Why it May be Difficult to Link Back Pain to a Car Crash

doctor evaluating patient for back injurySuffering an injury in a car crash is bad enough, but your insurance company telling you an injury is not that serious or that it preexisted the crash feels like an insult. Unfortunately, car insurance companies do this all the time, especially with back injuries.

It can be difficult to obtain hard evidence of some back injuries because they may not show up on imaging tests. That motivates insurance companies to deny there is an injury or undervalue it. These are two reasons why car crash claims for back pain can be challenging to validate.

One of the most important steps to take after a car crash is to contact an attorney to help you deal with the insurance company. An attorney can serve as a strong advocate for your case and manage all the steps involved.

At TSR Injury Law, there are no upfront fees for our services and our attorneys do not get paid unless our clients get paid. Call today to schedule a free consultation with a licensed Minneapolis auto accident attorney.

How a Car Crash Can Cause a Back Injury

Back injuries are common in car crashes because the body abruptly stops moving during the crash. Victims’ forward momentum is stopped by the seat belt, airbag, or even the steering wheel. This sudden stop can cause a sprain or fracture in numerous body parts, especially your back and neck.

Many crash victims with back injuries suffer damage to their lumbar spine in their lower backs. There are five vertebrae in this part of your spine. Even if vertebrae themselves do not suffer damage, the tissues around and discs between the vertebrae could suffer significant injuries.

Common Car Crash Back Injuries

Some of the most common car crash back injuries include:

Herniated Discs

If a spinal disc shifts it can compress nerves in the area, resulting in significant pain. Victims may feel a burning sensation and weakness from their back, into their buttocks and down their leg.

Vertebrae Fractures

There are various types of fractures that may occur:

  • Compression fracture – These are small breaks in the vertebrae caused by pressure.
  • Dislocation – There is a fracture and dislocation of the vertebra or vertebrae.
  • Flexion fracture – This is when there are fractures in the middle or posterior columns.
  • Burst fracture – This occurs when parts of the vertebrae get crushed, which may cause bone fragments to be scattered around.


This occurs when a vertebra is displaced by a stress fracture. The spine shifts forward or backward causing instability.  The instability, or shifting, may cause compression of the spinal canal or nerves. Symptoms may include weakness, pain and leg numbness. Some victims may struggle with walking.

Sprains and Strains

These occur when soft tissues are stretched too far. A strain causes tendons in the back to get stretched. However, a sprain refers to damage to the ligaments that connect joints to bones and bones to bones.

Victims of car crashes that result in back injuries may also develop degenerative spinal disorders:

  • Spinal stenosis
  • Bulging discs
  • Degenerative scoliosis
  • Bone spurs
  • Spinal osteoarthritis
  • Pinched nerves
  • Foraminal stenosis

Challenges of Validating Back Pain Claims

Claims involving back pain and back injuries are challenging for a number of reasons, some have to do with how victims deal with their injuries, others have to do with how insurance companies view these injuries.

Victims Often Wait to Seek Treatment

This happens with many types of car crash injuries, but especially soft-tissue injuries. They may feel a little pain after the crash but assume it will go away on its own. Maybe they have felt similar pain before and think it will stop in a few days or a week or so. They compare it to being sore after a hard workout.

While some pain does go away on its own, often, the pain will get worse. Victims may wait until that happens to seek treatment.

There are two problems with this: injuries can and do get worse when they are left untreated, and it can be harder to link the injury to the crash. A commonsense argument is the longer away treatment occurs from the crash, the less likely the treatment is related to the crash.

Whenever there is a significant gap between the crash and the first meeting with a doctor, insurance companies claim the injury did not happen in the crash. They claim the victim suffered an injury because of something else that happened between the time of the crash and the date of treatment. This is known as an intervening cause.  They may even say you are in pain because of a preexisting medical problem that became aggravated.

