Articles

Understanding No-Fault Insurance

by Benjamin Tarshish on December 23, 2019

It doesn’t matter whether you are hit by a car, walking across the street, riding a bicycle, a passenger in a friend’s car or behind the wheel yourself, your auto insurance can come to your rescue. The law requires that every licensed vehicle be insured. As part of that, the vehicle has Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which is what no-fault insurance is. This coverage is what takes care of medical bills, lost wages and the cost of replacement services resulting from your auto-related accident. 

It’s surprising how many people have no idea that they can rely on this coverage to help them. Even though you were not behind the wheel, your own auto insurance will still cover you if you’re hurt in the accident. It also covers your household members who may not even be licensed to drive.  

No-Fault Insurance Explained

The term “no-fault insurance” refers to the state law that spells out the insurance coverage residents are required to have in order to drive a motor vehicle. It enables anyone involved in an auto accident to quickly recover their losses no matter who caused the accident. This coverage would reimburse them for lost wages, medical bills and any other financial losses as a result of the accident. Prior to this law going into effect, victims often waited for months or years for benefits to be paid. No-fault insurance is also called personal injury protection. Drivers in the state of Minnesota must have at least $20,000 in coverage for medical costs and $20,000 in coverage for lost wages and/or replacement services to cover those involved in a motor vehicle accident. 

Insurance companies have been known to dispute whether they’re obligated to pay no-fault benefits. This is when you may need to take the insurance company (typically your own) to arbitration to get a decision as to who owes what to whom.

When do I have the right to file a claim against the driver who caused the accident?

All insured drivers in Minnesota are legally entitled to receive no-fault benefits if they become involved in an auto-related accident. Depending on what exactly occurred in the accident you were involved in, you may also be legally entitled to pursue a claim of personal injury liability against the insurer covering the individual who caused the accident. This occurs with the following types of damages: 

  • Disfigurement;
  • Permanent injuries;
  • When over $4,000 is accrued in medical bills, products or services (except for diagnostic tests like MRIs or X-rays);
  • Disability of over 60 days;
  • Death

If the individual who caused the accident has no insurance, you may need to file your claim or lawsuit against your own insurance company under your policy’s uninsured motorist coverage.

Note: Your No-Fault claim would be separate from a claim of liability you may have under state law against any of the other drivers that were involved in your auto-related accident. 

Contact us today

If you or a family member has sustained injuries in a motorcycle, car, truck or drunk driving accident, then you could benefit from expert legal advice and representation. For more information, book a no-fee consultation with an experienced injury attorney today. We welcome your call today at 952-361-5556 (or fill out the free Case Evaluation Form). The initial consultation won’t cost you anything, nor will we charge you any fees until you have money to collect. 

Dealing with Auto Insurance Companies

by Benjamin Tarshish on December 9, 2019

Dealing with an auto insurance agency can be quite a hassle. The company has a single objective – making money. They accomplish this by optimizing their intake of premium payments while simultaneously paying out the bare minimum on insurance claims.

With that in mind, it’s hardly a surprise to see insurance agencies nickel-and-diming claimants to the fullest extent for the sake of saving money. These companies understand how unlikely it is that they’ll be brought to court – most people end up settling. If property damages only amount to a few hundred dollars or so, chances are no lawsuits will be filed against the company.

This usually results in frustration with insurance agencies after an automobile accident (or any type of personal injury incident, for that matter). We are often asked, “Can an insurance agency be sued?”

Can I sue an insurance company?

For the most part, insurance agencies can’t be directly sued for damages or injuries stemming from an automobile accident. Whomever inflicted the damage is the person/entity to sue.

For instance

Let’s say Mr. Doe hit your car from behind while you were on the highway, and he has auto insurance with Geico. You’ll need to get Mr. Doe’s automobile insurance details. A claim can be filed with Geico, where you may ask for a case settlement of $25,000. If the company responds with a $10,000 offer, and you don’t think that’s enough, what steps can you take?

A lawsuit will be filed against Mr. Doe (as opposed to Geico) by your injury lawyer. The insurance agency has an obligation to defend him. As such, after documentation pertaining to your lawsuit is served to Mr. Doe, he will get in touch with Geico. The agency will then hire legal representation for Mr. Doe.

To sue an insurance agency, what must you do?

An insurance agency may exhibit “bad faith” behavior. This term, though infrequently used, is mostly applicable to automobile insurance claims.

Basically, bad faith claims come about when automobile accident victims file claims against the driver (the defendant). In such a scenario, there may be reason to believe that compensation will exceed the amount paid by an insurance policy. Regardless, the insurance agency may decline to “tender.” For the sake of settling the case, they may instead opt to issue the full value of an insurance policy.

If your injury lawyer has a lawsuit filed for you and you receive more than the policy amount, it might be feasible to have a lawsuit filed against the driver’s insurance agency, too. In doing so, you may be able to recover the whole verdict amount in addition to attorney fees, among other expenses.

For more information on dealing with car insurance companies, book a no-fee consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney today. We welcome your call today at 952-361-5556 (or fill out the free Case Evaluation Form). The initial consultation won’t cost you anything, nor will we charge you any fees until you have money to collect. 

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