Partner Rich Ruohonen Helps Secure $260,000 for Uninsured Motorist Claim After Three-Day Trial

lawyer with client near escalatorEarlier this month, Partner Rich Ruohonen had a three-day trial in Hennepin County. This was the first civil trial in the State of Minnesota during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was different – plexiglass was everywhere, masks were mandatory, and jurors were sitting spread out around the courtroom and forced to stand behind the podium. We all felt safe with the precautions taken but it was weird! TSR continues to be a great leader in our civil justice system!

Rich and his client Sarah crushed the Good Neighbor (State Farm) for $260,000, 26 times the offer made. This was an uninsured motorist claim, so it was a direct claim against her own insurance company State Farm. You do not get Jake from State Farm when you file a claim with State Farm. Instead, they call you a liar, they tell you that you are not hurt or if you were it was only for six weeks, they say it was all preexisting and then they pay a lot of money to hire a doctor to say the same thing. So, sometimes you have to let the people of your community speak. And they did, and did it loudly with masks on. They told State Farm the way it treated its own customer was not acceptable.

A special thanks to our jurors who braved the pandemic to dish out justice and be the good neighbor State Farm refused to be! You are all great citizens!

How do You Pay Your Medical Bills While Your Attorney is Pursuing Compensation?

checkbook on top of multiple billsThe goal of a personal injury claim is to recover compensation for the damages suffered by the victim. A large percentage of those damages are the medical bills for treatment of your injuries. If your claim is successful, and your lawyer pursues full compensation, your past bills will be paid off and your future bills accounted for.

However, compensation will not be paid out until the legal process concludes, either through an out-of-court settlement or a jury verdict. Hospitals and doctor’s offices expect payment at time of their services. Many accident victims do not have the ability to pay bills upfront.

However, there are ways to pay these bills or at least keep hospitals and debt collectors off your back until you receive compensation from your claim.

TSR Injury Law’s Minneapolis personal injury lawyers have extensive experience with these claims. We are here to help during this difficult time. That includes helping you figure out how to deal with medical bills while we pursue compensation on your behalf.

Insurance Coverage to Fall Back on

One of the advantages to Minnesota being a “no-fault state” is car crash victims turn to their own insurance for coverage of their medical bills and wage loss no matter who was at fault. However, if your bills exceed your personal injury protection coverage limits, your lawyer can assist with submitting the excess bills to your private or state health insurance.

Unfortunately, if you were injured in an accident that did not involve your car, it is unlikely you will have insurance coverage to provide compensation right away. That means you will need to figure out how to pay your bills while your attorney pursues compensation.

Health Insurance

As mentioned above, if you have health insurance, you may be able to use it to cover medical expenses if there is no PIP coverage (like a trip and fall, motorcycle crash or dog attack situation) or if the PIP coverage runs out in a car crash.

Keep in mind, you will be responsible for any deductibles in your policy. A deductible is a set amount of money you must pay before your insurance coverage kicks in. Coverage will also be limited by the terms of the policy, so some treatments may not be covered. You may also need to make sure you are treated by doctors in a specific healthcare network.

Even if your health insurance does cover medical bills, the law may require repayment pursuant to subrogation.  Subrogation is when your health insurance seeks repayment from the injured party’s bodily injury claim.

Medicare or Medicaid

If you are covered by Medicare or Medicaid, you may be able to use this coverage to pay your medical bills. However, the federal government will also request subrogation reimbursement if you receive a settlement.  MA and Medicare use different formulas for subrogation.  Your attorney will maximize the formula to reduce the amount of the settlement the health carrier takes back.

Agreements with Hospitals

One of the benefits of working with a licensed attorney is that he or she may be able to help you reach an agreement with a hospital or doctor’s office to hold off on trying to collect payment. This not only buys you time, it prevents the health care provider from sending your debt to collections, which will harm your credit score.

While you could attempt to reach an agreement on your own, the health care provider may take things much more seriously if an attorney is advocating on your behalf. Hospitals and other medical facilities are often more than willing to negotiate a plan for payment.

Absent an agreement to hold off on collecting payment, you could try to agree on a payment plan with the facility. However, you need to make sure you can afford to make monthly payments, because if you miss one, the deal may be off.

What About Putting Expenses on a Credit Card?

If you have a credit card, you may think this is a perfect time to use it to get the hospital off your back. However, a payment plan with the hospital will not include interest payments, unlike a credit card. If you are late on credit card payments it will hurt your credit score.

