Statute of Limitations, No-Fault, and Other Relevant Laws in Minnesota

Minnesota is known for its 10,000 lakes, but did you know it’s also home to a unique no-fault insurance system?

The average medical bill following a car accident in Minnesota tops $20,000. If someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, understanding Minnesota’s personal injury laws can make a big difference in getting the compensation you deserve.

Major cities like Duluth in Minnesota see a lot of accidents. If you’ve recently been a victim, contact a competent personal injury attorney in Duluth to begin the legal process immediately.

The Statute of Limitations in Minnesota

The statute of limitations rule sets a deadline for filing lawsuits. Missing this deadline can mean losing your right to sue. Here’s a table showing common personal injury claims and their deadlines in Minnesota.

Claim Type Statute of Limitation
Car Accident 2 years
Truck Accident 2 years
Motorcycle Accident 2 years
Bicycle Accident 2 years
Pedestrian Accident 2 years
Slip and Fall 2 years
Dog Bite 2 years
Assault and Battery 2 years
False Imprisonment 2 years
Defamation (Libel & Slander) 2 years
Premises Liability 2 years
Defective Product 4 years (from the discovery of the injury)
Nursing Home Abuse 2 years
Workplace Injury (Workers’ Compensation not included) 2 years
Emotional Distress (caused by another’s negligence) 2 years


Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

There are some exceptions where the statute of limitations may be tolled (paused) or extended.  Here are some common examples:

  • Minority: If you were under 18 when the cause of action arose, the clock may not start ticking until you reach adulthood.
  • Discovery Rule: In some cases, the statute of limitations doesn’t begin until you discover the injury or harm.
  • Out-of-State Defendant: If the defendant is out of state, the clock may be paused until they return to Minnesota.
  • Fraudulent Concealment: If the defendant deliberately hides information about the claim, the statute of limitations may be extended.

Minnesota’s No-Fault System 

Minnesota follows a no-fault system for car accidents. This means that regardless of who caused the crash, your own insurance company pays for certain initial losses. Here’s what you need to know:

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage

PIP coverage is mandatory for all car insurance policies in Minnesota. It acts as a safety net, covering a range of expenses if you’re injured in a car accident, including:

  • Medical Expenses: Covers doctor visits, hospital stays, surgery, and other medical bills related to the accident (up to $20,000 under Minnesota’s minimum requirements).
  • Lost Wages: Reimburses you for lost income due to your injuries.
  • Replacement Services: Covers the cost of someone performing tasks you can’t do because of your injuries, like housework or childcare.
  • Funeral Expenses: Provides financial assistance for burial or cremation costs in the tragic event of a car accident fatality.

When You Can Sue the At-Fault Driver

While PIP helps cover initial expenses, it has limitations. You may consider suing the at-fault driver if:

  • Medical Expenses Exceed PIP Limits: If your medical bills surpass the $20,000 PIP coverage, you can sue the at-fault driver to recover additional costs.
  • Serious Injuries: Minnesota has a “threshold” system. The at-fault driver can be sued for pain and suffering, lost future wages, and other damages if your injuries meet a specific severity threshold. 

This threshold typically involves permanent disfigurement, significant impairment of a bodily function, or medical expenses exceeding a certain amount (specific amount subject to change).

  • Intentional Acts or Gross Negligence: If the other driver acted intentionally or with reckless disregard for safety, you can likely sue them regardless of the severity of your injuries.

Other Important Laws to Know

Here are some other important Minnesota laws you need to be aware of:

Comparative Fault Laws in Minnesota

Minnesota follows a modified comparative negligence system. This means your recovery for damages in an accident is reduced by the percentage you’re found to be at fault.

Unlike pure comparative negligence states, Minnesota has a 51% bar rule. If you’re found to be more than 50% at fault, you cannot recover any damages. The jury assigns a percentage of fault to each party involved in the accident.

This law applies to various claims, including car accidents, slips and falls, and product liability.

Product Liability Claims

Minnesota product liability law allows you to sue a manufacturer, distributor, or seller for injuries caused by a defective product.

There are three main theories for product liability claims:

  • Strict Liability: The manufacturer is liable for placing a defective product in the marketplace, regardless of fault.
  • Negligence: The manufacturer failed to use reasonable care in designing, manufacturing, or warning about the product’s dangers.
  • Breach of Warranty: The product failed to live up to its expressed or implied warranties (e.g., safety features).

To win a product liability case, you’ll need to prove the product was defective, the defect caused your injury, and the product was unreasonably dangerous.

The statute of limitations for product liability claims in Minnesota is generally 4 years from the date you discover the injury.

Wrapping Up

Minnesota’s legal landscape can seem complex, especially after an accident or injury. But you don’t have to navigate the process on your own. You need a competent lawyer by your side to help you jump through the hoops.

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