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Drunk Driving a Wheelchair September 17, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Drunk Driving.
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Doesn’t this story just make my point that taking the keys from a drunk driver probably won’t stop the offender?  Jail time or prison takes the multiple drunk driver off the streets…that is really the only to guarantee a drunk driver won’t drive.  This guy had 4 prior convictions.   Cars or a wheelchair – the guy, for some reason, had to drive.


Progress On Drunk Driving Laws? September 11, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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I’m hopeful that this story from the Badger Herald isn’t just wishful thinking!  It appears that both Republicans and Democrats are making headway to strengthen Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws.  As you probably know Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws are among the most lax in the United States.

According to the article:

Some of the changes put forth in the bills include requiring repeat offenders to have an ignition interlock on their car, increasing minimum fines and time of imprisonment, and allowing multiple offenders to pursue alcohol treatment with parole instead of being sentenced to time in prison.

Now, I’m not sure about the details especially the part about “increasing the time of imprisonment” but at the same time allowing multiple offenders to “pursue alcohol treatment” instead of time in prison.

I’ll keep you updated.

Speed Defeats Right of Way March 24, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Drunk Driving, FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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A Marinette, Wisconsin man was driving on U.S. 41 when a car pulled onto the highway.  The Marinette man struck this vehicle.  The Marinette man survived.  Everyone in the other vehicle died.

If this is all you heard you may say that the other vehicle was at fault.  Why didn’t they see the Marinette man’s vehicle?  They should have yielded the right of way to the vehicle on U.S. 41.

In Wisconsin “speed defeats right of way.”  So, if you are speeding on the road and another car pulls out in front of you, guess what?  You, the speeder, are at fault.

That is what happened in this case.  Plus, I should mention that the Marinette man was intoxicated.  An accident reconstruction specialist estimated the Marinette, Wisconsinite was driving between 77 and 81 in a 45 mph zone.

The Marinette man killed the driver of the car, his three daughters (two were pregnant so two kids were killed) and his son.

The Marinette man was allegedly at a bar where his wife worked for 9 hours prior to the crash.  He told the police that he was distracted when the collision occurred.  He was changing the radio station in his car.

Read the AP’s full story at

If you have questions about an accident involving a drunk driver or whether someone is “at fault” in Wisconsin feel free to contact me at 800-950-9882.  I’d be happy to discuss your situation.

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

Technology and the Personal Injury Lawyer November 12, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Drunk Driving, Personal Injury Law.
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I was recently introduced to Lawyers Weekly USA.   They wrote an article about investigating social networks in civil cases.  If you scroll down this page you’ll see my previous post on this topic.

I’m not surprised that this has become a “hot topic.”   I can’t stress enough how important it is for personal injury attorneys (or any litigator for that matter) to be aware of today’s technology.  How long does it take type a name in google and yahoo? 

Liability disputes in car accident cases and especially drunk driving cases are ripe for social network investigation.   If someone is drunk and causes a car accident it is important to know if they had a history of drunk driving.  Was that drunk driver aware of the potential harm they could cause by getting behind the wheel while drunk again?  Comments on their blog or myspace page are important to discovery before filing a lawsuit.  It could mean the differnence between filing a claim for only compensatory damages or adding a claim for punitive damages.

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

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Operating While Under the Influence Poll October 27, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Drunk Driving.
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WordPress just made polls available on their blogging service.  So, let’s put it to good use. 


UPDATE: H/T Sean Sweeney.   The graphic from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel states “Number of OWI arrests before it becomes a felony.”  I think Sean is right.  It should say “Number of OWI convictions.” Good catch Sean!

Thanks for your input!

Another Drunk Driving Statistic October 23, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Drunk Driving.
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According to the Journal Sentinel series on Drunk Driving that I recently posted about Wisconsin:

Wisconsin has the largest percentage of binge drinkers and the largest percentage of drunken driving accidents, yet several states take a harder line on alcohol issues than Wisconsin. Click the topics below to see how Wisconsin compares to the rest of the U.S.

You need to see this diagram.  It looks like Wisconsin makes up almost 1/4 of the nation’s drunk driving accidents.  Wow.   I don’t know really what to say to that.  It’s embarrassing.  In this case it is NOT good to be #1.

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

Series on Drunk Driving October 22, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Drunk Driving.
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If you haven’t read the Journal Sentinel these past few days you are missing out on a good five part series on drinking in Wisconsin.

Tuesday’s article talked about Wisconsin’s lax drunk driving laws.  You can get a sense of my opinion on this topic by checking out my tag cloud over on the bottom right of my blog. 

Listen to this.  I hope you are as shocked as 

In 1999, the maximum penalty for a fifth offense translated to 40 months in prison.  After that, it changed to a three-year prison term with the possibility of three more years for those who break the law again.  But in Milwaukee County, no five-time drunken driver received the maximum, the Journal Sentinel found.

So, if a 5 time drunk driver doesn’t get the maximum then who will?  The reports talks about how sentencing varied widely between judges.  In short some judges are more liberal and some are more conservative when it comes to sentencing. 

I don’t want to cut and past the entire article here.   I hope you’ll read it and keep pressure on our legislators to make a change in the right direction.

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

Editorial on Drunk Driving October 6, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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Mike Nichols wrote an editorial last Saturday about drunk driving.  It was kind of a follow up to his story on the collision Cimermancic caused.

I agree with the jist of Mike’s editorial:  Drunk drivers in Wisconsin get way too many chances to get back in their cars, drunk, and endanger the rest of us.

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.

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

A Drunk Driver Ruins the Celebration September 5, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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Once again a drunk driver ruins a party.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that a drunk driver killed a Harley rider during last week’s 105th Harley Davidsons Birthday Celebration.  The drunk driver was about 3 times over the legal limit at the time of the collision.

The collision occurred at about 2:15pm on August 29th. She must have started drinking pretty early in the day to get that drunk before 2:15pm.  When is it ever worth drinking that much that early?  And why would you ever think of driving?

The victim is a 55 year old Michigander.

Once again the call goes out to the legislature to tighten the drunk driving laws in Wisconsin.  Hopefully, the DA assigned to this case will enforce the laws currently on the books.