What You Should Know About Filing a Claim for a Crash in a Construction Zone

roadway construction with road signsPassing by or a through a construction zone can be dangerous, which is why there are usually signs, cones and even construction workers to help direct traffic. However, despite safety measures like these, you could get into a crash in a construction zone.

It is possible the construction company or its workers may hold some liability for a crash, particularly if they were negligent in how they marked off the area or directed traffic. This could make filing a claim more complicated, which is why it is important to seek qualified legal help.

At TSR Injury Law, we have helped many crash victims recover compensation for the damages they have suffered. Our firm has secured over a billion in compensation on behalf of our clients.

An initial consultation with an experienced Bloomington auto accident attorney is free of charge.

When Construction Companies May Bear Liability

Most car crashes are caused by negligent drivers, but there may be other factors involved, particularly if the crash occurred in or near a roadside construction site.

There are a variety of reasons a construction company could be liable for a collision:

  • Designing a route through the site that forces drivers to make sudden or dangerous maneuvers
  • Failing to display warning signs or placing them in areas with low visibility
  • Placing barricades or cones too close to an active lane of traffic
  • Moving construction equipment into the roadway without warning
  • Displaying warning signs that give inaccurate information
  • Failing to warn about changes in the road grading
  • Construction debris being left in the road
  • Creating debris or dust in the air blocking driver’s vision

The construction company could be vicariously liable for the actions of its employees/workers. In other words, since the construction company exerts control over their workers’ actions, if these workers act with negligence, their employer may hold liability.

It is possible your crash happened because of another driver’s actions that seemed to be negligent. However, that driver may have been forced into a reckless maneuver because of a construction worker’s negligence. In this situation, the construction company could bear liability.

For example, maybe a driver had to make a sudden maneuver because of the way traffic was directed through the construction site. Maybe a construction vehicle moved out into the road and the driver had no choice but to slam on the brakes or veer over into your lane.

If you are able, take pictures of the construction site after your crash. Try to capture the obstacle/issue that you believe led to the crash. When you leave a crash scene, things may get cleaned up, clearing away potential evidence at the same time. The area may not look the way it did right after the crash.

Can You Seek Compensation from the Construction Company?

This is something that should be discussed with a licensed attorney. However, if the construction company’s negligence contributed to the crash, it may be possible to file a claim against them for compensation.

Minnesota is a no-fault state, which means drivers generally seek compensation from their own insurance policies for medical bills and wage, but they seek other compensation from the at fault person or company.

You may be able to file a lawsuit if your injuries created medical bills of at least $4,000, left you disabled for at least 60 days, or caused permanent injury or disfigurement.

Lowering Your Risk of a Construction Zone Crash

While you cannot control the actions of other drivers, you can control how you drive when you approach a roadside construction site. Simply slowing down and leaving a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you could significantly lower your risk for a crash.

Stay alert and obey the signs, as well as the construction workers who are directing traffic. When people become distracted by their cellphones or the radio they may miss important road signs or workers who are directing traffic.

Make sure your taillights work. When you are driving at night, these lights help other drivers to see your taillights when you brake, giving them time to react when you slow down.

Injured in a Car Crash? TSR May be Able to Help

The licensed attorneys at TSR Injury Law are ready to help you seek maximum compensation. Give us a call today to discuss what happened and whether you may have a case.

There are no upfront fees for our services and no legal obligations. That means there is no risk in giving us a call to discuss your crash. We have helped victims of a variety of crashes secure the compensation they needed to move forward.

Local. Licensed. Lawyers. Call (612) TSR-TIME today.

How Poor Maintenance Could Cause a Commercial Truck Crash

commercial truck driver studying tiresWhile truck drivers are often the ones found to be at fault for a crash, sometimes crashes are the result of poor maintenance of the truck. For example, maybe the driver or trucking company failed to have the brakes serviced and they failed, leading to a crash with another vehicle.

Sometimes a truck was taken in to be serviced, but things were missed, or the mechanics did a poor work, making mechanical failure more likely.

