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Automobile Accidents - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is negligence the basis of auto collision cases?
  2. What do I do if I have been in a car accident?
  3. Who takes care of the damage to my car in the collision?
  4. I sustained an injury when the bus I ride to work was involved in an accident. Is the bus company at fault?


Is negligence the basis of auto collision cases?

In general, yes. Automobile collisions, the area in which many personal injury actions arise, provide a good example of how the concept of negligence works in our tort system. The laws regulating automobile accident injuries and deaths work differently depending upon the state in which you live because some states are “fault” states and others are “no-fault” states. Minnesota is a “no-fault” state.

What do I do if I have been in a car accident?

First, call the police to report the accident. If you have been injured, seek medical attention. Then, notify your auto insurance company of the accident and your injuries. It would be helpful to get a copy of the police report as soon as possible. Your medical provider(s) will also need the information from your automobile insurance provider in order to bill them through your “no-fault” benefits. If you have called your insurance company, they will give you a claim number that you should give to your medical providers in order to access your “no-fault” benefits. It is important to report the collision and any injuries you may have sustained in the collision as soon as possible to preserve evidence should you decide to make a claim for benefits and/or damages. Although the initial work to report the accident and set up your benefits requires time, it should not be very difficult. If you are experiencing problems, or are unable to communicate with the proper authorities and/or insurance providers due to your injuries, please contact one of our lawyers to discuss how we can help you.

Who takes care of the damage to my car in the collision?

Usually, once you report the collision to your insurance company and provide them with the other driver's insurance information, the insurance companies will arrange to have your car brought in for a damage estimate. If you have an insurance deductible, you will be required to pay your deductible before the repairs are made. Repairing the damage to your car should not require you to "fight it out" with the insurance companies. If you experience problems, please call one of our lawyers to discuss your options.

I sustained an injury when the bus I ride to work was involved in an accident. Is the bus company at fault?

Most likely. Common carriers – bus lines, airlines, and railroads – owe their passengers "the highest degree of care" and are held to a special responsibility to their passengers. Common carriers must exercise extra caution in protecting their riders and do everything they can to keep them safe.

Whether you win your case will depend on the circumstances of the accident. Did the driver pull out in front of a car and have to slam on the brakes? What were the road conditions? A jury will have to consider those factual circumstances to determine if your driver acted negligently. But as an employee of a common carrier, the driver must provide you with a high degree of care. (If the bus were hit by another car, the other driver also may be liable for your injuries.)