While walking may be a great form of exercise throughout Minnesota, when nearby drivers don’t pay attention, they can make it dangerous.
Let’s face it, when you are walking, you are vulnerable. Cars pose unique threats to pedestrians, and a reckless driver can cause serious injuries or death.
Pedestrian Injuries and Loss of Life
Unfortunately, in one recent year, multiple families were forced to face the loss of a loved one following a Minnesota pedestrian accident. In a single year, 50 victims lost their lives, and an additional 984 suffered injury, according to a recent report issued by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. There is no doubt a lack of protection available to pedestrians means these injuries are likely to be serious.
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers understand the frustrations a pedestrian may face in attempting to get an insurance company to acknowledge their financial losses. Our goal is to help level the playing field and ensure the insurance company treats you fairly.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Unfortunately, because a pedestrian’s entire body is exposed, being struck by a vehicle can cause serious injuries.
Several factors will determine the extent of the injury, but the most common pedestrian accident injuries include:
- Head and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones (leg, pelvis)
These are the most likely injuries for victims who survive a motor vehicle crash. Factors that may determine the severity of injuries include the size of the vehicle, the angle at which it strikes the pedestrian, the speed the vehicle traveled, and the overall health of the victim.
Identifying the Responsible Party in Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians have the right of way in Minnesota. Even when an intersection contains no marked crosswalk, the pedestrian always has the right of way. Unfortunately, a car stopped at an intersection to ensure a pedestrian can cross safely can be struck from behind and forced into a pedestrian, causing serious injury.
Often, drivers are simply distracted and fail to see a pedestrian step off the curb to cross a street. Careless driving has serious criminal consequences in Minnesota, but they do nothing to pay for the injuries of accident victims.
This is why Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers commits to helping victims. We can review all the pertinent police reports and accident reports and help identify the responsible parties and attempt to hold them financially accountable.
Minnesota No-Fault Insurance and Pedestrian Injuries
Pedestrians are likely to face serious financial challenges if a moving vehicle strikes them. Recovery time will depend largely on the extent of the injury they suffered.
However, Minnesota is a no-fault insurance state, so you need to understand:
- Coverage limits - the minimum personal injury protection coverage in Minnesota is $40,000. You may use half of this amount to reimburse your medical costs. You may the other half toward other losses, including lost wages.
- Losses only - interestingly enough, the wording in Minnesota law helps insurance companies minimize their payouts. Specifically, the wording is, “No-Fault coverage applies only to expenses resulting from injuries sustained in an accident. It does not mean that insurance companies will cover all losses in an accident regardless of who is at fault.”
- Pedestrian coverage - pedestrians who have auto insurance would be eligible to file a claim against their policy. For those who lack coverage, someone in their household with coverage may place a claim against their policy.
Because of the complexities of no-fault coverage, working with a pedestrian accident attorney at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers could prove even more important. You should make sure you understand how this will work before filing a claim.
Victims should also be aware that there is a time limit to file a claim under a no-fault policy. This limit is six months. This time frame may appear to be sufficient, but if you are an injured pedestrian, you may not know the extent of your injuries before the six-month period expires.
Potential Costs Associated with Pedestrian Accidents
The overall costs of your injuries are probably higher than you think. If your insurance has a deductible, you need treatments or medication it won't cover, or require more physical therapy than your insurance will cover, those bills can mount up quickly.
However, some of the other financial losses you could be facing include:
- Wages and benefits - the longer you are out of work, the more money you lose. Even if you can collect disability payments, insurance will not cover your full wages. Additionally, you may lose out on key benefits, including matching funds to a pension or 401(k) plan, an increase in medical insurance premiums, or other benefit reductions because of your injuries. Minnesota statutes limit this amount to $500 per week.
- Household cost changes - the more severe your injuries, the higher the likelihood you will need household help to get through your recovery period. After all, it is pretty difficult to function around the home when you are on crutches, in a wheelchair, or confined to bed. These losses can add up quickly.
- Other expenses - victims of a Minnesota pedestrian accident may face other expenses including in-home medical assistance. The best way to understand what you can claim for damages is to speak with an attorney who has experience handling pedestrian accidents.
At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, we have more than a decade of experience representing victims who have suffered injuries because a driver was operating their vehicle carelessly. We understand how frustrating the insurance system can be to navigate, and we also understand the unique challenges faced by pedestrians.
