The medical malpractice lawyers at the Schmidt Salita Law Team, formerly the Schmidt Law Firm, want to provide you with basic information about medical malpractice claims in Minnesota in order to help their clients understand the law.

The Basis of Any Medical Malpractice Claim is Proof of Medical Negligence.

The basic element of any medical malpractice claim is that of proving negligence on the part of the medical provider.

Failure to Use Reasonable Care.

Generally, negligence is a failure to use reasonable care under the circumstances. That failure can either be (1) a “comission”, namely the act of doing that which a reasonable person would do or (2) a “omission”, namely the failure to act and do what a reasonable person would do.

Deviation from the Standard of Care.

However, medical malpractice cases are different from other types of negligence cases. In medical malpractice cases, reasonable care by a medical doctor, dentist, nurse, hospital or other healthcare provider is care that meets an accepted standard of care that any doctor, dentist, nurse, hospital or other healthcare provider who is in a similar practice in a similar community would use or follow under similar circumstances. The failure to provide that care that meets an accepted standard of care under the circumstances is negligence.

Evidence of Causation is Necessary.

Causation is always an important requirement of any medical malpractice case. “Causation” is the connection between the negligent act and the injury or damage. In other words, it is an essential part of any medical malpractice case to prove that the negligent act, the malpractice, actually caused the injury or damage. Causation is often a difficult part of the proof of a medical malpractice case being there is often an underlying medical condition that was already present and the reason for the medical treatment in the first place.

Evidence of Bad Result or “Loss of a Chance”

Injury or damage is another important part of any medical malpractice case. It is not enough to prove simply that there was a bad or unexpected result. The party seeking damages from the medical provider in a medical malpractice case must prove that the actual act of negligence was the direct cause of the injury or harm to that party. That proof may be in the form of evidence that the negligent act of the health provider resulted in a loss of chance or opportunity for a better result or outcome. A medical provider is not negligent simply because his or her efforts were unsuccessful and there was a bad or unexpected result.

Malpractice Due to Error in Diagnosis.

The failure to properly diagnose a medical condition on the part of any doctor or other healthcare provider also constitutes negligence. Accordingly, where the failure to diagnose the medical problem results in the patient not receiving proper treatment or the patient receiving improper treatment, the patient has a valid claim for medical malpractice.

Departure from Manufacturer’s Recommendations.

The failure to follow the recommendations or instructions of the manufacturer for the use of any medical device or pharmaceutical of any doctor or medical provider constitutes negligence unless there is evidence that a reasonable health care provider would not have followed those recommendations or instructions under same or similar circumstances. Where drug manufacturers issue clear and explicit recommendations or instructions to the health care provider as to the conditions under which a drug should be prescribed or medical device should be used, the failure of the doctor to follow those recommendations or instructions is malpractice. The healthcare providers’ deviation from such instructions for recommendations is considered to be prima facie evidence of negligence where there is also evidence that the deviation constituted injury or damage to the patient.

The Doctor’s Duty to Refer.

Any doctor or healthcare provider has a duty to refer a patient to a specialist if and when that doctor knows, or should have known, that the patient’s condition is beyond the specialty of that doctor and beyond his or her ability and skill to properly treat that condition. Accordingly, the failure to refer a patient needing medical skills beyond the ability of that doctor of health care provider is considered negligence.
It is the law that any doctor or other healthcare provider that does not have the skill and ability to properly care for a condition and fails to refer the patient to a doctor in the proper field of specialty will be held responsible to the same standard of care that a specialist in that field would have employed or used under similar circumstances.

Medical Treatment without Patient’s Knowledge or Consent.

No doctor or other health care provider has the right to perform any operation or other medical procedure without first obtaining the consent of the patient or someone other than the patient who is authorized to give consent on behalf of the patient.
No consent is needed where there is an emergency that requires an immediate medical treatment or operation and consent is impossible or impractical because the delay would endanger the patient’s health or life.

The Patient’s Informed Consent is Necessary.

Minnesota’s Patient Bill of Rights sets out a statutory duty under the law to disclose information to the patient about treatment. The statute requires that patients shall be given complete and current information concerning the diagnosis, treatment, alternatives, risk, and prognosis as required by the physicians duty to disclose.

The failure of a doctor or healthcare provider to inform a patient of the risks of treatment, or the availability of alternative medical treatment is necessary when and if the provider knows or should know about the risks involved in the surgery, treatment or the alternatives to surgery and treatment, can constitute medical negligence or malpractice.

If the circumstances are such that a reasonable person in the patient’s position would not typically have consented to the treatment if the risks and alternative treatments had been known by the patient, a valid case for medical malpractice could be established on this basis.

The Duty of Any Hospital.

Hospitals also have a duty to use reasonable care for the protection and well-being of their patients and failure to meet this duty can give rise to a medical malpractice claim of hospital malpractice.

Hospitals also have a duty of protection to the patient from injury caused by others-and even self injury. The Schmidt Salita Law Team, formerly the Schmidt Law Firm, has successfully handled cases against hospitals for injury caused by other patients, as well as hospital staff personnel.
Ordinarily, a hospital is not responsible for harm caused by hospital personnel in following the orders of a patient’s doctor. However, where hospital personnel should have known that it was unreasonable for hospital personnel to follow the orders of a doctor and harm follows to the patient, a valid claim of medical malpractice can arise even where the procedure was ordered by a doctor.

The Duty of Nursing Homes.

Nursing home negligence involves the failure of any nursing home to provide proper nursing care. This failure will certainly give rise to a claim of medical malpractice against the nursing home. Malpractice claims against nursing homes can be based on the failure to provide proper nursing care and failure to provide patients with proper medical care. However, most nursing home cases are cases of neglect abuse.
Nursing home claims can take a number of forms and allege a number of different types of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or violation of rights. Some of the types of claims we handle for nursing home residents or their families include:
-Neglect of medical problems;
-Prescription medication errors;
-Failure to provide proper medical care;
-Psychological and Emotional Abuse;
-Physical restraint errors;
-Falling/Dropping Patients.
Nursing home malpractice cases also require an expert witness to testify that the nursing home has deviated from the standard practice in same or similar circumstances.

