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Pre-Settlement Funding Companies July 8, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Injury Law.
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I was recently interviewed about pre-settlement funding companies.  Here is a link to the article in the Wisconsin Law Journal written by Jack Zemlicka.

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Timely Payment of Claims June 5, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Dog Attack Information, FAQ Personal Injury, Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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There are a ton of laws.  That may be the biggest understatement I’ve ever written.

I mention this because it’s a reason to hire an attorney.  How many people have heard of the “Timely Payment of Claims” Statute.  It’s Section 628.46 of Wisconsin’s Statutes.  It applies to first party insurance payments and also third party insurance payments.  So, if you are injured by someone without insurance and you file an uninsured motorist claim this statute applies.   Because of the “recent” Kontowicz case it applies to claims against an at fault insurance company also.

Attorneys for injured people can push insurance companies to review and make offers to settle cases within 30 days of receiving all of the documents related to an injury.  If the insurance company drags its feet it may be subject to 12% interest.  Or, if the insurance company agrees to that a portion of an injury is definitely related to an accident that insurance company, under the statute, should pay the undisputed amount asap.

For your information the statutes says:

(1) Unless otherwise provided by law, an insurer shall promptly pay every insurance claim. A claim shall be overdue if not paid within 30 days after the insurer is furnished written notice of the fact of a covered loss and of the amount of the loss. If such written notice is not furnished to the insurer as to the entire claim, any partial amount supported by written notice is overdue if not paid within 30 days after such written notice is furnished to the insurer. Any part or all of the remainder of the claim that is subsequently supported by written notice is overdue if not paid within 30 days after written notice is furnished to the insurer. Any payment shall not be deemed overdue when the insurer has reasonable proof to establish that the insurer is not responsible for the payment, notwithstanding that written notice has been furnished to the insurer… All overdue payments shall bear simple interest at the rate of 12% per year.


Settlement Help April 17, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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When settling a case for a minor it is extremely important that the money is going to actually be there for the minor.  Seems pretty obvious.  In Wisconsin, courts must usually be involved in approving a settlement for a minor.  It’s the governments way of protecting a minor from him or herself, the parents and unscrupulous attorneys.

If I settle a case for a 10 year old what happens 8 years from now, 10 years from now 15 years from now?  What happens to the money in the eight years before the kid turns 18.  Look what happened last year.  If the money was put in the stock market the child may not have as much as awarded in the initial settlement or verdict.

It is the gaurdian ad litem’s (the attorney responsible for advising a Judge as to the appropriateness of a settlement for a minor or “incompetent” victim) job to make sure a victim’s compensation is an appropriate amount and is secure at the outset so it doesn’t get squandered.  The gaurdian ad litem recommends certain terms to the court for approval.  But, attorneys can’t know everything about the financial world.  I certainly don’t.

That is where a structured settlement expert comes into the picture.  This article is about Chuck Derenne of Wisconsin.  I’ve worked with Chuck a lot over the past 9 years.  He is a valuable asset for attorneys who help victims.  If you’d like more information about Chuck give me a call and I can put you in touch with him.

If you have questions about a structured settlements 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 Amberg, Janesville, Sheboygan and Wauwatosa.

What’s This Talk About a Jury Trial? March 2, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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I think I need to write about a few things that I commonly hear from clients and a few things that I commonly say to clients.

First, about something I say.  Whenever someone asks about the value of a claim or what we will “go after” for compensation I always say something like “the law allows us” or a “jury would be allowed to consider” or “we could ask a jury.”

I don’t use these phrases to scare clients and make them think we are going all the way to a trial.  In fact, the vast majority of my clients never see a courtroom.  I say these things because ultimately, the only way to force an insurance company to compensate an injured victim is by taking the case to a jury.  Once the jury decides and decides on a verdict that is what the insurance company has to pay.  (Obviously there is always the possibility of appeals but that is a post for another day…if jury trials are rare I’m sure you can imagine how rare appeals are).

Settlements made presuit or after a suit is filed are all based on guessing what a jury would award.  That is why you really hire a lawyer.  You hire a lawyer to give you an educated guess as to what a jury would award considering the law, facts and all the miscellaneous things out there.

No one knows what a jury would award.  But, who better to give you advice on the value of a personal injury matter than an attorney who has dedicated his career to knowing what amount of money a  jury would use to compensate an injured person and his/her family.

Next time I’m going to write about:

Thanks, I’m glad I hired you to handle my “lawsuit.”

www.jonpgroth.com

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

What Your Case Might Look Like? February 10, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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For those of you who have not been through a civil jury trial I recommend checking out Miller and Zois, LLC’s links to an entire auto accident jury trial.

