If the police report says that the trucker had a blood alcohol content of .04% or higher, the trucker may be charged with drunk driving.
Minneapolis, MN – If you’re ever involved in a truck accident in Minneapolis, the first thing you need to do is call the police. Under Minnesota law, you must report a crash if it results in more than $1,000 in apparent damage, injury, or death. As of July 2021, you no longer have to file a Minnesota Motor Vehicle Accident Report, but you will need the police report. Talk to the police officer, get their name and precinct so you know where to find them and get the report once the investigation is finished.
The problem is police reports use standard forms with lots of codes that are not meant for ordinary folks to understand. Your next step should be getting in contact with experienced Minneapolis truck accident lawyers who know what all those codes and numbers actually mean.
What is the first harmful event in a truck accident report?
Your lawyers will listen to your account of the facts and then compare what you said with the dynamics of the crash as described in the police report.
The first harmful event is defined as the first injury or damage-producing event that characterizes the crash type. For instance, the truck hit your car when it veered into your lane. Only truck accidents are rarely that simple. Your car may have been sent spinning and slammed into another car in the process.
Understanding the dynamics of the crash is essential to determine who is responsible for what damages. Keep in mind that Minnesota uses a modified comparative negligence rule and if you are found to be more than 50% to blame for the crash you won’t be able to recover damages from another party.
The police report will also provide details on the truck and what kind of cargo it was carrying, as well as the results of the trucker’s drugs and alcohol tests.
How can you recover damages for a truck accident?
Minnesota is a no-fault state, so your first option is to recover damages under your Personal Injury Protection policy. The minimum PIP coverage required is $20,000 for medical expenses and $20,000 for lost wages and replacement services.
What happens next depends on the type of coverage you have and the severity of your injuries. If you’re so lucky as to escape with only minor injuries from a truck accident, your PIP might just cover your losses.
Unfortunately, truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries, such as burns, brain or spine damage, broken limbs, etc. If your economic damages exceed your PIP coverage, you’ll have to contact seasoned Minneapolis accident lawyers and file a claim against the insurer representing the trucker or his employer.
For that, you’ll need to step outside the no-fault system. Your attorneys will have to conduct their own investigation to see who may be held accountable. Based on the elements in the police report, your accident lawyers will have to determine whether it was all the trucker’s fault or if there are other parties liable for damages. For instance, you can have a case against the trucking company if there was a mechanical failure that led to the crash.
If the police report says that the trucker had a blood alcohol content of .04% or higher, the trucker may be charged with drunk driving and this would allow you to seek punitive damages as well. On the other hand, you may also sue his employer if the company failed to perform regular drugs and alcohol tests on the drivers, as required under federal law.