What if a Car Crash Witness Refuses to Cooperate or Testify at Trial?

subpoena formStatements from a credible witness are the best way to prove the facts of how a crash happened. While many witnesses choose to help, some may be reluctant or may even refuse. Even if a witness gives a statement right after the crash, they may refuse later on if the case goes to trial.

What if you need witness testimony to validate your case? Can witnesses be compelled to testify? Can witnesses be compelled to provide a statement for an insurance claim?

TSR Injury Law’s experienced attorneys discuss these issues below. We have taken on many car crash cases, working with many witnesses and also going to trial. We are ready to help you with every aspect of your case, with the goal of recovering maximum compensation.

We do not charge upfront fees. Call today: (612) TSR-TIME.

Why Witnesses May Not Want to Get Involved

A witness does not have much to gain from helping. Although they may gain some personal satisfaction for doing the right thing and helping a victim by telling the truth, sometimes the fear of becoming involved outweighs the “trying to help” scale. The scale may be tipped more to helping if the at fault party broke the law (drinking, texting or running a light) and the witness is more motivated to help.

Witnesses have a lot of things going on and they think they may not have the time. Witnesses may fear retaliation from the bad actor, or they may think their insurance rates are going up if they have the same insurance company. A witness may have a criminal record, and he or she may be concerned it will be used against them by the insurance company.

If your lawyer is filing a liability insurance claim, the witness may know the at-fault driver. The witness may not want to help someone obtain compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The at-fault driver’s insurance premiums may increase if the claim is successful.

Witnesses may not want to deal with the stress of the legal process. They may need to talk to insurance adjusters and attorneys many times. Witnesses may fear the case going to trial, so they decide not to get involved in the first place. The thought of going to court makes many people anxious, including witnesses, who may have to testify and deal with cross examination.

Getting Witnesses to Help With an Insurance Claim

Some witnesses just need to talk to a lawyer and get their questions answered. After that, some witnesses may be more likely to decide to help you with your claim. For example, your lawyer can explain that by giving a clear statement up front, there is less litigation later. Clear statements promote settlement. This means a trial is unnecessary. An attorney telling this to a witness may be enough to convince him her to take part in your claim.

Your Bloomington vehicle accident lawyer may also need to explain how much of a commitment a witness will need to make. It may be a few phone conversations and a meeting with your attorney. Sometimes all it takes to convince a witness to help is a conversation with an experienced lawyer.

Can Witnesses be Compelled to Testify?

Sometimes attorneys file subpoenas to compel witnesses to testify in court or take part in a deposition. It is important to note a subpoena can only be filed after a lawsuit has been filed.

You should hire an experienced attorney to represent you because he or she will know when a subpoena may be necessary. You want to be able to trust that your case is being managed appropriately.

Filing a subpoena may be necessary if the witness’ testimony is vital to the case. In other words, your attorney may be more likely to file a subpoena If the case will be harder to prove without the witness’ testimony.

Can a Witness Refuse to Comply With a Subpoena?

For the most part, people are required to comply with subpoenas, with rare exceptions. For example, people must have a reasonable amount of time to respond to a subpoena. If a witness does not have enough time to respond, he or she may not be required to comply.

Witnesses may be able to ignore a subpoena if they can prove complying with it creates an undue burden. There is a lot of room for interpretation about an undue burden, which is why each case needs to be assessed on its own.

If a witness can avoid being served the subpoena, he or she cannot be forced to comply with it.

Contact TSR Injury Law to Discuss Your Claim

Think you do not need a lawyer to help you?

Have you considered that the insurance company will be looking for any reason to deny or devalue your claim? Insurance companies are profit-driven. Therefore, they are interested in denying more claims than they pay out.

TSR Injury Law’s attorneys represent injured victims at no upfront cost. We have been advocating for injured victims in Minnesota since 1998, recovering $1 billion in compensation.

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

Whose Insurance Pays for Damages From a Peer-to-Peer Carsharing Crash?

carsharing graphic with tableYou may have heard about peer-to-peer carsharing. You may have even made use of a peer-to-peer carsharing service. If you need to use a car for a short period, peer-to-peer carsharing can be a low-cost, convenient way to do it.

