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Wisconsin Texting While Driving January 29, 2010

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Motorcycle Collisions, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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In my latest post I talked about my last trial. In that trial I had to subpoena the defendant driver’s cell phone records. With the rise of collisions because of a texting or distracted driver this is something that every attorney really needs to consider doing.

Nowadays many injured car accident victims say that the other driver was on the phone or somehow distracted. It is very important that the at fault driver’s cell phone records are subpoenaed early on in the process. Luckily I did just that in this last case. I learned that certain cell phone providers purge their records after a period of time.

Before you hire a personal injury attorney be sure to interview them about their experience using cell phone records at trial and how (and when) they will go about obtaining the cell phone/texting records.

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Uninsured Motorist In Wisconsin November 9, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Motorcycle Collisions, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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What happens if you are involved in an auto accident and the at fault person says they have no insurance.  How do you know if they are lying?

One of the “tricks of the trade” is using the State’s resources and power to pull the at fault driver’s license for a year or until payment of damages is made.

The form that is sometimes used is t342.   I suggest you call the Wisconsin DMV or a person injury attorney with any questions about what to do when confronted with this situation.

Rotator Cuff Injury June 18, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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“Rotator Cuff Injury”

I think this is a phrase that is pretty widely used.  We often hear  announcers talk about a rotator cuff injury during a football game.  It’s pretty common.  But, this phrase is so widely used that it may not be completely understood.  Everyone assumes that everyone else knows what it means.

Well, the Doe Report has some medical illustrations of  a shoulder and rotator cuff.  Take the opportunity to look it over.   It is pretty interesting stuff.

Personal injury attorneys use these types of illustrations often to help teach juries about the objective findings of injury.  People can talk and talk but looking at picture often makes the information sink in.

Timely Payment of Claims June 5, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Dog Attack Information, FAQ Personal Injury, Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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There are a ton of laws.  That may be the biggest understatement I’ve ever written.

I mention this because it’s a reason to hire an attorney.  How many people have heard of the “Timely Payment of Claims” Statute.  It’s Section 628.46 of Wisconsin’s Statutes.  It applies to first party insurance payments and also third party insurance payments.  So, if you are injured by someone without insurance and you file an uninsured motorist claim this statute applies.   Because of the “recent” Kontowicz case it applies to claims against an at fault insurance company also.

Attorneys for injured people can push insurance companies to review and make offers to settle cases within 30 days of receiving all of the documents related to an injury.  If the insurance company drags its feet it may be subject to 12% interest.  Or, if the insurance company agrees to that a portion of an injury is definitely related to an accident that insurance company, under the statute, should pay the undisputed amount asap.

For your information the statutes says:

(1) Unless otherwise provided by law, an insurer shall promptly pay every insurance claim. A claim shall be overdue if not paid within 30 days after the insurer is furnished written notice of the fact of a covered loss and of the amount of the loss. If such written notice is not furnished to the insurer as to the entire claim, any partial amount supported by written notice is overdue if not paid within 30 days after such written notice is furnished to the insurer. Any part or all of the remainder of the claim that is subsequently supported by written notice is overdue if not paid within 30 days after written notice is furnished to the insurer. Any payment shall not be deemed overdue when the insurer has reasonable proof to establish that the insurer is not responsible for the payment, notwithstanding that written notice has been furnished to the insurer… All overdue payments shall bear simple interest at the rate of 12% per year.


Civil Justice In Wisconsin April 21, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Drunk Driving, FAQ Personal Injury, Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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I’ll write more about this in coming days but I wanted to link to this “Fact Book” published by The University of Wisconsin Law School.  

Below is the “Foreword” from the Fact Book:

