And Now About Bassinets. June 26, 2008Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
Tags: infant safety, personal injury, wisconsin personal injury, Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney
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WebMD’s story about bassinet safety is a little disturbing.
First, Kelley Colihan the author states that “more and more families” are using bassinets but doesn’t give any stats. That fine because the stats she gives later on our shocking.
Between 1990 and 2004 the Consumer Product Safety Commission studied all infant deaths that involved bassinets.
- 85% of infant deaths were the result of suffocation;
- 74% of the bassinets had blankets, pillows, or PLASTIC BAGS in them;
- 37% of the babies had been placed face-down to sleep;
- 50% of the babies were found in their bassinets face down;
- 9% were due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- 9 of the infants died because the bassinet had a mechanical problem or weren’t used properly. (I’m assuming a product liability type situation)
I can’t understand why anyone would place a plastic bag in their child’s bassinet. Come on people. A little common sense goes a long way!
I have two young boys. Were were told from day one ‘face up to wake up’ and “face up for safety.’ I also remember getting pamphlets regarding what not to put in a crib, bassinet etc. The simple answer was: Nothing. Don’t put anything in your kid’s crib or bassinet.
Again, just remember use common sense when trying to get your kids to sleep. And certainly don’t put plastic bags in your kids cribs or bassinets!
If there is a mechanical problem with the bassinet or crib give me a call. I’d be happy to discuss whether the bassinet or crib company didn’t use their common sense when they designed it.
On My Way Here I Was In An Auto Accident… June 9, 2008Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
Tags: co-counsel, personal injury, referrals, wisconsin personal injury
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Many years ago (kind of like: long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away) I was a general practice lawyer. That means that I did it all. I drafted wills, closed real estate deals, reviewed corporate papers and the like. Luckily, back then I still concentrated on lawsuits related to all of these things. So, I’d be the attorney the firm would send when Jim (73) was sued by his brother Tom(71) because their mother (95) passed away without a will and her clothes had to be equally divided (I actually handled a case very similar to that scenario). Anyway, I digress.
My point is that many times someone will have a “family lawyer” that handles certain things like a will. That lawyer will hear, “On my way here, to sign the will you drafted, I was involved in an auto accident. Can you help me out?” That person then wonders why the attorneys says “No” and referrs them to another lawyer. They thought that the family lawyer was just that a “lawyer.” Don’t lawyers go to court and handle auto accidents, dog bites, wills, bankruptcies etc.
The easy answer is “No.” I’ve been lucky enough to have received a great number of referrals over the past few years from lawyers who don’t concentrate on personal injury matters. Motorcycle and auto accident laws are unique. Helping someone who suffers from lifelong scars from a dog bite and other serious injuries is pretty specialized.
When I was a general practice litigator I would refer specialized cases to attorneys who only practiced in these areas of the law, I remember one of my high school teachers would say “Jack of all trades, master of none.” That applies to lawyers too.
Don’t feel put out when your lawyer refers you to another attorney. She/he is doing what is in your best interest. Don’t be surprised when you come to me wanting a will drafted and I refer you to right back to your family lawyer. I’m a litigator now. Remember, I drafted wills long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Common Courtesy and, Oh Yeah, It’s the Law June 4, 2008Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
Tags: pedestrian, personal injury, wisconsin personal injury
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Car versus Pedestrian. This is not a battle anyone wants to be a party to especially if you are the pedestrian. So, what is the law in Wisconsin about pedestrians and right of way? Just so you know, if you are walking in a cross walk or with the “green little person” you have the right of way. Yes, drivers that means that you have to slow down (it isn’t all bad you’ll save on gas).
Wisconsin’s Jury Instructions state:
The Wisconsin statutes define “right of way” as the privilege of the immediate use of the roadway and, further provide, that at an intersection or crosswalk where traffic is controlled by traffic control signals or by a traffic officer, the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing or who has started to cross the highway on a green or “Walk” signal and in all other cases pedestrians shall yield the right of way to vehicles lawfully proceeding directly ahead on a green signal.
Sooner Would Be Better! May 29, 2008Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Groth.
Tags: Drunk Drivers, Drunk Driving, personal injury, Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney
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Just in case anyone didn’t really believe Wisconsin’s laws are inadequate regarding multiple drunk driving offenses check this out.
