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No-Contact No-Fault

Cory P. Whalen - SiebenCarey "Know Your Rights" AttorneyMarch 20, 2013

As this long, cold and icy winter finally draws to a close, I thought we’d look at one more slip and fall case involving Minnesota ice. Similar to the cases discussed in a previous post, this case involves the interpretation of the term “use of a motor vehicle” as used in Minnesota’s No-Fault insurance laws.

Under the No-Fault statute, a person suffering injuries arising out of the maintenance or “use of a motor vehicle” has a right to benefits. This would naturally include drivers, passengers and pedestrians injured by motor vehicles. 

But what if the victim doesn’t fit these categories? What if the person doesn’t even make contact with a motor vehicle? Can there possibly be coverage? The surprising answer is “yes.” 

In Nadeau v. Austin Mut. Ins. Co., a woman on an icy street slipped and fell as she attempted to avoid being hit by an oncoming vehicle. Even though she never made contact with the vehicle, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled there was coverage under the No-Fault Act. The court reasoned that the injury arose out of the use of the vehicle since the victim was in the vehicle’s “zone of danger.” In other words, the use of the vehicle caused the danger the victim was trying to avoid when the fall occurred. 

If you have been injured in an accident and have a question regarding your No-Fault coverage, please contact me directly at 612-333-9782 or cory.whalen@knowyourrights.com.

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