Nate Bjerke Receives President’s Award for Outstanding Service from Minnesota Chapter of ABOTA

nate bjerke with awardWe are proud to announce firm partner Nate Bjerke (pictured on the far right) received the President’s Award for Outstanding Service from the Minnesota Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) earlier this month.

The award is recognition for judges and lawyers who show a commitment to preserving the right to a jury trial in civil cases, a right granted in the U.S. Constitution.

Bjerke and two others won the award for forming a committee for civics education for school-aged children to educate them on how the government and judicial system work.

We are also proud to announce Bjerke was voted as an officer of the Minnesota Chapter of ABOTA. He is going to serve as Secretary in 2023 and currently serves on the Executive Committee. Bjerke should advance to President of the Minnesota Chapter of ABOTA by 2026.

ABOTA has strict guidelines for admission, including trying a minimum of 10 cases as lead counsel and receiving recommendations from judges and lawyers an attorney has faced at trial.

The general purpose of ABOTA is to promote improvement in the ethical and technical standards of practice so individual litigants receive effective legal representation.

How Refusing Medical Treatment Might Affect Your Injury Claim

chiropractic adjustment of patient's backThere are many decisions injury victims make that they do not realize could hurt their claims for compensation. One such decision is refusing medical care, either at the scene or later during the treatment process.

Refusing treatment hurts you on many levels. It will hurt your chances of actually recovering from the crash because usually simply waiting does not fix injuries. Ignoring treatment parameters also will hinder you from recovering full compensation for your damages. The insurance company will claim if you do not need to treat then your injuries are not that bad. They could also say you are not taking appropriate steps to mitigate your damages.

Below, we detail the problems with refusing medical treatment when seeking compensation after a car crash. It is important to note there are legitimate reasons to refuse medical treatment, and you may still be able to seek compensation if you did not get treatment at the scene.

TSR Injury Law is ready to assist you with the legal process. Call (612) TSR-TIME.

Why Crash Victims May Refuse Treatment at the Scene

Sometimes crash victims refuse medical treatment at the scene. They may think they have not suffered significant injuries. They may also think whatever harm they suffered will heal on its own without treatment or they are worried about how to pay for an ambulance or emergency room visit.

Crash victims may think there is no way they could have suffered serious injuries in the crash. They may think the crash was not that big of a deal because they were able to get out of the car and their vehicle did not sustain catastrophic damage.

However, it is important to understand a crash can release adrenaline, and this could mask your symptoms or at least make it feel like they are not that bad. Your symptoms may worsen in the hours and days after the crash.

Waiting to seek treatment is dangerous for your health because your injuries could get much worse. It may also contribute to you having long-term medical problems or at least a much longer recovery period.

Although you are seeking compensation, your top priority should be your health, particularly your ongoing health.

The Problem With Refusing Treatment at the Scene

If you refuse treatment at the scene, the insurance company is surely going to try and use it against you. They will claim you did not get hurt in the crash – if you did get hurt, why would you refuse treatment?

It is important to understand that you can still file a claim if you refused treatment at the scene. The insurance company will argue about causation of later treatment to the crash. The sooner you seek care after the crash the less likely this argument will work. If you are in pain you can still go to Urgent Care, the Emergency Room or your family doctor. The main goal is to get better and not allow the injuries to get worse, but the secondary effect is to also better document the injury to the crash.

Refusing Specific Types of Medical Care Later in the Process

While getting medical care after a crash is important, so is following through with your medical care. If you miss appointments or refuse treatment it could hurt the value of your claim.

The insurance company will argue you have fully recovered, otherwise why would you be stopping treatment or refusing something recommended by your doctor. The insurance company could even claim you are just trying to make your injuries worse to drive up the cost of your claim.

You have the right to make your own decisions about medical care. For example, some believe in chiropractic care even if insurance companies do not. Some believe in pain management care of medication or injections, where insurance companies believe a massage and stretching are enough.