Our civil justice system has always been a matter of intense public interest, from television drama to newspaper editorial pages. To some, trial lawyers are the champions of the underprivileged and downtrodden; to others, they are a threat to the state’s business climate. All too often, these impressions are shaped by the attention paid to a single sensational case, severed from the context of the hundreds or thousands of other disputes that people regularly look to our court system to resolve. In the interest of shifting the focus to that broader context, two of our faculty members volunteered to gather the data and provide the commentary that forms this booklet. Their goal was to provide an objective picture of the civil justice system in Wisconsin, focusing on the basic facts about the state’s civil courts and the litigation in them and comparing it with the situation in neighboring states. The authors need little introduction to those familiar with civil litigation and the court system. Marc Galanter is the John and Rylla Bosshard Professor of Law Emeritus, and an internationally recognized expert on trends in civil litigation. Susan Steingass recently retired from her position as the Director of the Law School’s Communication and Advocacy Program. She brings to the project her substantial experience as a former trial judge, state bar president, and litigator with a long career of representing both plaintiffs and defendants in civil litigation. Some readers may well be surprised by some of the statistics that follow. Other readers with a particular stake in the civil justice debate may wonder if this project is an effort to advocate for one position over another.  I can assure you that this is neither the project’s intent nor, in my opinion, its effect. Open debate on issues of consequence to our state and nation is one of the hallmarks of our Law School’s educational tradition. This booklet reminds us that collecting the best available information provides a platform for such a debate and leads to the process of finding the best possible solutions to the issues. On behalf of the Law School, I wish to acknowledge and thank the authors and the law students who worked with them for their important contribution to the ongoing discussion of the civil justice system.

Kenneth B. Davis, Jr.

Fred W. & Vi Miller Deanship

University of Wisconsin Law School

You can order the Civil Justice in Wisconsin book at the UW Law School’s website.  It is a good read and I’ll have comments in the coming days.

Settlement Help April 17, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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When settling a case for a minor it is extremely important that the money is going to actually be there for the minor.  Seems pretty obvious.  In Wisconsin, courts must usually be involved in approving a settlement for a minor.  It’s the governments way of protecting a minor from him or herself, the parents and unscrupulous attorneys.

If I settle a case for a 10 year old what happens 8 years from now, 10 years from now 15 years from now?  What happens to the money in the eight years before the kid turns 18.  Look what happened last year.  If the money was put in the stock market the child may not have as much as awarded in the initial settlement or verdict.

It is the gaurdian ad litem’s (the attorney responsible for advising a Judge as to the appropriateness of a settlement for a minor or “incompetent” victim) job to make sure a victim’s compensation is an appropriate amount and is secure at the outset so it doesn’t get squandered.  The gaurdian ad litem recommends certain terms to the court for approval.  But, attorneys can’t know everything about the financial world.  I certainly don’t.

That is where a structured settlement expert comes into the picture.  This article is about Chuck Derenne of Wisconsin.  I’ve worked with Chuck a lot over the past 9 years.  He is a valuable asset for attorneys who help victims.  If you’d like more information about Chuck give me a call and I can put you in touch with him.

If you have questions about a structured settlements in Wisconsin feel free to contact me.  I’d be happy to discuss your situation.

www.jonpgroth.com

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Amberg, Janesville, Sheboygan and Wauwatosa.

Soft Tissue Explanations April 16, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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Once again I think you’ll get some valuable knowledge out of reading Medical Legal Art’s blog.  This month’s topic is “Soft Tissue Injuries.”

I think it is safe to say that most people involved in car accidents suffer from these injuries.  Many times they go away in a matter of weeks or months.  Other times it takes a lot longer.  It really depends on the person.

Benjamin Broome, M.A. has a good diagram and discussion of what he has found in dealing with attorneys who litigate these cases.

I pretty much agree that there are important points to make in a soft tissue car accident injury case.  Mr. Broome writes:

First it is important to explain that soft tissues all have microscopic sensory nerves that run through them. Next, it can be understood that the swelling and disruption of the soft tissues immediately following an injury put pressure on these nerves resulting in the pain that we all feel for a few days after an injury. Finally, it should be shown that in these more severe cases, microscopic scar tissue can build up within the soft tissues continuing to distort the nerves, causing pain, even after the swelling of the initial injury has subsided. This scar tissue and the resulting sensory nerve disruption is the physical source of the permanent pain in most of these soft tissue cases.

Unlike a case were someone breaks a bone or tears a ligament there really isn’t any easy way to see the injury.  Identifying a broken bone on an X-Ray is almost common knowledge.  Ask someone to identify “straightening of the lordosis” and they may ask whether you’re talking about Star Wars or Star Trek.

Anyway, it is a quick read and informative.  I’ve used Medical Legal Art’s diagrams in many of my trials.   A picture is worth a thousand words.

If you have questions about an accident where you suffered a soft tissue injury in Wisconsin feel free to contact me.  I’d be happy to discuss your situation.

www.jonpgroth.com

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Jackson, Kenosha, Sheboygan and Wauwatosa.

