Determining Fault in a Minnesota Car Accident
Determining fault is key to getting compensation after a car accident injury. But what is fault, and how does it impact your injury claim? Here’s what you need to know.
What Is “Fault” in an Accident?
Fault means that someone caused the accident through negligence or misconduct. The person who caused the accident is said to be at fault. For example, if a driver collided with another vehicle because they ran a red light, that driver would be at fault for the crash.
There isn’t always one at-fault party, though. Multiple drivers can share the fault for an accident. If two drivers collide while both are speeding and driving recklessly, neither is likely to be 100% at fault.
And while the fault for an accident usually rests with a driver, it doesn’t have to. Cyclists and pedestrians can also be at fault for an accident.
Why Does Fault Matter in a Minnesota Car Accident Claim?
To prove the fault of another party, you must present evidence showing how their negligence or misconduct led to the accident. That evidence may include:
- Eyewitness statements
- Expert witness testimony
- Police reports
- Photos of the accident scene
- Video footage (such as from a nearby security camera or dashcam)
Your attorney will gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim and help you win the full compensation you deserve. This can be a straightforward process in some cases, such as a no-doubt liability accident.
What Is “No-Doubt Liability?”
No-doubt liability refers to accidents where one party is generally considered to be at fault. Common examples include:
- Rear-end accidents: in a rear-end collision, the driver in the back is usually at fault.
- Left-hand turns: when a driver is involved in an accident while making a left-hand turn, they are typically at fault.
- Drunk driving: if a driver is intoxicated while driving, they will always be considered at fault for a collision regardless of any other factors.
- Backing up: if a driver backs up into another vehicle, they will likely be at fault.
In these cases, it can be much easier to establish responsibility for the accident and any injuries involved.
What Does It Mean That Minnesota Is a “No-Fault State?”
You may be aware that Minnesota is a no-fault state. What exactly does that mean? Under Minnesota’s no-fault insurance law, injury victims are entitled to a certain amount of compensation after every accident, regardless of who was responsible. You can claim this compensation through your auto insurance policy's personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
However, there are limits to how much compensation you can receive through PIP. It may not be enough to cover the full damages of your injury. In that case, you can pursue further compensation through a traditional personal injury claim against an at-fault party.
What If I’m Partially at Fault for an Accident?
As we mentioned above, there isn’t always one party who is 100% responsible for an accident. Fortunately, you can seek compensation for an accident even if you were partially at fault. This is because Minnesota personal injury law uses the doctrine of comparative negligence. That means that if responsibility is split between multiple parties, the less responsible party can claim compensation.
For example, let’s say you were texting while driving and thus distracted as you approached a green light at an intersection. Another driver ran a red light, crossing your path and crashing into you. Because you were distracted, you would likely be considered partially at fault. However, since the other driver’s error was worse, they would likely be found more responsible and liable for your damages.
In this case, the amount you could claim would be reduced by your responsibility. Let’s say you were found to be 20% responsible for the accident, and the other driver was 80% responsible. If you would normally be entitled to $10,000 in damages, you would receive $8,000 ($10,000 - 20% = $8,000). While that may not be the amount you hoped for, it’s certainly better than no compensation.
Have You Been Injured in a Minnesota Auto Accident?
If so, you may be entitled to compensation—and we can help you get it.
At SiebenCarey, we’ve spent decades helping thousands of injury victims get the financial support they need after an accident. Just contact us, and we can:
- Explain your rights to you
- Answer all your questions
- Investigate the details of your accident
- Build a solid case on your behalf
- Help you recover the full amount of compensation you’re owed