You may also question if a doctor is recommending the appropriate treatment. You could get a second opinion and undergo alternative treatment. If the alternative treatment is something recognized by the medical community as appropriate for your injury, it will be harder for the insurance company to exclude the cost of this treatment from your claim.

If you and your family have doubts about a doctor’s recommendations, it is important to discuss the situation with them. You should not make decisions about getting surgery to try to inflate the value of your claim or because you think refusing treatment could hurt your claim.

As far as your claim is concerned, your Bloomington-based auto accident attorney can discuss how aspects of your treatment might impact the value of your claim. Unlike the insurance company, we are working to protect the full value of a claim for compensation.

Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Claim

If you refused treatment at the scene, you should still get to the hospital right away. Talk to an experienced attorney about the fact you refused treatment at the scene.

If you miss an appointment, you can reschedule it to help prevent a missed appointment from hurting your claim.

If do not want to get a certain type of treatment, discuss it with your attorney to learn how your claim may be affected. Decisions about medical treatment are up to you and your family, but it is also important to know how your claim may be impacted.

Set Up a Free Consultation at TSR Injury Law

If you suffered an injury in a car crash, you could greatly benefit from the assistance of a licensed attorney. Insurance companies routinely make lowball settlement offers and find reasons to deny or underpay claims.

Our firm is ready to help you pursue the compensation you need with no upfront costs. We have been helping motor vehicle crash victims for decades and we have obtained hundreds of millions on behalf of our clients.

TSR Injury Law. Licensed. Local. Lawyers. Call (612) TSR-TIME.

TSR Partner Charles D. Slane Elected Partner of the Minnesota Association for Justice

chuck slane bio picTSR Injury Law partner Charles D. Slane was elected president of the Minnesota Association for Justice (MNAJ) on August 19th at the MNAJ’s annual convention in Brainerd, Minnesota.

In the MNAJ’s announcement, TSR cofounder Steve Terry explained what makes Chuck a great lawyer, describing Chuck’s ability to listen and understand his clients.

“The only way that a lawyer can do a good job of representing a client in the courtroom is to listen to the client and understand what they have gone through. It is that experience that allows the story to be properly told, and that is what Chuck Slane is all about,” Steve Terry said.

The power of “storytelling to transform” is going to be the theme of Slane’s term as president. Members of the MNAJ and their clients are looking forward to Mr. Slane’s leadership as the association continues to evolve.

Mr. Slane is becoming president of the MNAJ after the COVID-19 pandemic transformed the practice of law.

“The global pandemic has transformed every aspect of our lives,” Slane said. “But there is one thing the pandemic did not change: the need for ordinary citizens harmed through the wrongful acts of others to assert their legal rights.”

Congratulations Chuck!

How Much Time is There to Accept or Reject a Settlement Offer?

hourglass by calendar on tableWhen a car insurance company makes a settlement offer, they may set a deadline for accepting it before it gets taken off the table. If they do not set a deadline, they may just expect a response in a reasonable amount of time.

However, you do not need to feel rushed into deciding whether to accept or reject a settlement offer. Despite what the insurance company says, the first offer is often not the only offer they make. In fact, the first offer is often far below the full value of your claim and any claimed deadlines to accept are arbitrary and not accurate.

It is also important to emphasize you should strongly consider meeting with a qualified lawyer to review any settlement offers you receive. An attorney from our firm is prepared to help you determine if a settlement offer provides the compensation you need to move forward with your life.

It often takes time to get the insurance company to make an offer that provides fair compensation. A Bloomington vehicle crash attorney can counter, and it often takes multiple counteroffers to reach a fair settlement agreement

Why Insurance Companies Pressure Victims to Settle

The insurance company’s primary concern is their bottom line. They are trying to make a profit and that is done by paying out as little as possible to injured victims.

While insurance companies sometimes delay the process of negotiations in hopes of getting an injury victim to accept a low offer, they can also try to speed it up. They know victims need compensation to pay their medical bills, replace lost wages or just get back on their feet. That is why they may set a deadline for accepting a settlement offer and lead victims to believe that is the only offer the insurance company is going to make. They are counting on victims feeling desperate and deciding to accept what the insurance company is offering because it is “at least something.“ There is also the fear that if the offer is not accepted immediately, it may go away and no new offer will ever be presented.