The Schmidt Salita Team Provides High Quality, 5 Star Rated, Legal Services for Medical Malpractice Claims.
The Medical Malpractice Lawyers at the Schmidt Salita Law Team, formerly the Schmidt Law Firm, have over 70 years (collectively) in successfully handling medical malpractice and medical device claims for injury victims. They have handled medical malpractice claims in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and South Dakota. The principal focus of their practice is in the state of Minnesota him, especially to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as the surrounding communities of Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Maple Grove, Osseo, Plymouth, Minnetonka, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Edina, Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, Shakopee, Savage, Bloomington, Burnsville and Apple Valley.

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The Personal Injury and Accident Lawyers on the Schmidt-Salita Law Team call your attention to the fact that it’s a “car crash” not a “car accident”.

Some people think an “accident is something that happens beyond the control of another person, something unintentional. They think that we all do things “accidentally” and without any fault.

Many transportation experts and legal experts challenge that usage of the term “accident”. The Minnesota Department of Traffic Safety has changed the definition on reports to “Crash Report”.

“Our children did not die in ‘accidents,'” says Amy Cohen, a co-founder of the New York-based group Families for Safe Streets. Her 12-year-old son was hit and killed by a van on the street in front of their home in 2013. “An ‘accident,'” she says, “implies that nothing could have been done to prevent their deaths.”

Ms. Cohen’s advocacy organization Transportation Alternatives has launched a campaign against the use of the the word “accident,” which she says, presupposes a conclusion that no one bears responsibility.

Under Minnesota law, a person is responsible for the consequences of a motor vehicle collision if it results from “negligence” which is defined as “failure to use reasonable care”, by doing “something that a reasonable person would not do” or failure to do something that a reasonable person would do.”

Under Minnesota law, violation of a traffic statute is negligence; unless there is some legal excuse. Minnesota traffic laws establish the “rules of the road”, regarding speed, braking, and obedience to traffic signs and signals, and other matters of driving conduct.

Just remember this-its not an “accident”-someone is at fault in virtually every single car crash. The personal injury lawyers at the Schmidt-Salita Law Team will marshal the evidence to prove the fault of the negligent driver who caused the accident.

For a free consultation about your “car crash” related injury claim, contact the Law Team at the Schmidt-Salita Law Firm.

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The Schmidt-Salita Law Team is a 5 star rated law firm specializing in Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Workers’ Compensation Injuries


The Schmidt-Salita Law Firm’s Concussion/TBI Team is Minnesota’s Top Personal Injury and Worker’s Compensation firm in representing the victims of traumatic brain injury and concussion.

Douglas Schmidt, one of the senior trial lawyer at the Schmidt-Salita Law Team is recognized as one of the top authorities in the Minnesota legal world on the subject of concussion injuries and Traumatic Brain Injuries. Schmidt has a long history of working to help recognize concussion injuries in youth sports. Nearly 20 years ago, Schmidt served as president of District 6 youth hockey, surveying youth hockey organizations in Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, Edina, Bloomington, Richfield, Burnsville and Apple Valley. In that capacity, he worked with Dr. Mark Stuart at the Mayo Clinic to develop procedures for sideline recognition of concussion injuries in youth hockey.

Schmidt has carried that special knowledge and experience through to the representation of his clients who have sustained concussion injuries and traumatic brain injuries in car accidents. The Schmidt-Salita Law Team very carefully evaluates the victims of car accidents that come to them to determine whether they have sustained a concussion or traumatic brain injury that has been overlooked by the medical community. They have found that approximately 60% of the victims of car accident injuries, trucking accident injuries, and motorcycle accident injuries have actually sustained a concussion or traumatic brain injury that has been overlooked. The Schmidt-Salita Law Team is dedicated to helping its clients received proper medical care of these concussion and traumatic brain injuries.

Schmidt has been recognized as an authority on early recognition of concussion injuries. He has lectured frequently to Doctors of Chiropractic about the important role that they play in the recognition of concussions and traumatic brain injuries.


A concussion is the same as a Traumatic Brain Injury. That fact is universally accepted in the medical community.

Mayo Clinic’s online medical information states:

“A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions.”


The symptoms of a concussion or Mild Traumatic Brain Injury are as follows:

headaches, feelings of dizziness, nausea and or vomiting, noise sensitivity (easily upset by loud noise), sleep disturbance, fatigue (tiring more easily), being irritable (easily angered), feeling depressed or tearful, feeling frustrated or impatient, forgetfulness (poor memory), poor concentration, taking longer to think, blurred vision, light sensitivity (easily upset by bright light), double vision, restlessness, Tinnitus.


“Post-Concussion Syndrome” is defined as a complex disorder in which various symptoms of a concussion, such as headaches and dizziness, last longer than just weeks or months immediately following the injury call that caused the concussion. Post- concussion syndrome is that collection of symptoms of a concussion that doesn’t go away in the weeks of months immediately following the injury.


The Report to Congress from the CDC declared that mild traumatic brain injuries are not a minor problem. Instead, they are a major health problem affecting 1.5 million people. 75% of victims of traumatic brain injury have been categorized as mild traumatic brain injuries. Yet, clinical research has provided evidence that mild traumatic brain injuries can cause serious, long-lasting problems.

The American Congress of rehabilitative medicine has declared that mild traumatic brain injury can produce significant functional disability. One study has shown that 23% of mild traumatic brain injury victims do not recover within one year.


It is indeed a fact that many concussions and traumatic brain injuries occur without a blow to the head. The flexion-extension trauma of a “whiplash” often produces a “snapping” of the head with a high degree of force. It is well accepted in the medical literature that the shaking of the brain inside the skull as a result of whiplash trauma is sufficient to produce a significant concussion or traumatic brain injury.

The Mayo Clinic says that concussions can occur when the head and upper body are violently shaken without an actual blow to the head.


The Mayo Clinic says that car accidents are a common cause of concussion and traumatic brain injuries:

Sudden acceleration-deceleration of the head, resulting from certain events such as a car crash or being violently shaken, also can cause brain injury.,

The Schmidt-Salita Law Team has found that 60% of the victims of car accidents, trucking accidents and motorcycle accident have experienced a concussion or traumatic brain injury.


The Mayo Clinic says the majority of concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness.

A “loss of consciousness” can be total or partial. Loss of consciousness is medically defined as a “coma”. Partial loss of consciousness is medically defined as either “stupor” or “lethargy”. “Stupor” is defined as a condition of significant or severe responsiveness. “Lethargy” is defined as a condition of lesser reduced responsiveness.


