Personal Injury Lawyer WI

Statute of Limitations: What It Is and Why It Is Important

Many people have heard the term “statute of limitations,” but do not quite know what it means or why it is important. They are generally aware that it is a legal term, but for many, that is the extent of their understanding. For lawyers and their clients alike, the statute of limitations is important because it governs the time frame with which the parties have to take certain actions. By definition, the statute of limitations refers to the amount of time an injured party has to file a lawsuit following their injury. If a case has not been settled by the expiration of the statute of limitations or a lawsuit filed, the claimant loses their right, by law, to recover compensation for their injuries. Their claim is time barred.

This article will focus on statutes of limitation for many types of Wisconsin personal injury cases. Each state has their own rules regarding statute of limitations, and the time frames vary by state.

In general, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case in Wisconsin is three years. This means that in order to preserve the right to continue pursuing a personal injury claim after the statute of limitations has expired, a lawsuit must be filed before the three year anniversary of the injury. As with most rules, there are exceptions depending upon what type of claim is being made, when the injury occurred, etc. This article will dissect some of those nuances and identify the statute of limitations for various types of personal injury claims that are often made in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Statute § 893.54 outlines the general rule for the statute of limitations in Wisconsin for “Injury to the person.” It states as follows:

(1m) Except as provided in sub. (2m), the following actions shall be commenced within 3 years or be barred:
(a) An action to recover damages for injuries to the person, including an action to recover damages for injuries to the person caused or sustained by or arising from an accident involving a motor vehicle.
(b) An action brought to recover damages for death caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of another.
(2m) An action brought to recover damages for death caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another and arising from an accident involving a motor vehicle shall be commenced within 2 years after the cause of action accrues or be barred.

As mentioned previously, a case involving injuries to the person must be settled or a lawsuit filed within three years of the date of injury, or it will be time barred. Subpart (2m) of Wis. Stat. § 893.54 provides that the statute of limitations for a wrongful death arising from a motor vehicle accident is only two years from the date of accrual. This is one of the exceptions to the three year rule in Wisconsin. NOTE: “Date of Accrual” for a wrongful death claim has been defined by case law as date of death.
It is also important to note that a wrongful death claim not involving a motor vehicle still falls under the general umbrella of a three year statute of limitations.

Generally, most personal injury cases in Wisconsin fall within the three year statute of limitation time frame set forth in Wis. Stat. § 893.54(1m). These include, but are not necessarily limited to:
• Motor Vehicle Crashes
• Premises Liability Cases (i.e. slip and fall, trip and fall)
• Dog Bites
• Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Below is a chart* that contains a more comprehensive list of statutes of limitation in Wisconsin for specific types of cases, many of which changed with the passing of 2015 Wisconsin Act 133, which was enacted into law on February 4, 2016 and officially published on February 5, 2016.

Cause of Action Accidents Occurring BEFORE February 6, 2016 Accidents Occurring On or After February 6, 2016
Auto Property Damage 6 Years from Date of Accident 3 Years from Date of Accident
Bodily Injury Claim (NOT involving death) 3 Years from Date of Accident NO CHANGE – 3 Years from Date of Accident
Wrongful Death (involving a Motor Vehicle) 3 Years from Date of Accrual 2 Years from Date of Accrual
Uninsured Motorist Claim 6 Years from Date of Accident 3 Years from Date of Accrual
Underinsured Motorist Claim 6 Years from Date of Accident 3 Years from Date of Accrual

The statute of limitations for minors in Wisconsin is also an exception to the general rule. Minors have two years after they reach the age of majority (i.e. two years after their 18th birthday) to file a lawsuit for injuries they sustained in an accident while still a minor pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 893.16.

Claims against a government entity or employee are subject to a different rule set forth in Wis. Stat. § 893.80. For claims against government entities or employees, a written notice of the claim must be served on the proper government agency within 120 days of the accident or injury. If a claimant fails to give proper notice within the 120 day time frame, his or her claim could be barred.

