jump to navigation

American Bar Association Section of Litigation April 29, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury.
Tags:
add a comment

I’ll be attending the ABA Section of Litigation Annual Conference in Atlanta.   The conference runs from April 29th – May 1st.

I’m looking forward to it.  Check out some of the topics at their site.

If you need to get a hold of me while I’m at the conference feel free to comment at this blog.  I’ll be checking in from time to time.  Also, feel free to follow me at twitter.com/jonpgroth.

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.

More Attorneys in Wisconsin? April 27, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

I’m following up on my post from last week.   Other bloggers have also commented on the Civil Justice in Wisconsin, A Fact Book publication from UW Law School.

I wanted to direct everyone to a few interesting things in this Fact Book.   Page 31 asks “Is Wisconsin ‘Overlawyered’?”.  The Civil Justice Fact Book states, “Wisconsin, with about 2 percent of the U.S. Population, has about 1.3 percent of the country’s lawyers.”  It goes on to say that Wisconsin’s attorneys are “slightly older” than the national average with “a median of fifty years of ages versus a national median of forty-seven.”

The conclusion is that “Wisconsin seems to have about one-third fewer lawyers per capita than the rest of the country and it is not catching up.”

Interesting stuff.  I though Wisconsin would have more attorneys based upon our diploma privilege.  But, I’m wrong.

Keep an eye out for more comments on the Civil Justice in Wisconsin, A Fact Book.

What If The Police Gave Everyone A Ticket? April 6, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Phil Berenz of www.counseloroffices.net (an Illinois Attorney) wrote a good blog post on what happens when the injured party who was not a majority at fault receives a ticket.  I get this question a lot.  Let’s say the police give tickets to both drivers who are involved in an auto accident.  In Wisconsin this fact is NOT admissible at trial.  The jury isn’t going to hear about the tickets.  Why?  Because it is up for the Jury to decide negligence, period.  The fact that a police officer gave a ticket may influence the jury one way or another.  So, a judge won’t allow the parties or police officer to talk about tickets.

Check out Phil’s blog. He is a good guy and good attorney.  Here is his opinion on Illinois’ trial practice.

Many individuals who are in accidents often ask me whether the jury will hear that the defendant received a ticket in relation to the accident. They would love for the jury to hear that! They are often surprised to hear me say “absolutely not.” In fact, I tell them that the Judge–prior to the trial even beginning–makes decisions on whether such issues will ever be heard by the jury. These decisions by the Judge are based on what are known as “Motions in Limine.” Motions in Limine are specific requests brought by both parties to prevent the mention of, question of, reference to, inquiry of, suggestion of–directly or indirectly–certain evidentiary issues. The rationale for excluding certain issues such as traffic tickets is, among other reasons, to prevent unfair prejudice to a party. Defendants routinely demand that evidence of traffic tickets be excluded from admissibility before the jury unless, generally speaking, a proper foundation is made as to a defendant pleading guilty (as opposed to being found guilty) and a certified copy of the guilty plea being made available at trial time. Even then, there is no guarantee a Judge will allow a guilty plea to a traffic ticket to be heard by the jury depending upon the specific circumstances of the situation. If the Judge rules that no evidence of traffic tickets will be admissible and a plaintiff (or his attorney or potentially other witnesses) mentions the ticket, the defendant’s attorney will most likely move for an immediate mistrial!

If you have questions about an accident where you were not at fault but received a ticket or whether someone is simply “at fault” 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 Wausaukee, Kenosha,  Janesville and Wauwatosa.

“Independent” Medical Exams April 3, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Actually, there is rarely anything “Independent” about medical exams requested by an insurance company.  The insurance company pays for the exam.  It’s easy to understand that the doctor is biased.  This quote from an “Independent” medical doctor is eye opening:

“If you did a truly pure report,” he said later in an interview, “you’d be out on your ears and the insurers wouldn’t pay for it. You have to give them what they want, or you’re in Florida. That’s the game, baby.”

Read the story from the New York Times.  It deals with workers’ compensation in New York but it is certainly relevant for Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation claims.

Something interesting about this article is the changes that NY has implimented for its “I.”M.E.’s.  They allow the exams to be tape recorded or videotaped.  Seems reasonable to me!  In Wisconsin personal injury law plaintiffs’ attorneys who ask that an exam be taped or recorded receive a strong objection from the insurance company.  Sometimes even having a friend or family member attend an exam isn’t allowed.

Last I checked no Wisconsin Appellate Court has held whether a Defense Medical Exam (that is a more accurate description) performed for a personal injury claim may be tape recorded or videotaped.  Federal Courts have held that a Defense Medical Exam regarding a psychiatric examination may be recorded.  Zabkowicz v. West Bend Co., 585 F. Supp. 635 (E.D. Wis. 1974). (See this outline from an Insurance Defense Firm located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin).

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.

Part Two: Speed Defeats Right of Way April 2, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Matt made a great comment about my earlier post.   I found a jury instruction (Wis JI-Civil 1157 Right of Way: At intersection of Highways; Ultimate Verdict Question) and Wis. Stats. Section 346.18 to support my position:

Another safety statute provides that the operator of any vehicle operating at an unlawful speed on a highway is negligent and forfeits any right of way which he would otherwise have.  Thus, before you can find negligence for failure to yield the right of way, you must first find that the vehicle on thh right was being operated at a lawful speed.