The state of confusion that occurs immediately following traumatic brain injury. The state of mental confusion “Post Traumatic Amnesia” (PTA) is the state of mental confusion, which follows immediately after the concussion injury in which the injured person is this oriented, and unable to remember the events that occurred at the time of the injury or immediately following.

It is very common that the injury victim will be able to communicate with others, being able to state his name, Social Security number, and appear to be oriented to time and place, but later be unable to remember much of what happened. It is very typical that posttraumatic amnesia will be intermittent with the injury victim remembering some parts of the event and not others. It is very common for the victims of a car accident to remember the crash, and only remember some events immediately following the crash. For example, it is typical that the injury victim will remember the crash, but not remember how his or her body was tossed around the, will remember only some of the events at the scene of the accident, will not remember the ambulance ride, will remember arriving at the hospital but not remember what medical treatment he or she received at the Emergency Department.   This “off and on” intermittent memory is very common.

Medical literature says that the length of the PTA is more important for determining the severity of the injury and to predict the long term consequences than the period of loss of consciousness. For that reason, TBI experts suggest that it is important to attempt to determine how long the PTA is lasted by attempting to defined the time when the “off again on again” intermittent memory condition ends. This is often very difficult because many TBI victims have long term memory problems. In short, it can be argued that the period of PTA was never-ending when the victim continues to have memory problems indefinitely.


The online publication of the Mayo Clinic recognizes that car accidents are a frequent cause of concussion and to many brain injuries.

The statistics compiled at the Schmidt-Salita Law Team indicate that 60% of the people who have been involved in a motor vehicle collision, whether car accident, trucking accident, or motorcycle accident that results in moderate to severe property damage have also sustained a concussion or traumatic brain injury.


Recently, the author of an article that was published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine recognized that emergency room doctors cannot reliably assess a concussion or traumatic brain injury. The author recognized that patients who have suffered a dramatic brain injury often appear normal in the acute clinical presentation.

Further, the author stated that emergency room doctors have no valid way of predicting at the time of injury which patients will subsequently developed a post-concussion syndrome. Research reported in that article indicated that 38% of patients who later develop post-concussion syndrome were discharged from the emergency department without recommendations for any follow-up care and that 80% of mild traumatic brain injury patients will end up suffering persistent neuropsychological symptoms.


In a very large percentage of cases, the victim of a concussion is not aware of the presence of the concussion injury.

Statistics from the US Department of Defense have established that nearly 20% of the soldiers returning from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq have been determined, on post-deployment medical examination, to have sustained a concussion injury of which they were not aware and had received no medical attention.

Recently, Minnesota football player quarterback Mitch Leidner suffered a concussion in middle of the 3rd Quarter. He continued to play, calling the plays with mental efficiency while also passing and running with a high level of physical skill. It was not until three days later, that he was diagnosed with a concussion. As a result, he was kept out of the next two games. This is an example of how a concussion injury does not have an immediate effect and, instead, has a delayed onset.


It has long been recognized that blurred or double vision is a symptom that is often present in the acute stage of a concussion injury. For that reason, the simple test of counting fingers has long been used as a very rudimentary screening tool.

More sophisticated research has now indicated that many long term. Significant visual impairments follow concussion injuries, with a sufficient frequency. These impairments include:

Convergence insufficiency is the reduced ability of eyes to focus from near to far vision and back.

Slowed saccades is a condition where the eyes have reduced ability to track horizontally, vertically, and in circles.

Photophobia is increased sensitivity to bright lights.

Fourth nerve palsy is a condition where the two eyes do not track together.

The services of a Board Certified Neuro-Opthamologist can be of value to the victims of visual disturbances following a traumatic brain injury. In some cases, corrective eyeglass lens can serve to reduce the negative effects of Traumatic Brain Injury on the victim.


In recent months and years, there has been a significantly raise public awareness of the long-term dangers and consequences of traumatic brain injuries.

Starting in 2012, the public became aware of the existence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in professional football players. CTE is now recognized as a condition of brain deterioration typically beginning 8 to 10 years after the football player experiences repetitive a mild traumatic brain injury. The first stage of this disorder includes deterioration of attention, and disorientation, dizziness and chronic headaches. The second stage involves progressive deterioration of cognitive functions, including memory loss, erratic behavior and poor judgment. The first, third and fourth stages involve progressive dementia with slowing of muscular movements, speech dysfunction, tremors, vertigo/balance problems, progressive deafness, and mental disorders, such as suicidality.

The existence of CTE has been objectively proven by postmortem pathology examination of brain tissue. The pathologist that first discovered this condition and called it to public attention has stated that the medical community was actually the last sector of our society to recognize and accept this problem!!!

The National Football League (NFL) has reached a settlement with professional football players that involve the payment of $765 million in potential compensation.

Within the last year, a federal district court judge in Chicago gave approval to a head injury settlement between student-athletes and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Under the terms of this proposed settlement $70 million fund was to be established to test for brain trauma.

Other literature has proven that psychological illnesses frequently follow a traumatic brain injury consequence. Other literature has established that seizure disorders also are well recognized long-term consequences of a traumatic brain injury.

Other literature has established that the victims of a traumatic brain injury are at increased risk for the development of yet another subsequent traumatic brain injury with lesser trauma and with more severe consequences.


Even though there has been considerable public focus on the severity of concussion and traumatic brain injuries, there remains a considerable reluctance on the part of medical doctors, insurance adjusters, insurance company lawyers, and juries to accept and recognize those consequences. For that reason it is important that the victims of concussion and traumatic brain injuries have the support of personal injury and worker’s compensation lawyers who are skilled and experienced in the recognition of these injuries and know how to properly present evidence that will support fair compensation to the victims.

The skilled personal injury and worker’s compensation lawyers at the Schmidt-Salita Law Team are 5 star rated by their clients for their legal skills and for the care and attention that they bring to the representation of the victims of personal injury, worker’s compensation and wrongful death, especially the victims of concussions and traumatic brain injuries.

For a free consultation with a lawyer regarding your injury claim, contact the Schmidt-Salita Law Team at or call 952-473-4530.




