Car Accident Lawyer Duluth, MN

Law Office of Jeffrey A. Jones, P.A.

  • Car Accidents

Christopher J. Vilione joined The Law Office of Jeffrey A. Jones as an associate attorney in November 2010 before being made a partner in July 2018. He provides clients with more than 10 years of experience in personal injury law. Specifically, over the past decade, Chris has successfully represented clients in hundreds of no-fault arbitration hearings, mediations, jury trials, and other civil litigation matters. …


4.9

See Reviews

After a car accident, victims know that they can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This is a simple process, and insurers have 45 days to offer a settlement to injury victims. 

Sounds simple, right? Think again.

Insurers are not focused on providing fair compensation to an accident victim; in fact, an adjuster’s main goal is to settle personal injury claims as inexpensively as possible while avoiding any future legal issues, and the tactics they will employ to achieve this goal include intimidating or overwhelming a victim until they accept a lowball settlement and waive their legal rights away.

The fact is that many car accident victims are left dealing with the impacts of someone else’s negligent, reckless, or criminal driving behavior because they aren’t aware of their legal rights. Working with Duluth car accident lawyers is one of the best ways to recover fair financial compensation through an insurance claim, or be prepared to move forward with a lawsuit in the event that no reasonable settlement can be reached. 

photo of car accident

Car Accident Victims Get a Free Consultation Through 1-800-Injured

If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in a car accident, contact 1-800-Injured as soon as possible to be connected with a car accident lawyer in Duluth, Minnesota for a free consultation about your case. 1-800-Injured is a Lawyer & Medical Directory that connects personal injury victims to competent and proven legal representation, starting with a zero obligation consultation where victims can learn all about their legal rights and options, as well as how attorneys can help them through this complex process.

Many people will initiate their insurance claim before reaching out to a law firm, but the reality is that the sooner victims are represented by a legal team after accidents, the better their chances are of getting a fair settlement offer and moving on with their lives with fair compensation.

Read more below about Minnesota car accidents and the importance of working with attorneys, and contact 1-800-Injured right away to connect with the Duluth office of a proven personal injury lawyer today.

Common Causes of Car Accidents in Duluth, Minnesota

The following are just a few of the many different ways that car accidents happen in Minnesota. Keep in mind that there are several factors that go into determining whether or not a victim is entitled to compensation, and the type of accident may only play a minor role in determining these factors. Whether or not the cause of your accident is below, contact 1-800-Injured right away to connect with a car accident lawyer in your area today and learn more about your options for recovering compensation.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a major issue on the road, and includes a range of behaviors including:

  • Texting while driving
  • Using a GPS or radio
  • Eating
  • Talking on the phone
  • Putting on makeup
  • Reaching into the back seat for something

Distracted driving is anything that takes a driver’s attention off of the road or their hands physically off of the wheel and away from their task. While many people immediately think about smartphones (for good reason — roughly 13% of fatal and 9% of injury crashes in 2020 involved cell phone usage), there are countless other distractions that can lead to a car wreck.

Intoxicated Driving

Minnesota has a legal alcohol-concentration driving limit of 0.08, but drivers can be arrested for DWI for lower levels, and can be arrested for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs other than alcohol. When someone ingests mind-altering substances and gets behind the wheel of a vehicle they put everyone on the road at risk of severe injuries, as the intoxicated driver will be experiencing delayed reaction times, altered risk tolerances, dulled senses, and more. 

If you are in an auto accident with a driver who you suspect to be intoxicated, be sure to call 911 as soon as possible to ensure that the police officer on the scene can carry out a field sobriety test, breathalyzer, and issue any necessary citations. The results will play an important part in your personal injury claim as your Duluth car accident attorney works to prove liability.

Speeding

Speed is a contributing factor in roughly one-third of all fatal crashes, and according to EMC insurance: “for every 10 mph of increased speed, the risk of dying in a crash doubles.” Speed creates a number of risk factors, including a vehicle’s reduced handling ability at high speeds, extended braking distances, and a driver’s need to respond even faster to avoid unexpected hazards. In addition, the force of impact is increased significantly at higher speeds.

Speed limits are set with a number of factors taken into account, so it is important to maintain the prescribed speed in order to stay safe on a roadway. Car accidents caused by speeding drivers can be painful and frustrating, but your attorney will fight to get you the money you deserve after suffering unnecessarily due to someone else’s dangerous behavior.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is an umbrella term that includes a number of different behaviors including:

  • Racing
  • Speeding
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Tailgating to force vehicles out of the way
  • Passing on solid yellow lines
  • Ignoring traffic signs and signals
  • Brake checking

“Recklessness” refers to a person’s actions without regard for consequences or other peoples’ safety, so the list above is only a short list of many different behaviors that can be considered reckless. 

Road Rage

Road rage is a criminal offense that moves beyond aggressive driving and includes angry or violent behaviors. Getting into an accident with someone who is exhibiting signs of road rage is a dangerous situation, as there is the risk of serious injuries from both the collision and the ensuing confrontation. 

If you believe that the other driver is a threat to your safety, remain in the vehicle if at all possible, and call 911 immediately to alert the police of a potentially violent situation at the scene of your auto accident. If possible, start filming with your camera in order to capture these behaviors, but do not confront the driver as this may agitate them further.

Fatigue

Some studies suggest that fatigue is a more dangerous factor than alcohol when it comes to car accidents, and is a factor in at least 20% of all fatal crashes (and experts believe this number to be even higher). After 18 hours awake, a driver is experiencing impacts to their hand-eye coordination, awareness, ability to multitask, and reaction time equal to someone with a 0.05 BAC. After 24 hours, these impacts are the equivalent of a 0.1 BAC — .02 over the legal limit for adults over the age of 21.

