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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.”

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What Safety Features Would a Personal Injury Attorney Look for In a Vehicle November 17, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Motorcycle Collisions, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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H/T to Attorney Michael Pines for this blog topic.

I agree with his 7 points:

1.    High Crash Test Scores: Almost all motor vehicle makes and models for sale in the United States are supposed to undergo a series of crash tests conducted by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  The most important crash ratings to look for are those for front and side car crashes and rollover resistance, as most serious injuries occur as a result of these types of auto accidents.

2.    Antilock Braking System: When used properly, these new brake systems should allow for shorter stopping distances on slippery roads, and maintenance of steering control.  They are also important in preventing vehicles from hydroplaning, which could potentially prevent a serious car accident.

3.    Side-Impact Airbags:Front driver and passenger airbags are now required in all makes and models of vehicles as a necessary safety feature.  Additionally, many makes and models of vehicles also include side-impact and side curtain airbags as well.  Side-impact airbags are very important for protecting the torso of the occupants since there is no crumple zone to absorb the shock from a side auto accident collision.  Therefore, these airbags have been proven to save many lives in side auto accident collisions and are a very important safety feature in all vehicles.

4.    Side Curtain Airbags: Not to be confused with side-impact airbags, which protect the torso, side curtain airbags are intended to protect the head and neck from serious injury in a side collision car accident.  Again, there is not as much crumple zone to absorb the shock of side collisions, so side curtain airbags are very important, and are becoming a standard feature in most makes and models of vehicles.

5.    Rear-Parking Sensors:Especially important on larger vehicles such as trucks and SUVs, which provide larger rear blind spots, these sensors are especially useful in detecting objects as well as small children who may not be visible through the rear window or rear-view mirror.  Many vehicles are now also coming equipped with rear cameras, which have already proven to be helpful in preventing a number pedestrian and car accidents.

6.    Good Tires:While this may seem like an obvious statement, many people tend to overlook the safety advantages of well-maintained tires.  Bad tires have been proven to be a major cause of many preventable auto accidents.  Be sure to have your tires rotated, properly inflated air pressure, and replaced regularly to ensure maximum safety.  Also, it is a good idea to examine the tire’s brand.  As car accident lawyers, we remember the terrible auto accidents that occurred with Firestone/Bridgestone tires just a few years ago.

7.    Cargo Netting or a Cargo Cage: Many injuries in car accidents result from objects inside the vehicle striking the occupants and causing bodily harm.  Cargo nets can help to reduce and even prevent these types of injuries that can occur when involved in an auto accident.

Before I purchase a car, I go to the NHTSA’s website and do a search.  Safety is our first concern (to quote Thomas the Train’s Sir Topham Hatt).

www.jonpgroth.com

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

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Serious Injuries…What About Tomorrow? August 15, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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In almost all auto accident, motorcycle accident, dog bite or other personal injury cases an insurance company will ask that the injured victim sign a Release of All Claims.  That document means exactly what it says.  It gets the insurance company off the hook for ALL claims (i.e. injuries, wage loss, mileage etc.), past, present or future.

A Release may have language similar to the following:

“For and in consideration of the sum of $____________cash in hand paid, the receipt and sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, the undersigned (name of plaintiff) does hereby release, acquit and forever discharge (name of defendant and insurance company) from any and all losses, injuries, claims, demands, actions, causes of action, payments, costs, expenses, damages, liability, or grievances of any nature whatsoever which he/she has had, which he/she may now have, or which he/she may hereafter have, which in any manner pertain to, relate to, or arise from any personal injury known and unknown, property damage, known and unknown, or any other loss of any nature whatsoever sustained as a result of the aforesaid vehicular accident which occurred on or about (date) involving the vehicle driven by said defendant and the vehicle driven by said plaintiff.

You never want to sell yourself short, especially when talking about your well being.  Injuries may linger on and on. If you accept a settlement days after the collision but don’t feel 100% you probably won’t be able to get your next doctor’s visit and the lost wages and mileage paid by the at fault insurance company.  Keep that in mind when you are dealing with your “friends” in the insurance industry.

