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The Snow is Coming!!! Winter Driving Survival Kit November 7, 2011

Posted by Andrew Christman in Milwaukee Personal Injury Attorney, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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Winter driving can be tricky, especially in Wisconsin.  Make sure to drive more slowly and leave more room between cars when driving in the winter to reduce the risk that you will be in an accident.  Some winter driving emergencies are unavoidable.  If you are in an emergency situation, it is important that you are prepared.  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has created instructions for how you can make a winter driving survival kit to help keep you safe.

You easily can equip your vehicle with essential survival gear for winter. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A 2 or 3 pound metal coffee can (punch 3 holes at the top of can, equal distance apart). You’ll be storing the other items inside the can.
  • 60-inch length of twine or heavy string (cut into 3 equal pieces – used to suspend can).
  • 3 large safety pins (tie string to safety pins and pin to car roof interior to suspend can over candle).
  • 1 candle 2″ diameter (place on lid under suspended can for melting snow).
  • 1 pocket knife, reasonably sharp (or substitute with scissors).
  • 3 pieces of bright cloth 2″ wide x 36″ long (tie to antenna or door handle).
  • Several packets of soup, hot chocolate, tea, bouillon cubes, etc. (mixed into melted snow to provide warmth and nutrition).
  • Plastic spoon.
  • 1 small package of peanuts and/or a couple protein/energy bars, some dried fruit (such as dried cranberries, which come in nicely sealed snack packs), and even a little chocolate, to provide you with some energy or comfort in stressful times.
  • 1 pair of socks and 1 pair of gloves or glove liners, depending on what will fit in the can (cotton is not recommended because it provides no insulation when wet).
  • 2 packages of book matches.
  • 1 sun shield blanket or 2 large green or black plastic leaf bags (to reflect body heat).
  • 1 pen light and batteries (keep separate).

When complete, place stocking cap over kit and carry in passenger compartment of car. If you have a 3 pound can, you will still have additional room for band-aids, aspirin, small radio, etc. If there is still room left, increase the quantity of any of the above items or improvise items you feel might be necessary.

Other items you may want to keep in the vehicle:

  • A charged cell phone.
  • Large plastic garbage bag.
  • Pencil stub and paper.
  • Plastic whistle.

You may want to keep the survival kit in the passenger compartment in case you go into a ditch and can’t get to or open the trunk.

 

Thanks to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for this useful information.

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Don’t Spill Your HOT COFFEE! October 27, 2011

Posted by Andrew Christman in FAQ Personal Injury, Milwaukee Litigation Attorney, Milwaukee Personal Injury Attorney, Personal Injury Law.
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HBO has produced a new documentary that aired entitled “Hot Coffee.”  This film discusses the now infamous case of Liebeck v. McDonald’s in which a woman spilled coffee on herself and was eventually awarded millions of dollars in compensation.  The case has become a sticking point for those in favor in tort reform and has been hoisted up as an example greedy people taking advantage of the legal system in our overly litigious society by businesses and insurance companies.  The documentary explores whether or not the reputation this case holds is fair and exposes how the case has been twisted to make it seem like and over the top award.  “Hot Coffee” is a compelling film and has already won numerous film awards.  Two trailers and more information for the film can be found at the website: www.hotcoffeethemovie.com.

Groth Law Firm Featured in Brookfield Now Newspaper October 25, 2011

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Milwaukee Litigation Attorney, Milwaukee Personal Injury Attorney, Personal Groth, Personal Injury Law.
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Thanks to reporter Aaron Martin for this nice story about our firm:

You won’t see attorney Jon Groth touting his expertise in personal injury lawsuits in television commercials with celebrities standing at his side.

Still, the Milwaukee native’s reputation and knack for litigating intricate cases has brought growth to the law firm he started last year with his wife, Erin.

In nine short months, Groth hired four full-time employees and moved from one basement office to another basement office before settling into his new Bluemound Road location (with windows, he notes) in September.

It’s rare for start-up businesses to see that kind of growth, but perhaps even more rare in the world of personal injury litigation, where revenue comes in the form of contingency fees from settling sometimes lengthy cases.

“You might not get a settlement for two or three years, and all the while we are fronting all the costs for that client,” he said. “The growth plan was to wait until we had some money and then move on, but in the first nine months we have been swamped with new clients and new cases.”

After graduating from Marquette Law School in 2000, Groth developed a talent for handling complicated cases while working for law firms in Milwaukee and Chicago.

