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Who Is Your Lawyer? February 18, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Injury Law.
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This is a quick post and more of a reminder than anything else.  Before you hire your attorney check out their references. or other rating services are good to visit.  But, you may want to go straight to the source.  In other words, check out the state’s lawyer regulation office.  In Wisconsin it is called the Office of Lawyer Regulation.

You can click on the link to see which lawyers currently have pending disciplinary matters pending.  Also, you’ll be able to read decisions from the Wisconsin Supreme Court.


Talk to Your Personal Injury Attorney Before You Sign the Retainer November 18, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Dog Attack Information, Drunk Driving, FAQ Personal Injury, Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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The has a good post about talking with your soon-to-be personal injury lawyer.   According to this blog here are a few things to watch for:

  • Fees. How much is the lawyer going to take of the settlement? It shouldn’t be an excessive amount.
  • Honesty. Do you get a sense he is over inflating your potential award settlement or chance of winning to get you as a client? Like the saying goes, if sounds good to be true if probably is. That’s not to say that you don’t have a good case, but an experienced lawyer knows that most companies won’t sit quietly by as you sue them. He or she should let you know honestly what to expect.
  • Quality. Does your lawyer answer all your questions so that you understand them or do you feel rushed through? You want to work with someone who is willing to get all the details and to work with you to get what you deserve. You don’t want a lawyer with a thousand clients, giving a half effort because he’s happy if a few of the lawsuits get paid.

Believe me, if you go to your initial meeting with a personal injury attorney with a list of questions and a trusted friend or family member in tow it will be a good/productive meeting.  I see it as refreshing not insulting. 

Hiring a personal injury attorney is a big decision.  Be sure to google search the attorney.  Look up their rating, cases and lawyers in the office or office share. 

The more information the better.

 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.

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.”

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

Time part two September 26, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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I previously wrote a post ending with a question for the blogosphere.  The general question concerned the remedies involved when a hospital destroys medical records before the mandated 5 year holding period.  Well, Michael Brown of Peterson, Berk and Cross emailed me with an answer:

A provider’s destruction of medical records would also violate HIPAA federal privacy law. Your client could file a HIPAA complaint to Dept of Health and Human services, but the best that will yield is a slap on the wrist to the provider, with no civil claim or damages.

If the records were destroyed at a time the provider should have reasonably contemplated litigation would occur (e.g. if a hospital destroys records of a patient who suffered injuries during a medical procedure and is likely to file a malpractice claim), there may be spoilage law that applies. In the federal context, you can check out the landmark Zubulake cases, which set forth serious standards and penalties for document retention. Keyciting the Zubulake cases may lead you to influential State law cases concerning spoilage.

Thanks for the answer Mike.  I think there should be more someone could do when their medical records are lost or destroyed.  Any legislators out there that can help us out?




Should I give a statement to the insurance company? September 24, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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If you were in a collision and the at fault driver had insurance I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this question.  That’s because one of the first questions out of the at fault insurance adjuster’s mouth is, “Can I record a statement?”

My standard answer to this questions is no.  Don’t give a statement.  If the at fault insurance company insists on a statement then wait until you hire a lawyer before giving a statement.  You hire a lawyer to stand by your side and serve as your advocate through the entire process.  Why give a statement before having that advocate by your side.  (Remember my April 21, 2008 post talking about Allstate’s Claim Manual saying that Allstate knows that victims with insurance settle for 2-3 times more than unrepresented victims). 

Remember, insurance companies are in the business of making money.  That is certainly not wrong or illigeal by any means.  But, what that means is they want to take in premiums and pay out as little as possible.  That’s just the basic economics of insurance.  So, insurance companies teach their insurance adjusters how to make sure they pay out as little as possible.  That starts right away after the collision with the recorded statement.  

This is especially important if liability it at issue.  The at fault insurance wants to pin as much fault on you as possible.  The facts are the facts but many times confusion, pain meds, frustration or other things get in the way of an injured person’s ability to clearly describe what happened.  

So, if you are involved in a collision I recommend talking with an attorney before you give that statement to the at fault insurance company.  I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.

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

Time is (Not) On My Side September 4, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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I talked with one of my favorite clients today.  At the end of our talk she said, “I have a professional question.”  That’s when a lawyers ears perk up and you try to remember every class you ever took in law school.  Who knows what topic is going to be discussed.

She asked about medical records.  Her records were destroyed.  She had the same primary doctor for years.  That general practitioner retired.  Her medical records were sent to another medical facility for ‘safe keeping.’  Well, they weren’t that safe because the facility destroyed them.

According to Wisconsin Administrative Code medical records must be “preserved” and “maintained” for at least 5 years.  (See HFS 124.14(2)c)). But, what happens if the records are destroyed! 

I’ll let you know the answer after I do a little research.  If you know, please post a comment!

Thank you.

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Sheboygan, Slinger, Pleasant Prairie and Wauwatosa.

Why Hire A Personal Injury Attorney? April 21, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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I think personal injury attorneys are asked this question more than any other.  It’s a legitimate question.  Injury attorneys in Wisconsin usually charge a contingent fee of 1/3 of the settlement or verdict in addition to costs.  Why hire a plummer if you can fix your leaky faucet yourself?

Surprisingly, Allstate Insurance has helped answer the question.  Allstate’s own website states “represented claims settle for 2-3 times more than unrepresented claims.”  (See page C000011298).   Allstate goes on to urge their adjuster to convince injured victims to NOT hire an attorney.

Why do represented victims of car accidents, motorcycle accidents or other personal injury matters recover more than unrepresented victims?  I’d like to this because personal injury attorneys know the law and won’t leave any stone unturned.  The right Personal Injury Attorney will make sure that the injured person receives the compensation they are due.  Take a look at my earlier comments about what a case is worth.

Kudos to Illinois Attorney Howard Zimmerle for finding this information.  

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

Jon Groth