How an Attorney Can Preserve Witness Testimony After a Crash in Minneapolis

Eyewitness testimony is just one type of evidence you can use to support a car crash claim, and it can be quite persuasive. Especially if the witness’s statements align with your account of the incident.

Considering how helpful this testimony could be, it is vital that you take steps to preserve it, as memories fade over time. In this article, we discuss the steps an attorney can take to preserve eyewitness testimony after a Minneapolis car crash.

If you were injured in a crash in Minnesota, we may be able to help you. Our licensed Minneapolis car accident lawyers have recovered millions for crash victims. In all, our firm has secured more than $1 billion for injury victims throughout the state.

We charge no upfront fees, and an initial legal consultation is free.

Complete a free case evaluation form or call us at (612) TSR-TIME.

How Witnesses Can Help Your Car Crash Claim

A witness may be able to back up an injury victim’s claim that another party was responsible for the car crash.

For example, maybe a witness saw the other driver staring at his or her smartphone in the moments before the collision. Witnesses might see the at-fault driver run through a red light, start making a turn when oncoming traffic is too close or follow the victim’s car too closely.

In cases where the victim suffers memory loss or is otherwise physically or medically unable to tell his or her side of the story, a witness can help explain what happened before and during the crash.

Car crash cases could be thought of as a competition between two drivers’ accounts of what happened. Witness testimony could help “break the tie” so to speak, especially if the witness has no connection to either party in the case, as this bolsters the witness’s credibility.

You also do not want a witness who has a documented history of lying or illegal activity, as this can call everything he or she says into question.

Witnesses can be particularly important if a case goes to court, as some witnesses may connect with the jury. This could make the jury more likely to rule in the victim’s favor.

It is important to note there are many pieces of evidence that may prove a car crash case. Lawyers often need multiple pieces of evidence. However, credible witness testimony that supports other evidence can be particularly powerful.

Definition of Preserving Witness Testimony

Preserving witness testimony could be defined as documenting the witness’s statements about the collision before he or she forgets. It is easy to forget details about a collision. In fact, it can happen rather quickly. In a matter of hours or days, witnesses might not recall vital details.

A witness also might not be available for the trial date. Preserving his or her testimony gives you the chance to present these statements later.

Examples of preserving witness testimony may include:

  • Documenting the witness’s statements in the police report at the scene of the crash
  • Recording the statement with a smartphone or other device
  • Writing or typing the statement and having the witness sign it to make it official

What Can Crash Victims Do To Preserve Testimony?

It is generally best to allow your lawyer to obtain statements from witnesses. Your lawyer will know what questions to ask and how to properly document the witness’s account, such as:

  • What were the traffic conditions?
  • What was the weather?
  • Did you see anything unusual about the other driver?
  • Where were you when the crash occurred? What was your vantage point?

If you are able, we strongly suggest asking for witness contact information at the scene. You can then provide this information to your lawyer, so he or she can contact the witness.

Make sure to tell the police to talk to witnesses when they arrive at the scene. They can document witness statements in the police report.

What Steps Can Your Lawyer Take to Preserve Witness Testimony?

Your lawyer could ask the witness to provide a sworn statement. This means the witness would record or write out what he or she saw while under oath. The witness would sign the statement with a notary public in the room. The statement then becomes a legal document that can be sent to the court and put on record.

It is important to ask for a sworn statement as soon after the crash as possible. Otherwise, the witness could forget things that may help the victim’s case.

Your lawyer could also request a faster discovery if the witness is not available for trial, such as for health reasons. If the judge approves this request, your lawyer can have the witness do a deposition.

What is Discovery?

Discovery is a pre-trial process of exchanging evidence. This allows both sides to prepare for what will be presented at trial.

One aspect of discovery is getting depositions from witnesses. A deposition is an out-of-court statement, given under oath, by someone involved in the case.

A deposition can help your case in a couple ways:

  • It may be used if a witness cannot appear at trial because they are physically unable to appear, out of the country or have safety concerns.
  • Your lawyer can compare a deposition to in-court testimony to find any discrepancies that might call the witness’s statements into question.

Need Legal Help After a Crash? Contact TSR Injury Law to Discuss Your Case

Contact TSR Injury Law today to discuss your situation and learn how we may be able to help you gather the evidence you need for your case. We are committed to helping our clients secure the compensation they need to put their life back together.

Our lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront costs or legal obligations. Your initial legal consultation is also provided free of charge.

More than $1 billion recovered for injury victims. Call us at: (612) TSR-TIME.

