Dual Fatal Highway Crash In Aitkin County
A third person was also seriously injured after a car skidded out of control near McGregor on Highway 210.
According to police and witnesses, an SUV slid on wet pavement and crossed the median into oncoming traffic. A pickup then smashed into the SUV. The SUV driver was killed, along with a 5-year-old passenger. A 15-year-old boy was also seriously injured.
The pickup driver and passenger were also slightly injured.
Speed and Minneapolis Car Wrecks
Excessive velocity is a factor in about a third of the fatal car crashes in Minnesota. Speed multiplies stopping time. The faster a driver travels, the less time the driver has to react to emergencies.
At 30mph, most vehicles travel about six car lengths in the brief time required for drivers to:
- See dangerous situations,
- Move their feet from the accelerator to the brake,
- Apply the brake, and
- Safely stop the car.
Technically, the first two bullets are reaction time and the second two bullets are braking time. Reaction time plus braking time equals stopping time.
At 60mph, stopping time triples to sixteen car lengths. A number of factors, including water on the road and vehicle weight, may increase stopping time even more.
Wet roads are especially a problem in Minnesota. Simple maneuvers that are perfectly safe on dry pavement, such as accelerating and turning at the same time, often cause loss of control on wet pavement. A mere one-tenth of an inch of water is enough to cause hydroplaning. Significantly, many people slow down in hard rains but ignore very light rains.
Damages Available in a Minnesota Serious Injury Crash
Speed plays a part here as well. A “fender bender” accident which only causes property damage at low speed often becomes a serious injury crash at high speeds. That’s because everything inside the car, including both objects and people, keep moving at the same speed after a sudden impact stops the car.
Minnesota and several other states have no-fault insurance laws. In the Gopher State, victims are eligible for additional compensation if:
- Their medical bills exceed $4,000,
- Complete injury recovery takes longer than 60 days, or
- They sustain any permanent injury.
Most car crashes in Minneapolis qualify as serious injury crashes based on the $4,000 threshold. If you go to the hospital at all, your bill will almost certainly exceed the threshold by a large margin.
The additional compensation is money for noneconomic damages. That includes things like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, emotional distress, and loss of consortium (companionship).
Special Rules Pertaining to Wrongful Death Crashes in Minneapolis
These cases work a bit differently because of Minnesota’s wrongful death statute. This law limits recovery to “pecuniary” losses. This word is broadly defined to include:
- Lost future financial support,
- Medical bills, funeral expenses, and other costs related to the decedent’s final injury or illness,
- Lost future emotional guidance, and
- Loss of consortium.
The surviving family members usually have three years to file wrongful death claims in Minnesota. Any negligent event, such as a car crash or a slip-and-fall, may give rise to such a claim.
Contact an Aggressive Attorney
Car crashes often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Minnesota, contact the Gunther Law Office. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.