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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.

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Distracted Drivers February 12, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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I’ve emailed comments on a couple list serves about my opinion on what set of facts would allow punitive damages in Wisconsin.  In Wisconsin, the standard is set forth in the Strenke decision.

The majority opined:

In response to the issues presented, we conclude that
a person acts in an intentional disregard of the rights of the
plaintiff if the person acts with a purpose to disregard the
plaintiff’s rights, or is aware that his or her acts are substantially certain to result in the plaintiff’s rights being disregarded. Furthermore, we determine that a defendant’s conduct giving rise to punitive damages need not be directed at the specific plaintiff seeking punitive damages in order to recover under the statute.

I’ve been thinking about this language as it applies to drivers on cell phones.  The National Safety Council has a few studies about cell phone ban laws across America.  According to nsc.org:

Driver inattention is a leading cause of traffic crashes, responsible for about 80 percent of all collisions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Check out the link and especially the videos of the drivers who are on their cell phones.   I argue that each one of those drivers were very aware of the risks of driving while on a cell phone  (this applies to driving while texting too).  If they were aware of the risk doesn’t it follow that the punitive damages law would apply to their actions?

Is that a bad thing?  Punitive damages are meant, in part, to prevent individuals and corporations from acting in a manner that will cause harm to others.  So, don’t drive while on your cell phone, or buy a bluetooth headset.

  I’d like to know your thoughts.

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.

On A Lighter Note February 4, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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Auto accidents are serious matters.  Especially when people are seriously injured.  

But, once in a while we have to find something to laugh about.   I found this bunch of pictures of, what appears to be, mostly single car collisions.  My favorite is “Class Is Cancelled.”

 

Class is Cancelled Car accidenet photo

Class is Cancelled car accidenet photo. I think this is a good example of an understatement.

 

 

Thanks Dark Roasted Blend for compiling these.   The tag line of the blog post sums it up best:  “Nothing is as fascinating as an unexplained accident.”

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.

Let’s Get to Zero January 7, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Drunk Driving, Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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The State of Wisconsin is running a serious ad blitz on TV and radio.  The ads talk about the number of deaths and serious injuries that occur daily because of car accidents.  In short the ads talk about cell phones, drinking and not paying attention as bad driving habits that we all can work on.  If we can change our habits there won’t be as many injuries and serious car accidents in Wisconsin.

Their website ZeroInWisconsin.gov says:

Some deaths were caused by speeding while others were a result of drunk driving, or not wearing a seat belt. Tragically, these deaths affect many lives and cause great pain to thousands of people throughout the state. Fortunately, you can help change that number.

There is a bunch of statistics on the page too.   I think I’ve already talked about the death totals from car accidents before.

In short, this is a good time to assess your driving habits and make a New Year’s Resolution to drive more responsibly.  It sounds simple but this is good advice:

By staying within the speed limit, being sober behind the wheel, and buckling up, you can do simple things that can turn more than 500 annual deaths into zero.

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.

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.

You’re Not Always in Good Hands October 13, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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Either take less money or wait years until Allstate is forced to settle.  That is what has been reported about Allstate’s claims practices.   (Remember the ad: when you have Allstate Insurance you are “Always in Good Hands”).

Yesterday, I was talking with a friend whose client was hesitant to hire a personal injury attorney.  Simply asking the powerful question, “Why?”

I think the answer to “Why hire an attorney” is answered in that story.  It discovered a few things about Allstate’s injury claims:

First, the company evaluates claims with a computer program designed to reduce payouts by as much as 20 percent of what the company once paid for the same injuries.

Second, Allstate pushes policyholders to accept quick settlements without the help of lawyers. Policyholders who try to fight for more money face Allstate attorneys coached to refuse to negotiate and to drag out litigation.

A former Allstate attorney described their tactics:

They put pressure on people by establishing that they are a bully in the market.

I recommend you read the article or other blogs about the article.  Many other insurance companies are now using Allstate’s computer program or programs just like it.  If you have any questions about their tactics feel free to post a comment or contact me.

Don’t forget to read my previous post entitled “Why Hire a Personal Injury Attorney.”

http://www.jonpgroth.com

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

Sorry, Can’t Help Any More July 11, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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That is sometimes the comment that victims of car accidents get from their doctors.  Often, the comment will be “you’ve reached a plateau” or “your condition is waxing and waining”.  If you are the victim of a motor vehicle collision and have long standing pain don’t be afraid of a second opinion.  If you see a chiropractor don’t hesitate to ask him or her for the name of someone to check out care through a different modality.  If you are seeing your general practitioner doctor don’t be afraid to ask for a referral to a pain specialist.  Physiatrists (pain and rehabilitation specialists) are often brought in to help deal with longstanding pain. 

Whatever your problems are I strongly encourage you to be proactive regarding your treatment.  Remember, when it comes to your health: You are your best advocate.  No one knows the problems that you go through better than you.  Write down the problems that you continue to suffer through and take that list to the doctor.  It will help her/him track your pain and how best to treat your problems.

www.jonpgroth.com

Hit and Run and Ran May 22, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Groth.
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Let’s say someone is hit by a car and the car doesn’t stop.  We know it as a “Hit and Run.”  Many times the police, with the help of witnesses, are able to find the car that caused the collision.  But what if the car hits and runs and ultimately gets away.  Or if the car that causes the collision has no insurance.  If you’re injured who pays for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering and inconvenience. 

In Wisconsin, if you have auto insurance you will also have Uninsured Motorist coverage.  Wisconsin law allows the car accident victim to make a claim against their own auto insurance.  After the Uninsured Motorist coverage pays for your injuries the insurance company has the right and ability to investigate further and get paid back from the driver of the hit and run vehicle.  

Remember to talk with your insurance agent about your coverage.  Ask about the limits of your uninsured motorist coverage.  It’s important to have enough coverage to fully compensate you just in case you are hit by a driver that flees the scene of an accident or does not have any insurance.

www.jonpgroth.com

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Racine, Green Bay, Plymouth and Wauwatosa.

Co-Counsel Wisconsin May 7, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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Wisconsin really is a great place to live.  I’m biased of course:  golf courses, Wisconsin Dells, the Great Lakes, Door County and much, much more.  (If anyone reads this from the Visitors’ Bureau maybe I can get a hotel room for this ad?)

Anyway, since we are a summer vacation hot spot many out-of-towners travel to and through Wisconsin.  Unfortunately, these people get in car accidents, attacked by dogs, injured on other people’s property and other personal injuries. 

Remember if you are injured in Wisconsin and need to file a lawsuit you will need the assistance of a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney.  Attorneys from other states may be able to assist in pre-suit negotiations.  But, once a lawsuit is filed you’ll need someone who is licensed to practice law in Wisconsin. 

Many times an out-of-towner may have already hired a lawyer whom they trust and want to continue to work with that attorney.  This is where co-counsel relationships apply.  I’ve worked with a number of Attorneys from other states in situations like this.  We can help out of state attorneys to appear in court even though they aren’t licensed in Wisconsin.  They still need a Wisconsin Attorney’s help to obtain what is called a Pro Hac Vice appearance. 

In any event, if you are not from Wisconsin but were injured in Wisconsin please make sure you get the assistance of of a serious injury attorney.  Feel free to give them my name if you need help navigating the courts in Wisconsin.  I’m at your service.