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The personal injury lawyers at the Schmidt Law Firm have decades of experience in handling big cases, involving big trucks and big injuries. They have the know-how, skill and determination to bring justice to the victims of personal injury and wrongful death. If you or a loved one have been involved in a motor vehicle collision involving a large commercial truck, it is very important that you hire a personal injury lawyer with that type of experience in tracking collision cases.

Approximately one out of every eight automotive accident fatalities involves a large commercial truck such as a semi-truck tractor trailer combination or other commercial vehicle.

When a commercial truck is involved in a collision, approximately 80% of those injured are the drivers or passengers of the smaller vehicle which was involved in the collision.

Size and Weight Matter-Bigger Trucks, Bigger Crashes, More Damage.

Federal commercial vehicle law is the law large commercial trucks to weigh as much as 80,000 pounds gross vehicle weight. In most states, large commercial trucks can be as long as 53 feet with longer truck and trailer combinations allowed under special circumstances. These size and weight considerations make it difficult for large commercial trucks to maneuver on the highways and cause additional difficulties with the maintenance of a proper lookout do to “blind spots”.

Large trucks have high crash rates-more collisions per mile traveled.

Large commercial vehicles, including semi-truck/trailer combinations, account for a large percentage of the usage of the highways of the United States. Recent statistics show that large trucks account for approximately 4% of the registered vehicles on the roadway and 9% of the vehicle miles traveled. Statistics show that the percentage rate of fatal crashes per miles traveled is roughly the same as between large commercial vehicles and a regular passenger vehicles. Accordingly, because of the higher rate of miles traveled, it logically follows that large trucks will be involved in a higher percentage of injury related collisions.

Large truck collisions involve a higher fatality rate-more people killed.

According to the statistics of the insurance Institute for Highway safety (IIHS), in 2014, 3660 people died in crashes involving large trucks. 68% were occupants of passenger vehicles. 15% were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists. Only 16% were truck occupants. In fatal two – vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle in a large truck, 97% of the deaths were occupants of the passenger vehicles.

Driver fatigue is a factor in big truck crashes.

According to the IIHS, driver fatigue is indeed a contributing factor to a significant number of truck crashes. The Institute found that truck drivers who have driven for more than eight hours are twice as likely to become involved in a collision. The Institute’s research found the truck drivers who violate the hours of service requirements also are more likely to a fallen asleep behind the wheel recently. Another study also found that truck drivers who do not properly maintain their logbooks in which they record their hours of service are more likely to have been involved in a collision.

Defective truck equipment as a cause of collision.

Many studies have determined that semi tractor trailers with defective equipment are quite twice as likely to have been involved in a collision in comparison with trucks that are properly maintained.

Brake defects were most common, occurring in 56% of the semi tractor-trailer crashes. Steering equipment defects were found at 21% of the crash involved trucks.

Case Examples from Schmidt Law Team Success in Trucking Collision Cases.

-#1. Semi-Truck Steering Axle Tire Blow Out Case.

Early in his career, Douglas E. Schmidt, the senior trial lawyer at the Schmidt Law Firm successfully represented the family of an Iowa truck driver who was driving an 18 wheeler semi truck for a Minnesota company when involved in a fatal crash in North Carolina. The crash was the result of the “blow out” of one of the tires on the front steering axle, resulting in a steering failure. Suit was filed against the tire manufacturer, B. F. Goodrich, and White Freight-liner, the manufacturer of the semi-truck. The case was successfully settled before trial which would have occurred in US District Court in Iowa.

-#2. Iowa Trucker in Southern Minnesota Two Semi Truck Crash

In another major case, the Schmidt Law Team represented an Iowa boy who was riding with his father in an 18 wheeler that crashed into the rear of another semi-truck/trailer on I 90 in southern Minnesota when the truck collided with the rear-end of another semi-truck in heavy fog near Fairmont, Minnesota. After years of protracted litigation, the case was settled for a figure in excess of $2 million.

-#3. Brown County Collision with 38 Wheeler Construction Semi Truck/Trailer.

In yet another trucking collision case, the Schmidt Law Team represented the passenger in a van that was involved in a collision with a large construction semi tractor/trailer combination. It was a 38 wheeler!!! Yes! That is no typographical error. It was a 38 wheeler!!! It was a semi tractor pulling an articulated (two part) construction trailer.

The case was vigorously defended and tried to conclusion to a jury in New Ulm, Minnesota at the Brown County Courthouse. The result was a very favorable jury verdict in favor of Schmidt’s client.

-#4. Canadian Semi Truck-Trailer in Wright County Collision on I94.

Recently, the Schmidt Law Team successfully settled yet another case involving a large commercial vehicle-an 18 wheeler that entered a construction zone on I 94 between Minneapolis and St. Cloud, Minnesota. The truck driver failed to reduce speed and drive with care in violation of a reduced speed zone in the construction area.

-#5. Brooklyn Center Minnesota Trucking Collision Due to Defective Equipment.

The Schmidt Law Team recently concluded a settlement for its client who was injured in a collision involving a semi-truck that was being operated with defective equipment. The semi-truck driver experienced vision problems when a radiator connection came loose in the engine compartment and sprayed the windshield with radiator fluid, causing reduced vision for the truck driver. The Schmidt Law Team uncovered evidence in the maintenance records of the truck that there has been leakage prior to the collision that had not been properly repaired.
Note: Under Minnesota law, a sudden and unexpected equipment failure cannot be the basis of a claim of negligence. In order to prove fault on the part of the truck driver or the trucking company, it is necessary to prove that the owner or driver had prior knowledge of the defect and an opportunity to fix the problem OR that poor maintenance led to the equipment defect that caused the collision.

The Schmidt Law Team Brings Experience and Skill to Big Truck, Big Crash, Big Injury cases.

Douglas Schmidt comments that,
“Big trucks often cause big crashes and big injuries. With the involvement of a team of experienced trial lawyers and staff, all knowledgeable in the handling of trucking collision injury claims, the result should be, in most cases, a larger settlement or recovery than in other motor vehicle related crashes.”

For more information regarding the successful handling of trucking collision cases, contact the Schmidt Law Firm at go to its practice area page for more information.





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Minnesota “At-Fault” Claims

The Schmidt Law Firm is a premier, five-star rated Law Firm offering quality legal services to the victims of personal injury, wrongful death, and workplace injuries in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking accident, and car-pedestrian accidents.

