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Scary Research About Teens and Texting While Driving June 14, 2012

Posted by Andrew Christman in Drunk Driving, FAQ Personal Injury, Milwaukee Litigation Attorney, Milwaukee Personal Injury Attorney, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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New research released by State Farm Insurance shows that teen may not be getting the message about the dangers of texting and driving.  Some of the figures produced by this survey are quite shocking.  Notably, over half of teens with their license, 57% to be exact, admit to text messaging while driving.  The survey produced by State Farm also makes comparisons between teens views on texting while driving and drinking and driving.  While 83% of teens think they are likely to be in an accident if they regularly drink and drive, only 63% of teens believe they are likely to be involved in an accident if they regularly text while driving.  The study also shows a link between parents who regularly talk to their children about safe driving.  Of teens who responded that they never texted and drove, 82% said their regularly talked to their parents about safe driving.  Of teens that reported that they do text while driving, only 67% reported talking to their parents regularly about safe driving.

Texting and driving became illegal in Wisconsin in 2010 with the passage of Wisconsin Statute 346.89.  The risk of getting a ticket, however, is nothing compared to the safety risk that texting and driving creates.  Text messaging while driving is an extremely dangerous action both the person doing it and those around him or her.

If you have been the victim of an inattentive driver or have been injured in an automobile accident in the Milwaukee area or any other area in Wisconsin and are in need of a personal injury attorney, contact Groth Law Firm S.C.

New Wisconsin Auto Insurance Law June 9, 2010

Posted by Andrew Christman in FAQ Personal Injury, Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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As of June 1, 2010, auto insurance is now mandatory for all car owners in Wisconsin.  The law requires minimum coverage of $50,000 for the injury or death of one person, $100,000 for the injury or death of two or more people and $15,000 for property damage.  Drivers that do not have insurance can be fined up to $500.

The law requires that drives keep proof of their insurance information in the car.  Police officers can request proof of insurance at traffic stops and accidents.  Failure to provide this proof of insurance can result in a fine of $10.

The law also requires uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage each with minimum limits of $100,000/$300,000 for bodily injury coverage.

More information on the new insurance laws can be found at the websites for the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles.

Feel free to contact Groth Law Firm, S.C. if you have any questions or would like to discuss your need for a personal injury attorney.  Groth Law Firm, S.C. has offices to meet with clients in Brookfield, Milwaukee, Green Bay and Marinette.

I Never Think “Mild” When I Think of Brain Injuries March 4, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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But, we have to be able to describe the different degrees of all injuries.  So, “mild” will have to do.

Anyway, Medical Legal Art has a well researched and informative post about car accidents and damage to a victim’s brain.

In most cases, no evidence of injury will show up on CT or MRI scans unless this injury results in hemorrhage from contusions or vascular injury. Usually, the injury is microscopic occurring to individual cells or clusters of cells. This is where axonal shearing comes into the conversation. The movement of the brain within the skull can cause disruption of the various nerve cells (neurons) that make up the brain tissue. These injuries to the neurons, and particularly to the long vulnerable axon portions of the neurons, are called axonal shearing or shear injuries.

Low velocity, rear end collisions are some of the toughest for any attorney to prove the relatedness of injuries.  I’ve used Medical Legal Art in the past and have found their work to be extremely helpful.  Simply because a picture is worth a thousand words.

Injury at Work January 8, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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I was asked recently about a worker’s compensation question.  For full disclosure I handle only workplace injuries against third parties.  For example, if you are driving a work vehicle and involved in a car accident I would help you obtain compensation for pain and suffering, mileage to the doctor, doctors bills, property damage, rental vehicle and lost wages etc. This claim is against the at fault driver, i.e. the third party.

In addition to the claim against the at fault driver the injured person has a claim with workers compensation insurance.  These types of claims are called first party claims.  I don’t handle these.  But, I work with attorneys across Wisconsin who do a great job.

Anyway, the question was whether an employer can force an employee to sign a contract to waive any worker’s compensation benefits.

This is what I found from Wisconsin’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance:

An employer subject to the Act may not withhold or
collect any money from employees or any other
person, including independent contractors and
subcontractors, to pay for worker’s compensation
insurance. To do so is illegal. Also, no agreement by
an employee waiving rights to compensation is valid
.
[s. 102.16 (3) and 102.16 (5), Wis. Stat.]