In these situations, drivers, trucking companies and even repair shops could all be liable for damages that may result from a crash. Below, learn more about maintenance/mechanical issues that commonly arise with commercial trucks and how they may increase the risk of a crash.

Our Bloomington truck accident lawyers are ready to help you seek compensation. Call today.

Brake Failure

The brakes are arguably the most important piece of equipment on a commercial truck, as far as preventing a crash is concerned. If the brakes fail or do not work as well as they should, a crash is much more likely to occur.

One thing to remember about commercial trucks, and vehicles is general is this: the heavier they are, the longer they take to stop. If the brakes are malfunctioning, it may be much harder for a driver to slow down and come to a stop. This could make a crash more likely to occur.

The brake pads may be worn down and need to be replaced. Sometimes there are sets of brakes that must work harder than others. There may be mismatched sets of parts or problems with the pneumatic system. These issues could cause the brakes to lock up.

Sometimes the brakes are not the issue – the truck may be overloaded with cargo. An overloaded trailer can make it harder for the brakes to work as they are supposed to. An overloaded trailer may make the brakes more likely to fail.

Problems with Steering

If there are steering issues, either with the steering wheel itself or the axles, the driver may be unable to maneuver the way he or she needs to, to be able to avoid a crash.

Pump malfunctions, fluid leaks, blocked hoses or worn belts can all contribute to the failure of a steering system. Fortunately, drivers should be able to discover problems because steering wheels often get loose or vibrate when they may need maintenance.

Regular maintenance should solve most of these problems and prevent the need for costly repairs later.

Tire Failure

The condition of a vehicle’s tires is important no matter how big or small the vehicle is. However, the health of a commercial truck’s tires is vital to the safety of those drivers sharing the road with commercial trucks.

Tires often fail because they are underinflated, or the treads are worn down too far. If a tire is underinflated, it may be more likely to blowout. Simply hitting an object could cause the tire to fail if it is not properly inflated.

Worn or uneven treads can make a commercial truck harder to control. Sometimes uneven treads are created by underinflation or overinflation, poor alignment or mismatched tires.

One of the many benefits of hiring a licensed attorney to represent your case is he or she can investigate maintenance issues with the commercial truck that caused your crash. He or she can obtain maintenance records and review state and federal regulations to determine if any may have been violated.

Why Do These Issues Regularly Come Up?

When you consider the danger maintenance issues may create, you may be asking why so many drivers and trucking companies seem to let things go.

The problem is that companies and drivers are under immense pressure to meet tight deadlines. That often results in violations of federal or state laws. Drivers may let some things slide because they need to make a deadline.

As these issues are quite common, they may have contributed to your crash. That is why the crash needs to be thoroughly investigated to assess why it occurred and who may be liable.

Injured in a Truck Crash? You May Have Legal Options

TSR Injury Law is prepared to help truck crash victims seek full compensation for their injuries. Our initial consultations are free of charge and come with no legal obligations. That means there is no risk in contacting our firm to discuss the crash.

For more than 20 years, we have been advocating for those injured in crashes. Our firm has secured over a billion in compensation on behalf of our clients.

Give us a call today to learn more. Call (612) TSR-TIME.

What You Need to Know About Arbitration for a Minnesota Car Crash Claim?

shaking hands at table after reaching an agreementCrash victims may think there are only two ways to recover compensation: file an insurance claim or file a lawsuit. However, there is also arbitration, which is a quicker and less expensive process compared to a lawsuit.

There are several things you need to know about this process, including the qualifications of arbitrators, the process involved, how long arbitration may take to complete, and how to prepare.

Below, the experienced Minneapolis-based car accident lawyers at TSR Injury Law discuss these issues. If the insurance company has undervalued your claim, give us a call to discuss the situation in a free legal consultation. We may be able to help you pursue full compensation.

In one case decided by a panel of arbitrators, TSR Partner Rich Ruohonen was able to secure more than $3 million on behalf of the victim of a semi-truck crash on highway 94.