The Schmidt Law Team at the Schmidt Law Firm is a group of very experienced personal injury and accident lawyers with an equally experienced support staff that is recognized as one of the top Minnesota Law Firms in representing the victims of personal injury in motor vehicle collisions.

Minnesota is a No-Fault state, which means that the victims of personal injury arising in a motor vehicle accident must first seek benefits from their own No-Fault insurance policy report before seeking compensation from the At Fault driver. For more information about how the Minnesota No-Fault law works, click here.

The members of the Schmidt Law Team provide this additional information for you. With regard to how the Minnesota at fault system works:

1. What does my “At-Fault” claim involve?

Simply stated, your At-Fault claim is the claim you have against the another driver that was at fault in causing the collision that resulted in your injuries. The At Fault claim comes into play after the No Fault claim and provides additional benefits above and beyond the No Fault claim.

2. Do you automatically have an At-Fault claim?

No. You do not have an At-Fault claim unless all of the following is true:

1. Someone other than you was at fault in causing your injuries.
2. The at-fault party is more at fault than you.
3. You meet one of the “threshold requirements” under Minnesota law which entitles you to bring an At-Fault claim.
The threshold requirements are as follows:
1. Medical Expenses in excess of $4,000.00.
2. Permanent Disfigurement.
3. Permanent Disability.
4. Death.
5. Disability for 60 days.

3. How is my “At-Fault” claim different from my “No-Fault” claim?

Your At-Fault claim differs from your No-Fault claim in the following respects:

1. The At-Fault claim is brought against the other driver, whereas the No- Fault claim is brought against your own company.

2. You must be able to prove the fault of the other driver in your At-Fault claim, whereas no proof of fault is required in your No-Fault claim.

3. The types of benefits you can collect in your At-Fault claim are totally different from those that you can collect in your No-Fault claim. (For more details in this regard please read the text below.)

4. If you cannot settle your At-Fault claim, your only remedy is to file a lawsuit in District Court. This is different from your No-Fault claim where you have the option of going to No-Fault Arbitration which is faster, less expensive and easier.

4. How do you prove fault in your At-Fault claim?

The injured party must be able to bring forth evidence to prove the fault of the at- fault party, both in the settlement phase and if the case cannot be settled in court in front of the judge and jury.

Proof of fault can be by proof that the at fault driver violated the Minnesota traffic laws. This can be by running a stop sign, exceeding the speed limit, or crossing the center line, or some other violation of Minnesota traffic laws. Violation of a traffic law is called a statutory violation and is considered evidence of fault.

Proof of fault can also be by proof of common law. This can be by proof that the at-fault driver “failed to maintain a proper lookout” or “failed to maintain control” of the vehicle.

In court, the injured party has the burden of proof, meaning the proof must be by a “preponderance of the evidence” (i.e. it was “more likely than not” that the at-fault party was actually “at-fault.”

Proof of fault can be established by the testimony of eye witnesses and “after the fact” witnesses such as accident re-constructionists (experts who are called to testify as to how the accident happened based on skid-marks, damage to the vehicles, and similar evidence.
It is important to consult with an attorney as soon after the accident as possible so that your attorney can collect and save the evidence that will be necessary to prove the fault of the At Fault driver in settlement negotiations and at trial, if the case cannot be settled without trial.

5. Who is the At-Fault claim against?

The At-Fault claim is technically against the at-fault driver who caused the car accident. However, the claim is really against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Minnesota law does not allow the claim to be made directly against the insurance company.

6. What is “comparative fault” and how does it affect my At- Fault claim?

Minnesota is a comparative negligence state, which means the injured person’s fault will be compared against the fault of the party that is primarily at fault. The percentage of fault of the injured party will reduce the amount of money damages that can be collected.

For example, if the jury decides that the at-fault party was 80% at fault and the injured party 20% at fault and the reasonable amount of the damages was
$100,000.00, the judge will reduce the amount that can be collected by the comparative fault of 20%. The final result is that the injured party would collect
$80,000.00 instead of the full $100,000.00.

7. What type of benefits are you entitled to collect in your At- Fault case?

If you’ve been hurt in an automobile accident, you have the right under Minnesota law to collect money damages from the at-fault party.

First of all, you must be able to prove the “At-Fault” party was actually at fault. Further, any amount of fault on your own part will reduce the amount that you can collect. (See the section on Comparative Fault – Chapter 2, No. 6.)

Minnesota law allows a person who is injured to collect both compensatory damages and punitive damages.

Compensatory damages compensate a person for actual losses. They include the following:

a. Past and Future medical expenses not paid by No-Fault.

b. Past and Future loss of earnings and wages resulting from the injury.

c. Past and Future disability, disfigurement and emotional distress.

Punitive Damages are damages that are intended to punish the at-fault party for conduct that demonstrates a deliberate disregard for the rights or safety of others. The term “deliberate disregard” has been defined to mean, the at-fault driver had either “known about facts or intentionally ignored facts that created a high probability of injury…or deliberately acted with conscious or intentional disregard or with indifference to the high probability of injury to the rights or safety of” The best example of a case where punitive damages might be allowed by the court is that of a drunk driver who caused a car accident resulting in personal injury.

8. What amount of money can I collect in my At-Fault claim?

Unlike your No-Fault claim, there is no limit to the amount you can collect in your At-Fault claim. However, under exceptional circumstances, the Judge can reduce the amount if the Judge determines that the jury verdict was excessive.

9. How do I go about trying to settle my At-Fault claim?

In order to get a fair settlement of your At-Fault claim, you need to be able to prove both fault and damages. (See the section above about how to prove fault.)

Proving fault isn’t enough. You must prove the nature and extent of your “damages”, or your losses. In doing so, you must prove at least one of the following:

1. That you have met one of the “tort thresholds”.

2. That you have medical bills in excess of those paid by the No-Fault insurance.

3. That you have wage and earning losses in excess of those paid by the No- Fault

4. That you have permanent injury or disfigurement

The insurance company for the at- fault driver will typically require much supporting documentation, including copies of the medical bills, payroll records and tax returns to prove wage and earning losses, narrative medical reports from your doctors confirming the nature and extent of your permanent injury or disfigurement.

The assistance of a lawyer is usually very important in collecting the necessary documentation and making a demand for settlement that will be respected by the insurance company so that a fair settlement results. Further, the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney can help you to determine how much is fair.

