What You Should Know About Liability for Crashes Involving Borrowed Vehicles

person holding key fob by carThe last thing you want to happen when you let someone borrow your car is for them to get into a crash. You do not want the driver to get injured, the other party hurt and there are questions of your liability as the car owner.

You may also be on the receiving end of a crash and wonder if the car’s owner has liability for your damages.

Below, our experienced attorneys car accident lawyers in Bloomington discuss what you should know about car crashes involving borrowed vehicles, whether you were the one borrowing the car, letting someone else borrow your car, or you were hit by a driver who borrowed a car.

If you have questions about legal options following a car crash, call TSR Injury Law today. The initial consultation is 100 percent free and comes with no obligation to take legal action.

Are You Lending Your Auto Insurance When You Lend a Car?

Yes and no. Certain types of auto insurance coverage follow the car, while others follow the driver. For example, these coverages usually follow the car:

  • Bodily injury liability
  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
  • Property damage liability

If you allow someone to borrow your car and that person causes a crash that injures other people, your bodily injury liability is first in line to cover these damages. Your insurance will also be used to pay for damage to other vehicles. Your collision or comprehensive coverage will be used to pay for damage to your vehicle.

However, the driver who borrowed your car would use his or her personal injury protection coverage (from their car not involved in the crash) to pay for his or her medical bills. Depending on the coverage language, the driver may also have to use a resident relative’s PIP coverage for bills and wage loss reimbursement.  If the driver owns a separate car, their policy will also be second in line for the victim’s bodily injury claim if they exhaust the owner’s coverage.

Giving Permission to Drive Your Car

While each situation is unique, the general rule is “initial permission” equals liability.  If you give basic permission to use your car, liability will follow even of the permission is abused.  For example, if you allow your friend to borrow your car to get dinner and explicitly say “only get the food and come back” but the friend drives to Wisconsin and causes a crash, your insurance is on the hook.

If you are going to allow someone to borrow your car for an extended period or have access to the vehicle often, consider adding that person to your car insurance. That way you can be sure you will have coverage for damage to your vehicle.

If you keep your insurance company in the dark, there is an outside chance your policy is voided and coverage eliminated. Insurance companies charge based on risk and if there are multiple drivers they are not aware of, they may see you as too much of a risk because you chose not to inform them.

The same rationale applies if your boyfriend or girlfriend moves in with you.  You should inform the insurance company if you think your significant other may borrow the car from time to time. A good rule of thumb is that any member of your household who has a driver’s license should be listed on your car insurance policy.

Remember that if you exclude someone from your policy, your insurance will not apply if they drive your car and get into a crash. That means if they caused the crash, you may be personally on the hook for damages others suffered.

What if Your Car was Stolen or Taken Without Consent?

If your car was stolen and involved in a crash, you usually will not be held liable for damages that are caused. Depending on the coverage in your policy, your insurance may pay for damage to your vehicle. This should also be the case if your vehicle was taken without your consent.

However, the insurance company for the other driver involved in the crash may look for reasons to claim you did give someone permission to use your car.  More importantly, if you failed to keep the vehicle safe from theft you may also be blamed.  The common Minnesota example is keeping your car running, keys in and door unlocked in the winter when you run inside a store.  If your car is stolen, it could very well be your “fault.”

Another common example, if you specifically told someone not to drive your car, but you left the keys where you knew they could easily be found, the injured party will argue you are still liable. They may have a strong argument if the person who drove your car has a history of reckless driving or even drunk driving. The insurance company may cite the principle of negligent entrustment, saying you should have taken greater care to prevent this person from operating your car.

Protecting Yourself When Lending Your Car

The best rule is to not let others drive your vehicle.  If you must, make sure you only lend your car to people you can trust.

If you are concerned about a friend or someone who lives with you driving your car without your permission, keep the keys with you. Avoid leaving keys in a place where they are easy to find.

Give Us a Call to Discuss Legal Options After a Crash

Choosing an attorney is one of the most important decisions to make after getting injured in a car crash. You do not want to rely on the insurance company to offer fair compensation for your damages, even if it is your own insurance company.