Insurance companies aren’t able to build multi-million dollar buildings, gigantic water falls, balls of art and other expensive things by giving away compensation for injuries.  Their job is to pay as little as possible.  A personal injury attorney’s job is to make sure an injured party obtains compensation for everything that the law allows.  That includes past and FUTURE medical expenses.

www.jonpgroth.com

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

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

Just Ask July 9, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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I spoke with a client recently who was involved in a serious auto accident a few years ago.  He was hit by a car that ran from the scene.  He suffered a number of serious injuries and was admitted to Froedert Hospital’s ICU.  Because he didn’t know who hit him he said nothing was done.

What would you do?   Just call and ask.  Most personal injury attorneys will not charge anything to investigate a situation like this.  I will gladly order the police report and speak to witnesses and insurance agents to see if recovery for lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering is possible. 

Don’t forget in Wisconsin your insurance company supplies Uninsured Motorist Coverage.  If you are involved in a hit and run collision you have the benefit of making a claim against your insurance company.  Once your insurance company settles or is forced to pay what the value of your claim is then THEY have the burden of tracking down the at fault party and collecting from garnished wages or savings accounts.

www.jonpgroth.com

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

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.

Your Health Insurance’s Right to Subrogate Your Personal Injury Case April 18, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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The easy answer is: call your attorney as soon as you receive any documents from your health insurance, auto insurance or any government insurance (e.g. Medicaid or Medicare).

When someone is involved in an auto accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, truck accident or any personal injury for that matter their health insurance or auto insurance (med pay policy) will most likely have the right to get paid back from the at fault party.  

The best I can describe it is: Let’s say you are driving your car and a tree suddenly falls onto the road in front of you.  You hit the tree and are injured.  No one is at fault for the collision.  Your auto insurance policy (med pay) and health insurance will pay for the medical care.  They don’t expect anyone to pay them back.  (You can only sue God on shows like Ally McBeal or Boston Legal). 

On the other hand if you are driving a car and are rear ended by someone else then someone IS at fault.  The at-fault driver is responsible to pay your medical expenses (also see What is My Case Worth). 

Your health insurance or auto insurance (med pay policy) will pay the bills as they come due.  Your policy most likely says that they have a contractual duty to pay them.  But, your policy also probably says that they will pay with the understanding that once you obtain a recovery from the at-fault party you will pay health insurance or your auto insurance’s med pay back. 

In essence, they pay the bills so you can get the care you need.  They pay the bills so the doctors don’t come after you directly.  They pay the bills and then send “reminder letters” called Lien Letters or Subrogated Party letters to remind everyone that once the case is settled they want to get paid back.

I strongly encourage all of my clients to submit their bills to their health insurance first.  Then, if they have co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses submit these amounts to their auto insurance (med pay). 

You are probably wondering why the at-fault party doesn’t pay your medical expenses right away.  Good question.  I’ll discuss this later on.  The short answer is that the at-fault party in a collision won’t pay until they receive re-assurance that they will never have to pay again (i.e. a signed release from the injured party).  The at-fault insurance company almost never pays what they are responsible to pay until you are totally done treating.  See my other entry about making sure the at-fault party pays what the laws says they must pay.

www.jonpgroth.com

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Beloit, Marinette, Racine, Manitowoc and Wausaukee.

Most Dangerous Roads (Follow Up) April 4, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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I wish I could tell you to avoid “such and such” road if you don’t want to become the victim in a personal injury matter.   Collisions can happen anywhere.  A few days ago I mentioned a discussion of the “most dangerous roads” in Wisconsin.  Well, I could not find that information.  I did find a report from the Department of Motor Vehicles discussing which types of roads are dangerous and when most crashes occur.  Email me if you’d like more info. 

 In 2006 the most injuries and fatalities occurred in May, June and July.  The most fatalities occurred in July. 

 I’d avoid driving around bar time in Wisconsin.  The most fatalities occur between 1am and 2am.   I’m not surprised (I handle a great number of perosonal injury cases where the victim was injured because of a drunk driver). 

The greatest number of collisions occured on Non-Intersection locations.  Almost three times as many fatalities occurred on Non-Intersections when compared to Intersections. 

As an FYI, there were approximately 16,450 motor vehicle collisions in Milwaukee County in 2006, 1096 in Sheboygan and 3,643 in Waukesha.   Marinette County had only 316 and Rock (Janesville and Beloit) had 1784.

The moral of the story:  Don’t drink and drive and be careful no matter where you are driving.

www.jonpgroth.com