10. What are your rights if the At-Fault party’s insurance company either denies the claim or doesn’t offer a reasonable settlement?

If you cannot settle with the insurance company for a reasonable amount, your remedy is to “file suit”. That means suing the at-fault party and taking them to court.

The law requires all car accident claims must go to mediation or some other form of “alternative dispute resolution” (ADR). A high percentage of personal injury claims resulting from car accidents or other motor vehicle collision are settled at mediation.

If your case cannot be settled through mediation (or other form of ADR), then the last option is court or a jury trial. Even if your case did not settle at mediation, the option of settlement before trial, or even during trial, remains available.

11. How is the value of a personal injury case determined?

The “fair market value” of a personal injury case is determined by what juries do in similar cases. Insurance companies know that if a settlement cannot be reached, the case will be decided by a jury and their estimate of what an average jury will award in similar cases is what they use to determine how much to offer in settlement.

Just as the value of your home is decided by looking at similar sales of similar houses in similar neighborhoods, the “fair market value” of personal injury cases is decided by looking at jury decisions in similar cases. An experienced personal injury lawyer keeps track of what juries are doing in similar cases and uses that knowledge to determine the “fair market value” of any personal injury claim.

12. How much is my case worth?

The value of a personal injury case depends on many factors.

First, the degree of fault of the responsible party must be considered. The more fault, the better the case.

Secondly, the amount of fault of the injured person must be considered. (See the section regarding comparative fault – Chapter 2, No. 6.)

Thirdly, the severity of the injury and pain, amount of permanent disability, amount of the medical bills, lost wages, and other items of damages must be considered.

Finally, the financial ability of the at-fault party to pay must be considered. In most cases, this is determined by the amount of insurance coverage. For example, it is very difficult to get a $100,000 settlement from a party with only $30,000 of insurance.

However, in cases in which the injury claim has a value above the amount of the insurance coverage of the At Fault driver, your “Underinsured Motorist Coverage”

(UIM coverage) will provide payment of that part of your claim that is in excess of the At Fault driver’s insurance coverage. NOTE: The assistance of an attorney who is experienced in automobile insurance matters is very important to preserve your UIM claim. If the settlement against the At Fault driver is not done properly, you can lose your rights to collect UIM benefits.

If you or a loved one have sustained personal injury in a motor vehicle collision, whether car, truck, motorcycle crash or pedestrian injury as the result of the negligence or fault of another person, please feel free to call the Schmidt Law Firm for a free consultation with a lawyer to determine whether you have a valid claim. LINK HERE to home page.

The Schmidt Law Team provides personal injury and wrongful death legal services to the entire State of Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metropolitan area of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Plymouth, Eden Prairie, Bloomington, Burnsville, Apple Valley, Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Osseo, Savage, Shakopee and others. It provides specialty expertise in traumatic brain injuries (concussion injuries), neck and back injuries, and amputation injuries.

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The Schmidt Law Firm is a premier, 5 star rated personal injury, wrongful death, and workers compensation law firm with over 40 year’s experience in more than 10,000 cases.

The Schmidt Law Team at the Schmidt Law Firm is proud to say that it is Minnesota’s premier law firm in many respects, but especially in the handling of No Fault Insurance claims. It is important that Minnesota’s legal system requires the victims of personal injury or wrongful death in motor vehicle collisions, whether car accidents, trucking accidents, or car-pedestrian accidents, to seek benefits from their own No-Fault insurance before proceeding with a claim against the at-fault driver. For that reason, it is important that the victims of motor vehicle collisions have the representation of a law firm knowledgeable in the handling of the No Fault portion of the case, as well as the at fault portion of the case.

The Schmidt Law Team is headed by Douglas E Schmidt, the senior trial lawyer at the Schmidt Law Firm. Schmidt has over 40 years experience in handling No-Fault claims. As far back as 1974, Schmidt represented the interests of the Minnesota trial lawyers Association in lobbying the Minnesota legislature with regard to the Minnesota No-Fault Insurance Act. After the passage of the law, Schmidt was appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court to serve on the committee that wrote the rules for arbitration of Minnesota No-Fault insurance claims Schmidt served as the draftsman of the first three editions of those rules.

Schmidt was appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court as one of the arbitrators of Minnesota No-Fault arbitrations. For over 20 years, Schmidt served as an arbitrator.

The Schmidt Law Team has represented the clients of the Schmidt Law Firm in over 1000 No-Fault arbitrations and has successfully produced No Fault benefits of more than $10 million for the clients of the Schmidt Law Firm.

Schmidt has been asked to speak at continuing legal education seminars sponsored by the Minnesota trial lawyers on the subject of how to properly represent injury victims and No-Fault arbitration claims.

The Schmidt Law Team wants you to have the following information about how the Minnesota No-Fault insurance law works:

Minnesota No -Fault Insurance Claims:

1. Minnesota is a No-Fault state. What does that mean?

In 1974 the Minnesota Legislature passed the Minnesota No-Fault Automobile
Insurance Act, which went into effect on January 1, 1975.
This means every personal injury claim in the state of Minnesota has two parts: (1) No-Fault part; and (2) At-Fault part. NOTE: If you are injured while driving or riding in a motor vehicle while you are on the job (i.e. in the course and scope of any employment), your claim has three parts!!! You have rights under the Minnesota Workers Compensation law in addition to your rights under the No Fault law and your rights to make a claim against the “At Fault” driver. The No-Fault part of a Minnesota personal injury claim involves collecting benefits provided under your No-Fault insurance policy.

2. Do you have No-Fault insurance?

Under Minnesota law, No-Fault insurance coverage is mandatory and must be, by law, included in every automobile insurance policy.

Generally, a person injured in a motor vehicle collision, whether as a driver, passenger or pedestrian, has the right to No-Fault benefits. However, the law is somewhat complicated as to which insurance policy is required to provide the No Fault insurance coverage. The advice of an attorney may be necessary to resolve that issue.

A. Rights Under Your Own Car Insurance Policy: In the large majority of cases, the injured person will have the right to collect No Fault benefits from theirown car insurance policy. Accordingly, if you have car insurance (or live in the household of a relative who has car insurance), then you have No-Fault insurance coverage.

