Could an Old Crash You Were Involved in Affect Your Claim?

car with police accident reportWhen you get injured in a crash and seek compensation from an insurance company, they may look for ways to attack your credibility. They are looking for any reason they can use to deny or at least devalue your claim. They want to pay nothing or pay as little as possible for your damages.

One argument the insurance company may use to attack your credibility is that you are a reckless driver. For example, if they find out about an old collision you were involved in, particularly one where you were found to be at fault, they may use this against you. They may say you are at fault for the new crash because of what happened in the old crash.

If the insurance company is attempting to use your driving record against you, contact TSR Injury Law today. We are prepared to guide you through the legal process, with the goal of securing maximum compensation.

Our Minneapolis car accident attorneys have taken on many insurance companies over the years, in settlement negotiations and in court. We have secured more than $1 billion on behalf of our clients.

How Insurers Try to Use Old Crashes Against Victims

Below, we discuss a few of the arguments insurance companies may make related to your driving history or an old crash you were involved in. Despite how convincing these arguments might sound when made by the insurance company, they often do not hold up when victims are represented by an experienced lawyer.

Claiming You are a Reckless Driver

If you were involved in a crash in the past, the insurance company may claim this proves you are a reckless driver, especially if you were the one at fault for the collision. They may say you have a pattern of behavior, and this proves you are at fault for the most recent crash.

This amounts to an attack on your credibility. The insurance company may say you have been a dangerous driver in the past, so it is harder to believe you were not at fault for the recent crash. The insurance company’s argument may be stronger if the old crash is the same type of crash as the new one. For example, if both crashes are rear-end crashes.

This argument might be appealing to a jury. However, even if the case does not make it to trial, the victim might believe the insurance company. For some reason, crash victims often apologize for a crash, even if they were not at fault. Victims may assume insurance companies know what they are talking about.

The truth of the matter is that an old crash has zero bearing on a crash that happens later. Each car crash needs to be assessed on its own. You may have been at fault for an old crash, but that does not automatically mean you are at fault for the new one.

You also cannot trust what insurance companies tell you after a crash. They are looking for any way to deny or underpay your claim.

Claiming You Have a Preexisting Injury

Insurance companies routinely claim victims who are seeking compensation have a preexisting condition. They say you did not suffer an injury in the most recent crash but suffered one previously. If you were involved in a collision in the past, the insurance company may say this is the cause of the injury you are claiming after this latest crash.

What is important to remember is that having a preexisting injury does not preclude you from receiving compensation for a new injury. You may have been more likely to suffer a new injury because you were already injured.

Your lawyer can help you build a strong case for compensation for your new injury or even aggravation of an existing injury. Make sure to inform your doctors and your lawyer about the old injury and any worsening symptoms.

Claiming You Are Just Trying to Make Money

The underlying argument behind a lot of what insurance companies say to crash victims is that victims are not injured, or their injuries are not that serious. The insurance company may say you are just being greedy, and you are trying to get money for a non-existent injury, or you are trying to inflate the value of your claim when your injury is not severe. Insurers may be even more likely to make this argument if you suffered a soft-tissue injury, such as whiplash – insurance companies routinely downplay the severity of soft-tissue injuries.

Insurers may say the fact you have filed other claims indicates you are always looking for a way to make money.

Call TSR Injury Law

Have questions about the legal process or the value of your claim?

Call today to learn if you may have a valid case. You can schedule an initial consultation with an experienced attorney at no charge. If we find you have a case and you decide to hire our firm, there are no upfront fees or costs for you to pay.

Call TSR Injury Law. We are ready to help you. (612) TSR-TIME

Fault for a Car Crash When a Vehicle is Backing Up

adjusting car rearview mirrorWould you be surprised to learn there are thousands of car crashes that occur each year when drivers are backing up?

This includes crashes in parking lots and crashes involving drivers backing out of driveways and into lanes with passing traffic. Even though many of these crashes occur at relatively slow speeds, they can result in significant injuries that may have long recovery times. For example, backing up crashes could result in broken bones, serious bruises and whiplash.

Below, TSR Injury Law’s experienced attorneys discuss fault for these crashes. While the driver who was backing up is often at fault, there are times when fault may be shared. Sometimes both drivers involved in a backing up crash were negligent.

