If you own a motor vehicle, you know that in Minnesota, you are required to purchase and carry no-fault insurance. But what you may not know, is when these benefits are available to you.
In general, a person suffering any injury “arising out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle” has the right to collect no-fault benefits. These benefits include medical, wage loss, and replacement services under the Minnesota No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act. Most people only associate the right to receive no-fault benefits with injuries sustained in a typical motor accident. Minnesota law however, defines incidents “arising out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle” to extend well beyond motor vehicle accidents.
Some common examples of other covered incidents might include:
Slip and falls while washing a motor vehicle;
Slip and falls while fueling; or
Injuries incurred while entering or alighting from a motor vehicle.
Some not so common examples of covered incidents may include:
During a routine traffic stop, driver getting out of his van is shot by police officer;
Robber shoots the driver of a van in order to use the van for a getaway;
During a fight, pedestrian injured when pushed in front of passing car; and
Driver suffers eye injury from bungee cord while securing load to his vehicle.
In 2005, Nelson Personal Injury took a case all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court in order to obtain No-Fault benefits for a client. In that case, the intoxicated client was injured after her car got stuck in a snow bank near the client’s apartment. The weather was below zero, and the client fell while trying to traverse the dangerous weather to get home. The client suffered severe frostbite and lost multiple fingers. We argued, and the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed, that no-fault benefits should be awarded to the client because the hazards of winter driving are a fundamental part of the driving experience in Minnesota, and that the injuries were a natural consequence of the use of the vehicle.
While these examples are the extreme, they greatly illustrate how no-fault benefits are available in many situations beyond a typical motor vehicle accident. If your injury is related to the use of a motor vehicle, contact one of the attorneys at Nelson Personal Injury for a free consultation regarding whether or not you may be entitled to no-fault benefits.