The Sheboygan Pressreports that a man was recently convicted of his 10th drunk driving offense. Now this won’t make the headlines like the Doctor Mark Benson case from Waukesha. But, I hope some state legislator is taking notes and educates the rest about our flimsy drunken driving laws. It’s a fact, people are going to continue to be injured and killed by drunk drivers unless these drivers are taken off the roads.
No Fee on P.D.? May 6, 2008Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Groth.
Tags: attorneys fees, auto accident, motorcycle accident, personal injury, property damage, Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney
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I was asked a few minutes ago about the fees I charge. In general, personal injury lawyers get paid from a “bodily injury” settlement or verdict.
I should explain. Insurance companies deal with two sides of an auto accident/motorcycle accident etc. BI=Bodily Injury and PD=Property Damage.
Personal injury attorney’s fees are based on the recovery obtained for the client. Because it is a percentage of the recovery, the more the attorney recovers for the client the more the attorney gets paid. It’s the reason we’ll try as hard as possible to get as much as the law will allow.
We almost never charge a fee from the PD side of the case. In general, be wary of the law firm that states they take a fee from BI and PD settlements. In my opinion, a personal injury lawyer should take a fee from the property damage settlement only in the most unique and very rare situations.
So, if you are unlucky enough to get into a car accident, motorcycle accident or other personal injury be sure to interview lawyers and ask, “Fee on P.D.?”
Ever Hear Of A Designated Driver? May 4, 2008Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Groth.
Tags: auto accident, designated driver, Drunk Driving, personal injury
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I’ve written before about the doctor from Oconomowoc (Mark Benson) who drove while intoxicated and killed and injured innocent victims. The blogosphere has taken off with opinions about what should happen. The former doctor’s photo and criminal case has been plastered over our TVs. Because of the publicity he will hopefully get the prison time he deserves.
Not to be a pessimist here but what about the next “Mark Benson.” Do we have the fortitude to stop ourselves?
I just read the latest Time mazagine and noticed on page 26 that “9% of U.S. adults” believe they have driven while over the legal blood-alcohol limit in the past month. There was a recent article about this in the Journal Sentinel. Wisconsin, of course, was among the leaders whose citizens drink and drive.
Take this advice. If you spend the money to drink, spend the money for a cab ride home. Spend some money calling a friend to pick you up. Take the bus. Walk!
It is events like these that force the issue. Hopefully, people will think twice before joining the 9%.
Why do you have to order medical records and bills? April 26, 2008Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
Tags: auto accident, Certified Medical Records, personal injury, wisconsin personal injury
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I hear this question quite often. It’s ususally followed by, “Why can’t I just go to my doctor’s office and get them.”
Honestly, you can. I’ve had clients get their own medical records. But, I only recommend a client get their own medical records with our help. Why? Because we always ask for “certified” medical records.
Certified medical records are needed if you go to trial. So, instead of ordering “regular” medical records (and getting charged for them) and then having to order “certified” records later on (and getting charged for them), we just ask for certified records right away.
Personal injury attorneys pay the costs of these records. We only get paid back for these costs if we recover compensation for the injured victim. We don’t charge interest on these costs.
Personal injury law is all I do. I’ve found this is the best way to make sure we know about your injuries in order to get full compensation AND to streamline your case so this compensation is obtained as soon as possible.
Why Hire A Personal Injury Attorney? April 21, 2008Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
Tags: Allstate Insurance, attorney, auto accident, hiring a lawyer, motorcycle accident, personal injury
I think personal injury attorneys are asked this question more than any other. It’s a legitimate question. Injury attorneys in Wisconsin usually charge a contingent fee of 1/3 of the settlement or verdict in addition to costs. Why hire a plummer if you can fix your leaky faucet yourself?
Surprisingly, Allstate Insurance has helped answer the question. Allstate’s own website states “represented claims settle for 2-3 times more than unrepresented claims.” (See page C000011298). Allstate goes on to urge their adjuster to convince injured victims to NOT hire an attorney.
Why do represented victims of car accidents, motorcycle accidents or other personal injury matters recover more than unrepresented victims? I’d like to this because personal injury attorneys know the law and won’t leave any stone unturned. The right Personal Injury Attorney will make sure that the injured person receives the compensation they are due. Take a look at my earlier comments about what a case is worth.