“Cases that other attorneys can’t or won’t handle, they refer them over to us,” he said.

Much of Groth’s caseload has come from referrals, but he’s also among the most-reviewed personal injury attorneys in the state on websites.

That has become a recipe for fast success.

“This is where we thought we would be in five years,” he said. “We didn’t expect it to happen this fast at all.”

Modification to the Direct Action Law in Wisconsin October 25, 2011

Posted by Andrew Christman in FAQ Personal Injury, Milwaukee Litigation Attorney, Milwaukee Personal Injury Attorney, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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In May of last year I wrote a blog post about the direct action statute in Wisconsin. This is the law that allows an injured party to sue the insurance company of the at fault party directly. The Supreme Court has recently modified this law in its decision in Casper v. American International South Insurance. There was previously case law in Wisconsin that said in order for the direct action statute to apply, the insurance policy must have been delivered or issued in Wisconsin. In the Casper case, the Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously overturned this case law now stating that for direct action to apply the subject injury need only take place in Wisconsin. In Casper, an automobile accident, the at fault driver was operating a truck as part of his job duties. The insurance policy covering the employer was issued out of state. More information about the case can be found at the State Bar of Wisconsin website.

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.

Attorney Jon Groth To Speak at the WSSFC.ORG October 24, 2011

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Milwaukee Personal Injury Attorney, Personal Injury Law.
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Attorney Jon Groth will be speaking at the 2011 Wisconsin Solo and Small Firm Conference at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI. The Saturday presentation is entitled, “All That’s New With Personal Injury Thanks To The Recent Legislative Session.” see www.wssfc.org

New Study On Driving Under the Influence July 28, 2011

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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On Saturday, USA Today posted this article about new research from the University of California – San Diego, that says even one alcoholic beverage can increase the likelihood of a driver being involved in a serious collision. The study found that drivers with a small amount of alcohol in their system, an amount under the legal limit for driving, had accidents on average that were 36.6% more serious than sober drivers. While it is extremely unlikely that a single drink would cause a person’s blood alcohol level to climb above the legal limit of .08 thus subjecting the driver to possible charges for driving under the influence, a single drink can influence a drivers concentration, and speed of travel. The study showed that drivers that had consumed alcohol were more likely to drive over the speed limit than those drivers who had not consumed alcohol.

Please remember to always drink responsibly and never to drive under the influence. If you have been injured in an automobile accident by a driver under the influence please contact Attorney Jonathan P. Groth at 877-375-7001. Groth Law Firm, S.C. has offices to meet with clients in Wauwatosa, Brookfield, Milwaukee, Green Bay and Marinette.

Attorney Groth Named to Top 100 Trial Lawyers – Wisconsin July 26, 2011

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Groth, Personal Injury Law.
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Thanks to the National Trial Lawyers Association for honoring Attorney Jon Groth of Groth Law Firm, S.C. as one of Wisconsin’s top 100 Trial Lawyers.  The National Trial Lawyers Association consists of attorneys from across the United States:

The National Trial Lawyers is a national organization composed of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers from each state. Membership is obtained through special invitation and is extended only to those attorneys who exemplify superior qualifications, leadership, reputation, influence, stature, and profile as trial lawyers, both civil plaintiff and criminal defense.

It is the mission of The National Trial Lawyers to provide news, information, and education to attorneys who practice or have an interest in trial work, including civil plaintiff and criminal defense law.

The National Trial Lawyers is a professional and business organization designed to provide high quality, relevant, and innovative legal programs which are essential in dealing with current issues facing the trial lawyer.

 

Wisconsin Personal Injury Settlements for Minors March 21, 2011

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Milwaukee Litigation Attorney, Milwaukee Personal Injury Attorney, Personal Groth, Personal Injury Law.
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Under Wisconsin law settlements for a minor may not be enforced without the appointment of a guardian ad litem and the approval of the court.  Supreme Court Justice Gordon put it best when he said “we are aware that settlements are sometimes made in cases involving the claims of minors wherein releases are taken from the parent, but court approval is not sought.  This practice is ordinarily found only in cases in which the injuries are modest and the settlement is correspondingly small.  Since it is clear that a minor cannot be bound by an extra judicial settlement, a calculated risk is taken in striking a bargain without the benefit of judicial approval.”  In re: Matter of Lee O. Anderson, minor, et al. v. Mutual Service Casualty Insurance, 17 Wis.2d 380, 382, 117 N.W.2d 360, 361 (1962).  In Anderson a minor child was represented by an attorney at a summit hearing at which a settlement was approved in the Circuit Court of Douglas County.  The minor settlement took place without there having been a guardian ad litem appointed.  The Supreme Court held that even though an attorney had represented the minor, the settlement was not valid because a guardian ad litem had not been appointed for the benefit of the child.  The court went on to say that “the legislature has wisely directed a guardian ad litem be appointed for a minor who does not have a general guardian.  This is a desirable way of assuring that in every case the infant’s rights will be fully protected.”  See Id.  The logic behind the legislature’s actions is strongly in favor of protecting a minor.