If you were injured in a crash in Minnesota, TSR Injury Law may be able to help you seek compensation for your damages. We offer a free consultation and do not charge upfront fees.

Why do Backing-Up Accidents Happen?

Like most car crashes, backing-up accidents are caused by some form of driver negligence. Unfortunately, drivers are often much too reckless when backing up, whether they are backing out of a parking space or driveway. They rely on their mirrors and do not turn to look behind them. Even if they do look, they may pull out way too fast.

Sometimes drivers in passing cars are at fault for trying to pass instead of stopping. For example, if a driver is already halfway out of a parking spot and a car tries to swing around, the driver of that car may be found liable.

Sometimes drivers take unnecessary risks when backing up. For example, drivers backing out of a driveway onto a main road may try to do so quickly because they do not want to wait longer for traffic to clear. Oncoming drivers may not be paying attention and may not be able to slow down quickly enough to avoid a crash.

Reasons Drivers Who Were Backing Up are Often at Fault

Typically, drivers on the road or through lane you are backing into have the right of way. That is one of the main reasons why drivers who are backing up are commonly found at fault for these crashes. If they are not 100 percent at fault, they likely still bear most of the fault.

There are exceptions to this general rule, however. If the oncoming driver was negligent in some way, he or she may be partially to blame. Examples of negligence that could lead to a backing-up crash include:

  • Speeding – Even though a speeding driver may have the right of way, speeding is still negligence. Driving over posted speed limits puts other drivers at risk because you have less time to react to dangerous situations.
  • Intoxication – If a driver was drunk or on drugs during the crash, he or she is likely to be found partially to blame for the crash.
  • Failing to yield – When another driver has the right of way, you are required to yield. Unfortunately, drivers are often impatient and do not want to wait for drivers to finish backing out.
  • Reckless lane changing – If a driver attempts to back out into a lane where traffic is clear, but another car moves into that lane at the last second without signaling, he or she may be held liable. Even if the oncoming driver signals, he or she may be held partially liable for changing lanes because the driver who was backing up thought the lane was clear.

Determining Fault for Parking Lot Crashes

Many backing-up crashes happen in parking lots. As there is a lot of activity in parking lots, determining fault for crashes may be difficult.

Below we discuss some common types of parking lot crashes and how fault may be assessed.

Backing Into a Parked Car

As the parked car was not moving, the driver of the other vehicle is likely to be found at fault for the crash. That said, if the car is illegally parked, the owner/driver of that vehicle could be found at fault. You would likely need to prove it was difficult to see the parked car if you were the one that hit it.

Backing Into a Moving Car

You are required to look behind you when backing out of a parking space to avoid hitting moving cars, parked cars or pedestrians. If you were the one backing up and a crash happens, you are likely to be found at fault. There may be an exception if the other driver was not paying attention or was speeding.

Two Cars Back Up at the Same Time

It is likely that the drivers of both vehicles will be partially responsible for the crash. However, one driver may be more at fault than the other, such as if one car was much further out of the parking spot than the other.

Preventing a Crash When Backing Up

The key to avoiding a crash in these situations is to be cautious. Take your time, look behind you, and if necessary, wait for traffic to pass. There is no need to rush because that may make a crash more likely.

Many vehicles are equipped with backup cameras. While these are helpful, you should not use them as a substitute for checking for traffic. Make sure to use your mirrors, peripheral vision and turn your head to be sure the path is clear.

Contact TSR Injury Law Today for Legal Help

Unsure of your legal options after a car crash?

TSR Injury Law is here to assist you in recovering compensation for your damages. Our Minneapolis car accident attorneys have helped numerous crash victims recover compensation – over more than 20 years we have secured $1 billion in compensation on behalf of our clients.

Schedule a free legal consultation today to learn more about how we may be able to assist you. There are no upfront fees or legal obligations. Our goal is to recover full compensation for your injuries and damages.

Contact us today. We are here to help: (612) TSR-TIME.

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

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

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

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

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

Minnesota Law on Partial Fault

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

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

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

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

Partial Fault for a Slip and Fall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What if You Had Inappropriate Footwear?

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

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

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

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

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

No upfront fees. Call (612) TSR-TIME.