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Rochester Personal Injury Law Blog

What variables affect the cost of an insurance policy?

Car insurance is required by law for Minnesota drivers and can be costly for some. You may go your entire driving career without needing to make a claim. Or you may end up making multiple claims. Since the outcome will be different for each driver, how do insurance companies determine what your premium will be?

Insurance companies use several factors when determining the rate of your policy. The state of Minnesota provides these companies with set guidelines on how they’re allowed to calculate individual premiums. Here is a list of items that may affect the cost of your insurance policy:

Decreasing Your Odds of Encountering a Drunk Driver

According to statistics provided by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, or MADD, drunk drivers kill 28 people every day. MADD is gratified that alcohol-related traffic fatalities have been cut in half since the organization was founded 35 years ago, but drunk driving is still a problem.

Who is most at risk? How can you spot an impaired driver? And when are such drivers most likely to be on the road?

What Are the Safest Cars On the Road?

Americans love stylish cars, but for most, safety trumps everything. Tesla was in the news recently because the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) took issue with the car company’s claim that its Model S is the “safest car in history.” According to the IIHS, a new set of crash tests on the Model S, a full-sized, five door, all-electric vehicle, found the driver’s side seat belt did not have enough tension to protect the crash test dummy’s head. After obtaining a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Model S received an “acceptable” rating from IIHS on the “small overlap front” crash test.

Increased Boating Fatalities Are A Reminder To Be Cautious

Minnesota boating deaths in 2017 are on pace to be the highest in more than a decade, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). As law enforcement authorities increase patrols on the state’s lakes and rivers, they emphasize that two safety measures many boaters fail to heed go a long way toward preventing boating deaths:

  • Do not drink alcohol and operate a boat.
  • Everyone on any type of watercraft should wear a life jacket.

Drugged Driving Becomes A Bigger Problem Than Drunk Driving

There is widespread awareness of the dangers posed by drunk driving, but not nearly as much awareness regarding the serious impact of drug-impaired driving. According to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, during 2015, more deaths resulted in the U.S. from motorists who were operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs than those with alcohol in their system.

Of those tested, more than 4 in 10 motorists (43 percent) who died in car accidents in 2015 tested positive for drugs. Meanwhile, 37 percent of those who died in car accidents and were tested had alcohol in their system.

A Win for Disabled Individuals

On Monday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals decided that Michael Sorenson, a disabled resident of a group home, could sue his former group home operator. In 2013, when his caretaker stepped away, a roommate poured boiling water over Mr. Sorenson's head. Mr. Sorenson sued for damages related to the injuries, as he suffered severe burns to 35% of his body. Options Residential, Inc., the group home operator, claimed it was immune from the lawsuit under the Minnesota Commitment and Treatment Act. The Court of Appeals disagreed, concluding that Options Residential, Inc. could be held accountable for the neglect.

Your Rights After A Termination From Employment

Each day our firm receives calls from employees who have been terminated from their employment. If you feel that your former employer may have violated the law, a call to Attorney Andrea B. Niesen will help you evaluate your legal rights.

You have a right to a truthful reason for your termination. To exercise this right, you must, within 15 working days of the date of your termination, submit a written request to the employer for a statement of the truthful reason for your termination. The written request should be sent by certified mail, fax or email with a read-receipt, to give confirmation of the date your request was received by the employer. The employer has 10 working days from the date it received your request to send you a written response. If the employer fails to provide you with a statement regarding the truthful reason for your termination, certain penalties may be assessed against the employer.

No-Fault Insurance Got You Confused? That's Why We're Here!

Even if you are among the most careful drivers in Minnesota, you are susceptible to being injured in an accident because you cannot control other motorists who share the road with you. If a driver who causes an accident is uninsured or underinsured, it is important to realize that you still have means to recover compensation for lost property, medical costs, lost income and other expenses. Many Minnesota drivers do not know their options.

Do Employers Have to Pay Employees for After Hours Calls, Emails, and Texts?

The Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") dictates when employees must be paid for cell phone use outside of work hours.

The FLSA classifies employees as either "exempt" or "non-exempt." Exempt employees generally do not receive overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.

Non-exempt employees generally must be compensated for all hours they work and must be paid overtime for time worked in excess of 40 hours per week. If non-exempt employees work in excess of 40 hours per week, each hour "suffered or permitted" to work must be paid at 1½ times the employee's hourly rate. 

As part of our legal work on behalf of injured people, we have handled many claims for victims of sexual abuse.

All too often the victim of sexual abuse is a young child or vulnerable teen, and often - usually - the person committing the abuse is a member of the victim's extended family or household.

If you or a loved one are a victim of sexual abuse, or you have a suspicion abuse is occurring, it is important not to keep this information to yourself in hope that it stops, or to protect the abuser. Sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult is a serious crime and often results in long term harm to the victim. The healing can start only when the abuse stops and the abuser is held responsible for the conduct.

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