The most common situations in which minor settlements are needed is that of a motor vehicle accident or dog bite case where a minor was injured and the insurance company asks for a minor settlement hearing.  Because it is the insurance company’s neck that is on the line, it is their prerogative to ask for a minor settlement hearing.  Again, they assume the risk set forth in Anderson.

When a settlement has been reached involving a minor and the insurance company requires the settlement to be approved by a circuit court the ball is usually in the attorney’s court to get the settlement approved.  It is important to ask the insurance company to pay for the filing fee for the petition for approval.  These fees change from county to county but they are usually approximately $155.00.  The documents filed with the court are pretty standard.  If you don’t have copies of these documents, please feel free to contact me and I will e-mail them to you.  My standard letter to the Clerk of Circuit Courts in the county where the injury occurred encloses an original (1) Petition for Approval of Minor Settlement, (2) Affidavit from the attorney in support of the Petition, and (3) an original and a copy of an Order for Approval of the Minor Settlement.  I always ask the clerk to contact me if a settlement hearing is not necessary.  Sometimes the court will review the petition, pictures, medical records and bills or any other documents attached and sign the Order and forward it back.  That’s why it’s important to ask to avoid the extra expense of court time.  Be sure to call the court about a week after sending the documents just to make sure that the court understands the matter and to explain why you think the matter needs to have a hearing or whether you would like the court to read the documents and approve it without a hearing.  If the court requires a hearing, then it is very important to have the client present along with the client’s parents or legal guardian.  When it comes to people present at the hearing, the more the merrier.  If father and mother are divorced and both have custody of the child I strongly encourage both parents to attend the hearing.  The last thing we need is a battle after the fact if only one parent came.  Also, you don’t want that embarrassing question from the judge about why only one parent is in attendance.  If because of work or other conflict only one parent can attend, it is a good idea to get a written consent by the absent parent and bring that with you so the court is aware that the other parent has read through the documents and consents to the approval of the minor settlement.

Minor settlement hearings themselves don’t change much injury to injury.  Hopefully the judge you are appearing before will have enough time on his or her calendar to make the child feel at home.  I have had judges allow the child to play with the gavel and ask questions of anyone on the judge’s staff.  Court reporters seem to get the most questions.

The purpose behind a hearing is to make sure that everyone is aware of the ramifications of the settlement.  Evidence needs to be presented so that the court is aware of the extent of the injuries.  That is why it is important to forward to the court in advance of the hearing documents that substantiate the injury.  A motor vehicle accident report, pictures, medical bills, and records are a good start.  I usually send everything that I sent as a demand to the insurance company to the judge in advance of the hearing.  Be sure to prepare the minor client for a few questions about how the accident happened, his or her past injuries and present injuries, and how the injuries affected their life since the accident.

Next, one should ask questions of the parents or legal guardians of the child who are present.  Again, if someone cannot attend, it is important to have an Affidavit to present to the court to show the court that everyone is in agreement about the settlement.  The parents/legal guardians need to set forth that they understand that a settlement has been reached regarding a certain injury.  They need to state that they understand that this settlement is full and final.  For example, “do you understand that this is a full and final settlement for all of the injuries that your child has suffered on the injury date and he/she can never again claim compensation for those injuries?”  They must state that they are aware and approve that the funds will be placed in a “secure” bank account until the minor reaches the age of 18 or older.  Recently I have heard of judges being very concerned about the type of account that a minor’s funds are placed.  I am not going to tell you where to place your client’s funds other than be sure to place them in an insured interest bearing account.  Again, structured settlement companies like the ones that advertise in The Verdict are highly recommended.

For your sake and for the sake of your client it is important to confirm on the record that the parent/legal guardians understand that they will not have access to the funds.  It’s often a good idea to make them aware that they will only be able to get access to those funds if they petition the court at a later date for certain things.  At this point you can use the court to tell the parents/legal guardians about what things they can ask for.  Judges will usually be helpful in this matter by stating that it is only for extreme situations that they will release funds for the benefit of a minor prior to that minor’s 18th birthday.  Asking for a new pair of socks or a new keyboard for a computer (these are things that I have heard clients ask judges and me about) will most likely not be allowed prior to that child’s 18th birthday.