Mandatory Arbitration of No-Fault Claims in Minnesota

Minnesota is a no-fault state, which means car crash victims usually turn to their own insurance policies to recover compensation for medical expenses, replacement services and lost wages.

Under state law, when a respondent (the insurance company) denies a no-fault claim, the respondent (injured party) must tell the claimant of his or her right to demand mandatory arbitration. This only applies to claims of $10,000 or less.

For claims worth more than $10,000 at the time arbitration begins, the insurance company can tell the claimant whether it is willing to submit to arbitration.

How the Process Starts

Things usually start with the victim’s attorney filing a Petition for No-Fault Arbitration with the American Arbitration Association (AAA). This can be done after a claim has been denied or if you do not receive compensation within 30 days of filing your claim.

The AAA sends a list of four arbitrators to both parties. These arbitrators are randomly selected. Your attorney and the insurance company may cross one arbitrator a piece off the list. They rank the other arbitrators in their preferred order. The AAA then chooses from the arbitrators left on the list.

It is important to note arbitrators are bound by a code of ethics that requires them to disclose relationships that might make them biased in favor of one party.

If an arbitrator accepts the appointment, a hearing will be scheduled on a date that is mutually agreed upon. The hearing usually occurs within four to six months. That way both sides have time to prepare.

Typically, the hearing occurs in the arbitrator’s office, a AAA office or another place that is agreed upon by both parties.  Zoom is often the new mode of meeting with Covid.

Preparing for the Hearing

Both sides can share information, but they are not required to share as much as they would in a lawsuit. That said, the insurance company is entitled to the following information:

  • Medical reports
  • Medical authorizations directed to all medical providers the claimant consulted with in the seven years before the crash
  • Employment records and authorizations for the two years before the crash if wage loss is in dispute
  • Supporting documents that are required under the No-Fault Arbitration Rule
  • Other exhibits that will be offered at the hearing

Your attorney can meet with you to help prepare your testimony. You should be prepared to discuss your injuries and the symptoms you are experiencing. Explain how they may have changed over time and some of the ways these symptoms impact your daily activities.

What Happens at the Hearing?

These hearings are informal – each party gets the chance to present its case and the arbitrator is free to ask questions. The arbitrator will also consider evidence that is presented, including statements from witnesses, medical records and other evidence that would be admissible in court.

Once both sides have presented their cases, the arbitrator will ask both parties if they have anything else to present. If they do not, the arbitrator will declare the hearing closed. After that, the arbitrator has 30 days to determine if compensation will be awarded and how much.

Arbitration in Non-No-Fault Claim in Minnesota

Injury claims usually resolve by settlement or a jury trial.  A third option is binding arbitration.  Instead of the time and expense of a jury trial, the plaintiff and defense attorney each agree to binging arbitration.  Each side picks an arbitrator, and the two chosen arbitrators pick a third neutral.  The three together will listen to evidence presented and at least two of them will have to agree on a verdict.

The actual hearing is similar to a fast trial.  Witnesses testify, exhibits are shown and the respective attorneys present opening and closing arguments.  The advantages are speed of getting to the hearing date and cost.  A trial date may be a year after a lawsuit is filed and can cost $10,000 to $250,000.00 in costs for experts, depositions and other trial costs.  An arbitration can often be presented for a few thousand dollars and the three arbitrators have years of experience in the personal injury filed so they can quickly process evidence, provide a hearing date months after agreement and a “verdict” is rendered quickly.

Injured in a Crash? We Are Here to Help

We know you may have many questions about what to do after a crash. That is why we offer a free legal consultation to discuss your situation. There is no obligation to take legal action after meeting with us. We do not charge upfront fees for our services and are only paid if you get paid.

Call today for assistance. (612) TSR-TIME

TSR Partners Rich Ruohonen and Nate Bjerke Selected for The Power 30

advertisement for power 30 in minnesotaWe are excited to announce that two of our partners were selected for The Power 30: Personal Injury Law. Nate Bjerke and Rich Ruohonen were chosen for the inaugural edition of this list, that was created by Saint Paul’s legal ledger, Minnesota Lawyer.

