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With over five million vehicles on Minnesota roads, traffic accidents are common. Rear-end collisions make up a significant percentage of the state’s urban and rural crashes. And despite their reputation as fender-benders, they can cause serious and fatal injuries.
If you’ve sustained injuries in a rear-end collision, you may have the right to receive financial compensation for your losses. An experienced Minnesota car accident lawyer can help.
Here are some important things to know about rear-end crashes in Minnesota.
Rear-end collisions are the most common type of motor vehicle accident. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), they account for 29 percent of all car crashes, many of which end in injuries and fatalities. Data collected by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (MnDPS) reflects that in a recent year, more than 24,000 rear-end collisions occurred in the state.
Rear-end collisions have numerous causes. Here are some of the most common, with links to descriptions of them by MnDPS.
Rear-end collisions have the potential to inflict severe and fatal injuries. Victims of rear-end accidents commonly suffer:
Many of the injuries above can result in a fatality, especially if the victim does not receive prompt medical attention. Injuries that get proper care may heal in time but can cause severe pain, expense, and disruption in a victim’s life.
Under Minnesota law, injured victims of rear-end collisions have the right to demand money damages from the party (or parties) at fault, so long as they have either exhausted their no-fault insurance benefits or suffered severe injuries. An experienced rear-end accident attorney can represent victims in pursuing lawsuits and insurance claims for that compensation.
Various parties can bear the fault for a rear-end collision in Minnesota. Some common parties who may face liability include:
In most Minnesota rear-end accidents, the driver of the trailing vehicle bears at least some of the blame. All Minnesota drivers must maintain sufficient control of their cars to stop in time to avoid colliding with another vehicle in front of them, regardless of road or weather conditions. Most rear-end collisions in which the trailing driver fails to come to a safe stop constitute a likely violation of that rule.
But not always. The driver of the front vehicle can also be responsible for causing a rear-end collision.
That could happen if:
Others on the road, including motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and work crews, can also bear some responsibility for triggering a rear-end collision.
For example, this could occur if:
If a driver causes a rear-end collision while operating a work vehicle, the driver's employer may have a legal liability to the accident victims under Minnesota law. Generally, employers must answer for their employees' careless or reckless actions. A driver's employer might also owe a rear-end accident victim for failing to train the driver properly or maintain the vehicle that crashed in safe working condition.
Government agencies or owners of private roads may bear responsibility for a rear-end collision in Minnesota if they:
The company that built and sold either vehicle in a rear-end collision could also share in the fault for the accident. Under Minnesota law, you may hold automotive manufacturers strictly liable if defects in their products trigger a crash, such as if they design a car with a malfunctioning dangerous braking system.
Generally, injured victims of Minnesota rear-end collisions can demand payment of two categories of damages from the at-fault party (or parties).
In some cases, the victim of a rear-end collision in Minnesota may also seek punitive damages, which punish the at-fault party for extreme recklessness or intentionally harmful conduct.
The amount of money a rear-end collision victim might receive as compensation can vary widely from case to case.
Numerous factors affect the potential amount of the victim’s financial recovery, including:
The most reliable way to maximize the money you obtain for your rear-end collision injuries and losses is to hire an experienced Minnesota car accident attorney to handle your claim.
Securing compensation for rear-end collision injuries and losses typically involves pursuing an insurance claim against the at-fault party’s liability insurance policy, a lawsuit against the at-fault party, or both. In virtually all rear-end accident cases, hiring an experienced attorney gives victims the greatest chance of a favorable resolution of their claim.
Every rear-end collision matter a personal injury lawyer handles differs.
But in general, seeking compensation involves many of the following steps (although not necessarily in this order).
Throughout this process, the lawyer for the rear-end collision victim advocates zealously for the victim’s rights and fights to achieve the maximum settlement or jury award.
Minnesota lawyers for rear-end collision victims typically represent their clients on a contingent fee basis (also known as working on contingency). In this arrangement, the lawyer and client agree that the lawyer’s fee will consist of a certain percentage of any money recovered on the client’s behalf. In other words, the lawyer only gets paid if the accident victim gets paid.
Contingent fees make legal services affordable to all rear-end collision victims in Minnesota. Even victims with few or no financial resources can afford to hire a lawyer on a contingent fee basis.
Rear-end collisions are common in Minnesota, but every victim suffers unique personal injuries. With the help of an experienced Minnesota car accident lawyer, crash victims can secure significant financial compensation to help them pay their bills, heal from their injuries, and return to living their lives.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a Minnesota rear-end collision, the law may entitle you to receive money damages. To find out about your rights, contact a Minnesota car accident attorney for a free, no-obligation consultation.