For more than two decades, the experienced attorneys at TSR Injury Law have been securing millions on behalf of our clients. We have helped many crash victims secure the compensation they needed to move forward.

There are no upfront fees or legal obligations. We are not paid unless you get paid.

Call TSR Injury Law Today. No Upfront Fees. (612) TSR-TIME

Is it Too Soon to Call an Attorney for Help with Your Car Crash Claim?

reaching for smartphone on tableMany crash victims wait to contact a lawyer. For example, crash victims might call a lawyer if their claim was denied, or the insurance company’s settlement offer is far below what they think it should be. Unless these kinds of things happen, victims may think it is too soon to call a lawyer.

However, some crash victims call an attorney from the site of the crash or after receiving treatment at the hospital. In some cases, the victim is so severely injured a family member contacts a lawyer to discuss possible legal options.

Below, we discuss why it is often not too soon to call a Bloomington car accident lawyer for help. TSR Injury Law offers a free legal consultation, and there is no obligation to hire our firm. This is an opportunity to tell us what happened so we can determine how we may be able to assist you.  We will give you an honest opinion if your case has merit and what we can do to help.

Calling a Lawyer Quickly Helps You Protect Your Rights

If you wait to call a lawyer, you risk damaging your claim because you will be dealing with the insurance company on your own. Even if you are working with your own insurance company they are not always looking out for your best interests. They are looking to protect their bottom line, which is why insurers often undervalue or deny claims.

Insurance adjusters have a lot of experience misleading crash victims. For example, they may try to get them to say things that damage their credibility and the value of their claims. Often adjusters may sound like they are trying to help, but they are only doing this to make you feel comfortable. If you relax, you may be more likely to make comments that downplay the seriousness of your injuries., accept blame or muddy a situation that was once clear. Insurance adjusters often suggest to not call a lawyer (Illegal conduct in Minnesota) or “forget” to cover all the benefits you have as part of your insurance policy.

When the insurance company calls, you may be feeling good about your prospects for recovering. However, saying, “I am OK,” or “I have been feeling much better,” will be used against you to devalue your claim. The insurance company may say you are mostly recovered. They may also decide you do not need much more compensation for medical expenses or other damages.

By calling a lawyer right away, you can allow him or her to deal with the insurance company for you. We have vast experience handling insurance companies, and we know how to protect rights while we build your case.

Sometimes an attorney might not be able to help. For example, if your damages are not significant, you may have a good chance of filing a claim and seeking compensation on your own. However, it is important not to assume an attorney will or will not take your case. You should talk to an experienced attorney and have him or her tell you what he or she thinks. Taking the time to ask questions can provide peace of mind.

Is it Ever Too Late to Talk to a Lawyer?

While it is rarely too soon to talk to a lawyer after getting injured in a crash, there are times when it may be too late. For example, if the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit has already passed, there may be little an attorney can do to help.

In Minnesota, there are several statutes of limitations for filing lawsuits over personal injuries, such as from a car crash. There are other notice provisions if bars are involved in illegal sales, or a government entity is the at-fault actor. The time limits could be as short as six months up to six years. This is yet another reason to call and seek free advice to make sure you do not miss the statute of limitations.

Even if the deadline has not passed, an attorney may be unable to help. Attorneys need time to investigate, gather evidence, evaluate damages, and take other steps to build a strong case. If the crash was a year before an attorney is called, valuable evidence may be forever lost.

While it is best to contact a lawyer right away, you should not assume an attorney is unable to help. At TSR Injury Law, the initial consultation is free and comes with no obligation to hire our firm. There is no financial risk in calling our firm to learn how we may be able to assist you.

Have Legal Questions? TSR Injury Law is Here to Help

For more than two decades, TSR Injury Law has been helping crash victims secure compensation for their damages. Our firm has secured $1 billion in compensation on behalf of our clients.

We know how devastating a car crash can be, physically, financially and emotionally. We are committed to pursuing maximum compensation to help you put your life back together.

TSR Injury Law. No upfront fees. Call (612) TSR-TIME.

