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Minnesota Court Records

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What is a Tort Case, and What does it Involve in Minnesota?

Tort cases in Minnesota are one of the several types of civil filings that Minnesota courts process every year. These cases typically involve an individual making a claim against a public official or agency that caused personal injury and loss to the plaintiff. Records during the ensuing proceedings are open to the public through official custodians.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the document or person involved

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party websites may vary.

What is Minnesota Tort Law?

Minnesota Tort Law is a body of statutes that ensure that the state bears civil liability for wrongful acts on another individual’s person or property (Minn. Stat. 3.736).. Note that Minnesota tort law does not cover breach of contract and small claims against individuals in the state. Petitioners, who suffered personal injury from individuals, must follow the civil court process to seek compensation.

What Kinds of Cases are Covered by Tort Law in Minnesota?

Generally, tort cases arise from injury or loss was caused by a government employee in the line of official duties. Some of these include:

  • Wrongful death claims;
  • Claims on auto accidents resulting in injury or property damage;
  • Strict liability claims, such as personal injury caused by faulty infrastructure;
  • Negligence claims

Minn. Stat. 3.736(3) specifies injuries and losses for which the state does not bear liability.

What are the Differences Between Criminal Law and Tort Law in Minnesota?

Minnesota criminal law is a body of statutes and common law enacted to punish offenders—usually with imprisonment, punitive fines, and other statutory penalties (Minn. Stat. § 600).. In this case, the offender forfeits the fines to the state—even if the crime was against another individual.

Conversely, tort law is not related to the punishment of individuals with conviction and punitive fines. The goal is to ensure the equitable distribution of liability and ensure that an aggrieved party receives compensation for the injuries incurred (Minn. Stat. § 3.736)..

Furthermore, Minnesota criminal law classifies offenses as misdemeanors and felonies depending on the severity and aggravating factors. This classification affects the severity of the penalties an offender incurs. On the other hand, there are several kinds of personal injury for which a person may make a tort claim. However, Minnesota does not classify torts for imposing punitive sanctions. Compensation is per the reasonable estimation of the injury incurred.

What is the Purpose of Tort Law in Minnesota?

Minnesota tort law exists for the following reasons:

  • Deter unsafe practices and actions;
  • Allows for the equitable distribution of liability;
  • Ensures that the aggrieved party receives compensation for the loss;

What is a Tort Claim in Minnesota?

A tort claim is a civil demand for compensation for the personal injury suffered. All tort claims in Minnesota begin by sending a notice to the party responsible or the clerk’s office in the district court.

How Do You File a Tort Claim in Minnesota?

First, the aggrieved party must find out the state, local, or municipal agency responsible for the injury and submit a notice of claim. The submission is typically made to the attorney general or directly to the government employee/agency alleged of causing personal injury/loss. The petitioner must provide this notice within 180 days of injury (Minn. Stat. 3.736.5).. The state agency will review the claim upon receipt and respond with a decision to accept or deny payment.

When the agency denies, the petition must file the case within the statutes of limitation. The window is six years for a personal injury claim, four (4) years for a medical malpractice claim, and three (3) years for a wrongful death claim (Minn. Stat. 3.736.11).. The maximum amount that a petitioner may claim is $1,500,000 (Minn. Stat. 3. 736.4).. For a denial, file a claim following the judiciary’s systematic instructions for initiating civil actions in Minnesota.

What Does a Tort Claim Contain in Minnesota?

A notice of claim to the agency or public employee responsible for the injury must contain the following information:

  • Time, place, and circumstances of the injury;
  • Name and contact information of the petitioner;
  • Names of the officials involved, if known;
  • Amount of compensation demanded;
  • Documents supporting the estimation of damages;

In filing a complaint in court, the petitioner must also include the above information and proof of notice to the state agency.

What Happens after a Tort Claim is Filed in Minnesota?

If the state agency accepts the claim, the director or commissioner shall notify the claimant and provide instructions for processing the payment. The claimant must also submit a receipt of a written release approved by the attorney general (Minn. Stat. 3.736.7)..

If the state agency rejects the claim, the case goes to court following the civil action process. The parties have the option of negotiating a mediated settlement. If mediation fails, then a judge shall hear the case and issue a ruling based on the arguments and supporting evidence. If dissatisfied, the parties have the option of appealing the court ruling.

Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Tort Claim?

A represented petitioner can better exercise his/her legal rights through an experienced attorney compared with a pro se litigant. Even with self-help resources, a self-represented litigant is often pressed for time and is less efficient than an experienced attorney.

How Can I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me?

Interested persons have access to lawyer referral services through the Minnesota State Bar Association or self-help resources from the judiciary.

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