However, questions often arise when a crash occurs. Whose insurance is liable for the damages? Can you still seek compensation from your personal injury protection insurance if you were injured in a car you were borrowing? Can the victim seek compensation from the liability insurance of the person driving the shared car?

Below, we discuss liability issues that may arise after a crash involving a peer-to-peer carsharing vehicle. If you were a victim of this type of crash and have questions about seeking compensation for your damages, give us a call today. There are no upfront fees for our services.

How Does Peer-to-Peer Carsharing Work?

Carsharing is not the same as ridesharing. Services like Uber and Lyft are different from carsharing companies like Turo, Zipcar and Getaround.

Carsharing means you pay to rent a car from an individual who signs up for a carsharing program. Ridesharing is different because you are only paying to get a ride in someone else’s car, you are not paying to drive someone else’s car.

People may sign up for carsharing and allow their car to be used as a quick way to make extra money. People who make use of these services may do so because they want to avoid the expenses that come with owning or leasing a car.

How Does Insurance Coverage Work After a P2P Carsharing Crash?

If you get into a crash involving a peer-to-peer carsharing vehicle, you can seek compensation from your personal injury protection insurance. The process will be the same as it would be for a crash involving a vehicle that was not part of a peer-to-peer carsharing service. Your personal auto insurance follows you and will cover your medical bills and wage loss, under the no-fault system, for the $20,000.00 mandatory minimum under Minnesota law.

However, what if you also need to file an at-fault liability insurance claim? Can you file a claim against the insurance of the driver of the carsharing vehicle? Would you need to file a claim with the insurance of the owner of the vehicle? What about filing a claim against the P2P carsharing company?

These are questions that should be reviewed with an experienced Bloomington-area car accident attorney.

Here is a brief explanation of the coverage offered by some of the popular carsharing companies. If you were injured in a crash with the carsharing vehicle at fault, you may be able to seek compensation from this coverage:


Turo hosts (the people renting the cars out) can choose from one of five insurance plans, but all five come with $750,000 in third-party liability insurance. However, each plan pays 100 percent of eligible damage costs, after the deductible is paid.


Zipcar provides the minimum amount of liability insurance the state requires. However, this coverage does not kick in until all other coverage has been exhausted.


This company provides liability coverage up to the minimum requirements in the state where the car is being shared. However, this coverage is secondary to any other available insurance coverage. Vehicle hosts have $1,000,000 in liability coverage.

What if You Get Into a Crash While Driving a Carsharing Vehicle?

Your personal injury protection insurance should apply to your economic (medical bills and wage loss) damages. You may also be able to seek compensation from the liability insurance of the driver who is at fault for the crash. If the other at-fault vehicle does not have insurance, or not enough, then your personal auto coverage or the P2P coverage may apply.  Both policies need to be reviewed to determine coverage priorities.

Obtaining full compensation on your own can be a challenge. An experienced attorney can investigate what happened and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

Protecting Yourself if You Use a Carsharing Service

Before allowing your car to be rented or before renting another person’s car, you need to review your insurance coverage verifying you are covered if a crash happens. You can contact your insurance company and the carsharing company to determine the coverage that would apply. This way you can avoid surprises if you are involved in a crash.

You never know when a crash may happen, and you never know if you could get seriously injured and need significant medical treatment.

Contact TSR Injury Law Today to Discuss Your Claim

Your medical expenses and other damages could be more expensive than you realize. If you do not find an experienced attorney to represent you, it is probably going to be harder to obtain all the compensation you need. This could be financially devastating and leave you unable to get the medical treatment your doctors recommend.

There are no upfront fees for clients of TSR Injury Law. We take car crash cases on contingency, so there are no fees to pay up front.

Schedule your free initial consultation. Call (612) TSR-TIME.