Pedestrian Accident Frequently Asked Questions
We understand if you have questions that need answers after a vehicle struck you. At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, we also are aware the more information you have the better you can protect yourself. Here are some of the most common questions we hear, and our responses.
Do I have to file a police report following a pedestrian accident?
As a pedestrian, you need not file a report. The Minnesota statutes that required citizen reporting of an automobile accident no longer exist. However, any time a roadway accident results in bodily injury, you must contact the police. The police will take all the details about the accident and create an official record of which you are entitled to request.
Does no-fault insurance play a role in my claim of pedestrian injuries?
Yes, it does. First of all, in most cases, you will have to file a claim with your own insurance company for your losses. In theory, no-fault claims settle more quickly and result in less litigation.
I do not drive. Therefore, I do not have no-fault coverage. What now?
If anyone in your household has auto insurance, their policy covers you. Keep in mind, anyone with a registered motor vehicle must have a minimum of $40,000 in personal injury protection coverage before the car is considered legal on Minnesota roadways.
What happens if my injuries cost more than what my insurance covers?
Under Minnesota statutes, if your injuries result in losses of more than $4,000 or disable you for 90 days or more, you may file a claim against the at-fault driver. Discuss all of your options with a pedestrian accident lawyer before you make a final decision about your next steps.
How long do I have to file a claim?
If you or anyone in your household has auto insurance coverage, you have only six months to file a claim with your own insurer.
However, if circumstances warrant stepping outside the no-fault insurance, there may be additional time given to you to file a claim against the responsible party. The statute of limitations in Minnesota requires filing a personal injury claim within six years.
What happens if the insurance company denies my claim?
If the insurance company denies your claim outright and you have not spoken with an attorney, call Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers immediately. We have successfully worked on these types of cases.
In fact, in one recent case, the insurer told our client they could not honor their claim, and we were nonetheless able to secure a final settlement of just over $1,000,000. We cannot guarantee any results as all cases are unique, but this does show that a denial from an insurer isn’t always the end of the road.
Should I just try to negotiate with the insurance company if they deny my claim?
No. Unfortunately, attempting to do this on your own could force the insurer to dig their heels in and you will be wasting valuable time. You should focus on regaining your physical health and strength. Let us work with the insurance company on your behalf.
The person who hit me is facing criminal charges. What does that mean for my claim?
It may not mean much. A criminal case is separate from a civil claim. Claims of personal injury are civil matters. In most cases, we can settle with an insurance company. If we cannot reach an acceptable agreement, we will prepare to take your pedestrian accident case to court.
How soon after an accident should I contact a lawyer?
We usually recommend an accident victim contact a lawyer as soon as possible following an injury. There are reasons why this makes sense. Remember, insurance company adjusters are not there to protect you even if you are their customer.
They want to protect the insurance company. They will attempt to get you to accept a lower settlement than you might be entitled to, they may ask you to provide a recorded statement, and they may even suggest you were responsible for your injury. These are just some of the steps they may take to get out of paying for a legitimate complaint.
How much can I expect for a settlement for my injuries?
Every client asks this question. However, it is important to understand there is no easy answer to this question. Every case is different. Every accident is different. Everyone’s losses are different. Therefore, until we have had an opportunity to evaluate your case, review your medical records, and get a complete understanding of your injuries, we cannot address this question with any degree of certainty.
How am I supposed to afford a lawyer when my income decreases?
This is a legitimate question and one that is fairly easy to answer. First, our case evaluations are free of charge. These consultations are an opportunity for us to review your case, evaluate the evidence of negligence by the driver who struck you, and help you understand your legal options.
In many instances, if we agree to take on your case, we will discuss a contingency fee agreement. Unless we secure a settlement on your behalf, we will not collect a legal fee.
Does hiring a lawyer mean I cannot accept a settlement?
No. This is not the way it works. When you hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your Minnesota pedestrian accident injury case, we are obligated to inform you of any offer in your case. Our job will be to advise you whether the settlement is reasonable and advise you about the pros and cons of accepting the settlement. If you tell us you want to accept it, we must accept the settlement on your behalf. You always remain in control of accepting or rejecting settlement offers.
Contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers for Minnesota Pedestrian Accident Injury Assistance
If you are one of the thousands of victims who suffer injury in an accident while a pedestrian in Minnesota, contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers at (612) 446-3999 and let us review your case. If you are a family member of someone who lost their life in a pedestrian accident, we may also be able to provide you with legal help. Contact us for a free case evaluation, and we can help you understand your legal options.
43 SE Main St
Minneapolis, MN 55414