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Minnesota Personal Injury & Wrongful Death – Did You Know

April 19, 2018

A personal injury or wrongful death claim can arise in Minnesota under a number of different scenarios.  Often times these types of claim are intimidating and confusing.

Did you know…

Dog Bites – Minnesota law imposes strict liability on a dog owner for dog bites.  This means that no knowledge or negligence is required for a dog owner to be held liable for injuries caused by his or her dog.   Minn. Stat. § 347.22; Engquist v. Loyas, 803 N.W.2d 400 (Minn. 2011).  In fact, claims have been brought against a dog owner even in situations where the dog did not directly bite anyone, but still caused injury.  Liability as a dog owner can also extend to a person who harbors or keeps a dog.  A person “harboring” a dog is generally someone who feeds and cares for a dog.

Car Accidents – A pedestrian or bicyclist traveling across a street and struck by a vehicle may find coverage for injuries with his or her own car insurance.  The pedestrian/bicyclist’s insurance in this example is called no-fault (PIP) insurance and is required on all “motor vehicles” in Minnesota.  That pedestrian/bicyclist may also be able to file a claim for bodily injury against the at-fault driver.  A person injured in a car accident must, however, satisfy a certain threshold before bringing a case in court for bodily injury against the at-fault driver.  Those thresholds include:

  • Permanent injury or disfigurement;
  • Disability lasting more than 60 days;
  • More than $4,000 in medical expenses (excluding diagnostics like x-rays); and

But what if the at-fault driver in the example above does not have insurance?  In that scenario, a claim could again be filed against the pedestrian/bicyclist’s own policy for uninsured coverage.

Motorcycles – Minnesota does not require the same type of insurance on a motorcycle as is required on a car or truck.  A motorcycle owner need only carry liability coverage – no-fault (PIP) and underinsured/uninsured coverages are not required.  Minn. Stat. § 65B.48, Subd. 5.  This can have a dramatic effect on the amount of recovery available in an accident involving a motorcycle, and the source of recovery. 

Wrongful Death – The time limit within which a claim for wrongful death can be brought is generally 3 years.  Minn. Stat. § 573.02.  In addition, a claim for wrongful death must be brought by a trustee for the surviving spouse and next of kin.  Minn. Stat. § 573.02, Subd. 2, 3.  To complicate matters, the recovery in a wrongful death case is limited to “pecuniary loss.”  Pecuniary loss includes the reasonable value of counsel, guidance, advice and assistance, among other things. Pain and suffering, as is often claimed in car accident cases, is not available in a wrongful death case however.

Our law firm has successfully litigated a wide range of personal injury and wrongful death matters.  Contact us at 507-345-1166 to schedule an appointment and discuss your case today.

 

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