Filing a Car Crash Lawsuit After Receiving a Traffic Citation

completing an accident report in police carUnfortunately, many people hold a variety of misconceptions about seeking compensation after a car crash. People may even be discouraged from pursuing compensation because they think it will be too difficult or complicated, particularly if they are partially at fault.

However, it is never a bad idea to call an experienced lawyer to discuss the situation. You could still be able to seek compensation, even if you received a citation from the police officer at the scene.

Below, learn more about the types of traffic citations often given out after a car crash and how they may impact your claim for compensation. If you have questions about the legal process, you can call TSR Injury Law for help.

No-Fault Insurance Coverage

It is important to note Minnesota is a no-fault state, which means you can file a claim (for medical bills and wage loss) against your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage no matter who is at fault for the crash.

However, if you are injured, you may also want to make a bodily injury claim against the at fault driver’s insurance.  This is especially true when a crash results in severe injuries and your damages may easily exceed your PIP limits. Fault does matter when making a bodily injury claim.

If fault must be considered, things like traffic citations may be used against you by the insurance company. They may claim a citation for some minor offense indicates carelessness on your part. The insurance company may try to exaggerate your amount of fault to lower the value of your claim.

Common Traffic Citations for Crash Victims

While the other driver may bear most of the fault for your crash and receive a traffic citation, victims could also be ticketed. Sometimes these citations are for minor infractions that had nothing to do with the crash itself.

For example, you may be ticketed for not wearing your seat belt. Not wearing a seat belt could dramatically increase your risk of serious injury in a crash. That is why many states have seat belt laws – in Minnesota, not wearing a seat belt is a primary offense and you could be ticketed and fined $25, but it cannot be used against you in a civil injury claim.

You might also be ticketed for having a broken headlight, even though this is unrelated to the crash. The broken headlight did not cause the bad driver to rear-end you, so while it may matter for a criminal ticket, it does not for the civil injury claim.

The insurance company may try to use these tickets against you, and that is why you should strongly consider hiring a Bloomington-based auto accident lawyer to assist you. The attorneys at our firm know the tricks insurance companies use against crash victims, including arguments they often use to deny or devalue claims.

Tickets for More Serious Offenses

You may be cited for more major infractions after a crash, such as a right-of-way infraction or speeding. No matter who did what, you can always make the pip claim.

However, serious criminal violations can greatly affect the bodily injury claim against the other driver’s insurance. Under Minnesota’s comparative negligence law, you can still recover compensation if you are not more at fault than the other party. In other words, you cannot be more than 50 percent to blame for a crash. Your claim will be reduced by whatever true fault you are assigned. For example, if you are 20 percent at fault for the crash and have $10,000.00 in property damage and $20,000.00 in injuries, the other insurance (who is 80 percent at fault) still owes you $24,000.00.

That means your percentage of fault for the crash is crucial. If you think you are being assigned more fault than you deserve, you should contact a lawyer to advocate for you. Even though the traffic ticket you were given may be valid, the percentage of fault the insurance company is assigning based on that ticket may too high. Insurance companies often argue everyone is 20 percent at fault for just being on the road, so when they see a ticket, the fault blame game only goes up.

Another factor to consider is: was the ticket violation a cause of the crash? If your ticket is for drunk driving or going the wrong way on a road, the crime also matches fault and there will be no injury claim.  However, some serious ticket violations are not a “cause” of the crash. Two examples are driving without insurance or without a license.  Each of these offenses are illegal and bad, but not having insurance did not cause the other driver to rear-end you. The “crime” of no insurance did not cause the crash and there is no fault that can be fairly assigned to you.

Contesting Tickets

Many people simply pay their traffic tickets and move on. However, it may be possible to contest your ticket. The ticket should say how you can contest it and how much time there is to do so.

It is important to note that if you do contest the ticket, it will be your word against the officer’s. That is why it is important to have witnesses or other evidence (pictures, dash cam footage) to support your argument. If the officer was not at the scene to witness the crash, but an impartial witness was there, he or she may provide the evidence you need to overturn the ticket.

If you successfully contest the ticket, the insurance company will not be able to use it against you, helping to potentially increase the value of your claim.

