Personal Injury

Heller & Thyen practices personal injury law, representing injured people with claims involving automobile accidents, dog bites, premises liability, wrongful death, alcohol-related accidents, farm accidents, and other negligence-based claims.

At Heller & Thyen, we handle personal injury cases differently than many of the larger “mills.” We keep in contact with our clients while they are treated for their injuries; we immediately file for arbitration if their insurance company denies payment of our client’s medical bills, rather than waiting for the case to be settled. This ensures that our clients do not have an adverse relationship with their treating doctor because of a large, unpaid bill. We are also very open about case values so our client’s expectations are not out of line with the value of their case.

If you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or fault, you may have a claim for your injuries. You have a right to be fairly compensated for the injuries you sustain as the result of someone else’s negligence. We have offices in St. Cloud, Willmar, St. Paul & Minneapolis MN for your convenience with your Personal injury Claim needs.

The claim for compensation is to attempt to put you back in the same position as you were before the accident. You can therefore recover:

  • The cost of your medical care, both incurred, as well as the amount of money reasonably certain to cost you in the future.
  • Replacement of lost income, both past and future.
  • Money to compensate you for the human losses and harms, including the pain and suffering you have gone through in your attempt to recover.

Medical Expenses

Usually, the biggest expenses relating to any injury are the medical bills you will incur while you get the medical attention you need. If you were injured in an auto accident, your own auto insurance will cover most of these bills. If you were injured as a result of a fall or were bit by a dog, the insurance company for the landowner or dog owner may cover some of the bills. Quite often, however, a significant amount of bills may go unpaid. It’s our job to ensure they all get paid.

Usually, the calculation of medical expenses is easy. Just add up all of the medical bills you have that are related to the motor vehicle accident. Sometimes, however, it is not so easy. If you have had prior injuries or other accidents or injuries since your incident for which you are bringing a claim, it sometimes difficult to know just what treatment relates to your accident and which are not related. It is important to be in close contact with your doctor, who will ultimately be your best witness in supporting your claims.

Future medical costs are also difficult to calculate because of the inherent uncertainty of the need for medical treatment in the future. Again, it will be your doctor who’s opinion will be needed to calculate the amount of treatment in the future.

Just because you incurred a medical bill or your doctor says that it was necessary or related to the accident, does not mean that the insurance company or a jury will agree. We help you fight to have all of your accident-related bills get paid.

Lost Wages

It is important to keep track of all hours or days of work missed due to injuries. Insurance companies and juries are usually willing to provide money for lost wages. However, documentation is critical, such as a letter from your doctor stating you are unable to work and documentation from your employer confirming your time and wages missed.

If you are self-employed, it can be very difficult to prove up a loss of income. Keep very good records of days or hours missed for doctor appointments or time off because you are physically unable to work. If you hire an employee to replace your labor, keep track of the amount of money you pay that employee, as well as the duties that the replacement worker performs. Also, keep track of the duties that you perform that are within your limitations to show that the replacement worker is there to do the things you are unable to perform.

If you get paid by your insurance company for no-fault benefits, make sure you keep track of the amount of money you were not compensated by no-fault. No-fault benefits are limited to $500 per week. If you earn $750 per week, there is an additional amount of wages for which you were not compensated.

As with medical expenses, an insurance company and jury will only pay for lost wages they deem to be reasonable and related to the accident. They will not likely pay you for lost wages for being off work for 6 months after a minor injury. It is important that you attempt to go back to work as soon as possible. That should be clear in your employment records as well as your medical records.

Your employer may not be willing to take you back if your doctor has you on restrictions. You must therefore work with your doctor to make sure the physical limitations are reviewed and adjusted as you are healing. You may want to have your doctor contact your employer to work together to allow for your return.

Pain and Suffering

This is the hardest element on which to place a monetary value. The law allows you to be compensated for the reasonable value of the pain, suffering and other human losses you have suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence. Usually the value is commensurate with the severity of the injury. Insurance companies try to value the claim based upon the type of injury, the type and reasonableness of the treatment and the amount of money awarded by previous juries for similar types of injuries. There are a few things that can be done to ensure the best recovery possible.

  1. Keep a diary. A diary will allow you to give a much better description of all of the problems and limitations that you experience as you recover. It helps people evaluate what you went through when they hear about specific details, rather than a general “I hurt”.
  2. Consistently see your doctor. Your doctor will be able to track your progress, as well as adjust your treatment if you keep a consistent schedule with them. Your complaints and symptoms will be well documented, which will allow your doctor to render an opinion on your injuries and future medical needs. Your doctor can also order more sophisticated testing or refer you to specialists if needed. Your doctor is usually the best witness you have in proving up your case. If your doctor has not seen you on a regular basis, they will not be able to help you with your case.
  3. Make the effort to get better. The law requires to limit (mitigate) your damages. That means you have to follow up with your doctor’s recommendations. If your doctor gives you a referral, follow up. If the doctor recommends that you try physical therapy, go. If you want to try an alternative to what your doctor recommends, such as chiropractic treatment, rather than physical therapy, make sure your doctor knows what you want to do.Gaps in treatment or a failure to follow through will not only prolong your recovery it will potentially harm your case. Also, symptoms that are unusual or sporadic need to be reported to your doctor even if you are not experience them at the time of your appointment. Those symptoms might be the initial sign of a complication or undiagnosed problem. By reporting when you experience them, it may help us relate that problem to your accident.
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