While most personal injury claims are governed by a three year statute of limitations, there are many types of claims that are subject to a different statutory time frame as well. If you or someone you know has been injured by someone else’s negligence, you do not want to risk missing an important statutory deadline. Injured parties can lose their right to recover for their injuries if they miss the statute of limitations by one day. At the Groth Law Firm, we will make sure your case is filed on time so that you do not lose your right to continue pursuing your claim for damages. Make sure to have a skilled team of attorneys on your side to ensure that all of the statutory deadlines specific to your case are met. Call the Groth Law Firm today for a free consultation!

*The information contained in this chart was taken largely from an informational chart provided by a representative of the Wisconsin Association for Justice, a plaintiffs’ trial lawyer association.

Car Accident Lawyer WI

Hit and Run Crashes in Wisconsin

All too often, we hear from victims seriously injured in hit and run type accidents. A “hit and run” accident occurs when a vehicle causes a crash and subsequently flees the scene. Most times, these crashes occur between two vehicles, but hit and runs can also occur when a vehicle strikes a bicyclist or pedestrian and flees. There are many questions that surround these types of crashes, including how to hold the negligent party accountable when there is little to no contact information or other identifying information available.

In early November of 2018, a 4th grade Girl Scout troop from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin was volunteering their time to pick up litter along the roadway of a nearby town when a pickup truck crossed the center line, drove into the ditch and struck several members of the group. The driver then fled the scene. Three of the Girl Scouts and one adult with the group died as a result of the incident. The driver eventually turned himself in.

More recently, on Friday, February 8, 2019, a Milwaukee Department of Public Works employee named Bryan Rodriguez was working on the city’s north side filling a pot hole when he was struck and killed by a hit and run driver. In a Journal Sentinel article, Mayor Tom Barrett is quoted saying that Mr. Rodriguez was following the standard procedure of the department for filling a pothole. He was positioned directly behind the truck as he filled the pothole when a car struck and killed him. The driver of the vehicle fled on food, leaving the car at the scene. Police did locate the driver, and she was taken into custody.

When crashes happen, people sometimes go into temporary shock and are not able to think clearly. If you are involved in a crash and it becomes clear that the person who caused the accident is going to flee, it is important to get as much identifying information as possible. The most obvious bit of information to obtain is their license plate number, but even the color, make and model of the car can be useful. Authorities can use the license plate number to check who the vehicle was registered to and use that information in their investigation.

It is also important to call the police – not only to conduct an investigation and try to find the person who caused the crash, but to generate an Accident Report to document the crash and the fact that it was a hit and run. The accident report will also be useful when filing a claim with your insurance company soon thereafter.

It is also useful to check if there are any traffic cameras in the area where the crash occurred that may have captured any identifying information. If there were no traffic cameras nearby, area businesses may have surveillance cameras mounted onto their buildings that captured some useful evidence. With regard to traffic or surveillance camera footage, time is of the essence because many cameras recycle old footage by taping over it, sometimes after only a matter of hours. It is crucial to act as quickly as possible to recover the footage before it is destroyed. A personal injury attorney can work with their investigators to try and locate and preserve all pertinent evidence, which is why it is important to reach out for help right away.

Take photographs to document the scene of the crash and damages to your vehicle as it appears immediately after the incident. Even if the at-fault vehicle is no longer present, it is important to document the damages to your vehicle as well as the location at which the crash occurred. The photographs should also be time- and date-stamped to further corroborate the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident.

If there were any witnesses to the crash, take down their contact information in case you, your attorney or the police need to contact them for more information. If you do not take down their names and contact information at the scene, chances are you will not be able to locate them. Witness testimony is critical in many cases as it provides an independent, unbiased account of how the incident transpired. Witness observations may also help investigators locate the person who caused the accident as they might have gotten a better look at the vehicle that caused the crash.

If the negligent party who caused the hit and run accident is unable to be located, that does not necessarily mean that the injured victim is out of luck as far as compensation goes. The injured person can still recover under their own auto insurance policy or the policy covering the vehicle they were in at the time of the crash. Hit and run crashes are generally treated as Uninsured Motorist cases, so the injured person can recover under their own policy for injuries sustained in the crash. The Uninsured Motorist coverage steps in the shoes of the coverage that should apply but is unknown (or does not exist in most cases) because the driver fled the scene and was unable to be located.