Insurers may try to dissuade you from working with an attorney, claiming an attorney will just make things complicated and they will take a huge chunk of your settlement to cover their costs. Victims may feel pressured to decide and think they just do not have time to talk to an attorney. This is a false narrative. People with attorneys average three times the settlement. Even after paying attorney fees, the case is still worth more to the client. In addition, consultations are free, so why not be educated on your options before accepting a settlement.  TSR Injury Law can also review the facts of the case and determine if there is missing information the insurance company needs to make a fair offer.

Another factor to consider is insurance companies may be pushing you to settle because you have a strong case. They are trying to save themselves money and they do not want you to challenge them by hiring an attorney. They may think they will have to offer more compensation if you get an attorney because of the strength of your case.

Dangers of Accepting a Settlement Offer Too Quickly

One of the biggest problems with accepting a settlement offer too quickly is you may leave compensation on the table. You may not be able to recover full compensation for medical bills, particularly ongoing medical expenses.

There is basically no way to know the full cost of your damages early in the process. Doctors need to wait until you reach maximum medical improvement to determine how long your injuries may affect you. They need time to assess if you will have a permanent or long-term disability.

It may also take time to determine how your injuries affect your ability to work. Maybe you will be able to return to the same type of job at some point in the future. But you may need to work fewer hours or work a different kind of job. Doctors may not know what your physical abilities may be until you reach maximum medical improvement.

Advantages of Discussing Settlement Offers With an Attorney

The licensed attorneys at TSR Injury Law manage crash claims every day. We have a proven track record of success representing Minnesota crash victims.

We have the resources and legal knowledge to manage every aspect of a claim as we pursue full compensation for damages. We consider the various factors that affect the value of a case and the unique details of each client’s case, including:

  • Other damages you suffered
  • Insurance policy limits
  • Whether the crash aggravated an existing injury

Visit our testimonials page to learn what our clients have to say about their experience working with our firm and the benefits of working with a qualified attorney.

Contact TSR to Discuss Filing a Claim

Crash victims often do not realize how challenging it can be to seek compensation on their own. They may not understand how insurance companies operate and how they are working against the interests of victims.

The good news is you can work with an attorney, and there are no upfront costs. TSR has been securing millions for crash victims for decades.

Contact us today to set up your free legal consultation: (612) TSR-TIME.

Can You File a Claim for a Slip and Fall Caused by Sidewalk Cracks?

walking over damaged sidewalkIce and snow are not the only slip and fall risks in Minnesota. Cracked or uneven sidewalks are a trip and fall risk throughout the year.

Despite what some may think, trip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries.  Arm fractures, ankle and leg injuries and head trauma can occur when a person falls and strikes the concrete

Unfortunately, establishing liability for a trip and fall on a cracked or uneven sidewalk is a challenge. Could a property owner be held liable? Could the city or municipality face liability?

These types of claims can be complicated, which is why victims should discuss potential options with an experienced, knowledgeable attorney. TSR Injury Law has been representing the injured in Minnesota for decades, and we have successfully recovered millions on behalf of our clients.

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

How Do Cracks Form in Sidewalks?

Some contractors say there are two types of concrete slabs, ones that already have cracks and ones that will have cracks in the future.

No matter how careful workers may be when installing concrete, it is probably going to have cracks at some point because of the weather. Heat causes concrete to expand while the cold causes it to contract. This constant expansion and contracting results in tiny cracks. If rain or other moisture seeps into these cracks, it could freeze, making smaller cracks larger

Moisture can get in between concrete slabs. In the winter, they freeze and causes upheavals of some slabs creating uneven slabs next to each other. This is a major tripping hazed.

Another major reason sidewalks develop cracks or uneven areas is tree roots. Over time, roots grow away from the trunk of the tree and under the sidewalk. Eventually, concrete cracks develop around the root.