Could You be Held Partially Liable for a Slip and Fall Injury?

caution wet floor signSometimes there is just one party at fault for a slip and fall – often it is a property owner or someone who works for the owner and manages the property. However, sometimes liability is shared between two or more parties, and one of those parties might even be the victim.

It is important to note insurance companies often claim victims are partially or entirely at fault, even when this is clearly not the case. However, there could be times when victims walked into a dangerous situation that probably should have been avoided. If there were warnings that were easy to see and understand, often termed “open and obvious”, and the victim ignored them, he or she may have been negligent.

Below, we discuss partial fault for a slip and fall accident and why victims should not make assumptions about their role in an accident. You may have acted reasonably and not bear any fault, and you should discuss things with a licensed attorney.

At TSR Injury Law, our goal is to secure maximum compensation for damages. In a free consultation, we can carefully review what happened and discuss possible legal options. The consultation also comes with no obligation to hire our firm so there is no risk to you.

Minnesota Law on Partial Fault

Under state law, victims can still seek compensation for damages if they are partially at fault. That said, victims cannot be more at fault than the other party, otherwise they cannot pursue compensation. In other words, if you are more than 50 percent at fault, you cannot pursue compensation no matter how hurt you are.

If you are 50 percent or less at fault, your compensation award will be reduced in accordance with your percentage of fault. In other words, if you are found 10 percent at fault, any compensation award you receive will be reduced by 10 percent.

It is important for victims to know this because they may assume they cannot recover any compensation because they are somewhat at fault. Victims often exaggerate their amount of fault or allow themselves to be swayed by things the insurance company tells them.

It is important to review the situation with a lawyer to determine possible legal options. If you think you are partially at fault, do not tell the insurance company. Discuss it with an experienced Minneapolis slip and fall lawyer.

Partial Fault for a Slip and Fall

It is important to note fault for a slip and fall must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. There are just too many factors that need to be considered. Even if two slip and falls happened in the same type of store, they may have a different cause. That is why it is so important for victims to seek experienced legal help.

One of the main questions to answer when assessing fault for a slip and fall injury is whether it was unreasonable for the victim to do what he or she did. If the victim acted as a reasonable person and the property owner did not take appropriate steps to mitigate the hazard, it may be difficult to assign partial fault to the victim.

Going into a section of a property that is restricted or roped off is a bad idea and may be considered unreasonable. Property owners will claim they cannot be expected to fix hazards in areas of the property visitors are not supposed to go.

A victim may be partially blamed for a slip and fall is if there were warning signs about the dangerous condition. For example, if there was a wet floor sign in front of a wet or slippery part of the floor, and you walked into that area, you might bear some amount of fault. The property owner may be able to avoid liability because there was a sign.

Could the Victim Argue That He or She Did Not See the Sign?

It is possible. However, if you did not see the sign because you were distracted and it was clearly visible to others, this may not be a viable argument. If you were intoxicated at the time of the accident and the property owner has pictures or video of you that indicates this, it may be tough to argue you did not see the sign. You may not have, but you probably would have if not for being intoxicated.

If the sign was obscured by something, like a plant or other people, the property owner may have trouble claiming visitors had a clear warning about the danger.

What if You Had Inappropriate Footwear?

This may sound like a weak argument trotted out by the insurance company to escape liability. That said, if a female victim was wearing heels in a snow-covered parking lot and fell, the insurance company will blame the choice of shoes.

An insurance company may argue you were wearing flip-flops in the produce section, so you should be found at least partially negligent. However, it depends on the hazard that caused your injury. Was the hazard so dangerous that wearing different shoes would not have mattered? If that is true, this may be a flimsy argument by the liable party.

Injured in a Slip and Fall? TSR is Here to Help

Slip and fall cases can be complex. Proving liability can be challenging, particularly because property owners and their insurers are looking to avoid accountability.

That is why victims can greatly benefit from experienced legal representation. At TSR Injury Law, we have been helping victims for more than 20 years and have obtained $1 billion in compensation.

