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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.

Child Safety Seats April 9, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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I was surprised at the small number of states that require children to ride in the back seat.  To me it seems like common sense.  Wisconsin requires that children under the age of 3 be in a rear seat, if available.

The info provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has a good visual of the age at which children must be in a restraint or booster seat.

In Wisconsin those who must be in a safety seat are:

children younger than 1 and all children who weigh less than 20 pounds are required to be in a rear-facing infant seat; children 1 through 3 years who weigh at least 20 pounds but less than 40 pounds are required to be in a forward-facing child safety seat; children 4 through 7 who both weigh at least 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds and who are less than 57 inches tall are required to be in a booster seat

Simply an adult safety belt is permissible in Wisconsin if the child is:

8 years and younger and more than 80 pounds and 57 inches or taller

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

If you’d like to submit a question or case please complete a case submission form.

$2.15 Million March 26, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Injury Law.
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You don’t want to be a $2.15 million victim.

I’ll get a call once in a while from someone who sees a television ad from a certain law firm(s).  The question or comment goes something like this, “That guy on tv is a client of Attorney X and he got  $500,000.00.  I’m hurt, if you can’t get me $500,000.00 then I’ll just go to Attorney X.”

My usual response is you don’t want to be that $500,000.00 client. And, depending on the type of injuries a jury would not award that amount of money no matter who your attorney is.

It is always odd to talk about the value of an injury.  Only the victim truly knows the effects of her/his injury.  Our system of civil justice uses money as a way to compensate victims for pain, suffering, lost wages, inconvenience and medical expenses.

A $500,000.00 case means you are very seriously injured.

It’s important to talk with a lawyer about what the law allows a victim to recover.   Not all cases are the same.  I think it is a little misleading to put someone on television who looks as healthy as can be and say that that person received a very large settlement.  Especially, when the fine print on the screen says “actor portrayal” or something like that.

For example, I recently settled a claim for $2.15 million dollars.  The victim was a young boy who lost his arm in a collision.  The at-fault driver stole her grandmother’s car and went for a joy ride.  A residual of Cocaine was found in her system after the crash.  Also, she was not on certain drugs that were prescribed to her.  The settlement included compensatory and punitive damages.

Anyone reading this would NOT want to be that victim.

Do your research before hiring an attorney.  Hire an attorney based upon a referral, research and a long conversation about the claim.

If you have questions about the value of your claim feel free to contact me at 800-950-9882.  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 Cascade, Lomira, Janesville and Wauwatosa.

I Never Think “Mild” When I Think of Brain Injuries March 4, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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But, we have to be able to describe the different degrees of all injuries.  So, “mild” will have to do.

Anyway, Medical Legal Art has a well researched and informative post about car accidents and damage to a victim’s brain.

In most cases, no evidence of injury will show up on CT or MRI scans unless this injury results in hemorrhage from contusions or vascular injury. Usually, the injury is microscopic occurring to individual cells or clusters of cells. This is where axonal shearing comes into the conversation. The movement of the brain within the skull can cause disruption of the various nerve cells (neurons) that make up the brain tissue. These injuries to the neurons, and particularly to the long vulnerable axon portions of the neurons, are called axonal shearing or shear injuries.

Low velocity, rear end collisions are some of the toughest for any attorney to prove the relatedness of injuries.  I’ve used Medical Legal Art in the past and have found their work to be extremely helpful.  Simply because a picture is worth a thousand words.

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.  Avvo.com 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.

Take The Time To Read Your Policy February 17, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Injury Law.
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John Bryan a West Virginia Car Accident Attorney recently wrote about the effect of your personal auto policy on a rental car.  In short, he reminds everyone that just because you have auto insurance this does not mean your policy will cover you when you rent a vehicle.

Many of the policies out there cover rental cars being driven if their primary vehicle has broken-down or is otherwise being worked-on or out of commission.  However, many of those same policies do not cover rental cars being driven if the policyholder’s primary vehicle is operational – for instance if you rent a car while on vacation.  This means that if you choose not to purchase the insurance on the rental car and you are involved in an accident, you may be liable to the rental car company for the complete property damage to the rental car.  This is because you will be signing a contract with the rental car company agreeing to pay for any property damage that is not covered by insurance.

Before you rent a vehicle make sure you’ve read your auto insurance policy to see whether you have coverage.  Believe me, the last thing you want is to be driving around without any car insurance.

Distracted Drivers February 12, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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I’ve emailed comments on a couple list serves about my opinion on what set of facts would allow punitive damages in Wisconsin.  In Wisconsin, the standard is set forth in the Strenke decision.

The majority opined:

In response to the issues presented, we conclude that
a person acts in an intentional disregard of the rights of the
plaintiff if the person acts with a purpose to disregard the
plaintiff’s rights, or is aware that his or her acts are substantially certain to result in the plaintiff’s rights being disregarded. Furthermore, we determine that a defendant’s conduct giving rise to punitive damages need not be directed at the specific plaintiff seeking punitive damages in order to recover under the statute.

I’ve been thinking about this language as it applies to drivers on cell phones.  The National Safety Council has a few studies about cell phone ban laws across America.  According to nsc.org:

Driver inattention is a leading cause of traffic crashes, responsible for about 80 percent of all collisions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Check out the link and especially the videos of the drivers who are on their cell phones.   I argue that each one of those drivers were very aware of the risks of driving while on a cell phone  (this applies to driving while texting too).  If they were aware of the risk doesn’t it follow that the punitive damages law would apply to their actions?

Is that a bad thing?  Punitive damages are meant, in part, to prevent individuals and corporations from acting in a manner that will cause harm to others.  So, don’t drive while on your cell phone, or buy a bluetooth headset.

  I’d like to know your thoughts.

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

If you’d like to submit a question or case please complete a case submission form.

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.

Quoted February 5, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Groth.
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I guess I was quoted in a couple legal publications. 

Thanks to whoever decided to publish this.  I appreciate the publicity!

 

http://www.jonpgroth.com

Contact Sport Injury February 4, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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Cheerleading is a contact sport. 

So says the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  So, what does this mean for teenage girls across Wisconsin?  Well, you can’t sue another cheerleader if you are injured in the act of leading cheers. 

This decision was the first of its kind.  It came not too long after a study that says that cheerleading is the most dangerous sport

So, what does this mean for those injured in the same manner as Brittany Noffke?  Parents make sure you have good health insurance, discuss the risks with your child and have good long talk with the coach about safety during practice.