If the soil under the concrete slab is not properly impacted there can be pockets of air. Over time these pockets of air collapse and the sidewalk sinks down because of it.

How Do You Know if You Have a Case?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It all depends on the circumstances of the accident, including how it happened and the severity of the damaged sidewalk. That is why it is vital to find an experienced Bloomington-based slip and fall attorney to discuss your situation in detail. An attorney from our firm is available to discuss possible legal options and explain how we may be able to assist you.

Property owners have a duty to maintain their property, including sidewalks, but they must have actual or constructive notice of the sidewalk hazard. Private property and business owners have clear rules of maintenance and liability for injuries on their sidewalks. Government entities often have immunity from lawsuits, even if they knew or should have known there was a hazard.

One of the central issues that needs to be considered is whether the city or property owner knew or should have known the sidewalk was unsafe and failed to take reasonable action to fix the problem within a reasonable amount of time.

If you tripped over a section of sidewalk with a tree root that caused cracks in the concrete, it would be easy to argue that the property owner should have been aware. It takes time for a tree root to damage a sidewalk so it would be reasonable to expect others to notice. They would also have plenty of time to remedy the issue to make it safer for pedestrians.

Even if you can show the property owner knew about the danger, they may argue that you could have avoided that section of the sidewalk. They may also say it was clear to a reasonable person how dangerous that section of sidewalk was. Generally, property owners have no duty to protect an invitee from harm if the risk is open and obvious to the invitee. An invitee is someone who enters a property after being invited, such as a customer in a retail store or restaurant.

That said, if the property owner can anticipate injury to passersby, he or she may still need to take action to remedy the danger. Sometimes action could refer to putting up a sign that warns people about the risk. There is always a battle between what a property owner knew and could have done to fix a hazard versus what a pedestrian could have done to avoid the danger and see the danger if they were paying attention.

Injured in a Slip and Fall? Contact Us to Discuss a Claim

Your slip and fall injuries could affect you for a long time, potentially for the rest of your life. Another party may be at fault for what happened, which means they would be responsible for your damages.

Call TSR Injury Law today to schedule a free consultation. An experienced attorney can review your situation and determine if you may have legal options. If you have a case, there are no upfront fees to hire our firm and no fees while we pursue compensation.

Have questions? We are ready for your call: (612) TSR-TIME.

Can Another Driver Blame Wet Road Conditions for a Crash?

cars driving down wet roadSummer not only brings warmer weather, but also rain. June, July and August average 10 or more rainfall days per year. That means there may be a greater risk of rain-related car crashes that could result in serious injuries or deaths.

Rain can certainly make it easier to lose control of a car, which is why some drivers may blame a crash on wet road conditions. While it may sound logical to argue that rain caused a crash, drivers are still expected to maintain control of their vehicles, regardless of the weather.

Below, our Bloomington-based car crash lawyers discuss fault for a crash that occurs in wet road conditions and the responsibility of drivers in inclement weather conditions to prevent a crash. If you have questions after getting injured in a car crash, give our firm a call today to discuss your claim.

There is nothing to lose by contacting our firm and meeting with us to learn how we may be able to assist you. The initial consultation is free. There are also no upfront fees if you hire our firm to represent you.

Call today to learn more: (612) TSR-TIME.

Why Does Rain Make a Crash More Likely to Occur?

Even a light rain could make the roads more dangerous. Everyone knows water can make the roads slicker, but rain on roads is a different level of hazard because oils from tires and cars cause an extra layer of slickness making it harder for tires to maintain traction. This could lead to hydroplaning, which occurs when the tires cannot push water away faster than it accumulates in front of them. This results in a car sliding over the road without the driver being able to control it. Hydroplaning may be even more likely when vehicles are traveling at high speed and the brakes are applied.

There is a common misconception that there needs to be a lot of water on the road for you to hydroplane. However, it does not take much water to hydroplane especially with roads oils blended in.

