If you’ve never been injured in an auto accident before, you likely have any no experience with no-fault insurance, and the phrase “no-fault insurance” is often a source of confusion for those unfamiliar with its meaning, but this article aims to change that. First, we will walk through what “no-fault” actually means and then discuss what no-fault benefits may be available to those injured in a car crash.
What is No-Fault Insurance?
At the outset, its’s important to understand that the phrase “no-fault” has nothing to do with who may actually be at fault for a car crash, but instead, “no-fault” means certain insurance benefits are available to the injured party regardless of who is at fault for an accident. Benefits include coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, and other economic benefits. No-fault benefits are a “first party” benefit, meaning you are covered through your own policy of insurance. Minnesota requires all auto insurance policies issued within the state to include no-fault benefits. This means that any insurance company that sells auto insurance in the State of Minnesota must include certain minimum no-fault insurance benefits. A person injured in a car accident receives no-fault benefits through their own auto insurance policy – even if the accident was someone else’s fault. The minimum policy limits your auto insurer must provide are $20,000.00 for medical expenses and $20,000.00 in disability and income loss benefits.
How It Works
If you are injured in a car accident, one of the first things you should do, besides seeking medical treatment, is to report the accident and injury to your own insurance company. Not only is it likely your insurance policy requires you to report all accidents, reporting the injury to your insurance company prompts them to open a no-fault claim for you. At the time of reporting, your insurance company will likely want to know what happened and how you were injured. Your insurance company will then provide you with a no-fault claim number. You should make sure to provide that claim number to any health care facility where you have already received treatment, as well as all future providers who treat you for your accident related injuries. Your medical providers will use that claim number to bill your auto insurance company directly. Generally, this means no worrying about your private health insurance deductible or copays.
What Benefits Are Provided?
No-fault benefits are divided into two main categories: (1) medical expense benefits and (2) disability and income loss benefits. State law requires medical expense benefits to cover all reasonable expenses for necessary medical, surgical, x-ray, dental, chiropractic, physical therapy, emergency care including ambulance services, and prescription drug costs. What is reasonable is often an area of dispute with insurance companies and your insurance company may try to deny certain benefits, or terminate your benefits completely.
If an auto accident prevents you from being able to work, you may also be entitled to income loss benefits through your no-fault insurance. Income loss benefits are paid at a rate of 85% of an injured person’s income, subject to a maximum weekly rate of $500.00 per week. Loss of income includes the costs incurred by a self-employed person to hire substitute employees to perform work normally performed by the injured person. In addition to income loss benefits, if you are unable to perform routine household duties including cleaning, cooking, lawn mowing, and other similar tasks, you may be able to recover the value of the services you cannot perform due to your injuries.
No-fault insurance is first party coverage designed to provide necessary medical and economic benefits for those injured in auto accidents. All auto insurance policies written in Minnesota must provide state-mandated minimum coverage of $20,000.00 for medical and $20,000.00 for economic expenses. Keep in mind that your insurance company may take steps to cut your benefits off. If this happens, you will want to contact an attorney to learn about your options. This article provides a general overview of the no-fault system in Minnesota; if you have been injured in a car accident, it’s important to talk with your attorney about all the benefits to which you may be entitled. If you do not already have one, we encourage you to contact Tentinger Law Firm at 952-953-3330. Our friendly, knowledgeable attorneys are here to help answer all of your questions and help you make the best decisions for your case.