share 10 percent fault, your compensation will be reduced by 10 percent.

The At-Fault Party’s Negligence

In a personal injury claim, you must be able to prove the other party was negligent. When it concerns a car accident, this involves proving the following:

  • The at-fault driver owed a duty of care.
  • The at-fault driver breached that duty of care.
  • The at-fault driver’s actions resulted in your injuries.
  • You incurred economic and non-economic damages related to the injury sufficient to cross one or more of the Minnesota no fault thresholds.

Your personal injury lawyer will obtain the necessary documentation to prove the other driver breached their duty of care and that you have crossed one of the Minnesota no fault thresholds.

The Extent of the Injuries

The severity of the injuries can significantly influence the settlement process. A fair settlement needs to be addressed once your condition has stabilized and should include compensation for current and future medical expenses. It should also account for how the injury has affected your life:

  • Are you able to work full-time? Are you able to work only part-time?
  • Do you need assistance with your day-to-day needs?
  • Will you need ongoing medical treatment?

How do Minnesota's insurance laws affect car accident settlements?

In Minnesota, every auto policy requires that the driver must be insured with the minimum amount of four types of insurance for every vehicle they operate: personal injury protection (PIP), liability coverage, underinsured coverage, and uninsured coverage.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

The minimum requirement for personal injury protection per person and per accident is $20,000 for medical expenses and $20,000 for non-medical expenses. Regardless of fault, each driver’s PIP covers their personal medical expenses up to $20,000 and the non-medical (e.g., wage loss) up to $20,000.

In Minnesota you are not able to bring a liability claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver, unless:

  • Your medical expenses exceed $40,000
  • You suffer a permanent injury, scarring, disfigurement, or 60 days of disability
  • You suffer a permanent injury, scarring, disfigurement, or 60 days of disability

According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, no-fault claims must be made within six months of the accident. A lapse in treatment can also extinguish your no-fault coverage

Liability Coverage

If the car accident is your fault, your liability coverage pays for the injury and property damages. If the other person is at fault, you are eligible to make a claim against the other person’s liability coverage.

The minimum requirements are:

  • $30,000 for injuries for one person
  • $60,000 for injuries for two or more people
  • $10,000 for physical damage to the other person’s car or property

Underinsured Coverage

If the other driver is responsible for the accident but does not have enough liability coverage to pay for the medical expenses that exceed your PIP benefits, underinsured coverage may pay for some or all of the remainder. The minimum requirements are $25,000 for injuries to one person and $50,000 for injuries to two or more people. This applies to all people under your policy.

Uninsured Coverage

If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, uninsured coverage is used. The minimum requirements are $25,000 for injuries to one person and $50,000 for injuries to two or more people.

Contact Milavetz Law, P.A. Today

It can take a few months or, in some cases, over a year to finalize a car accident settlement. Many factors are involved including the degree of your injury and the amount of insurance available.

For additional information on car accident settlements, contact us to talk to a Minneapolis car accident lawyer at Milavetz Law, P.A. today.

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