Car Accidents and Personal Injury Claims

March 18, 2021  |  Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd.

Each year, thousands of Minnesotans are involved in traffic accidents. This can result in serious, oftentimes fatal, injuries. In 2020, 395 people were killed in car crashes, compared to 364 in 2019. While the aftermath of a car accident can be frightening and chaotic, knowing the proper steps to take can help with both your physical and financial recovery. Read our blog as we discuss what you should know about car accidents and personal injury claims.

Take all injuries seriously

Many accident victims tend to downplay their injuries immediately after an accident. By the time they realize they’re hurt, it’s too late. Sensations such as stiffness, soreness, restricted motion, or disorientation can be signs of a more serious injury such as soft tissue damage or head trauma. Underestimating your injuries after an accident can hurt you in a few ways:

  • Insurance companies or liable parties may question your injury claim down the road making it more difficult to recover financial damages.
  • Your physical recovery may be more difficult, which can lead to prolonged medical treatment, time off work, and disputes over medical bills.

Even if your injuries are not life-threatening, do not say you’re okay after an accident. If you’re unsure, don’t say anything at all. It can take several hours or even days for symptoms to show up. Always seek medical care as soon as possible following an accident. If your injuries don’t warrant a trip to the E.R., follow up with your health care professional or with first responders on the scene.

Always report the accident

It may seem like an overreaction to call 911 for a fender bender, especially if there are no life-threatening injuries. But there are several benefits to calling the authorities to report an accident. Filing a police report will assist you if you try to pursue a claim at a later date. Calling 911 can provide you with evidence that the other driver was responsible for the accident even if the police do not issue tickets or make an arrest on the spot like in the case of a DUI.

Act fast, don’t wait

The success of your personal injury claim depends on the steps you take immediately after an accident. In addition to documenting your injuries and gathering evidence of liability, there are deadlines that set a limit on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after an injury occurs, known as statutes of limitations. The statute of limitations in Minnesota is two years from the date of your injury. However, drivers are required to file a Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Report with the Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety within ten days of the accident.

Do not handle a claim on your own

Many accident victims hesitate to seek legal counsel after a car crash, especially if the damage appears to be minor. However, not consulting with an attorney can be one of the biggest mistakes you can make. A personal injury lawyer has experience with insurance companies and can provide valuable advice navigating the claims process. Insurance companies oftentimes lowball victims in an attempt to settle the claim quietly and with the least amount of financial responsibility on their part.

Taking the proper steps after a car accident can increase your chances of a favorable outcome from a physical and financial standpoint. Barna, Guzy & Steffen has an outstanding team of personal injury professionals available to talk to you about your specific needs. Contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.