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When car accidents happen at high speeds, people die or can become seriously injured in the resulting crash. Crumpled, skidding, and rolling vehicles can all cause terrible damage and sometimes even leave you with a permanent disability. If that happens to you, here’s what you need to know. 

Understanding Permanent Disability After a Car Accident

To qualify as a permanent disability, a part of the body must be limited in motion and function in a way that today’s medical technology cannot repair and proof that the body will not mend on its own. 

This diagnosis often goes hand in hand with chronic pain, constant discomfort, and a limited or eliminated ability to return to your original career path. If you’ve suffered a permanent injury, a lawyer can help you fight for much-needed support, including ongoing financial compensation.

Filing for a Permanent Disability Settlement 

If you suffer a permanent disability from a car accident, insurance coverage of the at-fault driver can help cover pain, suffering, and diminished wages. If their policy is extensive, it may be able to pay for your full needs. 

However, you may need to take this issue to court to get adequate payment from the insurance and sue the other driver for the difference between what their insurance will pay and what you need to survive. It’s worth noting that, in Minnesota, you only have six years to file a suit for your accident. 

Whether insurance entirely or only partially covers your needs, the end of your personal injury claim will be marked by a permanent disability settlement. This is a single and final lump sum amount you’ll receive in full or in installments, depending on what the at-fault driver and their insurance can afford. 

Your legal battle will determine your final permanent disability settlement amounts. Since this figure is the only money you’ll get, it’s essential to fight for a fair amount before your six-year window closes and evidence becomes more challenging to collect. 

Your settlement depends on stacking expenses for current and predicted needs. Let’s look at what you can receive payment for to maximize your compensation.

Medical Bills

The most significant component of most car injury permanent disability settlement amounts is medical expenses. You may need coverage for: 

  • Doctor visits
  • Medications
  • Extensive surgeries for your disabling injury

These costs shouldn’t come out of pocket for an accident you didn’t cause. Insurance is almost always held responsible for paying the current and future medical bills for anyone injured by a policyholder. Swor & Gatto attorneys can work to ensure coverage for everything from hospital stays to prescription medications.

Lost Income

A permanent disability can disrupt your career, forcing you to take a lower-paying job or refrain from working. In that case, you’re entitled to compensation for wages lost during your current medical treatment and lost or diminished wages for the rest of your life, calculated up to the legal retirement age. Getting compensated for lost income ensures you can still provide for yourself and your family

Rehabilitation, Therapy, and Pain Management

Many permanent disabilities require years of pain management and therapy sessions to regain some use of the injured part or to make living with the disability manageable. Unfortunately, rehabilitation professionals aren’t free, so we’ll work to ensure ongoing therapy expenses are covered.

Pain, Suffering, and Mental Anguish

Many car accident attorneys also fight for and win permanent disability settlement amounts for pain and suffering caused by the crash, along with mental anguish, particularly if the collision was violent or if others were also injured. Crashes that result in a permanent disability are often accompanied by trauma and PTSD. Pain and suffering compensation gives you breathing room to rest, recover, and seek out the appropriate care. 

In-Home Assistance and Care

You may require ongoing, professional in-home care. Talk to your lawyer about including coverage for the cost of in-home care for yourself and your home. These are vital needs that some people overlook or underestimate during these types of cases.

Loss of Enjoyment

Some people who suffer a permanent disability after a car accident also suffer a reduced quality of life. Legally, this is known as a loss of enjoyment. If your disability has permanently damaged your ability to live the life you used to and pursue your favorite activities, this is a solid case for loss of enjoyment. You may be entitled to compensation for losing your ability to dance, play music, or be involved in sports you loved before the accident.

Loss of Companionship

Finally, there is the loss of companionship. If a disability from a car accident has left you unable to socialize, maintain a physical relationship with your spouse, or be an active part of family gatherings, you may be able to include loss of companionship in your permanent disability settlement. 

Should I Trust the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?

Liability adjusters show up within days (sometimes hours) of a severe injury accident. You may feel comfortable enough with an adjuster to give a recorded statement, sign a medical release, or negotiate a quick resolution before you realize how much your permanent disability will affect the rest of your life.

Before trusting a liability adjuster, remember that they work for the person who caused your injuries; their job is to maintain control and gain your trust to pave the way toward a low settlement. The more serious your injuries, the more you stand to lose. Before you talk to them, reach out to the team at Swor & Gatto. 

How Does My Insurance Company Factor Into This Process? 