It is important to not delay medical treatment after a car crash. It is possible your injury is not that bad, but this determination needs to be left up to a qualified medical professional. Getting to the hospital or a doctor’s office quickly helps you get pain relief and establish a strong link between the crash and any injuries diagnosed by doctors. Soreness, although mild, could be a symptom of a more serious injury.

It is important to note that even if you delay treatment, an attorney may still be able to help you obtain compensation. That is why it is vital to call a lawyer right away.

It May be Difficult to Validate a Back Injury

Some back injuries may not show up on a medical imaging test, particularly injuries to soft tissues like muscles. Some injuries may not even show up on an MRI or X-ray. Technology will not always show a disc bulge or green tree fracture.

Even if an imaging test shows the injury, the severity of the injury may be at least partially based on the symptoms reported by the victim. This is a subjective measurement, and the insurance company is likely to be highly critical of how the victim describes his or her injury.

When a doctor diagnoses a soft-tissue injury, he or she is going to rely on the patient’s description of symptoms and pain levels. Even though the doctor is going to do a physical exam to determine range of motion and other benchmarks (ability to stand up straight, walk or bend at the waist), he or she is going to rely heavily on the victim’s feedback.

Insurers Consider Soft-Tissue Injuries to be Minor

Car insurance companies have biases against soft-tissue injuries. They are likely to consider these to be less serious than broken bone injuries or brain injuries.

Despite the insurance company’s bias, many crash victims who hire experienced attorneys can secure the compensation they need for their back injuries. While contacting an attorney is an important step, it is also important for victims to be diligent in their medical treatment. That means not skipping appointments without a good reason and rescheduling missed appointments.

If you stop getting treatment, the insurance company is going to say you are healed or you no longer need treatment. They will use that as a reason to devalue your claim.

If you disagree with the doctor’s treatment plan, you may want a second opinion. However, it is important to keep your lawyer informed about what is happening with your treatment.

Need Help with a Claim for Back Pain? Call TSR Today

Validating a car crash claim for back pain is often complicated, and without an attorney’s help, it is very unlikely you will be able to recover full compensation for your damages.

At TSR Injury Law, we are committed to securing maximum compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and non-economic damages. We have obtained $1 billion on behalf of our clients.

There are no upfront fees for our services and no fees while we work on your case.

Free consultation. No obligation. Call today: (612) TSR-TIME.

How a Drop Down Provision Could Affect Your Insurance Coverage After a Crash

writing on insurance paperworkYou are probably not surprised to learn car insurance companies like to insert a variety of provisions or clauses into their insurance contracts to try to protect their interests.

A common example of this is a drop down provision, which is also known as a household exclusion or step down provision. If a family member or someone else who lives in your house files a claim for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, a drop down provision may lower coverage to the state minimums, even if you bought more coverage.

Unfortunately, these types of clauses may hold up in court when challenged. That is why it is so important to review insurance policies carefully before signing up for coverage.

How Drop Down Provisions Work

The terms of drop down provisions may vary. These clauses could apply to liability coverage and underinsured/uninsured motorist claims.

Drop Down Provisions for Liability Coverage

This is coverage for crashes caused by the policyholder. Victims of these crashes can file claims to try to obtain compensation from this coverage.

If someone buys a policy with a drop down provision and causes a crash, but the victim is related to and lives with the policyholder, he or she may only be able to recover compensation up to the minimum limits required by state law. The drop down provision may say family members or people living in the policyholder’s household are excluded from the full liability coverage in the policy.

This could be a significant reduction in coverage, as many people buy more than the minimum required coverage.

There was a case in Minnesota where $1 million in liability coverage was knocked down to the state minimum for a married couple that was killed in a 2006 car crash. The father of the driver had purchased $1 million in liability coverage, but when the wife’s survivors sued for wrongful death, the insurance company enforced the drop down provision.

Unfortunately, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed this clause to be enforced, because the woman killed in the crash was classified as a household member. The policy said coverage does not apply to bodily injury to:

  • Anyone injured while operating your insured car
  • The policyholder or anyone related to you and living in their household
  • Anyone related to the operator and residing in the operator’s household

The minimum required liability coverage in Minnesota is just $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.

