Legal Tidbits


Snowmobile and ATV Crashes
February 6, 2013

In 2012 in Minnesota six people 
were killed on snowmobiles, 17 people were killed on ATVs and countless more people were seriously injured in recreational crashes.  Just as with motorcycles, many of the injuries were the result of alcohol or inexperience.

What if it happens to you? Can you sue? Is there anything you should do? Yes – call the experienced lawyers at Erhart and Elfelt right away for a free consultation at (763) 444-4444. We will ask you two basic questions:
1. What is your injury?
2. How did it happen?

Hopefully your answers will be that your injury is minor and that it was the other person’s fault because in Minnesota you cannot sue yourself for your own negligence. So, if you were at fault in causing your own injury, you cannot collect anything for your pain and suffering from anyone. However, your private medical insurance should pay your medical bills even if you caused the crash yourself.

But if you have the misfortune though of being injured because someone else was at fault, then you will have a claim against that person for your loss. This includes a claim for your medical bills, wage loss, disability, pain and suffering and property damage. Also if that person has homeowner’s coverage, there is a very good chance that his or her homeowner’s insurance company will be responsible for your injuries.

Call Erhart and Elfelt right away at (763) 444-4444 for a free consultation because as soon as the other person’s insurance company learns about your injury, it will send out its investigators to try to gather evidence to prove the crash was your fault. Allowing Erhart and Elfelt to get involved in a case early can often be the difference in being able to prove it was the other person’s fault or not. 

Tony Elfelt
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Fire Claims
December 28, 2012

Insurance policies are written by insurance companies to benefit themselves. So is it any surprise that they are full of traps that can trip up an honest person trying his best to make a fair and reasonable claim? This is especially true with claims for losses due to house fires and therefore it is extremely important that you contact Erhart and Elfelt immediately after a fire; and in fact, a call to us even before you call your insurance company could save you thousands of dollars.

Tony Elfelt
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Drunk Driving Injuries
December 28, 2012

In 2011, 111 people in Minnesota were killed and 2,375 were injured by drunk drivers. At Erhart and Elfelt, we not only go after the drunk driver for our clients' injuries, but we also go after the bars that served alcohol to the drunk driver. The "dram shop law" in Minnesota says that it is illegal for a bar to serve a person who is showing obvious signs of intoxication. If a bar breaks that law and serves alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated, the bar can be held responsible for the injuries caused by the drunk driver. Most of the time, however, bartenders and servers are trained not to admit to anyone that they served a drunk person, so prompt and skillful investigation is needed to prove that they did. At Erhart and Elfelt we are experienced in investigating and suing bars who risk the lives of everyone on the road simply to make a few extra dollars by breaking the dram shop law and serving alcohol to someone who is already drunk.


Tony Elfelt
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Dog Bites
December 27, 2012

We don't bring dog bite claims to punish the owners of the dogs and often the dogs that bite are not evil, mean dogs. You don't have to be a child or a mailman to be bitten and you don't have to be teasing the dog or be a stranger to be bitten. Any dog can bite and anyone can be bitten. That is why most homeowners' insurance policies cover dog bites; however, you need a lawyer to make sure the insurance company makes a fair offer to you.

In every injury case, we gather evidence to prove that the incident occurred and that the other person's insurance company should pay. We also gather all of the evidence to prove the actual out-of-pocket loss such as for medical bills and wage loss. After that, we help you tell your story of pain and suffering to the insurance company or jury. This is especially important in dog bite cases because in those cases, the loss a person suffers is often not so much the out-of-pocket expenses as it is the emotional trauma from the attack and the psychological harm from physical scars.

At Erhart and Elfelt we represent adults and children with horrendous scars or a simple puncture wound. Someone once said that the only small scar is one on somebody else. At Erhart and Elfelt we don't judge whether a person should be suffering or not. Rather, we learn as much as we can about our clients and about how the dog bite has affected them. We then make sure that our client's full story is told to the insurance company and that our clients are treated fairly.

Tony Elfelt
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Car Crashes
December 22, 2012

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, there were 72,117 reported car crashes in Minnesota in 2011 with 368 deaths and over 30,000 injuries. Also, from our 60+ years of experience dealing with crash victims and insurance companies, we cannot think of one time when an insurance company has offered an injured person a fair settlement unless he or she were represented by a good lawyer.

We believe that accidents usually don't just happen. They are usually caused by one or more people being careless. We also believe that if someone else causes you to suffer personally or financially, then that person (or his insurance company) should pay for the harm he or she has caused. However, insurance companies make money by not doing the right and responsible thing and that is why thousands of injured people have relied on Tony Elfelt and Bill Erhart over the years to help them reach just and fair settlements for their injury claims.

In personal injury cases, the law firm of Erhart and Elfelt charges a fee only when you win or settle your claim. They will meet you when and where it is convenient for you and they encourage you to call them as soon as possible after a crash, even if you don't yet know how badly you are hurt.

Tony Elfelt
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Hunting Accidents
October 12, 2012

Every fall hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans spend time in the woods, on the water, or in the fields hunting, and every year there are a number of accidental shootings and even deaths caused by the negligent discharge of a firearm. We hunt too, and we know how important hunting safety is. Yet accidents still happen when unforeseen things occur like a stumble or an excited hunter shooting before checking the background. Our firm handles cases like this and has successfully obtained homeowners insurance settlements for the injured person.

Tony Elfelt
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Dog Bites
April 12, 2012

Did you know that in the USA over 1,000 people go to the emergency room every year for dog bites and that 31 of them die? Dog bites happen regularly and often lead to medical bills, pain, emotional suffering, and scarring. Even nice dogs sometimes bite.

The good thing is that most homeowner's insurance policies cover dog bites. However, if you have a dog, you should call your insurance agent and ask because some insurance companies have been quietly removing that protection from homeowner's insurance policies.

Tony Elfelt
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Loaning Your Car
March 22, 2012

Did you know that you are responsible for any damage caused by your car no matter who is driving (unless you can prove it was stolen)?
That falls under Minnesota's Safety Responsibility Act. For example, if you allow your child to drive your car, and if he or she allows one of his or her friends to drive, you are financially responsible if your child's friend negligently causes a crash.

And did you know that you are personally responsible for any of the damage that exceeds your limits of insurance?

What's the moral of the story?
Tony Elfelt
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Legal Tidbits
February 10, 2012

Hello Bidders,

Many of you know that I am also a lawyer. My law office is on Main Street across from the Anoka Government Center where I work with Bill Erhart in our law firm called Erhart and Elfelt, LLC.  For over 30 years, my law practice has involved protecting the rights of injured people. This has mainly focused on making sure my clients' bills get paid and that they are fairly compensated for injuries caused by other people. I have handled thousands of cases ranging from neck and back pain to broken bones, paralysis and death. There is no charge to talk with me, so if you or someone you know could use some good legal advice, please call me at (763) 444-4444.

Also, many people who come to the Auction Center are there because the responsibility of handling a deceased person's estate has fallen to them. When that happens, there are often other legal concerns that go beyond selling the personal property. When that happens, I refer those people to my partner, Bill Erhart. Bill has over 33 years of experience assisting people with drawing up their wills and handling probate matters. He is thorough, smart and tough when it’s required and you can also reach him at (763) 444-4444. If you mention that you saw this note, you will receive a free 1/2 hour estate planning consultation.

Finally, watch this column for updates by Bill or me regarding interesting developments in personal injury and estate planning law.

Thank you,

Tony Elfelt

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