Have Legal Questions? Call TSR Injury Law Today

If you were injured because of someone else, TSR Injury Law is here to help. Give us a call to schedule a free legal consultation so we can learn more about your situation. If we validate your claim, and you hire us, we are prepared to pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.

We are not paid unless we obtain compensation for your damages. There is no risk in contacting our firm to learn more about how we may be able to help you.

Phone: (612) TSR-TIME. No upfront fees.

Can Minnesota Car Insurers Deny Coverage Over Fraud When You Obtained the Policy?

claim form for auto insuranceIs a car insurance company legally allowed to cancel a policy and deny coverage based on allegations the policyholder committed fraud when he or she obtained the policy?

You may be surprised to learn the answer is likely “no” in the state of Minnesota, thanks to the frozen liability rule in the No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act. Below, learn more about this rule and how it could apply when a crash victim files a claim.

If you are struggling to obtain compensation from your car insurance company, or they have claimed you obtained the policy fraudulently, TSR Injury Law is here to help. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation. We may be able to help and there are no upfront fees for our services. We do not get paid unless you receive compensation at the end of the legal process.

Minnesota’s Frozen Liability Rule

Minnesota’s No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act has a section that has been referred to as a frozen liability statute. According to the statute (65B.49 Subdivision 3. (3)(a)):

Insurance carriers have absolute liability for any injury or damage that is covered by the policy. Absolute liability is not waived based on statements made by or on behalf of the policyholder. Nothing the policyholder said or did before or after the crash, including fraudulent statements, could void the policy.

For example, if you said you would be the sole operator of your vehicle when you bought your policy, but then allowed someone else to operate it, the insurer may claim fraud. However, you should still be eligible for coverage after a crash.

However, it is important to note, the law only requires insurance companies to pay statutorily required minimum coverage. If you purchased $100,000 in personal injury protection, you would only be able to obtain $30,000, because that is the minimum required by law. The insurance policy itself may contain a fraud exclusion that limits your coverage – however, sometimes parts of insurance policies can be successfully challenged in a courtroom.

The frozen liability rule is consistent with legislators’ public policy interest in crash victims having a source of compensation. Allowing insurers to rescind coverage would almost defeat the purpose of minimum coverage requirements.

Is There an Argument for Obtaining Full Coverage?

This is a question you should discuss with a licensed Bloomington auto accident lawyer, as this is a complex issue. If you were in a serious crash, the cost of treating your injuries may very well exceed the minimum coverage limits. If the insurance policy will not cover those damages, you may have to pay them out of your own pocket.

You should seek out an experienced attorney for help, as he or she is more likely to be familiar with recent cases where this issue has come up, or he or she will have the resources and/or staff to research similar situations to see how they may help with your case.

At TSR Injury Law, we have obtained over a billion on behalf of our clients, including millions for car crash victims. We have taken on a wide variety of car crash cases and have extensive knowledge of relevant laws.

We are ready to aggressively work to hold insurance companies accountable and try to obtain maximum compensation for your damages. We are fully prepared to go to court to attempt to recover the compensation you need, unlike some attorneys who may be unable or unwilling to say that. It is important to be represented by an attorney with the resources and knowledge to fight for full compensation on your behalf.

Need Legal Help? Give TSR a Call Today

Crash victims could greatly benefit from a meeting with a licensed attorney. At TSR, this initial meeting is free and there is no obligation to hire our firm. We take cases on contingency, which means there are no attorney fees unless you receive compensation.

Learn more by calling (612) TSR-TIME. We are here to help.

Can I Seek Compensation After a No-Contact Car Crash?

driver jerking steering wheelCar crashes are almost always started by one vehicle hitting another one. Often, the driver who crashed into the other car is found at fault for the accident.

Sometimes, a car accident is not caused by a collision. If another driver brakes or changes lanes unexpectedly, you may swerve or brake to avoid hitting that car. If your reaction causes you to crash into another car, or a car collides with you, you have just been in a no-contact car crash. There are many other examples of no-contact car accidents.

No-contact crashes usually do not occur without the negligence of another driver, even though that driver did not hit your vehicle. However, you could also get into an accident because of a defective part or negligent repair work. In those types of cases, you may have grounds for a product liability claim against a product manufacturer or a negligence claim against the mechanic.