Driving While Hungover: Why it Is Dangerous and What Crash Victims Should Do

We all know it is dangerous and illegal to get behind the wheel while drunk, but many people see no problem driving when they have a hangover. Technically, driving with a hangover is not illegal, but it is still risky, as a hangover can affect your reaction time and ability to concentrate on the road.

TSR Injury Law explains the dangers of driving hungover and what to do if you get into a crash caused by a hungover driver.

If you were injured in a crash caused by a drunk or hungover driver, our Minneapolis car accident lawyers may be able to help you seek compensation for your damages. Call us to schedule a free consultation.

TSR Injury Law. Experienced lawyers representing the injured at no upfront cost. (612) TSR-TIME

Defining a Hangover

A hangover is an umbrella term that refers to the various reactions your body may have to drinking alcohol. Many people think a hangover starts the morning after consuming alcohol, but symptoms can start just hours after you stop drinking.

It does not take much alcohol for some people to experience a hangover – some people develop a hangover after just one or two drinks.

Everyone responds to alcohol differently based on various factors like weight, height and the type of alcohol consumed. For example, women might remain hungover longer than men because men often have more water in their bloodstreams, which allows the body to process alcohol faster.

Dangers of Driving While Experiencing a Hangover

A hangover can be a miserable experience, regardless of your tolerance for alcohol. These are some of the symptoms you may experience during a hangover:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness or vertigo, particularly when you stand up
  • Severe headaches, nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Losing concentration or focus on the task at hand
  • Minor or severe stomach pain
  • Feeling shaky
  • Unusually slow reaction time
  • Frequent yawning
  • Severe dehydration
  • Increased irritability, even if you are not normally an irritable person
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Aching muscles

These symptoms could last anywhere from a few hours to more than a full day. You may think things will get better as your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) approaches and finally reaches zero. However, peak hangover symptoms often hit when your BAC is at zero, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Hangover symptoms can make it much harder to stay focused on driving and reacting to hazardous situations, such as wet roads, children playing near the street or debris in the road.

Hungover drivers may be more likely to engage in various forms of negligent/reckless driving, such as:

  • Drifting out of their lane, which could be caused by blurry vision or shakiness
  • Tailgating other cars because of their slower reaction time
  • Speeding because it takes them longer to realize how fast they are going
  • Running through stop signs, such as in a residential area close to home
  • Pulling out into an intersection to make a turn when there is not enough time to safely avoid oncoming traffic
  • Brake-checking another car because they are more irritable
  • Not looking for pedestrians or bicyclists at intersections and crosswalks

Your body needs time to rest and recover from the effects of alcohol, so you may want to avoid driving the day after drinking, especially if you consumed a lot of alcohol.

Can a Hungover Driver Be Charged With Drunk Driving?

State laws do not mention hungover drivers. Minnesota, like other states, sets a BAC limit of 0.08. If a driver gets pulled over or causes a crash and is found to have a BAC above the limit, he or she could be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). However, even if a driver’s BAC is below the legal limit, police could still arrest them for DWI if they deem the driver to still be under the influence of alcohol.

It is highly unlikely that a hungover driver would be charged for impaired driving. However, if he or she causes a collision, the police might cite this person for another traffic violation. The police officer might note that a hangover may have played a role in the crash. Your lawyer can bring this up in a claim for compensation, as this might explain the driver’s negligent actions before the crash.

What Should Victims Do After a Crash With a Hungover Driver?

If you think the other driver may be hungover, tell the police officer who comes to the scene. He or she can note this in the police report.

For example, is the other driver yawning a lot? Does he or she seem highly irritable? Is he or she complaining about a headache? Did he or she make an offhand remark about a late night?

Sometimes the signs of a hangover are like the signs of drowsy driving. Evidence of a drowsy or hungover driver may help your lawyer validate your claim. For instance, the at-fault driver may have posted pictures on social media that could support the conclusion the driver was out late or consuming alcohol the night before.

Injured by a Drunk or Hungover Driver? TSR Injury Law May Be Able to Help

Our lawyers at TSR Injury Law have recovered more than $1 billion for injury victims and their families throughout Minnesota. We know the dangers of drunk driving and are committed to helping victims secure the compensation they need.

We charge no fees unless we win your case, and your initial legal consultation is free.

Call us today at (612) TSR-TIME.

Can Your Lawyer Use Black Box Data in a Minnesota Car Crash Claim?

getting data from car on laptopMany vehicles made in the past 10-15 years, and even some older ones, are equipped with event data recorders, also known as black boxes. These devices gather information about the vehicle and some of the driver’s actions leading up to a crash.

Black box data can play a key role in a car crash case and can help prove who was at fault for the crash. Below, our Minneapolis car crash lawyers discuss how recovering black box data could be beneficial in a car crash claim.