Drop Down Provisions for Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

The minimum amounts for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per crash. These coverages may apply if you get injured in a crash with an uninsured driver or one who does not have enough coverage for your damages.

If your policy contains a drop down provision, and you get hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, passengers in your car may only get the minimum coverage. For example, even if you purchased more coverage, it might not apply to your children if they were in the car with you when the crash happened.

This is an unwelcome surprise, as policyholders buy extra coverage just in case they need it. Once people buy extra coverage, there is much less concern about having enough if the unthinkable happens.

In a serious crash, the minimum coverage probably will not be enough to cover the damages suffered. Victims or their loved ones will need to pay for medical care and other damages out of their own pockets, unless they have other insurance coverage to turn to, such as an umbrella policy.

When crash victims are left trying to pay out of pocket, they may skip treatment, or go deep into debt to pay for it. Most people do not have the financial ability to pay for ongoing treatment for a serious injury.

Unfortunately, Minnesota law does not require insurance agents to know everything about the policies they are selling. Our state also does not require drop down provisions to appear on an insurance policy declarations page. These clauses are often hidden in dense policy language that many policyholders do not sift through.

If you discover such a provision, contact your insurance company to have it removed or buy insurance from a different company. If the clause is there, the insurance company will use it. Their goal is to pay out the least possible amount on a claim. Even though you are the policyholder, the insurance company is committed to its interests.

Contact TSR Injury Law for Legal Help After a Crash

Crash victims do not need to try to pursue compensation on their own. You have the right to hire an attorney for help. However, your choice of attorney is important. You need an experienced lawyer with a track record of success who is prepared to go to court to fight for full compensation.

At TSR Injury Law, our Bloomington-based car accident lawyers have secured $1 billion on behalf of our clients, including victims of motor vehicle crashes. There are no upfront fees or legal obligations with our services. We have extensive knowledge of the law and a record of success battling insurance companies looking to underpay claims.

Experienced attorneys. Proven results. Call (612) TSR-TIME.

How an Umbrella Insurance Policy May Help Victims of a Minnesota Car Crash

business person holding umbrella icon over familyDid you know umbrella insurance could be used to pay for damages you suffered in a car crash?

That may be surprising to you if you have heard at least a little about umbrella policies. You may have heard they can help protect the financial assets of someone who causes a crash. Umbrella policies are recommended for those who have significant financial assets and those with a high public profile. For example, if you cause a catastrophic crash and have an umbrella policy on your car, the injured party will be properly compensated, and your private assets will not be at risk.

However, in addition to protecting your assets if you cause a crash, there are some umbrella policies that provide first-party benefits, such as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage could be used to compensate you for damages caused by another driver without insurance or one who did not have enough insurance to pay for your damages.

Below, we discuss umbrella policies in greater detail and why you may want to consider purchasing a policy if you can afford it.

If you were injured in a crash and have questions about seeking compensation, give us a call as soon as possible. Our Minneapolis auto accident lawyers are ready to assist you in seeking compensation at no upfront cost to you.

What is the Purpose of Umbrella Insurance?

One of the main purposes of these policies is to prevent the policyholder’s liability for a crash from causing financial ruin. If you cause a crash but your liability insurance runs out, you may still be on the hook for any remaining damages. That means the victim and his or her attorney may come after your assets, like your:

  • House
  • Business
  • Stock assets
  • Car
  • Life savings
  • Jewelry
  • Art
  • Other personal property

Should You Consider Umbrella Insurance?

There is nothing wrong with giving it some thought, particularly because umbrella policies are relatively cheap. The costly insurance is the base coverage that is mandatory in Minnesota. $30,000 is the state minimum.  Most companies require a base policy of at least $250,000.00 in coverage. The umbrella on top of that is fairly cheap.  In fact, they often cost around $150 to $300 per year, which is somewhere between $12 and $25 per month.

