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Minnesota Negligence Laws

It's a classic case when you're stuck in traffic: you're caught in the middle of an intersection when the light turns yellow. A driver turning left across your lane tries to beat the light and collides with your car. Which one of you is at fault for your injuries, and do you have a legal claim based on negligence? If you're wondering how negligence cases work, and what laws the North Star State has regarding any possible recovery for your injuries, this is a good place to start. This is a brief introduction to negligence laws in Minnesota.

General Negligence Law

Negligence claims are a legal attempt to determine whether a person had a duty of care to another, and whether that person failed in fulfilling that duty. If so, he or she may be liable for any resulting injuries. If we use the accident example, the other driver, let's call her Donna, might be held liable for negligence because she hit your car.

Under Minnesota law, you may also be liable under a doctrine known as "contributory negligence," meaning that you contributed to the accident by trying to squeeze through the intersection. The concept of contributory negligence does not bar recovery in a negligence claim completely so long as you aren't more than 50% at fault. However, the amount you could recover in a negligence claim could be diminished in proportion with your contributory fault.

Negligence Laws in Minnesota

While all states have negligence laws, not all state negligence laws are the same. Minnesota's Negligence statutes in are highlighted in the following table.

Code Section

MN Statutes §604.01, et seq.

Comparative Negligence

-

Contributory Negligence-Limit to Plaintiff's Recovery

Plaintiff's negligence reduces recovery proportionately, but if greater than 50%, recovery is barred

Contribution Among Tortfeasors

No

Uniform Act

-

Negligence Cases

There are several elements of a negligence case. And in order to have a successful claim in court, you must prove each element:

  • Duty: the other party owed to a duty of care;
  • Breach of Duty: the other party failed to meet that duty;
  • Cause in Fact: but for the other party’s failure, you would not have been injured;
  • Proximate Cause: the other party's failure (and not something else) caused your injury; and
  • Damages: you have actually been injured and suffered some loss.

Minnesota Negligence Laws: Related Resources

Negligence law has a lot of ins and outs, and navigating a negligence claim can be tricky. You can find more information and resources on this topic in FindLaw's section on Negligence.

Next Step: Contact a Minnesota Injury Attorney for a Free Case Review

Minnesota has a wide variety of personal injury and tort laws. Finding a Minnesota specialist in your area of injury can make all the difference. If you have been injured in Minnesota and you feel your claim may merit compensation, it's in your best interests to contact a Minnesota injury attorney for a free claim evaluation.

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