Minnesota Lawyer Interviews New Minnesota Association for Justice President Charles Slane

chuck slane bio picMinnesota Lawyer recently profiled TSR Injury Law Partner Charles Slane, who was elected president of the Minnesota Association for Justice (MNAJ) in August. We are so proud of Chuck for this tremendous accomplishment.

In the interview, Slane discusses the MNAJ, what he enjoys about representing injury victims, how he got into the legal profession, misconceptions people have about being an attorney, and more.

Slane said the MNAJ has done a lot for him and that is why he has pursued leadership roles within the association. The association lobbies to the state Legislature for laws that treat consumers fairly.

In the article, Slane talks about why he went to law school. How he did a lot of reading about the civil rights movement, and how it inspired him to help others. He enjoys how every case provides an opportunity to learn something new.

One of the common misconceptions people have about being an injury lawyer is that it is a glamorous job. However, Slane says it involves a lot of late nights reviewing evidence.

Why You Should Not Discuss the Details of Your Case With Your Doctor

man putting finger over mouthThe most important thing to do after getting injured in a car crash is to seek medical treatment. You need a qualified medical professional to diagnose all your injuries, provide stabilizing treatment, provide pain relief and determine what ongoing treatment is needed.

When you meet with the doctor, you should discuss all your symptoms in detail. Do your best not to leave anything out. You do not want to let an injury go untreated and potentially get worse. Waiting to get treatment could cause your recovery to take longer.

However, while it is important to discuss your injuries in detail, you should not discuss specific details of your car crash claim with the doctor. Below, we discuss the reasons why and how statements about your claim could come back to haunt you later.

Your Doctor Needs to be Focused on Your Injuries and Treatment

A doctor’s job is to treat people who have an injury or illness. It is important to explain what caused the injury (you fell down or were in a crash) but how it happened can create medical documentation problems.

Doctors may recommend, follow-up appointments with specialists, testing, surgery and more.

That is why the doctor needs to know everything about your injuries. You should give a detailed explanation of how you are feeling and what your symptoms are. Where are you feeling pain? Do you have limited mobility? Do you have a headache or blurred vision? These are types of questions you may need to answer when meeting with a doctor following a car crash.

Your doctor does not need to know about your insurance claim. In fact, most doctors do not want to become involved in your claim any more than they need to be. If you start giving your doctor a lot of details about your claim, it may affect his or her willingness to treat you or even to reach conclusions about the cause of your injuries.

Your lawyer might need your doctor to record a deposition or testify at trial. However, your attorney can determine if this is necessary, which means you do not need to discuss it with your doctor. If you tell the doctor, you may need him or her to testify, he or she may not want to continue providing treatment.

Doctors have a lot of patients to meet with and provide treatment, whether they are at their own office or in a hospital. They need to be efficient in their discussions with patients. It does not make sense to get bogged down in a conversation about your claim. You want the doctor to be focused on you and your injuries. Doctors may not want to continue treating a patient who keeps talking about his or her case.

Dangers of Discussing Your Case

Whatever you tell your doctors is likely to be noted in your medical records, including statements you make about the case. Doctors often try to document as much as possible when meeting with patients to provide treatment.

Talking to your lawyer about your case is confidential, but statements you make to others should never be considered confidential. In fact, your medical records are evidence that the insurance company will review.  You may have said something that could be used against you, such as a statement that sounds like an admission of fault.

Statements made to the doctor could contradict statements you make later to the insurance company, or statements made in a deposition or at trial. Insurance companies are always looking for some way to attack the victim’s credibility.

Making statements about the value of your case also have no place within a medical appointment. The insurance company will use these statements to claim you are only after money and are not injured. The insurance company’s first offer of compensation may be far below the amount they find in your medical records.

You should also avoid telling your doctor about things you talked to your attorney about. Conversations with your attorney are confidential, unless you reveal what was said and it gets documented somewhere else, like your medical records. For example, if your attorney says it may be tough to validate your case, the insurance company may think it has a good chance of success if the case makes it to court. The insurance company may be less likely to try to settle the case in good faith.