No upfront fees. Call (612) TSR-TIME.

What Type of Doctor Should a Car Crash Victim See?

woman with arm in braceThe most important thing to do after getting injured in a car crash is to seek medical treatment. You need to be evaluated by a qualified medical professional to diagnose, stabilize and begin treating your injuries.

But what type of doctor should you see? Can you go to your primary care doctor? Do you need to be seen by a specialist who has detailed knowledge about the type of injury you suffered?

These are all important questions. We discuss this issue in detail below, and if you have more questions, TSR Injury Law’s experienced Minneapolis car crash attorneys are here to answer them. We know this is a confusing time, as we have helped countless crash victims through the legal process.

Schedule your free consultation today to learn more about our services.

Should You Just go to the Emergency Room?

Many crash victims decide to go to the emergency room, and this is often the best option, particularly for severe injuries. Some victims are taken directly to the hospital via ambulance, as they have severe or life-threatening injuries that need to be treated right away. If the crash happened in the evening or at night, an emergency room may be the only option.

If you can walk away from the crash, you may not think your injuries are severe enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. However, that may not be the case. Minor symptoms could be a sign of something more serious.

Maybe you hit your head but there is no bruise, and it is not bleeding. However, even if you did not lose consciousness, you could have suffered a brain injury. Pain in your abdomen could be a sign of internal bleeding or damage to an internal organ. Waiting to seek treatment could allow things to get much worse.

Even if you only go to the emergency room out of an abundance of caution, this is better than waiting to seek treatment. The good thing about an emergency room is they have the equipment to diagnose your injuries and the expertise to start treatment.

Are Urgent Care Centers Similar to Emergency Rooms?

While primary care doctor’s offices are often closed in the early evening or even late afternoon, urgent care centers may still be open. This may be a viable option, depending on the severity of your injury. If an injury is too severe, the urgent care center is likely to just send you to the emergency room. They are not set up to treat true medical emergencies.

Some victims may need an extra push to go to the emergency room and being sent there by a doctor at an urgent care center may be that extra push.

Even if you go to the emergency room and find out your injuries are not that bad, it is better to know than to be uncertain.

Can My Primary Care Doctor Treat Me?

Some primary care doctors have a blanket policy of not treating crash victims. Not only are primary care doctor’s offices not set up to bill auto insurance for crash victims, but some family practice doctors may not want to deal with the extra legal paperwork required by insurance companies or lawyers. They also may have a fear of the legal process such as being called to testify at a deposition or in a trial.

Even though you may be comfortable with your primary care doctor, it is probably best to only see the family doctor once in the beginning and then transfer your care to a facility set up to work with auto insurance and lawyers. Once your injuries have been diagnosed, you will want to be referred to specialists for better specialized treatment

Another problem with seeing your primary care doctor first is that you may not be able to see him or her soon after the crash. Typically, you need to make an appointment and you might not be able to get one for one day or more following the crash.

You do not want to have a significant gap in time between the crash and when you started medical treatment. The insurance company may use this as a reason to claim you were injured by something besides the crash. They may also claim your injuries are not that severe, otherwise you would have sought treatment sooner.

Explaining Your Injuries

When you meet with a doctor after a crash, be sure to explain all the symptoms you are experiencing, even if you think they are minor in nature. Tell the doctor about the body parts that were impacted in the crash. For example, did you hit your arm on something? Did your head hit the steering wheel?

If you have been seeking treatment for an existing health issue, tell the doctor. He or she may be able to determine if the crash could make that existing injury worse.

Contact TSR Injury Law to Discuss Your Claim

You may be thinking you do not need to work with an attorney because Minnesota is a no-fault state, and you will be dealing with your own insurance company.

However, insurance companies are committed to profit, not providing full compensation to policyholders who file claims. Even claims that seem perfectly valid could be denied or undervalued by the insurance company.

You need a trusted advocate fighting for your best interests. At TSR, there are no upfront fees or legal obligations. If you decide to hire our firm, we do not get paid unless you get paid.

Call TSR Injury Law today for legal help. (612) TSR-TIME