Injured in a Crash? Call Today for Assistance

Our law firm has been helping crash victims for more than two decades and we have recovered millions on behalf of our clients.

The initial consultation with one of our licensed attorneys is free of charge and comes with no obligation to take legal action. That means there is no risk to you in calling to find out what we may be able to do for you. Unlike the insurance company, our goal is to obtain maximum compensation for your damages to help you move forward.

Call TSR Injury Law today to schedule a free consultation. Phone: (612) TSR-TIME

Staying Safe if You Try to Gather Evidence After a Car Crash

questioning accident victimWe have all seen drivers standing by their wrecked cars surveying the damage or exchanging insurance information. Most drivers passing by are careful to avoid the damaged vehicles.

However, it can be dangerous to get out of your car on a busy street or highway. Passing cars may be traveling much too fast to avoid a collision, putting your vehicle at risk of further damage and you at risk of severe or even life-threatening injuries.

It is important to remember your safety is your number one priority after a crash. You may be concerned about gathering evidence for your insurance claim, such as taking pictures of the damage to your vehicle. While this is important, you do not want to put yourself in harm’s way just to get a picture.

Below, learn more about staying safe when trying to collect evidence after a crash, including when it may be best to simply stay in your vehicle.

The Minneapolis-based auto accident lawyers at TSR are prepared to manage every step of the legal process on your behalf, including the investigation of the crash. Schedule an initial consultation today to learn more.

Getting Out of the Path of Traffic

Whenever possible, move your vehicle out of the path of oncoming traffic. If there is a shoulder to the road, move as much of your car into that area as possible. You should also turn on your hazard lights to help alert approaching drivers of your stopped vehicle. Some drivers have an emergency kit with road flares, and these can also be helpful.

You should not count on passing motorists to drive defensively or even to see you. You have probably heard about the epidemic of distracted driving – many drivers are not fully aware of the other cars around them, much less disabled or wrecked cars on the roadside.

Should You Get Out of Your Car?

If your vehicle is out of the path of oncoming traffic, it may be safe to get out and exchange information with the other driver and survey the damage.

However, be careful about getting out of your car if you are on the right side of the road, as if your driver’s side door is nearest to the road. If possible, you may want to slide over and get out the passenger door instead. If you get out the driver’s side door, do not stand on that side of the car, as you could easily get clipped by a passing car whose driver is not paying attention or speeding. You may want to walk around to the other side.

It is important to note if you are in a lot of pain and moving around hurts, it may be best just to stay put until the ambulance arrives. If you get out of the car and move around, you could aggravate your injuries and cause new ones. You may think the pain is minor, but it could be a sign of a severe injury. Adrenaline can sometimes mask pain or make it seem manageable, even though it may get much worse later.

Collecting Evidence

If you do get out of your car and want to take pictures, feel free. It is a good idea to watch the road for any passing cars that may be drifting a little too close. You can also use this opportunity to exchange insurance and contact information with the driver and call 9-1-1 unless the other driver has already done so.

If any other cars stop to help or you see pedestrians who may have witnessed the crash, you may want to ask them what they saw. If you get their permission, you can record the conversation on your smartphone for future reference.  At a minimum, get all witnesses’ names and numbers so they can be contacted later.

What if the Other Driver Gets Angry?

Sometimes at-fault drivers get angry with crash victims, acting as though they caused the situation. At-fault drivers may also be angry at the inconvenience of having to wait for the police to arrive.

If the other driver yells at you or seems aggressive, it may be best to stay in your car and lock the door until the authorities arrive. Avoid making eye contact because it may set the other driver off. It is best not to engage with someone who is acting aggressively.

Aggression could be a sign the other driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you think drugs or alcohol may be involved, be sure to tell the police your suspicions when they arrive. They can then decide if it may be necessary to do a field sobriety test or breathalyzer test.

What not to Say After a Crash

Even if you think you may be partially to blame for the crash, it is best not to say anything about it to the other driver. The investigation will uncover whether your actions may have played a role in the collision. Crash victims tend to blame themselves, even if they did nothing wrong.

You should also avoid getting angry with the other driver because it could spark a confrontation. If you focus on collecting evidence and getting medical treatment, you will be doing a lot to help preserve your claim. Meeting with a licensed attorney is also important.