Wet roads can make it harder for vehicles to stop as quickly. When drivers hit the brakes, their cars slide further than normal before coming to a complete stop. The front of the car could end up in the intersection instead of behind the white line. Drivers could end up crashing into the rear of another vehicle because their car did not stop as quickly as it normally would on a dry road.

The first 10 minutes of rain on a road is the worst because of the oil.

Old Tires Do Not Perform as Well on Wet Roads

Another factor that contributes to crashes in rainy conditions is old tires. Many drivers do not take the time to properly maintain their tires. Old tires lack tread and uninflated tires lack traction.  Both of these preventable problems make it harder for drivers to control the vehicle.

Liability for a Crash in Wet Road Conditions

Drivers are liable for most car crashes because of some form of negligence, such as speeding, failing to keep a proper look out or impaired driving. When the roads are wet and a crash occurs, drivers could also be found negligent for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Traveling at an unsafe speed, given the road conditions and weather
  • Failing to leave enough space between your vehicle and the one in front of you
  • Failing to properly maintain tires
  • Malfunctioning brakes or brakes that are not performing as well as they should
  • Turning at an accelerated speed, even though it was unsafe
  • Failing to use windshield wipers
  • Failing to replace worn windshield wipers
  • Driving while drowsy or fatigued
  • Failing to stay within a lane
  • Failing to check blind spots
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving with malfunctioning or broken headlights or taillights

Drivers are expected to follow all traffic laws and take reasonable steps to try to prevent a crash. It is reasonable to expect drivers to take extra precautions based on weather and road conditions. That means leaving more room between your car and the one in front of you, so you have enough time to stop.

Drivers cannot blame the weather because every other driver is dealing with the weather. If one driver was following another driver too closely and he or she suddenly hit the brakes, which often happens in rainy weather, the rear driver would be at fault for a rear-end crash. The rear driver should have left more room in front of your car.

Another argument that could be used to assign fault for a crash in wet weather is that the at-fault driver did not need to be driving. For example, some drivers may have physical disabilities or poor eyesight or a documented history of trouble driving in bad weather. The at-fault driver may say the roads were too dangerous because they were wet. However, the victim could argue the at-fault driver could have chosen to stay off the road.

While drivers cannot control the weather, they can control how they react to it.

Contact TSR Injury Law to Discuss Your Car Crash Claim

No matter how simple you may think your case is, the insurance company may not offer full compensation for your damages. In fact, they will be looking for things to use against you and may even try to trick you into saying something that hurts your credibility.

You need an experienced advocate fighting for your rights. There are no upfront fees for our services and no fees while working on your case. We have a proven record of securing hundreds of millions on behalf of our clients. We are also prepared to take cases to court to pursue the justice and compensation our clients are seeking.

TSR Injury Law is here to assist you. Call (612) TSR-TIME.

Steven Terry Presented Awards to Many Officers for Working to Keep Impaired Drivers Off Roads

police offers posing for pictureOur firm is a proud sponsor of Minnesota Mothers Against Drunk Driving (Minnesota MADD), which works to support victims and advocate for stronger laws to prevent drunk or impaired driving.

On May 26, 2022, partner Steven Terry was honored to award many law enforcement officers for their dedicated service in trying to keep drunk and impaired drivers off our state’s roads.

Thank you for your service as you work to keep us safe!

Liability for a Brake-Check Collision in Minnesota

rear view of traffic on highwayTailgating other cars is a widespread problem on our nation’s roads. It often occurs because drivers are speeding, and they are angry that another car is in front of them forcing them to slow down. Tailgaters may even feel like they have a right to follow another car so closely because the other car should get out of the way.

However, tailgaters often do not consider that the driver in the car in front of them may get angry about being followed so closely. In fact, sometimes drivers who are being tailgated get so angry they slam on the brakes, a practice called brake checking. Their goal is not to cause a crash, but simply to get the vehicle behind them to back away.  Unfortunately, the following behind vehicle may not brake in time and a crash occurs.

While tailgating is a form of reckless driving, so is brake checking. This raises questions about fault for the crash and liability for damages. Is fault shared between both drivers? Can one driver bear most of the fault?