As explained above, not only could this protect you if you cause a crash, but an umbrella policy can protect you and your family if you are severely injured in a crash. Car crashes can be very dangerous and easily lead to serious or life-changing injuries. Treatment for these injuries could easily cost more than the value of the liability coverage from the vehicle that hit you.

It is important to be thorough when purchasing insurance coverage. If you get into a serious crash, you will be thanking yourself that you took the time to be clear on everything before you bought the policy.

Make Sure the Umbrella Policy has First-Party Coverage

It is important to note some umbrella policies do not include first-party coverage. They only pay for damages for which you are liable. That is why it is important to make sure a policy provides first-party uninsured and underinsured coverage before buying it, unless you only want the policy for third-party coverage.

You may have heard about stacking uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits, which is when you can combine uninsured motorist coverage from multiple drivers on one policy for one accident. However, in Minnesota you cannot do this. You are only allowed to stack wage loss and medical benefits for no-fault coverages.

If you buy umbrella insurance that does not provide first-party coverage, you will only get the base policy limit of your coverage no matter how injured you are. For example, if a bad driver hits you and does not have any insurance, you are limited to the base policy on your car for uninsured coverage.  If you properly purchased an umbrella policy with uninsured coverage, you could get 1 million dollars instead of $30,000.00 for compensation.

Need Help After a Car Crash? Call TSR Injury Law Today

It is often difficult for car crash victims to secure the compensation they need following a car crash. The insurance company may make an offer, but it could be for far less than the full value of a claim. Even if you try to renegotiate, they may refuse to change their offer.

That is why you should strongly consider hiring an experienced attorney to help you seek full compensation. At TSR Injury Law, there are no upfront fees or legal obligations with our services. That translates to no risk in contacting us. We are here to help, which is what we have been doing for over two decades and we have a proven track record of success.

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

Minnesota Traffic Deaths Hit a 14-Year High in 2021

flower memorial on roadsideIn 2021, 497 lost their lives in traffic crashes in Minnesota, which is a 14-year high for traffic deaths in the state.

The state saw an average of 378 traffic deaths per year between 2016 and 2020, which raises many questions: What happened? Why was last year so much deadlier on our state’s roads?

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, speeding was the leading cause of traffic deaths last year, as it accounted for 162 deaths.

There were also 124 fatal crashes caused by alcohol use and 24 caused by distracted driving. There were also 109 motorists who were not wearing their seat belts when they suffered fatal injuries in traffic crashes.

Unfortunately, once the pandemic started, drivers seemed to believe the police were not enforcing traffic laws. This may have led to an increase in risky driving behaviors, according to Office of Traffic Safety Director Mike Hanson.

The increase in traffic fatalities in Minnesota is part of a larger increase in traffic deaths across the nation. There was a nearly 20 percent increase in traffic deaths between January and June of last year compared to the same period in 2020. More than 20,160 people were killed in traffic crashes on U.S. roads between January and June of 2021.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discovered average speeds went up in the last three quarters of 2020. Drivers traveling at extreme speeds – 20 miles per hour over the limit – also became more common. The number of motorists not wearing their seat belts also increased between March 2020 and June 2021.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is planning to roll out its first National Roadway Safety Strategy later this month. However, no matter what the national strategy is, Minnesota’s Office of Traffic Safety is planning to redouble its own efforts. Specifically, it plans to sharpen social media messages to speeders and those who do not wear seat belts.

Traffic safety advocate Sarah Risser wants the Minnesota Department of Transportation to put centerline rumble strips on more roads and install more roundabouts to make drivers slow down. She would also like to see some changes to the state legislature. For example, increasing fines for distracted driving and making the consequences for drunk driving offenses more meaningful.

“Government officials must seize the moment and move beyond the public message campaign,” said Risser.

Call TSR Injury Law for Legal Help After a Fatal Crash

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a car crash, our licensed Bloomington car accident lawyers may be able to help you. An initial consultation is free of charge and there are no legal obligations after meeting with us in a free legal consultation.

