What can you do if you’re in a car accident in Minnesota and the at-fault driver without insurance? In Minnesota, you have some no-fault insurance coverage for certain out-of-pocket losses. Additionally, you may be able to file a claim or lawsuit to pursue damages beyond what your insurance covers. If you want to maximize your compensation, the car accident lawyers at Sieben Polk Law Firm can help.
Every licensed driver in Minnesota must carry an active auto insurance policy. However, too often, people illegally drive without insurance and cause car accidents. In Minnesota, car insurance covers certain out-of-pocket losses, including medical bills and lost wages, after an accident. In addition, you may have purchased uninsured motorist insurance coverage, which provides compensation if the other driver lacks an active insurance policy.
However, your insurance policy might be limited, or the insurer may contest your claim. You might not know what to do next. An experienced car accident lawyer at Sieben Polk Law Firm can help you understand how to deal with your insurance company and whether you should sue the uninsured driver.
What Happens if an At-Fault Driver Has No Insurance in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, if an at-fault driver has no insurance and you’re injured in a collision, you can receive coverage from your own auto insurance policy.
In fact, you must first seek coverage under your insurance policy after the accident. That’s because Minnesota is a no-fault state. In other words, your insurance covers you for some accident-related damages, regardless of who is at fault. No-fault coverage makes it easier to navigate claims in the aftermath of an accident, regardless of the cause or whether the other driver has insurance.
You must make a claim on your own personal injury protection, or PIP, policy to cover accident-related medical expenses. However, Minnesota’s no-fault status doesn’t extend to property damage or non-economic damages like pain and suffering. It only applies to economic damages for a personal injury.
If you’re in an accident, the other driver must be found at fault before property damage liability insurance will cover the cost of repairing the damage to your car. Otherwise, you must rely on optional collision insurance to cover damage to your vehicle.
In addition, Minnesota does allow you to pursue non-economic damages in a claim against an at-fault driver if you meet a certain threshold.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you navigate the claims process and get optimal compensation.
Minnesota Minimum Insurance Coverage Requirements
Minnesota has specific vehicle insurance laws. All drivers in Minnesota must carry the following coverage:
- Bodily Injury Liability: This covers medical expenses when you’re found at fault. You must carry $30,000 to cover injuries to one person and $60,000 to cover injuries to two or more people.
- Property Damage Liability: This covers property damage expenses when you’re at fault in an accident. You’re required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in coverage.
- Personal Injury Protection: This covers your medical or funeral expenses and lost wages, regardless of who causes the accident. You must carry at least $40,000 worth of personal injury protection coverage as a Minnesota resident, including $20,000 for medical expenses and $20,000 for peripheral costs per person injured in an accident.
- Uninsured Motorist: This covers medical expenses if your PIP coverage has been exhausted and an uninsured driver is at fault. You must carry $25,000 to cover injuries to one person and $50,000 to cover injuries to two or more people.
- Underinsured Motorist: This covers the cost of medical claims if the other driver is at fault for the accident but has no liability coverage or doesn’t have enough coverage for your claims. You must carry $25,000 to cover injuries to one person and $50,000 to cover injuries to two or more people.
How Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Work in Minnesota?
If you exhaust your PIP coverage, your uninsured or underinsured policy can help you cover more medical expenses beyond PIP if the at-fault driver is not insured. Also, unlike PIP coverage, you can typically pursue compensation under uninsured or underinsured coverage for non-economic damages like pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Uninsured motorist, or UIM, coverage is part of your required car insurance policy in Minnesota. Most car insurance policies have strict deadlines that dictate how quickly you must notify the insurance company in the event of an accident. The deadlines can be even shorter on uninsured motorist claims, so it’s urgent to contact your insurance company immediately upon finding out that the other driver is not insured.
To file an uninsured motorist claim, follow your insurer’s claims process. This typically involves submitting documentation about the accident, including photos and police reports. An experienced lawyer at Sieben Polk Law Firm can help you navigate your uninsured motorist claim and negotiate with your insurance company.
Pursuing Damages Beyond Your PIP Coverage When the At-Fault Driver Is Underinsured or Uninsured
You may have incurred more costs than your insurance policy can cover, including non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. There are two routes to pursuing compensation beyond your PIP and uninsured motorist coverage. If the driver has insurance, you can file a third-party insurance claim against the at-fault driver. Alternatively, you can file a lawsuit against them even if they don’t have insurance.
To file a third-party claim or a lawsuit, at least one of the following must apply:
- You incurred over $4,000 in reasonable medical expenses due to the accident
- You suffered from more than 60 days of disability because of the accident
- You developed a permanent injury or disfigurement because of the accident
A skilled car and truck accident lawyer can help you choose the best option for your situation and help you get the compensation you deserve.
What Do I Do After Getting Into an Accident With an Uninsured Motorist?
After you get into an accident with an uninsured driver, it’s important to take action immediately. Whether you pursue an insurance claim or a lawsuit, you’ll need the same documentation.
As the insured driver, here’s what you should do.
Take Photos of the Crash
Document the accident by taking photos of the crash. Your photos should show the damage done to your car from all angles and, ideally, be time-stamped. If you’re visibly hurt, take photos of your injuries.
Obtain a Police Report
Contact the police to file a report and let them know you’ve been hit by an uninsured driver. A police report provides documentation of the details of the auto accident. Your insurance company will want to see a copy of the police report to substantiate your claim.
Check Your Coverage
Call your car insurance company immediately and verify your active coverage. Double-check the level of your coverage. Most insurance companies require immediate notification after an accident.
Consult With a Car Accident Lawyer
After collecting documentation and checking your coverage details, consult with a car or motorcycle accident lawyer before moving forward. A qualified attorney has the experience necessary to support you in navigating the situation and maximizing your compensation.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Minnesota
In Minnesota, driving without insurance is considered a misdemeanor. If you’re found guilty of driving without insurance, you face the following penalties:
- A minimum fine of $200, with a maximum fine of $1000 for first offenses and $3000 for second offenses
- Revocation of your license and registration
- Impoundment of your car
- License and registration reinstatement fees
Finally, driving without insurance in Minnesota can lead to jail time. If you’re found at fault for an accident and have no insurance, you can face imprisonment of up to 90 days or up to one year if the accident is a second offense of driving without insurance. Jail time is more likely if the accident causes a serious injury or death.
Our Minneapolis Area Car Accident Lawyers Are Here To Help
You shouldn’t try to navigate a car accident alone, especially when an uninsured driver has hit you. Act fast because there’s a two-year statute of limitation on car accident lawsuits.
After an accident with an uninsured driver, having a skilled legal team on your side can make all the difference in securing fair compensation for your injuries. A compassionate wrongful death lawyer can also help you seek justice if you’ve lost a loved one due to another driver’s negligence.