Much like victims of hit-and-run accidents, victims of no-contact crashes may wonder if they can pursue compensation for their injuries and other losses. The answer to this question is based on various factors, which you should discuss with your Bloomington car accident lawyer. The initial consultation with an attorney from TSR is free.

Causes of No-Contact Crashes

There are many reasons a no-contact crash could occur. Here are some of the most common:

  • A driver cuts you off and you make an evasive maneuver only to hit a third vehicle
  • A driver changes lanes without signaling, forcing you to maneuver out of the way
  • You get run off the road or into another vehicle when someone changes lanes without looking
  • A left-turning driver cuts across your path, forcing you to swerve to avoid a crash, only to collide with someone else
  • The driver in the car directly in front of you stops suddenly and you get in an accident while trying to move out of the way
  • You are in the lane of merging traffic when another driver, who is not paying attention, is about to sideswipe you. You slow down, but get rear-ended

No-contact crashes may also involve fixed objects, and not just other vehicles. For example, you could maneuver to avoid a collision and hit a tree or a road sign. You could also hit a concrete light post.

Often, the driver who caused you to crash is unaware of what happened. This person is likely to just keep on driving without looking back. That is why these drivers are sometimes referred to as phantom drivers, because they essentially disappear after the crash happens.

Filing a No-Contact Car Crash Claim

Sometimes other drivers realize they contributed to a collision and they stop at the scene. If this happens, you may be able to file a claim the same way you would for any other type of crash. Minnesota is a no-fault state so you would turn to your personal injury protection coverage to pay for medical expenses, lost wages and replacement services.

Minnesota also requires drivers to purchase uninsured motorist coverage in case they are involved in an accident with a driver who lacks insurance. This coverage can also be used for a hit-and-run collision since a no-contact crash is considered a type of hit-and-run crash. However, it does not cover damage to your vehicle.

Steps After the Crash

Make sure to call the police at the scene so they can investigate and complete a report. They may also be able to locate the driver if you can provide a description of the driver and/or the vehicle he or she was in. Immediately after the crash, jot down what you remember about the vehicle that instigated the crash before you forget, particularly the license plate of the vehicle. Some insurance companies have disclaimers that if you do not call the police and make a report you cannot make an uninsured motorist claim.

Ask for the contact information of any witnesses at the scene. You can also record your conversation with them, with their permission of course.

Our attorneys can talk to the insurance company on your behalf. However, if they may contact you before you talk to a lawyer, it is important to be very careful with what you say. They are likely to ask you to describe what happened, and certain things you say could make it sound like you are to blame for what happened.

Avoid statements like:

  • “I should have…”
  • “I did not see him until the last second.”
  • “I was following a little too closely…”
  • “I was tired.”
  • “I was in a rush.”

While some of these statements may be true, they may have no bearing on the crash. The attorneys at TSR Injury Law are focused on your best interests. The information we discuss is confidential, which means the insurance company cannot gain access to it.

If you make statements like the ones above to the insurance company, they will likely try to pin the crash on you, or at least say you are partially to blame.

Our attorneys are committed to ensuring you are not assigned more fault than you deserve. Any fault you are assigned reduces the value of any settlement you may be awarded.

Injured in a No-Contact Crash? We are Here to Help

Our experienced attorneys have extensive knowledge of Minnesota laws that apply to no-contact car crashes, including laws on insurance coverage and partial fault for an injury.

We are prepared to help you pursue maximum compensation and determine if you have a valid claim when you meet with us for your initial consultation. This meeting is free and there is no obligation for you to take legal action.

TSR has a proven track record of recovering compensation for car crash victims.

Need help? Give us a call today. (612) TSR-TIME

TSR Injury Law Sponsors Hole at Charity Golf Tournament Benefitting Firefighters

tsr attorneys at golf tournamentThe MnFORE Golf Tournament went on yesterday at the Bearpath Golf & Country Club, starting at 10:30 a.m. TSR Injury Law sponsored a hole at the tournament. Proceeds go to benefit programs that are meant to help firefighters and their families.  As first responders, they often have the worse on job injuries and long term health issues.

TSR attorneys Erik Willer, Patrick Kranz and Michael Joyce (pictured from left to right) were in attendance.

In addition to 18 holes of golf, there was a silent auction and dinner and awards at 6 p.m., following the end of the silent auction. There was a limit of two mulligans per golfer, but mulligans could not be used on holes that were part of the contest. Golfers could purchase additional mulligans with a donation when they registered.

