Individuals who have been in a car accident may wonder whether they are entitled to receive compensation for their personal injuries in an accident. It is important to remember that Minnesota uses the 51 percent bar rule when determining whether parties are entitled to receive compensation for their personal injuries. This means that if you are found to be 51 percent or more at fault for a given accident that resulted in personal injury, you will not be entitled to seek damages for the other 49% of damages that the other party is responsible for. Under Minnesota law, you are only allowed to seek damages if the other party is found to be either 50 percent at fault or higher.
Imagine this scenario: you’re driving your car and run a stop sign at a four way stop. At the exact same time, another driver also fails to obey the stop sign. You both crash. Each of you is found in court to be 50% responsible for the accident. In this case, you can seek damages. Of course, the amount of money you can recover will be reduced, dependent on your level of fault. In this case, your personal injury lawyer would likely calculate your damages based on medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs, and then seek 50% of that amount. Of course, determining fault is a complex matter. A personal injury lawyer can take the time to review the relevant facts of your case. There may be facts that could change the percentage of blame you are entitled to receive. For instance, if the other driver was found to be driving under the influence, or illegally texting and driving when he or she ran the stop sign, you may be entitled to more money under the law.
Every state’s comparative fault law is different, so it is important to speak to your personal injury lawyer about the rules that pertain to your local municipality. Claims Journal has an excellent article that outlines comparative fault law as it is interpreted by various states.
Essentially, Minnesota law allows you to collect money as long as you are not found to be more at fault for a given accident than the other party is at fault.
Fault in Minnesota is defined as any act that is negligent or reckless. Failure to avoid an accident or prevent an accident will also be taken into account when determining fault and negligence.
Because determining fault is complex, it is important to seek the advice of a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer in Minnesota to determine whether you are entitled to seek damages for an accident. The facts of a given case are seldom simple and fault is rarely clear-cut. A personal injury lawyer can perform a proper investigation, review the relevant facts of your case, seek out witnesses, and other evidence in order to help you build the strongest case possible.