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Statistically Safer December 16, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Motorcycle Collisions, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration traffic fatalities in 2008 are down 10 percent.  This is compared to the same period in 2007.  So, Americans were less likely to be killed on the road in 2008 as compared to 2007.

The NHTSA discussed the number of people killed in vehicle accidents:

August is the month with the highest fatalities (3,612), while March has the lowest fatalities (2,804) during the ten months. When compared to the corresponding months in 2007, the estimates each month reflect a downward trend. While fatalities fell by 2.5 percent in February and 1 percent in August, there were much more significant declines March through July, Septem-ber, and October.
 

 

I can’t comment on the relationship of the statistics, but the NHTSA also discusses how helmet use and seat belt use were up in 2008 as compared to 2007.

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

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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.

http://www.jonpgroth.com

Harley Davidson’s 105th = Lots More Bikes August 27, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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You’ve seen the bumper stickers reminding us that “bikes have equal rights” and to “watch out for bikers.”

In Milwaukee this weekend these stickers take on a whole new meaning.  This weekend is Harley Davidson’s 105th Anniversary Celebration.  There will be a lot more motorcycles on the roads in and around Milwaukee. 

Sadly, I read about the first fatality of the HD Celebration.  In Sheboygan a car struck a Harley rider.  The car driver was treated at the ER and released.  The bike rider was killed. 

I’ve represented a great number of motorcycle owners over the years.  Many of the collisions and serious injuries could have been avoided if the at fault driver would have just taken the bumper sticker’s advice: Bikers have equal rights.

www.jonpgroth.com

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

No Car, Not Good. July 6, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Groth.
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I’ve battled with insurance companies recently over the loss of the use of my client’s vehicle.  When someone is involved in a car accident and their car is out of commission it is a big inconvenience.  The law in Wisconsin says that this “loss of use” must be compensated.  It does NOT matter whether or not a rental vehicle was obtained.

So, let’s say Bob is involved in a motorcycle accident.  His bike is a total loss.  It’s sitting in his garage because the at-fault insurance company hasn’t come out to look at it yet.  In the meantime he has to drive his “winter car”. 

Bob didn’t suffer any out of pocket loss.  He didn’t rent a vehicle or didn’t have to hire a taxi.   But, he lost the use of his vehicle.  He was certainly inconvenienced by the collision.  The law says that the at-fault party must pay for this loss of use and inconvenience.  (Hellenbrand v. Hilliard 2004 WI App 151, para. 34).

If you have questions about loss of use or loss feel free to call me.  I’d be happy to help you.  I’ll write later on about loss of value of a vehicle.  (for example, if your new vehicle is in a collision it loses its resale value.)

www.jonpgroth.com

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

No Fee on P.D.? May 6, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Groth.
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I was asked a few minutes ago about the fees I charge.  In general, personal injury lawyers get paid from a “bodily injury” settlement or verdict.

I should explain.  Insurance companies deal with two sides of an auto accident/motorcycle accident etc.  BI=Bodily Injury and PD=Property Damage.   

Personal injury attorney’s fees are based on the recovery obtained for the client.  Because it is a percentage of the recovery, the more the attorney recovers for the client the more the attorney gets paid.  It’s the reason we’ll try as hard as possible to get as much as the law will allow. 

We almost never charge a fee from the PD side of the case.  In general, be wary of the law firm that states they take a fee from BI and PD settlements.  In my opinion, a personal injury lawyer should take a fee from the property damage settlement only in the most unique and very rare situations.   

So, if you are unlucky enough to get into a car accident, motorcycle accident or other personal injury be sure to interview lawyers and ask, “Fee on P.D.?”

www.jonpgroth.com

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Pleasant PrairieStevens PointMinocqua and St. Nazianz.

 

Should I Stop Going to the Doctor? May 5, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Groth.
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You’d be surprised how many times I hear this question.  My usual follow up question is, “Are you still in pain?”  When the answer is “Yes” I respond with “Yes, go to the Doctor to make sure: everything is going as planned/doesn’t get worse/you don’t need to do more or less.”

Many people feel guilty about going to the doctor.  They don’t want to take up the doctor’s valuable time.  “Someone else might be injured worse than me.” 

When you are involved a car accident, motorcycle collision or some other injury the law in Wisconsin says that you need to be put back into the position you were before the collision.  The way we can tell whether you are getting better or how to value your injury is by reviewing the medical records.  Doctors help injured people.  If you don’t go to the doctor to get better and to follow up with your injuries then how will anyone know if you could have gotten better or if you may get worse. 

In short, go to the doctor if you are having problems.  Doctors are here to help.  Let them.

www.jonpgroth.com

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

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  www.jonpgroth.com

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