So, the question is for the jury.  The above paragraph is read by a Judge to the Jury before they begin to deliberate on who was at fault.   I assume a jury would be lenient on a person going 46 in a 45 compared to someone going 70 in a 45.

As to Matt’s question regarding the Governor’s budget.  I have to plead ignorance.  All I know is what Belling and Sykes have said.  I have to read the budget myself before I jump into that battle.

Thanks again for the comment Matt!

Speed Defeats Right of Way March 24, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Drunk Driving, FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
Tags: , , , ,
2 comments

A Marinette, Wisconsin man was driving on U.S. 41 when a car pulled onto the highway.  The Marinette man struck this vehicle.  The Marinette man survived.  Everyone in the other vehicle died.

If this is all you heard you may say that the other vehicle was at fault.  Why didn’t they see the Marinette man’s vehicle?  They should have yielded the right of way to the vehicle on U.S. 41.

In Wisconsin “speed defeats right of way.”  So, if you are speeding on the road and another car pulls out in front of you, guess what?  You, the speeder, are at fault.

That is what happened in this case.  Plus, I should mention that the Marinette man was intoxicated.  An accident reconstruction specialist estimated the Marinette, Wisconsinite was driving between 77 and 81 in a 45 mph zone.

The Marinette man killed the driver of the car, his three daughters (two were pregnant so two kids were killed) and his son.

The Marinette man was allegedly at a bar where his wife worked for 9 hours prior to the crash.  He told the police that he was distracted when the collision occurred.  He was changing the radio station in his car.

Read the AP’s full story at jsonline.com.

If you have questions about an accident involving a drunk driver or whether someone is “at fault” in Wisconsin 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 Wausaukee, Kenosha, 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.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

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.

Let’s Get to Zero January 7, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Drunk Driving, Motorcycle Collisions, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

The State of Wisconsin is running a serious ad blitz on TV and radio.  The ads talk about the number of deaths and serious injuries that occur daily because of car accidents.  In short the ads talk about cell phones, drinking and not paying attention as bad driving habits that we all can work on.  If we can change our habits there won’t be as many injuries and serious car accidents in Wisconsin.

Their website ZeroInWisconsin.gov says:

Some deaths were caused by speeding while others were a result of drunk driving, or not wearing a seat belt. Tragically, these deaths affect many lives and cause great pain to thousands of people throughout the state. Fortunately, you can help change that number.

There is a bunch of statistics on the page too.   I think I’ve already talked about the death totals from car accidents before.

In short, this is a good time to assess your driving habits and make a New Year’s Resolution to drive more responsibly.  It sounds simple but this is good advice:

By staying within the speed limit, being sober behind the wheel, and buckling up, you can do simple things that can turn more than 500 annual deaths into zero.

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.

Unsafe Car Parts from China December 22, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Injury Law.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Is there any good news about products coming from China these days?  The New York Times writes about a few serious safety problems found in auto parts manufactured in China:

Child restraints that may come apart in an impact. Fuses that could catch fire when overloaded. Tires susceptible to tread separation.

A consumer safety organization, the Center for Auto Safety, has a whole page dedicated to recent recalls of products made in China.

This next quote really concerns me.  Like many others I tend to believe that some Chinese manufacturers don’t really look to the long term.  They are only concerned about short term profits.

The executive director of the Center for Auto Safety:

said his review convinces him that too many Chinese companies are unfamiliar with — or don’t care about — safety standards in the United States and thus don’t meet them.

Be sure to check out the recent recalls when you get a chance.

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Milwaukee, West Bend, New Berlin and Wauwatosa.

Click here to submit a Case or Question.

Update on Crazy Loophole December 21, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Personal Injury Law.
Tags: ,
add a comment

I just blogged about this crazy loophole that Great American Insurance Company is trying to use to get out of paying for a number of wrongful deaths.

The Houston Chronicle’s Lisa Falkenberg wrote an opinion piece about this loophole:

Earlier this week, the Houston Chronicle’s Mary Flood reported that the Cincinnati-based insurer asked a federal court judge to help it avoid a potential $25 million liability in a Houston office fire last year that killed three people. Vocational nurse Misty Ann Weaver lit the fire to hide the fact that she hadn’t met a paperwork deadline.

Now Great American officials are trying to hide from responsibility in the deaths, which isn’t as shocking as the legal argument they’re trying to employ.

Families of the fire victims shouldn’t be compensated for their losses since the deaths were caused by smoke inhalation instead of actual flames, the company argued in a federal court brief.

I can see why the insurance company is trying to avoid paying based on this loophole.  They’ll save a ton of money.  Lisa did a little investigation:

And “fire, lightning and debris removal” were the No. 1 causes for homeowners’ insured losses nationwide at nearly 35 percent in 2006, the most recent year for which statistics were available from the New York-based Insurance Information Institute.

For the sake of the family of the victims I hope Great American Insurance doesn’t win.  Talk about adding insult to injury.

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.