Every Minnesotan knows that our state’s long, cold winters can make for dangerous driving conditions, but it may surprise you to learn that the vast majority of traffic accidents in our state occur in relatively good driving conditions, during daylight hours when the weather is relatively mild.
This finding comes from a Minnesota Department of Public Safety report analyzing all the state’s crash statistics for the year 2021. According to the report, Minnesota lost 488 people in traffic crashes that year, the most since 2007. Another 1,723 people were seriously injured.
The report found that 44,344 crashes occurred on days when the weather was reported to have been clear. This made up 72% of all reported crashes that year.
So, if it isn’t snow and ice that’s causing all these accidents, what is it? The answer is that a lot of factors contribute to crashes, but some of the most common factors fall under the category of human behavior. These include:
- Excessive speed: Involved in accidents that killed 171 people
- Lack of seatbelt use: Believed to be a factor in 110 deaths
- Intoxicated drivers: 74 deaths
- Distracted driving: 27 deaths
Negligence and liability
If you are a responsible driver, you may look at these statistics and pledge to protect yourself by always driving at the speed limit and using your seatbelt, never driving drunk and never looking at your smartphone while you’re behind the wheel. These are all smart moves.
Unfortunately, responsible drivers must share the roads with drivers who aren’t so careful, and they can end up becoming injured in a crash as a result.
The legal foundation of most personal injury lawsuits is negligence. All drivers have a duty to avoid unreasonable risks that could injure others. When they breach this duty, they act negligently. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, you can hold that negligent party liable for your damages.
Proving your case
All that may look fairly straightforward at first glance, but these cases can easily become complicated. To be compensated for all you have lost, you must calculate your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages and harder-to-quantify losses such as pain and suffering — and you must do so for not only what you have already lost, but all you anticipate losing in the future. After all, if you have been permanently injured, you will suffer from the fallout of the accident for the rest of your life.
What’s more, you will have to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident. This may be fairly straightforward if you can establish that they were drunk or ran a stoplight just before the crash, but many cases are not so clear-cut.
That’s why it’s important to seek out advice from experienced attorneys.