Does this mean Minnesota juries are not sympathetic to personal injury victims? I think it might, actually. In fact, I think the statistics might actually underestimate how stingy Minnesota juries can be.
Why? The biggest driving force in personal injury verdicts is car accidents because is the most common type of personal injury case. So the state’s law in dealing with car accident claims is going to make more meaningful impact on personal injury statistics.
Minnesota allows verdicts in car accident cases to be offset by collateral source payments. This is incredibly unfair to victims – in my humble opinion. They are being penalized for insurance payments that they have been paying for. Completely unfair. But if the desired impact is to quell car accident lawsuits, it does that.
PIP in Minnesota is higher most states – a minimum PIP policy is $20,000 for medical bills and another $20,000 for lost wages. This means that the cases that go to trial are going to be bigger cases which should actually increase the average award. I think this is the case, for example, in New York and Florida.
I’m sure that the average jury verdict outside of Minneapolis, St. Paul and Rochester is much lower although I have not seen statistics that break up individual jurisdictions in Minnesota.