I hope this answers your question!

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Wauwatosa, West AllisSheboygan,  Plymouth,  and Germantown.

If you’d like to submit a question or case please complete a case submission form.

Statistically Safer December 16, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Motorcycle Collisions, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration traffic fatalities in 2008 are down 10 percent.  This is compared to the same period in 2007.  So, Americans were less likely to be killed on the road in 2008 as compared to 2007.

The NHTSA discussed the number of people killed in vehicle accidents:

August is the month with the highest fatalities (3,612), while March has the lowest fatalities (2,804) during the ten months. When compared to the corresponding months in 2007, the estimates each month reflect a downward trend. While fatalities fell by 2.5 percent in February and 1 percent in August, there were much more significant declines March through July, Septem-ber, and October.
 

 

I can’t comment on the relationship of the statistics, but the NHTSA also discusses how helmet use and seat belt use were up in 2008 as compared to 2007.

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in West AllisSheboygan,  Plymouth,  and  Germantown.

If you’d like to submit a question or case please complete a case submission form.

16 Too Many December 4, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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Yes, I live in Wisconsin.  Yes, we get snow…sometimes lots-o-snow.  Yes, people are involved in car accidents because of the snow.  But, 16 in one morning?!?  Come on Wisconsin!  We are better drivers that that!

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that there were two serious injuries:

A 34-year-old West Allis woman is in critical condition after a two-vehicle car crash this morning on National Ave. near Oakdale Drive in the Town of Vernon, Waukesha County Sheriff’s Capt. Karen Ruff said.

“The roads were very icy,” Ruff said. The sun was shining so ice was melting, but it was also cold enough that there were still icy spots, she said. Some of the crashes on I-94 may also have been caused by people watching other crashes or following too close, she said.

These car accidents occurred during a 90 minute span.   Be careful Wisconsin!

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Milwaukee, West Bend, New Berlin and Wauwatosa.

Click here to submit a Case or Question.

Worse than Drunk Driving? November 27, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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According to a recent story by Milwaukee’s ABC affiliate teens who drive while texting have a reaction time that is worse than those who are under the influence of alcohol or marijuana:

A study found that reaction time for teens who text as they drive slows by 35 percent, which is worse than if they were under the influence of alcohol or marijuana.

According to the report 46% of teens admit to driving while texting.  Knowing teens, because I was one once, my guess is that number is low.

Senator Lasee will introduce a bill in January 2009 calling for fines for offenders and even jail time if someone dies because of a texting driver. This legislation failed last year.

Teen drivers need to consider the consequences of their actions.  Depending on the facts of the collision I don’t think verdicts including punitive damages against texting drivers are too far in the future.

Wisconsin’s Punitive Damages law states at Section 895.85 Wis. Stats.:

“The plaintiff may receive punitive damages if evidence is submitted showing that the defendant acted maliciously toward the plaintiff or in an intentional disregard of the rights of the plaintiff.”

How does this apply to teens who text?  Well, if a teen knows of the dangers of texting or has had near misses or accidents while texting then punitive damages may be possible under Wisconsin law.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court stated:

We conclude that the statute’s requirement that the defendant act ‘in an intentional disregard of the rights of the plaintiff’ necessitates that the defendant act with a purpose to disregard the plaintiff’s rights or be aware that his or her conduct is substantially certain to result in the plaintiff’s rights being disregarded.”

Parents watch your kids.  American Family offers a teen safe driver program.  More about this later.

www.jonpgroth.com

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Milwaukee, West Bend, New Berlin and Wauwatosa.

Click here to submit a Case or Question.

The Safe Cars of 2009 November 25, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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In short, don’t buy a Chrysler. 

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety released it’s safe cars list.   Ford (including its Volvo subsidiary) topped the list with 16 vehicles.  Honda came in second with 13 vehicles.

Why do I say don’t buy a Chrysler.  Well, Chrysler didn’t win any awards.  None.   

The story that I link to above states:

Seventy-two cars, trucks and SUVs received the top safety pick designation for the 2009 model year, more than double the number of vehicles in 2008 and three times the number in 2007.

“No matter what kind of vehicle buyers may be considering, now they can walk into just about any dealership and find one that affords the best overall protection in serious crashes,” said Institute president Adrian Lund.