Kudos to Illinois Attorney Howard Zimmerle for finding this information.
The Difference Between Pre-Suit Negotiations and a Lawsuit April 20, 2008Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
Tags: car accident, Lawsuit, Negotiations, personal injury, Personal Injury Lawsuit, Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney
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A few weeks ago I mentioned the difference between pre-suit settlement negotiations and a lawsuit. In short, hiring a lawyer does NOT mean that you have “filed a lawsuit.”
When you are involved in a car accident or other personal injury matter you usually hire an attorney soon after the collision/incident. Again, usually the victim of the car accident/personal injury is continuing to go to the doctor and the true extent of the injuries are not known (i.e. residual pain, whether bones completely heal or whether other future treatment is needed). When a victim hires a lawyer this does NOT mean that a lawsuit has been filed.
In Wisconsin, a lawsuit is filed when a Summons and Complaint are filed with a County’s Clerk of Courts. Along with the Summons and Complaint a fee, set by the county, must be paid. After the Summons and Complaint are filed and the fee is paid these documents must be served on the defendant(s). From the date of this filing, depending on the County, it may take up to 1-2 years before the victim of a car accident’s case is decided by a jury.
When a lawsuit is filed a Judge is assigned to the case. One of the first things the Judge will do is schedule a hearing date to set the Schedule for the case. At this point the Judge and Attorneys set deadlines for witnesses, depositions, expert doctor reports and motions. (If a lawsuit were filed immediately after a collision it may be difficult to make sure that the injured victim gets full compensation allowed by law for all of his/her injuries given the Schedule set by the Judge. In addition, once the lawsuit is filed the costs of the case can increase drastically.)
The odds of a personal injury victim having to file suit are low. On average, maybe 90% of personal injury cases that I have handled settle before having to file a lawsuit.
In the end, that may be the benefit of hiring a lawyer. You’ll have someone fighting for you from day to ensure you get the compensation that Wisconsin Law allows. If need be you’ll have an advocate in court. But, the odds are that the lawyer will help you avoid going to court to get compensation for your personal injuries.
Tags: auto insurance med pay, car accident, health insurance, Lien, motor vehicle collision, motorcycle accident, personal injury, Subrogation, truck accident
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The easy answer is: call your attorney as soon as you receive any documents from your health insurance, auto insurance or any government insurance (e.g. Medicaid or Medicare).
When someone is involved in an auto accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, truck accident or any personal injury for that matter their health insurance or auto insurance (med pay policy) will most likely have the right to get paid back from the at fault party.
The best I can describe it is: Let’s say you are driving your car and a tree suddenly falls onto the road in front of you. You hit the tree and are injured. No one is at fault for the collision. Your auto insurance policy (med pay) and health insurance will pay for the medical care. They don’t expect anyone to pay them back. (You can only sue God on shows like Ally McBeal or Boston Legal).
On the other hand if you are driving a car and are rear ended by someone else then someone IS at fault. The at-fault driver is responsible to pay your medical expenses (also see What is My Case Worth).
Your health insurance or auto insurance (med pay policy) will pay the bills as they come due. Your policy most likely says that they have a contractual duty to pay them. But, your policy also probably says that they will pay with the understanding that once you obtain a recovery from the at-fault party you will pay health insurance or your auto insurance’s med pay back.
In essence, they pay the bills so you can get the care you need. They pay the bills so the doctors don’t come after you directly. They pay the bills and then send “reminder letters” called Lien Letters or Subrogated Party letters to remind everyone that once the case is settled they want to get paid back.
I strongly encourage all of my clients to submit their bills to their health insurance first. Then, if they have co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses submit these amounts to their auto insurance (med pay).
You are probably wondering why the at-fault party doesn’t pay your medical expenses right away. Good question. I’ll discuss this later on. The short answer is that the at-fault party in a collision won’t pay until they receive re-assurance that they will never have to pay again (i.e. a signed release from the injured party). The at-fault insurance company almost never pays what they are responsible to pay until you are totally done treating. See my other entry about making sure the at-fault party pays what the laws says they must pay.
Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Beloit, Marinette, Racine, Manitowoc and Wausaukee.