B. Rights Under the Car Insurance Policy on the Car in Which You Were Riding: Even if you don’t have your own car insurance but are injured whileriding in a car that does have insurance, you can collect No-Fault benefits from the insurance policy on the car in which you were riding.

C. Rights When Riding in a Bus/Taxi Cab: If you were injured while riding in a vehicle “used in the business of transporting persons or property” (i.e. a bus or taxi cab), you must seek No Fault benefits from the insurance covering that vehicle.

D. Right When Injured as a Pedestrian: Persons injured as a pedestrian or bicycle rider have the right to collect No Fault benefits from the insurance policy on the car that was involved in the accident and, if none, then from their own policy if they have one.

E. Rights If You Don’t Have Insurance: Even if you didn’t have car insurance and the car in which you were riding didn’t have insurance, you still might be able to collect from the Minnesota Assigned Risk program. If you don’t have car insurance and are driving illegally, then you may not have the right to collect No-Fault insurance benefits.

(You should consult with an attorney about how to apply for Assigned Risk coverage.)

3. What if you are riding as a passenger in someone else’s car when you were was injured?

If you have car insurance of your own and were injured when riding as a passenger in somebody has else’s car, you are entitled to collect No-Fault benefits from the insurance policy on your own car, even though you were not in your own vehicle at the time of the accident.

If you do not have a car of your own and, as a result, don’t have your own policy of car insurance but are injured while riding in someone else’s car, you are entitled to receive No-Fault benefits from the insurance policy on the car that you were riding in when you were injured.

4. What type of benefits can I get from my No-Fault Insurance Claim?

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision, you are entitled, under Minnesota law, to receive the following benefits:

A. Medical Expenses.   These benefits may include the expenses of doctors, hospitals, chiropractors, special nurses, physical therapy and prescriptions. It may also include: medical travel expenses prescribed by a doctor or chiropractor, braces, cervical collars, crutches, wheelchairs, and the cost of a health/exercise

B. Replacement Services. These benefits may include: as prescribed by a doctor, the costs of cleaning help, snow removal, and the costs of other hired services which would have been performed by you if you were not inju

C. Primary Homemaker Replacement Services (PHRS). If you were, or would normally be, the “primary homemaker” of your family unit, you can collect the fair market value of the homemaker services that you would normally do, but cannot do because of your injuries. You are entitled to collect up to $200.00 per week in Primary Homemaker Replacement Services benefits. (A lawyer knowledgeable in handling Primary Homemaker Replacement Services claims can help you with making a PHRS claim.)

D. Wage/Income Losses. These benefits also may include lost If you are self-employed, you can collect the cost of replacement workers who are paid to fill in for you. You are entitled to collect 85% of your actual wage or salary up to a maximum of $500/week, or more if you have purchased extra coverage.

5. How I start a claim for No-Fault benefits?

First, you should contact your insurance company immediately after you’ve been injured in a car accident. You should call your agent and ask for claim forms.

Secondly, you should complete the form immediately and submit it to your No- Fault insurance company promptly. (The assistance of an attorney in doing this can be very valuable to avoid any statements in your application that may later be used against you.)

Thirdly, you should provide your insurance company with the information and evidence necessary to prove your entitlement to No-Fault benefits. (Here, the assistance of an attorney would also be valuable.)

6. How much can I collect?

A. Minimum Coverage: Under Minnesota law, every policy of No-Fault insurance must have a minimum of $20,000.00 in coverage for medical/health care expenses and another $20,000.00 for Non-Medical Benefits (wage loss and replacement services).

B. Additional coverage: You may also have additional coverage if you elected to buy additional coverage. Some companies offer coverage’s above the minimums.

C. Stacking coverage: You may also have stacking coverage which allows you to collect No-Fault coverage where more than one vehicle is insured under the policy and you paid an extra premium amount for the stacking coverages.

(The assistance of a lawyer who is knowledgeable in No-Fault insurance matters can be of assistance to you in determining how much coverage you have under your No-Fault policy.)

7. How long can I continue to collect No-Fault benefits?

You are entitled to receive No-Fault benefits for as long as it is medically reasonable for you to incur these expenses or losses.

Your rights to benefits may continue for the rest of your life or until the full amount of your coverage limits have been exhausted or until there has been a one year “lapse” in treatment or disability.

If there is a one year lapse in your disability, the coverage may be lost. For that reason, it is important that you continue to see your health care providers on a regular basis and according to their recommendations. You should see a doctor for your injuries at least once a year. If you skip treatments for more than a year, the insurance company may attempt to deny No-Fault benefits for the rest of your life!

Of course your claim must be supported by your health care providers in order for you to collect.

8. What if the insurance company doesn’t pay or stops paying?

If you have a valid claim and the insurance company doesn’t pay or stops paying, you have the right to take your claim to arbitration to force the insurance company to pay if the claim is under $10,000. If the claim is over $10,000 you must file suit in court to collect the benefits to which you are entitled. The assistance of an attorney is not absolutely necessary but can be very helpful in prosecuting you claim in an arbitration hearing and making certain that you are claiming all of the benefits to which you are entitled under the law.

9. Do I need an attorney to collect No-Fault benefits?

Not necessarily, but having an attorney can be very helpful. You can collect No- Fault benefits without the help of an attorney.

However, the services of an attorney can help you to collect and to make sure that the benefits paid are correct. If you have an injury that is such you may have a claim against the at-fault driver, the attorney handling that claim can assist you with your No-Fault claim. There are many claims that can be made for No-Fault benefits that are often not obvious to a non-lawyer. The Schmidt Law Firm has been able to collect many types of No-Fault claims that many other lawyers and law firms, even those specializing in injury claims, often overlook.

An attorney can also help you to determine whether your claim is one that permits you to bring a claim against the At-Fault driver.

In the event of an accident, you should immediately contact your own insurance company and report the accident. You should ask your agent for No-Fault claim forms. Your attorney can help you to fill out those forms and to get payments started sooner.

10. Should you sign a release to collect No-Fault benefits?

No. It is not necessary for you to sign a release in order to get No-Fault benefits. In fact, you absolutely should not sign a release without consulting an attorney.

11. If I collect No-Fault benefits, can I still make a claim against the other driver?

Yes. You can collect these valuable No-Fault benefits from your own insurance company and still bring a claim against the At-Fault driver and his/her insurance company, for damages you have sustained over and above those which you collect under your No-Fault coverage. The damages include medical expenses and wage/salary losses not paid by No-Fault. It also includes damages for your pain and suffering, disability, and loss of enjoyment of life. The spouse of the injured person may also collect damages for the loss of the services of the injured person.