We know this is a difficult time for you and your family, and we are here to help. Our focus throughout the legal process is on our clients and their best interests.

Give us a call today to discuss your situation. (612) TSR-TIME

Can You Pursue More Compensation After Agreeing to Settle Your Injury Claim?

reviewing documents at a deskThere are many steps involved in pursuing compensation for an injury caused by another’s negligence. One of the final steps is often signing a settlement release with the at-fault party’s insurance company (or the victim’s own carrier for uninsured or underinsured settlements.)

Why is signing a settlement release one of the final steps?

To put it simply, once you sign a settlement release you are releasing the insurance company (and their insured bad driver) from future liability related to the crash in question. That means you are unable to file more claims or lawsuits, with rare exceptions.

Below, we discuss why it is very unlikely victims can file more claims after signing a settlement release. If you were injured in a car crash, or another type of accident, give us a call today to schedule a free legal consultation. We have been securing compensation for injury victims for decades and have obtained millions on behalf of our clients.

Why Signing a Settlement Usually Closes a Case

Insurance companies would not settle a case unless it provided some benefit to them. Even though a settlement requires them to pay money to the victim, settlements have clauses that release insurance companies from all past current and future liability. That means the victim waives his or her right to file any more claims or lawsuits regarding the accident.

The settlement agreement typically has a clause saying you accept compensation as resolution of all your claims. Once the settlement agreement is signed by the parties involved, the settlement becomes a legally binding contract.

What if You Later Discover You Need More Money?

There are times when victims realize they need more money for the damages caused by their injuries. Maybe they have run out of compensation but still need to attend doctor’s appointments or need more income to make up for a loss of earning capacity.

Unfortunately, there is usually no way to pursue more compensation for your damages. The settlement offer you signed is legally binding. It does not matter how severe your injuries are or how desperate your financial situation may be.

That is why it is so important to make sure the settlement offer provides all the compensation you will need before you sign it. It is crucial to work with an experienced Bloomington personal injury lawyer who has done this before and has a record of success. You want to be sure the settlement you are signing covers the full cost of all your past and future damages.

When Could You File Another Claim After Settling a Case?

If there were multiple at-fault parties, you may be able to file claims against any parties you have not already settled with. The release from liability in a settlement agreement only applies to that insurance company, not others.  A Pierrenger Release with the majority at fault insurance carrier would allow the victim to pursue other tortfeasors in the same crash.

For example, if you were injured because of another’s negligence and the negligence of a product manufacturer, you may be able to settle the claim against the individual’s insurance company and continue to pursue the product manufacturer.

What if There Are No Other Parties to File Claims Against?

You might be able to reopen a claim if you can prove you were coerced into signing a settlement, your mental capacity was limited or that the insurance company committed fraud. While insurance companies often make misleading statements or try to delay the legal process, proving an insurance company committed fraud is almost impossible.

This is something you should discuss with an experienced attorney. Our experienced attorneys have extensive knowledge of Minnesota’s Good Faith Law and what it requires insurance companies to do while handling a claim.

Steps to Take Before Settling a Case

Signing a settlement offer before discussing it with a licensed attorney is a bad idea. How can you be sure the settlement provides the compensation you need for medical bills and other damages? How do you know the different releases available to keep other claims viable or to preserve the next level of coverage such as underinsured claims with a Schmidt notice?

Talking to an attorney should give you peace of mind that someone committed to your best interests is evaluating your claim. You want to make sure a settlement will provide the compensation you need for medical treatment and other damages, so you do not need to pay for things out of your own pocket.

Contact TSR Injury Law to Discuss Your Claim

You do not need to go through the legal process alone. A licensed attorney from TSR Injury Law may be able to help you, and hiring an attorney often results in recovering more compensation than if you go through the legal process alone.

There are no upfront fees or legal obligations with our services. That means there is no financial risk in contacting our firm to learn more about how we may be able to assist you. We are dedicated to securing maximum compensation to help you and your family during this difficult time.

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