Call TSR Today for Help After a Crash

For more than two decades, the licensed attorneys at our firm have been helping car crash victims recover compensation for their damages. We understand how devastating these situations can be and that is why we are dedicated to pursuing maximum compensation. We are also prepared to go to court if necessary.

Meeting with us after a collision is risk-free, as there are no upfront fees for our services. We do not get paid for representing you unless you are compensated.

Learn more by calling today: (612) TSR-TIME

Liability for a Crash Involving a Disabled Vehicle on the Roadside

working on car engine at dusk on roadsideIf you get a flat tire or something else happens that forces you to pull over, it is very important to get to a safe location away from the flow of traffic. You do not want to be in harm’s way and potentially get hit by a fast-moving car. Not only could your car suffer significant damage in such a crash, but you may suffer severe injuries as well.

However, there is another reason to move your car into a safe location. While passing drivers are required to pay attention to their surroundings to avoid a crash, drivers of disabled vehicles have an obligation to give passing drivers enough room to safely get by.

If you leave part of your car jutting out into the road in such a way it is difficult for passing cars to get by, you could potentially be held liable for damage to the passing car.

Below, learn more about liability in these types of crashes and how this could impact a claim for compensation.

Does Minnesota Law Address These Situations?

Minnesota’s Move Over Law may apply if emergency responder vehicles were at the scene. This law says passing cars are required to move one full lane away from stopped emergency vehicles with their flashing lights activated. (If it is not possible to move over one lane, drivers must reduce their speed.)

Emergency vehicles include:

  • Ambulances
  • Fire trucks
  • Law enforcement vehicles
  • Construction vehicles
  • Tow trucks
  • Maintenance vehicles

This law applies on roads with at least two lanes.

If a driver does not comply with the law, he or she could be fined more than $100. If this happens, it may be easier to prove this driver was at fault for the crash.

What if There Were no Emergency Vehicles at the Scene?

Even if no emergency vehicles are present, it may be reasonable to expect passing drivers to move over one lane or at least slow down to reduce the risk of a crash with a disabled vehicle. For example, if there was light traffic and the disabled vehicle is clearly visible from a significant distance, it may be reasonable to expect passing drivers to take precautionary measures.

What About the Driver of the Disabled Vehicle?

You can be sure insurance companies will look for any reason to blame you for a crash, whether your vehicle was disabled or not. That is why it is important to do your best to avoid putting yourself in a situation where you may be found liable for a collision.

Do your best to pull off to the side of the road and out of harm’s way and put your hazard lights on. If possible, you may want to exit the vehicle and move a safe distance away from it. However, you do not want to exit the vehicle only to stand right next to it. You could get hit by a car or suffer severe injuries if your car gets hit.

Call for help right away, as a tow truck or police vehicle can put its lights on to help make your vehicle more visible to approaching drivers.

If you do not take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of getting hit by a passing car, you can be sure the insurance company will take note and try to use this against you.

However, it is important to note that even if you are found partially to blame, the passing driver may shoulder a significant portion of the blame, particularly if he or she was speeding or distracted.

Does Fault Even Matter After a Minnesota Car Crash?

Minnesota is a no-fault state, which means you can seek compensation for your injuries and some other damages from your own insurance, regardless who is at fault.

However, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage does not pay for damage to your own vehicle. You may need to file a claim against the other driver’s liability coverage. In that scenario, fault does come into play.

Also, if your PIP coverage runs out, you may need to file a claim against the other driver’s policy for additional coverage. In a third-party claim, you and your Bloomington-based car accident attorney would need to prove the third party was liable for your damages to have a chance to obtain compensation.

Struggling to Obtain Compensation? Give Us a Call

If you need help after a car crash, give us a call today to schedule a free initial consultation. We have helped many crash victims and we know the many issues you are dealing with.

There is no risk in contacting us because we do not charge any upfront fees. That means no fees to take your case and no fees while investigating and pursuing compensation. Our attorneys do not get paid unless you get paid.