The tournament was originally supposed to happen earlier this year but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you to all who donated to support such a worthy cause.

How is the Value of Your Vehicle and the Cost of Repairs Assessed After a Crash?

repairing damage to carWhile medical bills, wage loss and pain and suffering are usually the largest percentage of the compensation from a car crash claim, the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle can also be significant.  It is also usually the first part of the claim against the at-fault party to be settled.

Below, learn more about how the cost of repairing your vehicle is determined, along with how insurance companies determine what they will pay out when a car has been totaled.  It is important to make sure these figures are accurate – if your vehicle is totaled you need as much compensation as possible to help you get another one; if your vehicle can be fixed, you want to be sure the full cost is covered so you do not have to pay out of your own pocket to get it running again.

The licensed Minneapolis car accident lawyers at TSR Injury Law are dedicated to recovering maximum compensation for crash victims to help them cover medical costs, repair bills and other damages.  Over more than 20 years, we have recovered over a billion on behalf of our clients.

Cost of Repairing Your Vehicle

The first decision is which insurance company will handle the property damage.  The at-fault insurance carrier or your own?  As a general rule, if the at-fault party accepts 100 percent fault, they can handle the property claim.  If instead, the carrier is unknown (a hit-and-run crash or perhaps the driver was arrested, and his insurance is unknown) then you want to look to your own carrier.  If you have comprehensive collision coverage, your insurance will pay for the repairs.  However, if you do not have full coverage, then you need to find the other insurance carrier and clarify fault.  This is a good time to hire an attorney to assist with this initial fault fight.

The next question is: Can your vehicle be fixed or is it totaled?  If the cost of fixing your vehicle is less than 85 percent of the value of your car, the insurance company will usually want to fix the vehicle.  If you use your own carrier, a deductible may apply.  However, if the value of your vehicle and the cost of repairs are close to over 85 percent of the total value, the insurance company may declare your vehicle a total loss. If you have a dispute about this, our attorneys may be able to help you.

If the vehicle can be fixed, the third issue is where to get the repairs done.  If you have heard you are required to go to the repair shop your insurance company selects, this is not true.  You can choose where you take your vehicle to get repaired.  That said, the insurance company may require you to get two estimates.  You may want to do this anyway to be sure you are not overpaying for repairs.  If you end up overpaying, the insurance company may not cover all of it.

The insurance adjuster assigned to your claim will review repair estimates and work with the repair shop to make sure only related damage is repaired.  Insurance companies are notorious for paying out the least possible amount of compensation, which is why you should discuss any concerns you have with an experienced lawyer.  Usually, if a vehicle can be fixed, it will be fixed.  There is much more fighting over a totaled car’s worth.  The first offer you receive from the adjuster on your totaled vehicle is often just a starting point.  Your lawyer may be able to negotiate for more compensation.

Value of Your Vehicle After a Crash

How does the insurance adjuster determine the value of your vehicle when assessing if the vehicle is a total loss?

There are many factors to consider.  They include:

  • Make and model
  • Year
  • Damage/ wear and tear that existed before the most recent accident
  • Has the vehicle had a prior crash
  • Mileage as compared to other similarly aged vehicles
  • Extra features in the vehicle, such as leather seats, upgraded stereo or remote starter

While consumers may rely on Kelley Blue Book, NADA and Edmund’s to determine a vehicle’s value, insurance companies may have their own proprietary valuation systems.  These systems are likely to favor the interests of the insurance company over providing more compensation for consumers.

That is why you should not just take the insurance company’s word for it.  Do your own research and talk to a lawyer.  The attorneys at TSR Injury Law can discuss your situation in a free consultation at no risk to you.

Insurance companies are counting on accident victims being unsure of their options and desperate for compensation, but you can take steps to try to protect your best interests.

Need Help with Your Car Crash Claim? Call Today

Our trusted attorneys are to answer your questions and determine how else we may be able to assist you.  There is no cost for an initial consultation and no upfront fees for taking your case or while we work on your case.  You pay nothing unless we recover compensation for your damages.

Learn more about how our firm may be able to assist you by calling today or completing our Free Case Evaluation form.  We have helped many car crash victims and have extensive knowledge of the many issues involved with these claims.

We are ready to take your call. No upfront fees. Phone: (612) TSR-TIME