Below, we discuss brake-checking collisions and how liability may be assessed. If you were injured in a brake-checking crash, call TSR Injury Law today to discuss legal options. An initial consultation with a Bloomington car accident lawyer is free, and we do not charge upfront fees.

Defining Brake Checking

Brake checking is a type of aggressive driving that occurs when a driver suddenly hits the brakes to shock the driver following closely behind them. Brake checking is often a way for drivers to express road rage. They want to punish the driver behind them by scaring them and getting them to slow down and back off.

The lead driver usually does not want to cause a crash, but crashes often result from brake checking. The other driver is following so closely that it is difficult if not impossible to avoid a crash if the lead driver suddenly slams on the brakes.

There are times when one driver may brake check another to attempt to commit insurance fraud. The lead driver may cause a crash and file a claim against the other driver’s liability insurance. To avoid liability, the trailing driver would need to prove the lead driver did not have a valid reason for slamming on the brakes.

How Brake Checking Could Cause a Crash

Following another car too closely is dangerous because you leave yourself less time to react if the lead driver suddenly hits the brakes. Even if the lead driver is not brake checking you, there is a high likelihood of a crash because you are so close to the other vehicle.

The faster your car and the other car are traveling, the greater the likelihood of a crash because it takes longer to slow down and come to a complete stop.

Drivers may think they will be okay because they can keep their eyes on the car in front of them and be prepared to react if the lead driver slows down. However, this is a risky assumption, no matter how well you think you can drive.

While brake checking most often results in rear-end crashes, it is possible for brake checking to cause the rear driver to swerve out of the way and crash into another vehicle or even a fixed object (road sign, guardrail, tree, utility pole, etc.).

Who is at Fault for a Brake-Checking Collision?

Most of the time, one driver bears most of the fault for a crash. However, there are times when fault is shared between two or more drivers.

One of the challenges of assigning fault for a brake-checking crash is that both drivers were negligent. Tailgating is against the law, but so is hitting the brakes for no reason with the goal of scaring or intimidating the trailing driver.

Fault is going to be assigned based on the details of the crash. For example, your attorney is going to try to determine if the lead driver had a legitimate reason to hit the brakes. If there was no legitimate reason to hit the brakes, the lead driver may bear a significant percentage of fault.

The other issue that needs to be assessed is how close both vehicles were before the lead driver slammed on the brakes. If the rear driver was extremely close, he or she is probably going to be assigned a significant percentage of fault as well.

Under state law, you cannot follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent. You are supposed to take note of the traffic around you, speed of other vehicles and road conditions when determining how closely to follow other vehicles. In other words, there may be times when you should stay farther behind other vehicles because there is heavy traffic or bad weather.

The law does not specify a safe following distance, but the general rule is three seconds. You should probably add another second or two in heavy traffic or bad weather.

Three seconds means you should be able to count to three between the time the lead vehicle passes an object and the time your car passes it.

Minnesota’s Comparative Negligence Law

Under state law, the victim can share fault for a crash and still recover compensation for damages. Your compensation award can be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you bear more fault than the other driver, you cannot recover any compensation for your damages.

Could the Brake-Checking Driver’s Insurance Company Deny Coverage?

Insurance companies often try to deny coverage by arguing the crash resulted from an intentional act. For example, the insurance company for the driver who engaged in brake checking may try to deny liability coverage. However, it may be difficult to prove the brake-checking driver intended to cause a crash.

The insurance company’s argument may not hold up in court. That is why it is important to be represented by an experienced attorney who can challenge the insurance company’s attempts to deny coverage.

At TSR, we are also prepared to take the case to court to pursue full compensation. We have a proven track record of securing compensation for crash victims, through settlements and courtroom verdicts.

Give TSR Injury Law a Call Today

Are you unsure if you need an attorney to help you recover full compensation after a crash?

You do not need to try to answer this question on your own. Give us a call to schedule your free legal consultation. This free meeting is a chance to learn about the benefits of hiring an attorney, and there is no obligation to hire our firm.

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