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St. Paul Minnesota Car Accidents Legal Blog

Springtime snowstorm in Minnesota sees two fatal car accidents

By the time April rolls around, most Minnesotans are tired of the snow and ice and are eagerly anticipating warmer temperatures. However, springtime snowstorms are not unheard of. One recent springtime snowstorm in Minnesota saw traffic fatalities in two separate car accidents.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported that one fatal crash took place in Hawk Creek Township. A transport van was traveling eastbound when it crashed head-on with a pick-up truck that had veered over the center line after the driver lost control of the vehicle and began fishtailing. One person died in this incident and three were injured.

Teenage drivers must be safe on the road

During the summers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, teenagers are out more. The ones who don't have a driver's license may ride with friends. While this is a normal rite of passage, it is also a time during which safety must prevail. Keeping teens safe when they aren't right next to their parents or another responsible adult can be taxing.

The safety culture that each parent sets for the teen has a big impact on what the new driver or passenger will do while they are out with friends. It is important that the parents show these safety concepts so that the teen sees them in practice.

Can Minnesota truck companies face liability following a crash?

Semi-trucks are an important part of commerce in the U.S. For example, because of semi-trucks, oranges grown in Florida can reach store shelves in Minnesota. While this may be good for the nation's economy, it doesn't erase the fact that operating a semi-truck takes skill and care. Drivers must be properly licensed, well-rested and sober when driving a semi-truck. Unfortunately, sometimes a semi-truck strikes another motorist on the road, causing serious injuries or even death. When this happens, the victim or their loved ones may want to pursue a legal claim. It is important, however, to understand who may be liable for a motor vehicle accident involving a semi-truck.

While it may be understood that the driver of a semi-truck could be held liable in the event of a crash, it is also important to note that, under certain circumstances, the driver's employer may also be liable for collisions caused by the driver. This is due to the legal theory of "vicarious liability." Under this theory, the driver's employer may be held responsible for the driver's actions if there is an employer-employee relationship between the two and the accident occurred during the normal course of the driver's duties.

Do helmets save lives in motorcycle accidents?

Springtime is just around the corner in Minnesota, which means many motorcyclists will be taking their bikes out of storage to prepare them for use in the months ahead. However, motorcycle accidents are still a concern not just for the motorcyclists but also for others on the road.

In 2017, Minnesota saw 1,156 motorcycle accidents. This is a decrease of eight percent from the number of motorcycle accidents in 2016. Moreover, the number of motorcyclists killed in crashes in 2017 was two percent lower than the number of motorcyclists killed in crashes in 2016, while the number of motorcyclists injured decreased by nine percent.

Minnesotans have options when the at-fault party has no insurance

When a motorist in Minnesota is involved in a car crash, they may be thankful that they have auto insurance. However, what happens if the other motorist is uninsured? Can the injured party still receive benefits to cover medical expenses and property damage?

Uninsured motorist accidents may be more common than you think. In fact, approximately one out of seven motorists in Minnesota do not have the requisite auto insurance. However, you may have uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage on your own policy that may cover the expenses the at-fault party would have paid under their insurance policy, if they had it.

Pedestrian accidents are an issue in Minnesota reservations

One might assume that pedestrian safety is only an issue in highly-populated cities in Minnesota. However, pedestrians in rural areas are also at risk of being struck by a car. In fact, according to one study, pedestrian safety is a serious issue on reservations in rural areas of the state.

For example, the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in Northern Minnesota has seen five pedestrian fatalities over the past five years. Also, on U.S. Hwy. 169 in the Mille Lacs Reservation, there have been between five and 10 pedestrian accidents over the past 10 years.

Wear your seat belt to protect yourself in a crash

Safety belts were designed to keep you safe when you're in a crash. Most people know that they should wear them, but they also know that the risk of a crash is relatively low. As such, many people believe that it's not always a necessity to wear them.

Unfortunately, even if you're just taking a short joyride around your neighborhood, there is a risk of being involved in a collision. If you aren't wearing your seat belt, there is a higher risk of a few things happening, one of which is being thrown from the vehicle.

Even one drink can lead to a motor vehicle accident

Some people in Minnesota will find any reason to have a drink. It might be at a party, after a long day at work or to complement a meal. Unfortunately, sometimes a person who has consumed too much alcohol tries to get behind the wheel of a car. It is important to understand how alcohol affects a person's driving abilities.

Even if a person's blood alcohol concentration is below the legal limit, their ability to drive could still be compromised. If a person's BAC is 0.02 percent, they may experience a decline in their ability to track moving objects, such as other drivers, and they may not be able to divide their attention between two or more tasks. If a person's BAC is 0.05 percent, their coordination and ability to track moving targets may be reduced, they may find it more difficult to steer their vehicle and they may not be able to quickly respond to emergency situations.

What is the process for obtaining uninsured motorist benefits?

Motorists in Minnesota are required to carry uninsured motorist insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage works by providing benefits to motorists who are injured by an at-fault driver that does not have car insurance or who has coverage, but it does not satisfy state-mandated minimum liability requirements. However, there is a process that motorists must follow to obtain these benefits. Keep in mind that this is only a general overview of this process, and state law may vary. In addition, states that have no-fault insurance laws may require motorists to seek an order from the court before they are able to obtain uninsured motorist benefits or underinsured motorist benefits.

The process begins when a motorist is struck by an uninsured motorist. Following that, the motorist will file a claim for benefits with the at-fault driver's insurance company. The motorist will let their insurance company know of the incident. Next, the motorist will be reimbursed from the at-fault party's insurance company, but this reimbursement will not be enough to cover the damages the motorist sustained in the crash.

Number of fatal motor vehicle accidents rises in 2018

The number of fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2018 is in, and it is truly sobering. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, 2018 saw a six percent increase in fatal traffic accidents compared to 2017. There were 380 traffic deaths in Minnesota in 2018. October saw the most fatal collisions, with 46 individuals losing their lives in motor vehicle accidents. Speeding, drunk driving and distracted driving were often factors in these crashes.

Alcohol played a role in 121 fatal motor vehicle accidents in Minnesota in 2018, while speeding was a factor in 100 accidents. In addition, distracted driving was a factor in 27 fatal motor vehicle accidents.

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