Fatigue is a tricky factor, because a driver’s interpretation of their ability to safely or legally operate a vehicle is much more subjective than tallying the number of drinks someone has had before getting behind the wheel; nevertheless, fatigue is a serious issue that can lead to significant car accident injuries. 

Mechanical Failure

Car accident cases are not always directed towards an at-fault driver in a collision that they caused. In some instances, they may have experienced a mechanical failure to do a variety of things like manufacturing defects, faulty workmanship, or improper maintenance of the vehicle. Each of these factors can lead to things like tire blowouts, power steering failures, brake problems, sticky accelerators, or countless other dangerous things that can lead to a Duluth car accident.

When another party is involved in your personal injury case — especially a major corporation like a vehicle manufacturer — it can be very overwhelming. Working with a Duluth car accident attorney is an important step as you begin to identify the liable parties in your case and work to build a compelling argument for the financial compensation you are owed as a result of your severe injuries and resulting damages.

Seeking Compensation After a Duluth Car Accident

A personal injury case requires that a car accident victim first proves that the other party is liable for the accident, whether due to recklessness, negligence, or malicious or otherwise criminal behavior, before moving on to determining the amount of compensation they are owed for the many impacts they have experienced as a result. 

The damages in a personal injury claim are collectively referred to as “compensatory damages,” which seek to compensate a victim for measurable losses — both financial and otherwise — they have suffered due to the auto accident. Typically these cases are filed through the at-fault party’s insurance company, but if the driver is not insured, or your attorney is unable to reach a fair settlement agreement, the next step may be to file a lawsuit with the Minnesota courts.

Compensatory damages are divided into two parts that are distinctly different, but are two sides of the same coin. Calculating these damages is a complicated process, after which point the victim or their personal injury attorney will need to vigorously negotiate a fair settlement.

Economic damages are the foundation of a Duluth car accident claim, and seek compensation for impacts that have measurable dollar values. These include things like medical expenses, lost wages, the cost of ongoing care, physical therapy, assistive devices, and the cost to repair or replace damaged property. These damages also include the costs of services that a victim may need in order to complete daily tasks they could handle on their own before suffering serious injuries in the auto accident, things like driving help, grocery shopping assistance, or at-home care.

Economic damages are tallied and presented to the insurance company with proof, using things like medical bills, income statements, receipts, billing statements, and more. Your attorney will need to prove that these impacts are directly related to car accident injuries by using medical documentation.

Many people are familiar with the term “pain and suffering” in terms of a personal injury claim, but have little understanding of what this entails or how to include it in a claim. Non-economic damages are a category of damages that seek compensation for impacts that do not have dollar values associated with them, including the physical pain and suffering a victim endures as a result of their injuries, and a variety of mental and emotional impacts like fear, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. They will also include things like a decreased quality of life in the aftermath of the car accident. These are just the most common types of non-economic damages, but a diligent Duluth attorney will be able to review your situation and identify all impacts that deserve to be included in your claim.

Since there is no receipt for something as subjective as “fear,” an attorney will need to use a number of different calculation methods to determine how much you deserve for compensation. One method is known as the “multiplier” method, which indicates the severity of these damages by placing them along a scale between 1-5. Once your Minnesota attorney has identified a number that is accurate and will stand up in court, they will multiply it against your total economic damages. 

For a multiplier of 3, indicating intermediately severe non-economic impacts, and a total of $150,000 of economic damages including medical bills, lost wages, and all other impacts, these damages will be calculated as such: 3 x $150,000 = $450,000.

Negotiating a Fair Settlement in Car Accident Cases

Calculating damages for a Duluth car accident is only the first step in the process of recovering fair compensation. Once your attorney has reached what they believe is a fair dollar amount, they will issue a demand letter to the insurance that itemizes each of these damages and requests a specific amount for their client.

Rarely, if ever, will an insurance company agree to pay accident victims the total amount they deserve, so they will issue a counteroffer that is often far less than the amounts that injury lawyers will first calculate. This will initiate a series of negotiations in an attempt to close the gap and reach a fair agreement. Fortunately, you will not need to worry about these negotiations because your legal representation will be handling it all while you stay focused on recovering from your injuries.

Settlement amounts may be less than the total damages that injury lawyers initially calculate, because accepting a settlement will guarantee a lump payment without needing to go through the exhausting lawsuit process, sitting through depositions, and ultimately leaving the decision up to a judge and/or jury. However, your attorney may move to file a lawsuit if they believe you are a candidate for punitive damages — a third type of damage that is specifically awarded to a victim by a judge or jury in order to punish the at-fault party for egregious or reprehensible behavior as a deterrent against this behavior in the future. These will not be included in your initial calculations, but there are instances where the at-fault party — especially if it is a major corporation — will recognize this possibility and include additional damages in their settlement offer in order to avoid the details of your situation being made public.

These are just a few of the countless factors that go into determining damage amounts and ultimately determining a fair settlement amount following being injured in a car accident. The most important thing is to connect with a Minnesota attorney as soon as possible so you can move forward with your case under the protection of a legal team that is focused on getting you the money you deserve.

Contact 1-800-Injured as soon as possible to connect with a Duluth law firm in your area where you can discuss the specifics of your car accident, the nature of your injuries, and the impacts your Minnesota car accident has had on your life so far.