Under Minnesota law a claim can be made against the driver and owner of the vehicle that caused your injuries. Since Minnesota is a “No-Fault” state, a threshold must be met in order to make a claim against the wrongdoer. In other words, your injuries must be sufficiently serious for the claim to be made. You must meet at least one of the following thresholds in order for your claim against the other driver to proceed:
1) $4,000 in Medical Expense: If your medical expenses exceed $4,000 you have crossed a threshold and can bring a claim against the other driver for pain, suffering, future medical bills, loss of earning capacity, wage loss and emotional distress. X-rays and other diagnostic tests do not count in calculating the amount of medical bills for this threshold. For example, you might have an MRI and an EMG costing $4,000 but for purposes of the threshold these amounts would not apply. The bills for treatment, therapy, and medicine do count towards the threshold.
2) Permanent Injury: Often injuries become permanent injuries according to your treating doctors. There are obvious permanent injuries such as loss of a limb or fractured bone but many permanent injuries are more subtle, especially soft tissue injuries (muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves). Typically if you are continuing to experience pain and problems after one year, the treating physician or chiropractor will prepare a narrative report giving an opinion that your injury is permanent. This evaluation also meets a threshold in Minnesota.
3) Sixty (60) days disability: If as the result of your injuries you are disabled for more than 60 days you also cross a threshold. Usually this threshold is the result of being unable to work at your regular employment for a total of 60 days. The 60 days does not have to be consecutive just cumulative. So if you have several periods of disability that add up to 60 days or more than you have crossed a threshold.
4) Permanent Disfigurement: This threshold is most commonly seen as a scar. If you have incurred any scarring as a result of the accident or surgery resulting from an injury sustained in the accident and the scar is permanent than you have crossed a threshold.
5) Death: This threshold is obvious and hopefully never occurs.
If you have been injured in a car accident and have questions about your personal injury claim, contact Meyer, Puklich & Merriam at 952-444-9920 or visit us at www.meyerpuklich.com.