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It’s Snowing So Let’s Talk About Pools and Spas December 18, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Injury Law.
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I’m in Wisconsin.  It is NOT warm here.  It is cold, snowy and icy.  But, I can at least think warm. 

This post is for the water lovers out there with small kids.  Many people try to think warm this time of year (including my family) by going to the YMCA, hotel or local indoor (heated) pool.

In theory, on December 19, 2008 pools and spas will be safer because the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act goes into effect.   This law was signed by President Bush on December 19, 2007.  Congress gave all effected pool and spa owners one year to comply with the new standards.

According to WSJ.com:

Under the law, all public pools and spas must have ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 compliant drain covers installed and a second anti-entrapment system installed, when there is only a single main drain.  

The reason for this law is tragic.  Former Secretary of State James Baker’s granddaughter died after being stuck to the drain of a pool.  The suction was just too much for the 7 year old girl to overcome.

According to USA.Safekids.org:

Seven-year-old Graeme was a member of the community swim and diving team and had been swimming unassisted since she was 3 years old — but her death is listed as a drowning.  In fact, she drowned by entrapment, pinned under water by hundreds of pounds of suction force at the drain of the hot tub.

I encourage you to check out Safe Kids USA’s website.  There is a lot of useful information for parents of kids who love to swim.   Be careful this holiday season!

If you or a loved one is injured because you think the pool or spa owner did not comply with this law I’d be happy to discuss this with you.

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.

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It’s That Time of Year December 10, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Injury Law.
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Yep, time to watch out for dangerous toys.  Who knows what Mr. Mainway will buy for little Johnny or Sally.

I recently wrote a piece about this on Avvo.com.  I touch on Bisphenol A, Phthalates, lead and toxic toys.  Also, I mention the common problems with many toys, i.e choking hazards and following the age limits.

You can check out the “Legal Guide” here.

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.

“Look Both Ways” December 4, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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I’ve said that phrase a bazillion times the past few years.  Those with small boys will understand.  As a personal injury attorney maybe I’m a little (actually a lot) more worried about car versus pedestrian accidents.  I’ve handled a great number of cases where people walked across the street at the cross walk and not at the cross walk.   In short, always cross at the cross walk, even if it means walking a few hundred feet out of your way.

The reason I mention this is a blog post that Attorney Michael Pines of California wrote.  California has a new program called the “Safe Routes to School Program.”  It’s a good idea.  I don’t know of anything like it in Wisconsin.

In short Attorney Pines describes it as:

What the program intends to do is to create specific, easily accessible routes for children to walk to school with reduced dangers and hazards.  The routes include smaller traffic flow, safety barriers between pedestrians and traffic, lower speed limits in these zones, and in some areas, the restriction of auto traffic altogether.

I don’t know what the cost of the program would be.  But, in theory it sounds like a good idea.  Maybe some generous foundation could fund this?

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.

Child Safety Seats Safe? December 2, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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You fly to Grandma’s house for Christmas with your kids.  With the increased prices of luggage these days you decide to NOT bring the kids’ safety seats.  You’ll just rent them.   It’s okay right?  These safety seats are safe?  They have to be safe.  If they weren’t safe the rental company wouldn’t allow the public to use them. 

Well, don’t assume anything.  Consumeraffairs.com wrote about a family’s recent troubles with their rental child safety seats. 

“Some seats were obviously missing parts. Some were obviously very old,” she told ConsumerAffairs.com. “We installed two of the better looking seats thinking that they were okay only to find that they were not working.”

So, what can a family on the move do?  Consumeraffairs.com recommends:

• Inspect each seat thoroughly for any evidence of cracking, twisting, worn harness webbing or broken buckles.

• Verify that seatbelts are threaded through the proper channels.

• Once you have latched the buckles, pull hard to make sure that they do not detach.

• Find the “birth date” label on the side or back of the seat, and don’t use a seat more than 5 years old.

• Get a copy of the car seat manual

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.

It’s the Time of Year for Toys (Dangerous Toys) November 24, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Injury Law.
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The group W.A.T.C.H. (World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc.) recently released its “Ten Worst Toys” list.  The most common reasons are “Eye Injuries,” “Choking Injuries” and “Other Serious Injuries.”  Simply put, these are dangerous toys.

I can say, as a father, I would not let my 3 and 1/2 year old play with nunchucks when he turns 4.  If that makes me a bad father so be it.  According to W.A.T.C.H.:

4-year-old children are encouraged to play the part of a Ninja, while wielding various weapons. One such weapon is Michelangelo’s “Nunchaku”, which the manufacturer describes as a “Kick-butt signature weapon!” consisting of two long plastic handles connected by a plastic chain. Remarkably, there are no accompanying cautions or warnings relating to potential impact injuries.

 I was a TMNT fan as a kid.  But, my parents would never have let me own nunchucks as a 4 year old.  Who is the marketing genius that came up with this marketing scheme?  It reminds me of the Dan Aykroyd skit from SNL.

www.jonpgroth.com

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

Click here to submit a Case or Question.

What If Mom’s At Fault? June 5, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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I’ve had some questions recently about this particular situation.  Let’s say a mother (or father) is driving their kids to baseball practice.  If Mom (or Dad) forgets to stop at a stop sign and causes a motor vehicle collision what about the kids?  What rights do the kids have?  Well, if the parents have auto insurance the children have the right to compensation, under Wisconsin Law, from the at fault insurance company, i.e. their parent’s insurance.   In essence, the children would make a claim against their parents.  If Mom’s (or Dad’s) insurance isn’t reasonable and doesn’t follow Wisconsin Law then the children would have the right to sue their parents and the insurance company. 

Sound a little complex and confusing?  Not really.  Feel free to email me or call and I’ll be happy to explain it to you in more detail. 

If you are worried about actually suing a parent.  Remember that Wisconsin is a “direct action state” the kids would not have to name the parents in the lawsuit.  They would simply seek compensation from the insurance company.

www.jonpgroth.com

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

When a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney settles a case for a minor: March 31, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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Tomorrow I’m appearing for a child who was severely injured in a motor vehicle collision in Wauwatosa.  I think it’s important to understand how minor settlements work.

When someone under 18 (minor) is injured in an auto accident, dog bite, slip and fall, product liability etc. and the case is settled before a suit is filed it is the INSURANCE COMPANY’S choice to have the settlement approved by a Circuit Court Judge.  Why?  Because the insurance company wants the personal injury settlement to be finalized.  They want to close their file.  It doesn’t want the minor to come back when he/she turns 18 and file a lawsuit with an attorney and ask for additional money.

What does a minor settlement mean for the minor?  Well, the minors settlement funds have the added protection of the State.  Adults shouldn’t be able to dip into the settlement without a hearing before a Judge and a court order.   But, in many cases the insurance company refuses to pay the court filing fees.  So, the minor gets less money in their pocket.

The reason I mention all of this is the tax ramifications of it.  From what I’m told it’s important that the lawyer that settles the case NOT put the funds into his/her attorney trust account or anyplace else for that matter.  The personal injury settlement funds need to be sent from the insurance company directly to the annuity company that will be handling the disbursement of the funds.  

Just a little attorney to attorney advice for what its worth.  If you’d like more information contact me at www.jonpgroth.com