Rich Ruohonen is an award-winning attorney who has been voted a Minnesota Super Lawyers every year since 2003. He was twice selected as Minnesota Lawyer Attorney of the Year and is also a former president of the Minnesota Association for Justice. Rich tried the first COVID civil trial in the State of Minnesota in September 2020 and received a jury award of over $250,000.

Rich has helped numerous accident victims secure compensation, including a recovery of $3 million for a nurse who suffered a brain injury in a semi-truck crash.

Nate Bjerke has won personal injury cases all over the nation and has been selected a Top 100 Super Lawyer each year since 2014. Nate is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and The National Trial Lawyers Top 100. Nate also gives lectures and teaches trial practice skills to lawyers all over the nation.

Bjerke’s profile on the Minnesota Lawyer website notes that his career trajectory sounds like a plot in one of John Grisham’s novels.

As this Power Series advertisement says, “Those who know us are not surprised!”

Congratulations Rich and Nate on receiving this fantastic award!

Why are Car Crash Insurance Claims Often Denied?

desk with claim denied written on notepadYou may think you have a strong argument for why an insurance company should provide compensation after a car crash. However, insurance companies are known to deny claims that seem perfectly legitimate.

It is important to keep this in mind: as a for-profit business, insurance companies are looking out for their best interests, not yours. When they can find a valid reason to not pay out on a claim, or at the very least reduce the value, it protects their bottom line.

Below, review some of the most common denial decisions policyholders receive. If you are suspicious of the denial reasons the insurance company gave you, call TSR Injury Law to schedule a free consultation.

‘You Waited Too Long to Report the Crash’

You should always call the police immediately after a car crash, even if you think your injuries are not that serious. They could get worse over the next few days. When you call the police, an officer will be sent to the scene to investigate and complete a report that serves as an official record of the crash.

Without a police report, it may be difficult to recover compensation, and the insurance company may try to use this against you. They may claim you were not injured in the collision and are seeking compensation for an unrelated injury. “How bad could it have been?” is a common defense when the police are not called.

Not only is it a good idea to call the police, sometimes the state requires it by law. If the crash caused injuries or property damage of $1,000 or more, you must report it to the police within 10 days. Some auto insurance policies also require a police report. This is especially true for uninsured motorist claims.  Insurance companies assume fraud when their insured’s claim an uninsured motorist hit them. A police report is the best way to protect yourself from later accusations of fault and fraud.

‘You Did Not Get Medical Treatment Soon Enough’

The insurance company is looking for some way to attack your credibility. If you wait to seek treatment, they are likely to say your injury is unrelated to the crash. They are only financially responsible for injuries that happened during a collision or where a direct cause from the crash.

You may think your injuries are not that bad and should heal on their own over a few days or a week. However, you need qualified medical professionals to examine you to determine the type and severity of injuries you may have suffered. Car crash injuries are often much worse than victims realize.

There are multiple reasons to always see a doctor and get checked out. On the human side, if you wait to go to the doctor, your injuries could get worse. They could take longer to heal and affect you for a longer period than they might have if you had sought treatment sooner. Even if the doctor confirms your injuries are not very serious, you can receive the care you need and likely recover more quickly.

On the legal side, the longer you wait to document your related injuries, the harder it is to prove they were the direct result of a crash.

‘You Were Breaking Traffic Laws at the Time of the Crash’

Breaking a traffic law could mean you are at least partially to blame for a crash. However, you are still able to seek compensation from your no-fault coverage. You can be 100 percent at fault for a crash and still be entitled to all your medical and wage loss benefits.

Your own fault for the car crash may affect your ability to seek compensation for pain, suffering or property damage from another involved vehicle, but only if you are more than 50 percent at fault. In other words, you may be partially at fault, but still have a valid claim. Insurance companies often argue if you are at fault there is nothing they can do. This is not true.