If you or someone you know has been the victim in a hit and run type accident, our firm may be able to help. Time is of the essence in these types of cases as critical evidence may be lost if not obtained quickly. At the Groth Law Firm, our goal is to take all of the hard work off of our clients’ shoulders so that they can focus on recovering. We will work with investigators to try and find the person who caused the accident, secure and preserve any pertinent evidence and work directly with the insurance company so that you don’t have to. The Groth Law Firm has handled dozens of hit and run cases over the years, and their team is equipped to fight for you in the most difficult of times. Don’t wait – call the Groth Law Firm today for a free consultation at (414) 375-2030!

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https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2019/02/08/one-person-killed-crash-involving-milwaukee-public-works-truck-and-vehicle/2811828002/

https://www.apnews.com/c967fce38daa4fb4b4be64a088333a13

Car Accident Lawyers Milwaukee

What To Do After You’ve Been In An Auto Accident

Car accidents happen every day across the state of Wisconsin. Despite being a common occurrence, many drivers do not know the proper steps to take when a car accident does happen. Even if you are fortunate enough to have never been involved in an auto accident, knowing the steps to take if one should happen is important.

First and foremost, any person involved in an accident must not leave the scene of the crash. Fleeing the scene of an accident is a criminal offense in Wisconsin and an offender could face fines ranging from $300-$100,000 and jail time of up to 25 years if convicted.

The law in Wisconsin says that an auto accident must be reported if it resulted in any injury or death, damage of $200 or more to any state or government owned property other than a vehicle, or if the damage to any vehicle involved appears to have sustained damage of $1,000 or more. Wisconsin Stat. Sec. 346.70, which is entitled Duty to report accident; assistance following accident, states that if injury or damage to any one vehicle in excess of $1,000 occurs, the owner or occupant must notify authorities using the quickest means of communication possible. Nowadays this can happen almost instantaneously since most people carry cell phones with them wherever they go.

If the police are not called to the scene to make a report, the operator of the vehicle involved must file a written report of the accident within ten (10) days of the crash to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The crash form application that must be filled out to appropriately report the crash can be found online at www.wisconsindot.gov.

It is also important to exchange information with the other parties involved. Do not leave the accident scene without writing down, or taking a photograph of, key information. This pertinent information includes name, address and telephone number of the other parties involved in the crash. You should obtain the driver’s license number and license plate number for all other parties as well. It is also very important to exchange insurance information, especially if the accident was not your fault. If police arrive on the scene, they will typically assist the parties in obtaining and exchanging this important information.

Safety must remain your top priority at the scene of an accident. If it is not possible to safely move the vehicles out of traffic, it is best to remain inside your vehicle until law enforcement arrives. If it is possible to safely move the vehicles out of traffic, you should do so. There may be other traffic attempting to get through or past the scene, and you do not want to risk being stuck by a passing vehicle in an attempt to assess the damage or talk to the other parties involved. It is best to remain in your vehicle until police arrive to direct traffic and secure the area.

Once it is safe to do so, use your cell phone to take photographs of the damage to all vehicles involved in the crash. Photographs of the scene of the accident can be some of the best pieces of evidence, particularly in a case where liability – or who caused the accident – is being disputed or called into question. Because it is not uncommon for stories to change or people to be untruthful about how a crash really happened, photographs are often helpful in piecing together how a crash occurred based upon points of impact and location of the damage on the vehicles involved.

Be honest with officers as you tell them how you recall the crash occurring and whether or not you were injured in the crash. If you are experiencing any pain, it is important that you report it even if you do not believe you need to be transported to the hospital by ambulance. If you do have pain following an accident, you should seek care immediately at an Emergency Room. Do not wait for several days hoping that the pain will subside. Your health should be your number one priority after being involved in a motor vehicle crash. It is better to be safe than sorry. Get the care you need right away to ensure that you are on the fastest road to recovery.