According to Miller and Zois, LLC the facts are:

The case deals solely with the question of who was negligent in the car accident. The plaintiff alleged that a tanker-trailer carrying fuel oil cut him off in traffic, causing him to swerve into the adjacent lane, where he was struck from the rear by another vehicle.  He filed suit against the owner of the tanker truck and the driver of the vehicle that struck him from the rear.  The defendants claimed that plaintiff was responsible for the car accident. The case was tried on the issue of liability only, pursuant to a stipulated verdict agreement.

It’s a great thing to read if for no other reason than to get a feel for what happens.  Now it isn’t exactly what will happen in Wisconsin but it’s close enough.  Also, because damages are stipulated, the length of the trial is a little shorter than “normal.”

Anyway, if you are an injured victim and considering whether to hire an attorney read the transcript and bring those questions to your attorney.  Like I’ve said in earlier posts I really appreciate it when client’s come with questions about the civil litigation process.

In my experience the more a client is “in the know” the happier the client (and lawyer).

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.

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.

Personal Injury Paparazzi? October 7, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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It sounds kind of weird, doesn’t it?  Why have a professional photographer take pictures of a personal injury victim?   Well, in every case that involves scars, permanent bruises or disability the at fault insurance company asks for pictures to evaluate the claim.  

Why not have the injured victim just meet with the at fault adjuster? Many times the adjuster is in some far off office, hours from injured victim.  Usually, insurance companies have “round table” discussions about these types of injuries.  This means that a bunch of adjusters will get together one day and pass around photographs of scars, permanent bruises etc. and give their opinion of the “value” a jury would award for the injury.  That is how at fault adjusters come around to offering a personal injury settlement. 

So, back to the professional photographer.  An injured party needs to have pictures that truly represent the injuries.  Just as if they were standing there in the conference room with the adjusters “round tabling” the claim.  

Don’t get me wrong, nowadays many digital cameras will do a great job and take quality pictures.  But, in order to give the at fault adjuster as true a representation of the injuries I’d recommend a professional photographer.

http://www.jonpgroth.com

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

And the bond goes to the victim. July 18, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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Where does a bond go?  When someone charged with criminal activity posts bond what happens to the money?

According to Section 969.13(5) of the Wisconsin Statutes when a defendant posts a bond that amount of money shall go first to the victim of the crime.  For example, when a drunk driver injures someone and is charged with a crime the money he/she posts as bond must be saved by the court to pay to the victim as a form of restitution.  Sounds like a good use of the money to me.

If you are the victim of a crime be sure to ask the victim witness advocate working on your case to keep you informed about the status of the bond. 

www.jonpgroth.com

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

10 Is Enough July 3, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Wisconsin has 10 confirmed cases of salmonella poisoning.  The cause is likely tomatoes. 

With the long weekend coming up and our love of hamburgers be careful what you eat. 

Remember cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes and those sold with the vine attached are not part of the recall. 

www.jonpgroth.com

What Is My Personal Injury Case Worth? April 15, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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This is one of the most commonly asked questions from victims of car accidents, motorcycle accidents or other personal injury matters.  Many times after trying to handle a case on their own someone will come to me and tell me what their health insurance paid, their wage loss and out of pocket expenses and say the insurance company wants to settle but they don’t know what the case is worth. 

My most common answer is an honest one: I need more information.   You see, we have to look at what the law says must be used to measure the losses associated with a car accident, for example.   In Wisconsin the law says that if someone causes a collision then he/she is responsible for all damages by paying a fair amount of money.   An accident victim must receive compensation for 1)past medical expenses, 2) past wage loss, 3) past pain suffering and inconvenience and other miscellaneousexpenses like mileage and damaged property.  If the injuries are more serious (permanent injuries) then Wisconsin law states that the accident victim must receive compensation for 1,2 and 3 along with 4) future medical expenses, 5) future wage loss and 6) future pain suffering and inconvenience etc. 

When potential clients ask what their case is worth it is difficult to give an education opinion.  It depends on the injuries, types of treatment, duration of treatment, venue and other more personal questions.  

For example, many personal injury victims don’t think to include mileage.  Or victims include only what health insurance paid and NOT the actual medical bill from the medical provider.  These items can often total large amounts of money that will change the compensation they are due under Wisconsin law.

I always tell potential clients that there is not an easy answer to this question.  I can say that I’ll do my best to make sure that they receive full compensation under the laws of Wisconsin.    

Later on I’ll talk about the difference between pre-suit settlement negotiations and a lawsuit.  In short, just because you hire a lawyer that does NOT mean that you have “filed a lawsuit.”  Actually the opposite is true.  Hopefully, by hiring a lawyer you’ll avoid going to court to get compensation for your personal injuries.

www.jonpgroth.com

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Waukesha, Milwaukee, Two Rivers, Oconto and Saukville.