Call today for answers to your questions. (612) TSR-TIME

Can You File a Snowmobile Crash Claim if You Were Not Wearing a Helmet?

snowmobile ride during the daytimeWinter is almost here, and for some of us that means getting out the snowmobile for some fun in the snow. Unfortunately, when we have fun in our free time, we are often not as focused on safety as we should be. That can lead to risky behavior and some dangerous oversights, such as not wearing a helmet.

You may think the snow could act as a cushion and keep you from getting hurt. However, the snow will not prevent serious or even life-threatening injuries. Snow is not the only thing to be concerned about either. You could fall off the snowmobile and land on a dangerous object covered in snow, get launched into a tree or strike some other obstacle that is hidden by snow.

If a crash happens because of another’s negligence, you may be eligible to file a claim. However, what happens if you get injured and you were not wearing a helmet?

Below, learn more about snowmobile accident claims involving victims who were not wearing helmets. If you were injured in this type of accident, our snowmobile accident lawyers in Bloomington are prepared to help. Schedule a free consultation where you can get answers to your questions.

State Laws That May Apply

In Minnesota, only those under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet while riding a snowmobile. However, you cannot simply put on any helmet. The helmet must be approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT-approved helmets conform to federal vehicle safety standards and generally display the DOT symbol.

The only exception to the requirement to wear a helmet is if the rider is:

  • Taking part in a parade
  • Operating the vehicle on land that belongs to your parent, grandparent, sibling, uncle or aunt

There may be some confusion as to who is required to wear a helmet. This may be because wearing a helmet is encouraged for everyone by Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources, not just those who are under the age of 18.

Due to this strong safety recommendation, you may ask: If I was not required to wear a helmet, how could it affect a claim for compensation?

Generally, if you are injured by another person on a snowmobile, a claim is made to their homeowner’s insurance.  The insurance company is likely to be looking for ways to deny or at least devalue your claim. By not wearing a helmet, you may put yourself at greater risk for injury and the insurance company will try to use that as justification for lowering the value of your claim.

They may refer to Minnesota’s comparative fault law, which says you can only recover compensation if you are less than 50 percent at fault for your injuries. If you are not more than 50 percent to blame, your final compensation award will be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you are more than 50 percent at fault, you will be barred from receiving compensation for your damages, no matter how injured you are.

However, courts generally prohibit insurance companies from reducing the value of a claim because a victim was more susceptible to injury. In other words, you must take the victim as you find him or her. If you were injured due to another’s negligence, you should be eligible for compensation. Your own negligence may have played a role in your injury, and that can be factored into the value of your claim.

If you think the insurance company is attempting to use the fact you were not wearing a helmet against you, TSR Injury Law may be able to help. We are aggressive negotiators who pursue maximum compensation on behalf of our clients.

Why You Should Always Wear a Helmet on a Snowmobile

Blunt trauma to the head is one of the most common causes of death when riding a snowmobile. That is why protecting your head is so important. It is important to note a helmet may not eliminate all the risks of riding a snowmobile, but without it your risk of a serious head injury increases dramatically.

The main benefit of a helmet is an extra layer of protection around your head. However, there are other features of snowmobile helmets that can help you stay safe. For example, snowmobile helmets have a dual-pane shield to prevent your goggles from fogging up or freezing while you are riding. Some helmets also have insulation to help keep you warm. If you get too cold or cannot see clearly, you are at higher risk of crashing into something.

Call for Experienced Legal Help

At TSR Injury Law, we have helped many personal injury victims in Minnesota recover compensation for their damages – over a billion recovered.

Remember, there is no upfront fee for working with our firm. We are not paid until the end of the legal process and only if we recover compensation on your behalf.

Need legal assistance? Call TSR today: (612) TSR-TIME.

TSR Donates to Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge to Help Those Struggling with Addiction

people sitting in circle at support groupMillions of people in Minnesota and throughout the nation struggle with drug and alcohol addiction every year. That is why organizations like Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge are so important. People need help overcoming addiction and Adult & Teen Challenge has been providing help since 1983.

On this Giving Tuesday, TSR Injury Law is proud to announce our support for this organization, which provides effective, affordable residential licensed treatment, faith-based long-term recovery, outpatient services and transitional/aftercare services.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, Adult & Teen Challenge has centers in Minneapolis, Duluth, Brainerd, Buffalo and Rochester.

Thank you to all those helping people struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.