If you are instructed to receive follow up care, it is crucial that you follow the doctor’s orders. Do not let large gaps in your treatment occur. Insurance companies use large gaps in care to devalue bodily injury claims on the basis that if the claimant was truly injured in the accident, he or she would have sought the care they needed in a timely manner. When gaps in care occur, insurance companies believe that the care is more likely related to something else that occurred during the gap in time rather than from the auto accident. While treatment does take time and adds to already busy schedules, it is the key to making a full recovery.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, the Groth Law Firm may be able to help. We tell all of our clients and potential new clients that our goal is to take the burden of being in an accident off of their shoulders so that they can get their lives back on track as quickly and easily as possible. We do all of the heavy lifting so that all our clients need to focus on is receiving the care they need to recover and feel better. We know that being involved in a car accident is frustrating and overwhelming, and we don’t want our clients to go through it alone.

The team at Groth Law Firm combined has decades of experiencing fighting to protect the rights of those injured as a result of the negligence of others. Groth Law Firm offers free consultations and is available to speak with injured victims seven days a week. If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, call us at (414) 375-2030 today.

Car Accident Lawyer WI

Winter Driving Tips for Wisconsin Motorists

With the winter weather upon us in Wisconsin, it seems to be as good a time as ever to remind drivers of some basic rules to keep in mind while navigating the wintery roadways. First and foremost, slow down. Our vehicles do not handle nearly as well in snow and icy conditions as they do on a dry road surface. Remember that speed limits are the maximum speed that a car should be driven in ideal conditions. Winter weather creates less than ideal road conditions, and speed should be reduced accordingly to maintain control of the vehicle.

Give yourself extra time and distance to stop since the tread on tires does not grip the road as effectively in winter conditions. Maintaining a safe following distance means something completely different in winter than it does the rest of the year. Motorists must be cognizant of the fact that slippery conditions exist more often in the winter due to snow and ice and give themselves more space between themselves and the vehicle in front of them, particularly in case that vehicle slows or stops suddenly. In the event that your vehicle begins to slide, do not slam on the brakes. Instead, pump your brakes to give your tires a chance to regain traction. If your vehicle begins to fishtail, it is recommended that you turn your wheel in the direction that the car is sliding and do not press the brake. This should allow the vehicle to correct itself without spinning out.

Visibility is often diminished in the winter months. Visibility can be reduced with precipitation, or when the slow is falling. Visibility may also be reduced based upon our own vehicles and whether or not they have been adequately cleared of snow and ice. This type of visibility, unlike the weather-related visibility, is something we, as drivers, have complete control over. It is not safe to drive a vehicle that has not snow or ice covering any parts of the windows or headlights. Always keep a snow brush and ice scraper in your vehicle during the winter months.

Oftentimes this visibility issue occurs when a vehicle has been parked outside during a snow fall or ice freezes to a vehicle’s windows overnight. Many people will clear a small section of the windshield, just large enough for themselves to see through, in an effort to save time or avoid standing in the cold temperatures to fully clear their vehicle. They will then proceed to drive with their defrost blaring hoping that the rest will melt or otherwise disappear quickly as they drive. This is obviously not safe.

In Wisconsin, drivers can be ticketed for operating a vehicle without all of the windows cleared of snow and ice. While not included in the law regarding snow on windows, officers also want to see hoods and roofs of vehicles void of snow accumulations prior to driving. Once the vehicle begins to move, a safety hazard is created as that snow can either fly up into the air or slide down from the roof obstructing the view of not only that particular driver, but potentially drivers in the vehicles behind them as well. All drivers should make sure to clear their entire vehicle before driving. The fine for driving with snow on the windows of a vehicle is $175. The driver will likely also be forced to clear the entire car before being allowed back on the roadway. Avoid the hassle, and get in the habit of clearing your vehicle completely of snow and ice accumulations before hitting the road.

