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Wisconsin’s New Insurance Laws September 24, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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It’s a common question lately. When do the new laws go into effect?

Some go into effect next year.

The Journal Sentinel wrote a story about this a while ago.

Motorists will need to have a policy providing at least $50,000 in bodily injury coverage for one person, $100,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident and $15,000 to cover property damage. The current limits are $25,000, $50,000 and $10,000, respectively. The higher limits go into effect Jan. 1.

Your new policy or renewed policy must include underinsured motorist coverage starting November 1, 2009.

Underinsured motorist coverage, which now is optional, will be required for state drivers on new or renewed policies starting Nov. 1.

Auto insurance will be required starting June 1, 2010.

I hope this answers some of those questions.

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Largest “Soft Tissue” Auto Accident Verdict in Sheboygan August 28, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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That’s according to the presiding Sheboygan Judge’s memory from his 20 years on the bench.  The Jury came back with this verdict in my trial yesterday afternoon.  The trial against State Farm lasted about 3 days.

Before trial (this is a topic for another post) and when I returned to the office we did a few searches on Verdict Reporting companies.  From what we can find there were no soft tissue verdicts in reach. 

Now that the trial is over I’ll have more time to post and get back to my ‘old’ self.

Watch for more posts soon.

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.

“Look Both Ways” December 4, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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I’ve said that phrase a bazillion times the past few years.  Those with small boys will understand.  As a personal injury attorney maybe I’m a little (actually a lot) more worried about car versus pedestrian accidents.  I’ve handled a great number of cases where people walked across the street at the cross walk and not at the cross walk.   In short, always cross at the cross walk, even if it means walking a few hundred feet out of your way.

The reason I mention this is a blog post that Attorney Michael Pines of California wrote.  California has a new program called the “Safe Routes to School Program.”  It’s a good idea.  I don’t know of anything like it in Wisconsin.

In short Attorney Pines describes it as:

What the program intends to do is to create specific, easily accessible routes for children to walk to school with reduced dangers and hazards.  The routes include smaller traffic flow, safety barriers between pedestrians and traffic, lower speed limits in these zones, and in some areas, the restriction of auto traffic altogether.

I don’t know what the cost of the program would be.  But, in theory it sounds like a good idea.  Maybe some generous foundation could fund this?

www.jonpgroth.com

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Fond du lac, West Bend, Kenosha and Wauwatosa.

Click here to submit a Case or Question.

The Safe Cars of 2009 November 25, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
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In short, don’t buy a Chrysler. 

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety released it’s safe cars list.   Ford (including its Volvo subsidiary) topped the list with 16 vehicles.  Honda came in second with 13 vehicles.

Why do I say don’t buy a Chrysler.  Well, Chrysler didn’t win any awards.  None.   

The story that I link to above states:

Seventy-two cars, trucks and SUVs received the top safety pick designation for the 2009 model year, more than double the number of vehicles in 2008 and three times the number in 2007.

“No matter what kind of vehicle buyers may be considering, now they can walk into just about any dealership and find one that affords the best overall protection in serious crashes,” said Institute president Adrian Lund.

But when it comes to Chrysler:

IIHSsaid Chrysler LLC was the only major automaker that did not receive a single award. They said Chrysler could have picked up five awards if the head restraints had been improved.

I may be a little biased against Chrysler.  My Dad owned a K car in the ’80s.  He didn’t like it.  I think he didn’t like it so much that I’ve been tainted. 

For full disclosure I own a Ford and Saab.

www.jonpgroth.com

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Fond du lac, West Bend, Kenosha and Wauwatosa.

Click here to submit a Case or Question.

Social Networks and Personal Injury Law November 10, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Motorcycle Collisions, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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Trialtechview.com blogged about social networking sites and child custody cases.   This advice also applies to personal injury law.  I’ve found a lot of information about at-fault drivers on their Myspace pages.  People like to talk.  Young people especially seem to think that they are talking only to their friends.  So, you’ll find a lot of information that is usually only shared in the confines of a locker room or in their high school hallways. 

In short, don’t just have an investigator get statements from witnesses of a collision.  Check out google’s blog search, myspace and facebook for other information.  Also, set up a google alert for any key names or unique information.  You’ll be surprised what you find.  I was!

I don’t want to share too many of my tricks of the trade on this blog.  Give me a call or send an email and I’ll be happy to give some more advice.  

www.jonpgroth.com

Click here to submit a Case or Question.

Deer Love November 7, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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It’s that time of year in Wisconsin and across the nation.  It’s the rut.  That’s when every buck tries to find a doe. 

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety approximately 223 people died in animal-vehicle crashes in 2007.  

institute records revealed from January 2005 through April 2008, animal-vehicle collisions were three times more likely during November.

Rural areas with speed limits around 55 mph were most dangerous.  They note that collisions were more likely to happen between dusk and dawn.  So, if you are going to the cabin to get set for the upcoming deer season be careful driving!

www.jonpgroth.com

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

MyKey – Ford and Parents November 3, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
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Next year Ford will roll out a new feature on its Focus.  It’s supposed to help parents keep a handle on their kids.  Through controls on any key a parent can limit a vehicle’s top speed to 80 miles per hour.

In addition to speed limits, MyKey also will limit the volume of the audio system, and it will sound a six-second chime every minute if seat belts are not fastened. The chime sounds for adult drivers, too, but ends after five minutes to avoid annoying adults who adamantly don’t want to wear seat belts, Buczkowski said.  Parents also have the option of having the car sound a chime if the teen exceeds 45, 55 or 65 mph.

As an injury attorney this is a very interesting piece of technology.  Once it is on the streets I’ll ask every at fault driver of a Focus for all information about their MyKey system.  I wonder if it will store how many times parents change the limits? 

www.jonpgroth.com

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