Motor Vehicle Accident: No-Fault Benefits

A lot of phone calls and initial consultations I receive from those who have been involved in a motor vehicle accident are what does “no-fault” mean? Although somewhat self-explanatory, No-Fault refers to the type of benefits that are available to a person with injuries arising out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle regardless of who was at fault for the car accident. No-Fault benefits also arise from pedestrian accidents such as parking lot accidents as well. No-Fault benefits come from your own car insurance.

In the event that you are involved in a car accident which requires medical attention or wage loss, it’s important to contact your own car insurance company and notify them. You will typically be required to give a recorded statement regarding the accident. It’s at this time, that a lot of people call an attorney to see what their rights are. Once a claim has been submitted to your own car insurance, you will be assigned a claim number and given an adjuster to oversee your file. If you require medical assistance, provide the claim number to the appropriate clinic and your own insurance will pay for the treatment so long as it’s related to injuries stemming from the motor vehicle accident and the treatment does not exceed $20,000.00. It is important to understand that No-Fault medical coverage caps out at $20,000.00 per vehicle unless you have stacking coverage, which isn’t common. No-Fault will also reimburse for medical mileage so it’s important to keep track of your mileage going to and from medical appointments.

In addition to medical coverage, No-Fault also protects the injured by providing wage loss coverage if the motor vehicle accident requires the injured to miss work and this includes missing time to attend medical visits. Minnesota law provides that wage loss will be covered at a rate of 85 percent of the weekly wage. Once again, this is also capped at $20,000.00. Lastly, No-Fault benefits also provide what’s called replacement services. In the event that the motor vehicle accident creates injuries that prohibit a person from shoveling their driveway or mowing their lawn and they need to hire someone to complete those tasks, No-Fault will reimburse the injured those costs.

It’s important to understand that these benefits can be cut off short of those caps if your car insurance company believes you no longer need treatment related to the accident. If they believe this, they will likely send the injured to an Independent Medical Examination (IME) with a doctor that they choose. A report will come from this visit and if the IME doctor believes your injuries are no longer related to the accident, then No-Fault will not take care of any additional treatment. It’s also at this time where the injured consults an attorney to understand their rights. If the injured requires more additional medical treatment following the cut-off of the benefits, they will need to proceed to what’s called No-Fault Arbitration to determine who will be responsible for paying for the treatment.

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