If you or a loved one was injured in a motor vehicle crash in Minneapolis or elsewhere in Minnesota, we may be able to help guide you through this difficult time. Since 1998, our experienced attorneys have helped injury victims recover the compensation they deserve. We have obtained more than $1 billion on behalf of our clients.

No upfront fees. Call today to schedule a free legal consultation. Phone: (612) TSR-TIME.

What Is a Black Box?

A black box is a vehicle’s event data recorder (EDR). It comes standard in many passenger vehicles that were made within the past 10-plus years.

Many American car manufacturers have been installing black boxes in their vehicles since the 1990s. Even if you have an older vehicle, or the other driver’s vehicle is older, the chances of one or both vehicles having a black box are high. For instance, certain vehicles manufactured by Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet have had black boxes installed since 1994.

What Information Does a Black Box Record Before or During a Crash?

A black box records and stores information about the moments leading up to a crash, such as:

  • Airbag deployment
  • Speed the car was traveling
  • When and for how long the brakes were applied
  • Whether vehicle occupants were wearing their seatbelts
  • The force of impact during a collision
  • And more

These are the types of data most black boxes record. Some car manufacturers may install black boxes that record many other data points, such as:

  • How long the collision lasted
  • Whether the driver clicked on a turn signal
  • The number of impacts on the vehicle
  • Where the seats were positioned
  • Steering angles
  • Time between impacts
  • And more

Many black boxes record data on a continuous loop and rewrite about five to 10 seconds of information until a crash. When a car crash occurs, the data leading up to the collision (about 20 seconds) is stored for a certain time period.

Using EDR Data To Prove Fault for a Collision

Proving fault and showing that the impact more than likely caused your injuries is critical to any car crash claim. That is why black box data can be so useful, if a vehicle involved in the crash has one installed and it was working during the incident, there is a high chance the data can be used to back your claim.

Black box data could be helpful after just about any type of crash, but especially with:

Fatal Crashes

When one or several of the people involved in a car crash tragically pass away, it can be very challenging to understand exactly what occurred. Black box data can help clarify some of the uncertainties surrounding the crash.

Collisions That Cause Memory Loss

If a crash victim suffers memory loss, such as from a traumatic brain injury, or if those involved cannot recall key details, black box data might help fill in some of the gaps.

Contradictory Testimonies

Eyewitness accounts of the crash could contradict what the victim or at-fault driver said. Even without witnesses, the victim and at-fault driver’s account of the collision may differ wildly. These discrepancies can make it difficult to decipher fact from fiction.

Black box data, however, can help clarify what happened and potentially back up what you said or remember about the incident.

Linking an Injury to a Crash

If you suffer an injury, it can become very challenging to prove it is directly related to the crash. Black box data could show the force of impact from a crash, helping to show why your injury likely happened during the collision.

Can Insurance Companies Use EDR Data To Undermine Your Claim?

While your attorney will use black box data to help your case, insurance companies have a different goal. They will be looking for any information that gives them a reason to assign fault to you, such as the speed of your vehicle or whether you applied your brakes or turn signal.

Insurance companies may also drag their feet on recovering the data. They are in no rush to obtain evidence that could be used against their interests. They just want to save themselves money. They do not want to pay fair compensation to someone injured by a negligent driver.

If a negligent driver rear-ended you on the highway, black box data from your car and the at-fault driver’s car could help establish fault. For example, you could see the other driver’s speed. However, it would be in the best interest of the at-fault driver’s insurance company not to retrieve the data. They could then make false claims about how fast their policyholder was traveling, as there may be no objective evidence to contradict them.

How Do Attorneys Access Black Box Data?

It is essential that you contact an experienced lawyer soon after the crash, as he or she can take steps to collect the black boxes before the data gets erased.

For example, you can authorize your lawyer to obtain the black box information on your behalf. Your lawyer can also formally request the event data recorder from the at-fault driver’s vehicle. Another step your lawyer could take is sending a letter to the insurance company requesting that they preserve evidence, including the black box.

You never know when you might need this information to help prove your case. That is why you need to contact a lawyer as soon as you can following a crash.

However, this is just one of the benefits. The attorneys at TSR Injury Law have decades of experience building motor vehicle crash cases. We know how to link an injury to a collision and gather strong evidence to prove fault. We also know how to determine the full value of a case and aggressively advocate for maximum compensation.

Unsure if You May Have a Case? Call TSR Injury Law

At TSR Injury Law, we guide crash victims through the legal process, answering their questions and advocating for their best interests. If we represent you, we will stay committed to securing the justice and compensation you deserve.

Call us today to discuss your options. We work on contingency, so there are no upfront costs.

Call today: (612) TSR-TIME. No upfront costs. Free initial consultation.