12. Do you have to prove that someone else was at fault to collect No- Fault benefits?

Absolutely not. That’s why it is called “No-Fault” insurance. You can collect No- Fault benefits even if you were at fault OR if no one was at fault (i.e. hitting a deer in the road).

13. What is No-Fault arbitration and how does it work?

Minnesota No-Fault disputes are typically decided by a single arbitrator who is selected from a panel appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Both sides; the injured party and the No-Fault insurance company, present their evidence and the arbitrator then decides the case. The arbitrator’s decision is then made in the form of an “award.”

In most cases, the No Fault insurance company will voluntarily pay the award. However, in some cases, the insurance company will appeal the award to District Court.

14. Will filing a No-Fault claim increase my insurance premiums?

The filing and pursuit of a No-Fault claim should not affect your future insurance premiums. The Schmidt Law Firm has handled thousands of No-Fault claims and it has not been a problem, it’s the client’s insurance rates which have been affected.

For more information about how the Minnesota No-Fault insurance law affects your injury claim, contact the Schmidt Law Firm. – 952.473.4530




Last year, 60 pedestrians died on Minnesota roads when hit by motor vehicles and 25 year record. The last time that many died was in 1991, when the number was 61.

The 2016 toll was 19 more than in 2015.

These statistics come from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and were recently reported in the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.

Donna Berger, director of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety issued the following statement: “It is distressing to see such an increase in traffic deaths. These are our neighbors, our coworkers, our family members and friends. It is especially upsetting because this does not have to happen. These tragedies are preventable, but it requires both motorists and pedestrians to do their part.”

The personal injury lawyers at the Schmidt Law Firm have many years of experience in representing the victims of car accident-pedestrian injuries. Stephanie Winter him one of the personal injury lawyers at the Schmidt law firm, points out that Minnesota law requires all drivers to yield to all pedestrians attempting to properly cross the street in a crosswalk. All legal intersections are crosswalks, whether designated by painted lines or not.

An investigation of pedestrian injuries last year, conducted by the star Tribune newspaper determined that nearly twice as many pedestrians died in car–pedestrian accidents in Twin Cities suburbs than in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The star Tribune investigation also revealed that the majority of drivers who killed pedestrians during the years studied, namely 2010 to 2014, were not criminally charged. Further, those that were charged typically faced only minimal penalties.

The personal injury lawyers at the Schmidt law firm believe that it is important that the victims of a car – pedestrian injury have representation by lawyers who are experienced in handling such cases.

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The Schmidt law firm’s senior trial lawyer, Douglas E Schmidt, recently produced a successful at a jury verdict in a case against American family insurance. The case was tried to a jury in Hennepin County District Court. The rate jury returned a verdict on December 15, 2016, which awarded Schmidt client every single penny that Schmidt asked for in the closing arguments of the case.

Schmidt’s client was injured in a motor vehicle collision which resulted in significant injury. Because she had previous medical problems, including three prior lumbar surgeries, American family denied both medical benefits and wage loss benefits under his policy of a no fault insurance to Schmidt’s client.

The jury awarded every single penny that the coverage under the American family insurance policy provided. In addition, Schmidt believes that the court will impose significant sanctions (penalties) against American family for his violation of the law.

The Minnesota no-fault insurance law was passed by the Minnesota legislature in 1974, requiring every insurance company to include no-fault benefits as a part of the coverage under every motor vehicle insurance policy issued in the state of Minnesota.

The Minnesota no-fault insurance law requires all automobile insurance policies to provide insurance coverage for medical benefits, wage loss, and replacement services. For more information regarding the Minnesota no-fault law go to:



The Schmidt Law Firm, in association with workers compensation attorney Dean Salita recently produced a successful settlement for an injured farm worker with immediate benefits totaling nearly $250,000. Additionally, the settlement will result in the Schmidt law firm client receiving lifetime medical benefits for treatment of his injuries.

Attorney Dean Salita has many years of experience specializing in workers compensation claims. He currently serves as chairman of the workers compensation subcommittee of the Minnesota Association of justice.

Minnesota’s workers compensation laws provide for recovery of lost wages and medical bills. When a person is in insured at work, or “on the job”. The laws of the state of Minnesota require that all employers must carry workers compensation insurance that provides those benefits to their insured employees, regardless of fault.

Minnesota Worker’s Compensation laws are essentially a “no-fault” system. Injured employees are entitled to workers compensation benefits even where they or coworker were at fault in causing injuries.

It is, however, important for the injured were worker to consult an attorney immediately in order to be confident that entitlement to benefits is not lost because of failure to file a timely claim with in the time periods provided by law.

Workers compensation benefits under Minnesota law include the following: 1. Wage loss benefits; Payment of all medical and healthcare related costs; Lump money payments for disability; benefits for dependents of a worker that dies in the work-related injury; vocational rehabilitation benefits; retraining benefits; death and dependency benefits.


Driving Anxiety & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Following Car Accident

Significant and long-term psychological problems are often seen after motor vehicle collisions, including quote driving anxiety.” And full-blown posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD.

Driving phobia for fear of driving can be a significant problem in which the victims of personal injury experience difficulty, or total inability, in driving. People with a fear of driving may experience trembling, sweating, increased heart rate and intense anxiety, including startle reactions when faced with a traffic situation similar to that which caused the collision with injuries.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also result from exposure to the motor vehicle collision. PTSD is a trauma related stress disorder, which results in the victim reexperiencing or reliving the event with nightmares or daytime dreams or thoughts involving an intrusive memories or flashback of the event. It involves hyperarousal symptoms and 10, in many instances, be moderately to severely disabled. The symptoms of PTSD do often do not manifest themselves until weeks or months later. In most cases, symptoms of PTSD are not recognized by primary care or other health care professionals. A recent article in the Journal of the American family physician reports that the lifetime risk of being a certain exposed to a traumatic stressor is very high, 60.7% for men and 51.2% for women. The Journal article also reports that 8% of exposed men and 20% of was women develop PTSD. In fact, motor vehicle collisions have become the leading cause of posttraumatic stress disorder since the Vietnam war.

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