Because few things are as disruptive as a personal injury, an attorney must be compassionate. The wake of an accident usually brings financial stress in the form of unpaid medical bills. The stress is even worse since, in most cases, the victim is not working at the time due to injury. There’s also the intense pain and suffering that usually gets worse before it gets better. While all this is going on, insurance company executives call constantly seeking to settle the case.
Your attorney must also be assertive. Substantial compensation is usually available to accident victims. But, the insurance company does not simply give it away. So, at Carlson & Jones, we act quickly to collect evidence on your behalf. Then, much like a painter, we take the colors on our palate and paint a picture for the jury. This assertive approach usually ensures maximum compensation for our clients.
Legal Issues in Minnesota Vehicle Collisions
Human error causes over 90 percent of the car crashes in Minnesota. So, negligence is almost always involved in one way or another. Car accidents are a good illustration of what makes Carlson & Jones the best personal injury attorneys in Minnesota.
We start each one of these cases with a comprehensive consultation. Sometimes, the police accident report only records one side of the story. We want to hear both sides. That gives us a good idea of the evidence we need to collect and the legal theories we need to apply.
One of the most important bits of evidence is the Event Data Recorder. Many people do not even know that their vehicle contains an EDR. This gadget is a lot like the “black box” flight recorder in a commercial jet. The EDR captures and records figures like:
- Vehicle speed,
- Engine RPM,
- Steering angle,
- Airbag deployment, and
- Certain other mechanical statistics.
In many ways, electronic evidence is better than eyewitness testimony. A witness might say that the car was going “fast,” but the EDR can nail it down to 52.25mph.
Armed with evidence like this, an aggressive attorney can match the evidence with the correct legal theory. In car crash cases, there are basically two legal approaches:
- Negligence: Some Minnesota car crash cases are based on a lack of ordinary care. That could be driving while dangerously fatigued or paying more attention to passengers than to the road. If that lack of care caused injury, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) may be legally responsible for damages.
- Negligence Per Se: If the tortfeasor violated a safety law, perhaps by running a stop sign, driving while impaired, or changing lanes illegally, the tortfeasor may be liable for damages as a matter of law. In negligence per se cases, the victim/plaintiff need only prove that the legal violation substantially caused the damages.
In some cases, negligence per se is only a presumption of liability. The victim/plaintiff must offer additional evidence to conclusively prove liability.
The victim must establish each element of negligence or negligence per se by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). If the scales of justice tip ever so slightly in one direction, that party has met its burden of proof on that point.
The Best Personal Injury Attorneys in Minnesota Handle Premises Liability Claims
Negligent drivers are not the only tortfeasors in Minnesota. Landowners can also be liable for damages in some cases. Common instances include swimming pool injuries, slip-and-fall injuries, and dog bites.
Minnesota basically uses a common law classification system that divides victims into three categories and sets legal duty as appropriate. These categories are:
- Invitee: Most people are invitees. These individuals have express or implied permission to be on the property and their presence confers a benefit on the owner. That benefit could be economic or noneconomic. If the victim is an invitee, the landowner has a duty of reasonable care.
- Licensee: If there was permission but no benefit, the victim was a licensee. The guest of an apartment tenant is usually a licensee. The owner only owes licensee a duty to warn about latent (hidden) defects.
- Trespasser: In a nutshell, no permission and no benefit means no duty. There are some limited exceptions, such as the attractive nuisance rule. This doctrine protects child trespassers from property-related injuries.
In addition to duty and damages, the victim/plaintiff must also establish knowledge. Sometimes, there is direct evidence of actual knowledge. But generally, a Minnesota victim/plaintiff must use circumstantial evidence of constructive knowledge (should have known).
The Gopher State and most other jurisdictions use a variation of the time-notice rule. Think about a banana peel on the ground. If the peel is yellow, it probably just fell, so there is no duty. If the peel is black, it has probably been on the ground for a while, so there is probably constructive knowledge.
CALL TODAY TO SPEAK WITH A MINNESOTA PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER AT CARLSON & JONES
The best personal injury attorneys in Minnesota handle a wide range of negligence cases. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Minnesota, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.