Even if fault is an issue, sometimes traffic citations are unrelated to the crash. For example, drunk driving is likely connected to the crash, but driving without a license is not related to the cause of the crash and is irrelevant when determining fault and what an insurance company owes you.

‘You Missed a Premium Payment’

Make sure to pay your insurance premiums on time. You may need to double check that a payment went through online or that your insurer received a check in the mail. Insurance companies will check for missed policy payments as a reason to avoid paying compensation for a claim. While most insurers allow a grace period after your due date, it is risky to pay late. Some insurance companies may purposely delay depositing your payment, causing it to miss the final deadline and your policy to lapse.  Minnesota requires written notice from an insurance company to cancel a policy for non-payment.

However, even if a payment was late, and you actually lose coverage on your vehicle, they are many ways to still have a valid claim against another at fault driver. An attorney may still be able to help you recover compensation. Each case is different, so it is important to review your options with an experienced lawyer.

If you have questions about the denial of your claim, do not hesitate to give our firm a call. We have helped many crash victims and we are prepared to go to court if necessary.

TSR Injury Law is Here to Help. Call Today

Car crash victims often have many questions about what to do next. That is why contacting an experienced Bloomington auto accident lawyer can be an important step.

You may think recovering the compensation you need should be relatively easy. However, the recovery process is often more complicated than many drivers realize. Insurance companies know how to take advantage of crash victims.

For more than 20 years, TSR Injury Law has been recovering compensation for injured victims. We have obtained millions and we know how to protect the full value of a claim.

No Upfront Fees. Call today: (612) TSR-TIME.

TSR Co-Founder Steve Terry Does Civil Services Q&A in Minnesota MADD Newsletter

picture of partner steve terryThe March 2021 edition of the MADD MN Victim Services Newsletter featured an interview with TSR partner and co-founder Steve Terry. He discussed the benefits of hiring an attorney after being the victim of a drunk driving crash and other issues surrounding impaired driving crashes.

If you were injured in a drunk driving crash, or a loved one was injured, TSR Injury Law may be able to assist you. Schedule a free consultation to learn more.

Learn more about the Minnesota chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Why Do Injury Victims Need an Attorney?

It is important to understand the civil process after a drunk driving crash is very different from the criminal one. In the question and answers feature, Steve Terry explains what a civil attorney does, such as making sure insurance companies act ethically and fairly. Civil attorneys are seeking proper compensation for the victim.

Terry discusses how the best personal injury lawyers have extensive knowledge of the legal issues that may arise, including but not limited to:

  • Health insurance subrogation
  • Schmidt notices
  • No fault stacking
  • Joint and several liability

Can Bars Be Held Responsible for Drunk Driving?

In Minnesota, it may be possible to hold a bar liable for a drunk driving crash victim’s injuries. However, building a case can be difficult, as attorneys must quickly interview witnesses, obtain video footage and determine the driver’s blood alcohol level. If you take too long to hire an attorney, it may not be possible to build an effective case against the bar that served the drunk driver.

How Do You Pay for an Attorney?

Unfortunately, many people do not understand how personal injury lawyers get paid. TSR, like many personal injury firms, operates on contingency. That means no upfront costs – our lawyers do not get paid unless you do. The initial consultation is also free of charge.

What if the Drunk Driver Has No Insurance?

Minnesota requires all drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage for these situations. However, there may still be insurance on the car that your attorney can seek compensation from. For example, the owner of the car may have insurance, or someone else in the household may have coverage that applies.

Injured in a Crash Caused by Negligence? Call TSR

Victims of impaired driving crashes could greatly benefit from meeting with an experienced Minneapolis-based auto accident attorney. At TSR Injury Law, the initial consultation with an experienced attorney is free of charge and comes with no obligation to take legal action. That means there is no risk to you.

In this free meeting, we can discuss the crash and potential legal options. We are prepared to guide you through the legal process from start to finish. Our goal is to secure maximum compensation to help you during this difficult time.

Call for legal help. Ph: (612) TSR-TIME.