What to Expect April 7, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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A lot of my client come to me asking about Chiropractic care.  I see a lot of people who suffer from whiplash after an auto accident.  Logically, Chiropractic care is one of the first things that comes to mind.

Before you see a Doctor of Chiropractic it is important to know what to expect.  Doctor Rada of Apple Chiropractic and Rehab Clinic is a good friend and my clients have always spoke highly of her.

Dr. Rada’s website has some good recommendations:

Since chiropractic care involves a series of visits, with each one building on the ones before, it’s important that our relationship can go the distance. We’ve found that one of the best ways to have successful patient relationships is to explain everything in advance. No surprises!

The more you understand who we are, what we do and why we do it, the better results you’ll enjoy. It’s as simple as that.

So, check us out here. Poke around. Get to know us. Then, contact us to make an appointment so we can get to know you.

  • First Visit. To find out if we can help you, we ask questions and listen.
  • Second Visit. We’ll report what we found and answer all your questions.
  • Regular Visit. A typical visit will be much shorter, but just as importan

    What If The Police Gave Everyone A Ticket? April 6, 2009

    Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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    Phil Berenz of www.counseloroffices.net (an Illinois Attorney) wrote a good blog post on what happens when the injured party who was not a majority at fault receives a ticket.  I get this question a lot.  Let’s say the police give tickets to both drivers who are involved in an auto accident.  In Wisconsin this fact is NOT admissible at trial.  The jury isn’t going to hear about the tickets.  Why?  Because it is up for the Jury to decide negligence, period.  The fact that a police officer gave a ticket may influence the jury one way or another.  So, a judge won’t allow the parties or police officer to talk about tickets.

    Check out Phil’s blog. He is a good guy and good attorney.  Here is his opinion on Illinois’ trial practice.

    Many individuals who are in accidents often ask me whether the jury will hear that the defendant received a ticket in relation to the accident. They would love for the jury to hear that! They are often surprised to hear me say “absolutely not.” In fact, I tell them that the Judge–prior to the trial even beginning–makes decisions on whether such issues will ever be heard by the jury. These decisions by the Judge are based on what are known as “Motions in Limine.” Motions in Limine are specific requests brought by both parties to prevent the mention of, question of, reference to, inquiry of, suggestion of–directly or indirectly–certain evidentiary issues. The rationale for excluding certain issues such as traffic tickets is, among other reasons, to prevent unfair prejudice to a party. Defendants routinely demand that evidence of traffic tickets be excluded from admissibility before the jury unless, generally speaking, a proper foundation is made as to a defendant pleading guilty (as opposed to being found guilty) and a certified copy of the guilty plea being made available at trial time. Even then, there is no guarantee a Judge will allow a guilty plea to a traffic ticket to be heard by the jury depending upon the specific circumstances of the situation. If the Judge rules that no evidence of traffic tickets will be admissible and a plaintiff (or his attorney or potentially other witnesses) mentions the ticket, the defendant’s attorney will most likely move for an immediate mistrial!

    If you have questions about an accident where you were not at fault but received a ticket or whether someone is simply “at fault” in Wisconsin feel free to contact me.  I’d be happy to discuss your situation.

    www.jonpgroth.com

    Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Wausaukee, Kenosha,  Janesville and Wauwatosa.

    Part Two: Speed Defeats Right of Way April 2, 2009

    Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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    Matt made a great comment about my earlier post.   I found a jury instruction (Wis JI-Civil 1157 Right of Way: At intersection of Highways; Ultimate Verdict Question) and Wis. Stats. Section 346.18 to support my position:

    Another safety statute provides that the operator of any vehicle operating at an unlawful speed on a highway is negligent and forfeits any right of way which he would otherwise have.  Thus, before you can find negligence for failure to yield the right of way, you must first find that the vehicle on thh right was being operated at a lawful speed.

    So, the question is for the jury.  The above paragraph is read by a Judge to the Jury before they begin to deliberate on who was at fault.   I assume a jury would be lenient on a person going 46 in a 45 compared to someone going 70 in a 45.

    As to Matt’s question regarding the Governor’s budget.  I have to plead ignorance.  All I know is what Belling and Sykes have said.  I have to read the budget myself before I jump into that battle.

    Thanks again for the comment Matt!