For your benefit and the benefit of your minor client, it is important to ask the parents about every item on your settlement disbursement form.  Be sure to have copies for everyone present and go through it with them line by line asking them if they understand and agree with the settlement disbursement form.  For example, “Do you realize that the settlement amount is $15,000.00?  Do you consider this to be a faire and reasonable settlement for the injuries your child sustained?  Do you know that our firm’s fees are this amount and the costs are this amount?  And do you feel that the fees and costs are fair and reasonable?”

In the end a minor settlement hearing is the government’s way of insuring that minors are not taken advantage of.  It also has the ancillary benefit of making sure that minors or their parents are fully aware of the settlement and in that matter protects trial lawyers who represent these victims.  Finally, don’t forget to do your duty as guardian ad litem.  You must state to the court that you approve the settlement for the minor based upon the documents presented and testimony given.

 

 

Attorney Jackie Chada Nuckels Joins Groth Law Firm, S.C. March 7, 2011

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Milwaukee Personal Injury Attorney, Personal Groth, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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Personal Injury Attorney Jackie Chada Nuckels

Personal Injury Attorney Jackie Chada Nuckels

Everyone at Groth Law Firm, S.C. is excited to announce the addition of Attorney Jacqueline Chada Nuckels to the litigation team.  Attorney Nuckels brings experience from the defense and plaintiff’s bar to Groth Law Firm, S.C.   Attorney Groth commented, “We are lucky to have her.  Attorney Nuckels brings a wealth of experience on complex briefing issues and, most importantly, knows how to try a case before a jury.”

Attorney Jackie Nuckels’ bio illustrates that this award winning lawyer is a credit to the profession and a fantastic advocate for her clients:

Jackie was born in Greendale, Wisconsin. She attended Greendale public schools, before heading to DePere, Wisconsin to attend St. Norbert College. While in college, Jackie was an active member of various community service groups and student government. It was during a service trip to Washington, DC that Jackie decided to pursue a career in law to advocate on behalf of those without a voice.

Following her graduation from St. Norbert, cum laude, Jackie attended Marquette University Law School, where she was again involved in volunteer organizations and student government. While in law school, Jackie gained invaluable experience as an intern to the late Honorable Ted E. Wedemeyer of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee. Throughout her law school career, Jackie also maintained employment as a law clerk at a successful Brookfield law firm. Jackie graduated from Marquette University Law School with her Juris Doctor.

Attorney Jackie Nuckels  is a member of the Wisconsin State Bar, Wisconsin Association for Justice, American Association for Justice, National Association of Women Lawyers, Association for Women Lawyers and the Milwaukee Young Lawyers Association. Jackie is also a member of the Brain Injury Association of Wisconsin and proud supporter of the American Cancer Society.

In 2008, Attorney Nuckels was named in Cambridge Who’s Who Among Executives, Professionals and Entrepreneurs. She has also been a speaker at the Wisconsin Association for Justice Tort & Technique Update Seminar and the Professional Association of Wisconsin Licensed Investigators.

Jackie currently lives in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, with her husband, daughter, and dog. Jackie enjoys golfing, gardening, and spending time with family and friends.

New Review/Testimonial for Groth Law Firm, S.C. March 4, 2011

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Milwaukee Personal Injury Attorney, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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I’m honored to have represented such good people.  It’s humbling to hear what former clients say about our staff and firm.

Just yesterday a former client testimonial was posted on Avvo.com:

Jon Groth was very efficient on expediting my case. Face with several challenges, having to track all medical bills, out of pocket expenses, get a rental vehicle arranged, along w/Insurance Company changing case agents several times. Jon Groth was able to settle my personal injury case out of court for a fair amount.

This case also involved personal property claim due to high value of my vehicle. After my vehicle was repaired Jon Groth was able to litigate for a diminished value of my vehicle. Due to Car Fax for that vehicle will always show the amount of damage. Jon Groth was able to settle this personal property claim for a fair amount, at no charge.

Thru working with Jon Groth over a year and half I learned that not only is he very driven person. He very versed in law , he also has a very large support network in the law community. I was referred to Jon Groth by a coworker and truly am thankful. I will now do the same if I know anyone who needs a personal injury lawyer or legal advice of any type.