Minnesota requires all drivers to maintain key coverages that apply to injuries due to an auto accident. You must report your claim, cooperate with your insurance company, and supply any requested information. Our attorneys can review your policy to provide guidance on your duties and the insurance company’s responsibilities. Your auto insurance policy may offer these and other benefits:

  • Personal Injury Protection Coverage

All drivers must have $40,000 in PIP insurance. When you’re injured in an auto accident, your PIP coverage is primary over any other coverage. It pays your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Your insurance company must pay your PIP benefits regardless of who is at fault. PIP statutes don’t typically allow claims against a negligent driver unless you meet a PIP tort threshold. A permanent disability falls within this category.

  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage

Minnesota requires that each driver provide UM/UIM coverage to pay for injuries caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers. If an uninsured or underinsured driver injured you, our attorneys may be able to present a liability claim to your insurance carrier. UM/UIM coverages also apply to injuries caused by motorists who leave the scene unidentified.

How Do Minnesota Laws Complicate Matters?

Minnesota’s comparative negligence statute can affect how an insurance company handles your claim. The law acknowledges that all drivers in an auto accident could have some negligence. Even if you feel you’ve committed a negligent act, you might still be able to receive money for your injury or permanent disability. Our personal injury attorneys understand these provisions and will manage your injury case accordingly.

The Economic Consequences of a Permanent Disability

When a disability from a car accident prevents you from working, it can significantly affect your finances. Minnesota’s PIP coverage will initially pay up to $20,000 for medical expenses. After your insurance company pays your medical benefits limit, your healthcare coverage should pay, but you’ll be responsible for copays and deductibles.

The PIP $20,000 non-medical benefit will reimburse 85% of your lost wages to a maximum of $500 per week. It will also pay other non-med expenses. When you’re permanently disabled and can’t work, the non-medical benefit limit runs out quickly.

You must adjust your life to the loss of income. That could mean changing your residence or your entire lifestyle. Unless you receive a disability income from your employer or have substantial savings, you’ll need to find other resources. 

How Much Is My Claim Worth?

Insurance companies, adjusters, and attorneys rarely agree on claim value because it’s difficult to project medical and non-medical losses into the future. Still, the involved parties and their economic experts–and sometimes judges and juries–will try to figure it out. They’ll consider:

  • Your injury diagnosis and prognosis
  • Current and future disabilities and disfigurement
  • Current and future medical and other expenses
  • Current and future income losses
  • Current and future pain and suffering
  • How your injuries and disabilities affect your life
  • How your injuries and disabilities affect your family

At Swor & Gatto, our attorneys will try to settle your injury claim for the best future possible. Permanent disability settlement amounts are often high, so it can be challenging to negotiate without a trial or arbitration.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney for a Disability From a Car Accident?

If you suffer injuries in a car accident, seek legal counsel immediately. You can never predict the outcome of your injury—minor injuries can turn out far worse than initially anticipated. Serious injuries can worsen over time with treatment that goes on for years. And when it’s time to settle your case, liability adjusters aren’t always fair.

When our law firm takes on your case, we immediately take steps to preserve your legal and financial rights. Our experienced legal team performs these and other critical services:

  • Investigate the accident
  • Review laws and liability issues
  • Document your treatment and medical bills
  • Evaluate your injuries
  • Maintain contact with the other driver’s insurance company
  • Initiate negotiations at the appropriate time
  • File a suit if necessary
  • Settle for the highest dollar amount possible

Can We Settle Without Filing a Suit?

While attorneys and insurance companies settle many injury claims outside of the legal system, cases with permanent disabilities often end up in court. There are several reasons for this:

  • Your treatment may continue for years.
  • Your permanent disability claim may have a high-dollar value.
  • The liability insurance company might not make a realistic offer.
  • Your attorney must file before the statute of limitations expires.

Our personal injury attorneys prepare your case as though we may have to present it to a judge and jury someday. We know that until we settle your case, a lawsuit and trial remain a possibility.

Hire Experienced Minnesota Permanent Disability Car Accident Lawyers

Money won’t change your disability, but it can help compensate for financial losses you’ll sustain over your lifetime.

If you’ve suffered a permanent disability from a car accident in Minnesota, don’t let insurance companies decide how much you’re owed. Our team can defend your best interest, working towards the longest-lasting settlement possible to pay for your medical bills, lost income, and the ability to rebuild your life. 

You need personal injury attorneys who will fight for the best possible outcome. If the contents of this article sound similar to your situation, Swor & Gatto might be the right fit for your case. Contact our team for a free evaluation.