Give Us a Call Today to Discuss Your Claim

For decades, the licensed Bloomington auto accident lawyers at TSR Injury Law have been taking on insurance companies to secure the compensation our clients need. Our services come at no upfront costs, so there is no financial risk in being represented by our firm.

We are ready to discuss how we may be able to help you. Contact us today to schedule your free legal consultation.

TSR Injury Law. Experienced Lawyers. Ready to help: (612) TSR-TIME.

Can You Reopen a Car Crash Case That Has Been Settled?

pen writing on paperWhile there may be exceptions, the general rule is that once you settle a case, it cannot be reopened. This is because the settlement includes a section that releases the insurance company from further liability for the victim’s damages. There would be no reason for the insurance company to agree to a settlement without this language in the settlement.

Below, we discuss some of the exceptions when an attorney might be able to “reopen” a case that was settled. We also explain why it is so important to make sure a settlement provides all the compensation you need before you sign it.

If you want to make sure a settlement provides the compensation you need, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney to help you before you sign a settlement document. Injured victims who hire attorneys often recover more compensation than those who go it alone.

The experienced Minneapolis auto accident attorneys at TSR Injury Law have helped many car crash victims secure compensation for all their damages. There are no upfront costs for our services.

Why Are Cases Typically Closed After the Settlement is Signed?

Insurance companies do not want to deal with multiple claims from one injury victim over the same injury. That is why insurance company settlements include a release of liability. While the language of each insurance company’s release may vary, it will say you are signing away your right to file a lawsuit in exchange for compensation from the insurer.

The insurance company needs a reason to pay compensation. They may say they are paying compensation because you need it, and they want to help you recover from the accident, but the reality is they want certainty and to expand their profit margins.

The insurance company wants to pay out as little as possible to resolve your case. That is why they may offer a settlement early in the process, before the full extent of your injuries is known. If you accept a settlement early in the process, you may be leaving compensation on the table. The insurance company knows full well that once you sign the settlement, you cannot seek more compensation from them.

While cases are typically only closed when the settlement agreement is signed, verbally agreeing to a settlement can be a bad idea if you are not sure the settlement provides all the compensation you need. The insurance company may try to hold you to your verbal agreement. That is why you should have an attorney managing your case and communicating with the insurance company on your behalf.

When May a Car Crash Case be Reopened?

There are rare instances when a car crash case could potentially be reopened after it was settled. For example, it is possible there may be significant technical errors in the settlement documents. Maybe a decimal point is out of place or there is a typo in the settlement amount. While it may be possible to simply fix the mistake, backing out of the settlement might also be possible.

Other reasons why a car crash case might be reopened include:

  • Defendant failed to perform – If you were supposed to receive the settlement within a certain number of days, but you have not received it, the case might be reopened because of the defendant’s failure to perform.
  • Settlement has not been signed – If you verbally agreed to the settlement, the case should not be closed until you sign the document. However, a verbal agreement could be interpreted as valid, which would make it harder to reopen your case.
  • Another party is at fault for some of your damages – This may not be the same thing as reopening your case, because you are not seeking compensation from the same insurance company you already settled with. You are seeking compensation from another at-fault party. This is a separate claim. An issue may still arise if you signed a general release, as opposed to a Pierrenger or Drake Release, which settled all cases even if you did not mean to.

It is important to note you cannot reopen a case because you need more compensation. It does not matter how severely you were injured or how much more compensation you need. Once you sign the agreement and compensation is paid out, it is usually not possible to reopen the case.

If your case goes to court, a jury verdict could potentially be appealed. However, appeals can only be granted for certain reasons. This could be thought of as reopening the case.

Unsure if You Have a Case? Call TSR Injury Law

Generally, you cannot reopen a car accident case that has been settled. That means you need to be sure the settlement provides full compensation for damages you have already suffered and damages you may suffer in the future.

At TSR, we understand how important it is to recover full compensation for your damages. Our goal is to help you get the compensation you need to move forward with your life.

Our firm works on contingency, so there are no upfront fees. The initial consultation is also free.

Call TSR today to discuss your situation: (612) TSR-TIME.