What Can I Do About a Lien on My Minnesota Personal Injury Settlement?

lien definitionMany injury victims are unsure about what to expect during the legal process. For instance, you may not realize that a hospital or health insurer can place a lien on your injury claim.

This post provides a comprehensive overview of liens on personal injury settlements, explaining where liens come from, how they can be managed and the benefits of hiring an experienced lawyer to manage the situation.

TSR Injury Law’s Minneapolis personal injury lawyers have been helping the injured obtain favorable compensation for decades. We manage every aspect of the legal process on behalf of our clients. You are already dealing with a serious injury; you do not need the added stress of trying to handle the legal process.

Call today to schedule a free consultation. Zero upfront fees or legal obligations. Phone: (612) TSR-TIME.

What Is a Lien?

A lien is a legal hold or claim on another party’s property or assets, which may include a personal injury settlement. An individual or entity places a lien on another’s property to seek repayment of a debt, obligation or services provided, such as health care.

Liens are often used by medical providers and health insurance companies to seek reimbursement for costs they incurred for an injured individual who has filed an injury claim. The entity that places a lien claims entitlement to a portion of any settlement the injured individual receives. This is known as subrogation.

Liens aim to prevent injured victims from receiving a double recovery. For example, if a health insurance company covered your medical care up front and you later received compensation for those same medical expenses in your settlement.

In the context of personal injury cases, liens ensure that medical providers, insurance companies, or governmental entities get reimbursed for costs they incurred on behalf of the injured individual from the settlement or judgment awarded. Liens can be placed by health insurers, medical professionals, Medicare or Medicaid and child support agencies, among others.

Who Could Place a Lien on Your Personal Injury Settlement?

Liens are often placed on personal injury settlements to obtain reimbursement for the cost of medical care. Medical liens are often placed on settlements by the following entities:

  • Health insurance providers: In a liability claim against another party, you do not receive compensation for medical care and other damages until the end of the legal process. You may need to use your health insurance to help pay medical expenses for care related to your crash. In this situation, the health insurer may have the right to place a lien on your settlement.
  • Medical providers: Health insurance often does not cover the full cost of care. Patients may owe the difference between what the health insurance company covered and what the hospital or doctor’s office charged. Hospitals and doctors may place liens on your settlement to recover the amount you owe. These entities often reach agreements with the victim’s lawyer to delay collection of your medical bills. That way you can continue to get treatment while your lawyer pursues compensation.
  • Medicare or Medicaid: Government health insurance programs also have the right to seek reimbursement for the payments they make on your behalf.

If a plaintiff has outstanding child support payments, liens can be used to collect this debt as well out of a settlement.

Why Your Lawyer Should Verify a Lien

Injured victims should never automatically assume a lien is legitimate. You should review liens with your lawyer to make sure they are valid and reflect the amount you owe and no more. You do not want to overpay, as that reduces the amount of money you receive from your settlement.

What Is a Letter of Protection?

A letter of protection is an agreement between the victim of a crash and a medical provider. The agreement ensures you can continue to receive treatment without making immediate payments, with the understanding that expenses will be covered from your settlement.

A letter of protection can be a vital tool for many injured victims. Without it, victims might not be able to continue to get treatment because they would be unable to pay for it. Working out a payment plan with the hospital might not be an option because the victim may be unable to afford monthly payments.

How Do I Get Rid of a Lien on My Settlement?

Liens are paid off before injured victims receive their settlement. It is important to note that your lawyer can negotiate with lienholders. He or she may be able to negotiate down the amount of the lien, or eliminate it altogether, allowing you to receive more compensation from your settlement.

This is one of many advantages of hiring an experienced lawyer to manage your case. Like you, our goal is to help you recover as much compensation as possible. Negotiating liens and working out agreements with medical providers to delay collection of bills ensures you get the treatment you need without needing to figure out how to pay for it up front.

What Happens to the Lien if a Claim Goes to Court?

If the insurance company denies your claim or does not offer the compensation you need, your lawyer may take the case to court. The lien still applies to any compensation you receive, including compensation from a jury verdict or settlement that is reached during the lawsuit.

Call TSR Injury Law Today to Discuss Legal Options

At TSR Injury Law, our goal is to secure full compensation for your injuries and damages. Our firm wants you to be able to get all the medical treatment you need to make the best recovery possible. We want you to be compensated for the many other effects of your injuries, such as lost wages and pain and suffering.

We do not want you to be concerned about the cost of legal assistance. Our firm operates on contingency, which means there are no upfront costs. We do not get paid unless we win your case and secure compensation.

Give us a call to learn more about how we can assist you. Call (612) TSR-TIME.