But when it comes to Chrysler:

IIHSsaid Chrysler LLC was the only major automaker that did not receive a single award. They said Chrysler could have picked up five awards if the head restraints had been improved.

I may be a little biased against Chrysler.  My Dad owned a K car in the ’80s.  He didn’t like it.  I think he didn’t like it so much that I’ve been tainted. 

For full disclosure I own a Ford and Saab.

www.jonpgroth.com

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Fond du lac, West Bend, Kenosha and Wauwatosa.

Click here to submit a Case or Question.

Who Is Responsible for Little Jimmy? November 20, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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So, who should you sue if a minor caused a collision?  Well, according to Wisconsin law Section 343.15(2)(b)

(b) Any negligence or willful misconduct of a person under the age of 18 years when operating a motor vehicle upon the highways is imputed to the parents where both have custody and either parent signed as sponsor, otherwise, it is imputed to the adult sponsor who signed the application for such person’s license. The parents or the adult sponsor is jointly and severally liable with such operator for any damages caused by such negligent or willful misconduct.

What does this mean?  If anyone under the age of 18 causes a car accident a plaintiff in Wisconsin should first worry about finding an insurance company to name in the Summons and Complaint.  Then name the negligent child along with both parents.  Leave enough time in before the statute of limitations runs to allow for discovery to know exactly who are the “proper” parents or sponsor per statute.

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in West AllisSheboygan,  Plymouth,  and  Germantown.

If you’d like to submit a question or case please complete a case submission form.

Update on Cimermancic September 30, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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A while ago I posted about a young man who had a long history of Operating After Revocation and drunk driving.  While driving drunk (BAC .168) he drove the wrong way on the highway and hit my client head on. 

He was sentenced by Judge Mac Davis last week, September 26, 2008.  The sentence included one year in jail with work release privileges and 5 years probation.

The Journal Sentinel sent a reporter to the sentencing hearing:

Driver gets one year in wrong-way crash

Waukesha — A Richfield man who was intoxicated on Jan. 8 when he drove the wrong way on Highway 41/45 and collided head-on with another vehicle, seriously injuring the driver of that car, has been sentenced to one year in jail with work release privileges.

John D. Cimermancic, 26, pleaded guilty in July to injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle and was sentenced Friday by Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis.

According to the criminal complaint, the crash occurred about 11:40 p.m. Jan. 8 on Highway 41/45 at County Line Road in Menomonee Falls.

Two vehicles crashed head-on in the northbound lanes of the highway.

What the Journal Sentinel didn’t report was some outrageous comments by John Cimermancic’s attorney.   This attorney said he didn’t believe that prison does much as a deterrent.  I just don’t get this comment.  Look at Mark Benson for example.  He wasn’t supposed to be on the road.  His license was revoked.  That didn’t stop him from driving?   If he was in prison would we be talking about how he killed a mother and her kids? 

The same goes for this case.  John Cimermancic should NOT have been on the road.  He didn’t have a license and didn’t own a car.  He borrowed his girlfriend’s car and got drunk and drove the wrong way on the highway.  Prison is a deterrent in the sense that it takes a multiple drunk driver off of the road.  That in itself deters drunk driving.  It should be said that in September of 2007 John Cimermancic was charged with drunk driving.

Judge Davis was thoughtful and, at least it appeared to me, that he was concerned about the victim in this case.  He said that impact on the victim is very substantial and that nothing we can do will make the victim whole.  Judge Davis disagreed with Cimermancic’s attorney, saying there is more protection of the public if the defendant is in prison. 

But Judge Davis points out, if Cimermancic is out working there is the potential for the victim to be compensated sooner rather than later.   

Cimermancic is now a felon.  He can’t vote.  Can’t own a gun.  Must maintain sobriety.  Must attend AA or some other program.  Must maintain full time employment.  Loses his driver’s license for 2 years.  And he must pay restitution starting immediately.

As a father I feel badly for the family of the John Cimermancic.  He was pretty badly injured also.  He is an Iraq war veteran.  He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.   According to Judge Davis he has a better chance of successful rehabilitation because of his family support. 

All in all this is a terrible situation. Was the Judge’s decision on sentencing correct?  Let me think about it.  Ask me when my kids turn 16. I’m sure I’ll have a different opinion then.  

www.jonpgroth.com

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Kansasville, Marinette, Milton and Wauwatosa.

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