It is also highly recommended that motorists adequately prepare their vehicles for winter driving conditions. A large part of preparing a vehicle to safely traverse Wisconsin roadways in winter is equipping them with winter tires. Winter tires are designed to grip the roadways more effectively in colder temperatures thus making winter driving much easier and safer. While it may sound absurd, insurance companies have taken the position that drivers can be liable for crashes caused by “inadequate tires.” Take responsibility and make sure your vehicle is appropriately prepared for winter conditions so that you do not cause an accident and injure yourself and others.

It is especially important in winter that drivers keep their vehicles stocked with items to help in the event that the car breaks down or gets stuck in the snow. A shovel and rock salt should be kept in the trunk at all times. If the vehicle slides off of the road and into a ditch, these items can help the driver get the vehicle out by shovelling around the tires and pouring salt down to give the tires some traction. A blanket and an extra set of winter hats and gloves should also be placed in the vehicle to keep the occupants warm in case of a breakdown. Emergency flares or reflectors should be a priority as well because they can be put out to warn passing vehicles of a disabled vehicle on the side of the road. A rope or chain comes in handy if the vehicle needs to be towed out of a ditch. Jumper cables, which should be kept in the vehicle year round, are also especially important in winter in the event of a dead battery. A flashlight is also a necessity as it gets darker much earlier in winter, so the chances of being on the side of the road in the dark is much greater than at other times during the year.

It is not uncommon for the number of car crashes to increase during the winter months, especially around the first few snowfalls as drivers are getting used to driving in slippery conditions again. Therefore, it is especially important for Wisconsin drivers to keep these winter driving tips in mind as they venture out into the snowy conditions. If you or someone you know has been injured in a weather-related crash due to the negligence of another driver, the team at Groth Law Firm may be able to help them recover for their injuries and other expenses associated with the crash. Call the Groth Law Firm today at (414) 375-2030.
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https://www.weau.com/home/headlines/Cops-give-tickets-to-drivers-who-havent-cleared-snow-ice-off-vehicles–184354601.html
https://www.tmj4.com/news/local-news/authorities-warn-of-snow-danger-on-cars-after-wisconsin-man-child-injured

car accident lawyer in Milwaukee Wisconsin

“Move Over Laws” in Wisconsin

While deaths on Wisconsin roads declined slightly in 2018 compared to the previous two years, many deaths still occur each year when drivers fail to abide by the state’s “Move Over Law.” Just recently, a tow truck driver was struck and killed by a passing motorist as he was working to remove a stalled vehicle on I-41 northbound near Oneida Street in Ashwaubenon. The incident occurred in the early afternoon and there were no inclement weather conditions that contributed to the crash. The tow truck driver died at the scene after being struck and left behind a wife and two small children.

In 2001, Wisconsin passed the “Move Over Law,” which was designed to protect the many brave men and women that work along the state’s roadways from harm. Among those that the law was designed to protect are law enforcement officers, emergency responders, tow truck operators, and other highway maintenance workers.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the concept of the Move Over Law is simple: “If you see a vehicle on the side of the road with its emergency lights flashing, you are required to move out of the lane closest to the vehicle if possible. If a safe lane change is not possible, or you are traveling on a two-lane roadway, you are required to slow your vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for traffic conditions, and drive at a reduced speed until completely past the vehicle.”

The penalties for not abiding by the Move Over Law are not light given the extreme risks to those working along Wisconsin’s roadways if vehicles do not move over or slow down. If someone who violates the Move Over Law receives a ticket, he or she will be assessed three demerit points from their driver’s license and also receive a $249 fine. If a violation of the Move Over Law results in a crash, the violator’s driver’s license will be suspended. If someone is hurt or killed, the violator can serve up to seven years in prison for the violation. (https://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/about-wisdot/who-we-are/dtsd/bto/brochure-moveover.pdf)

While it is important as drivers to be aware of and abide by the Move Over Law, it is also worth mentioning some rules of thumb to keep in mind if you find yourself in an emergency situation alongside a road or highway. In an interview with Fox 11 News, Lieutenant John Bain from the Brown County Sheriff’s Department acknowledged the inherent risks of being stopped or stranded on the side of the road and gave the public several rules to follow if they are in an emergency situation. First and foremost, he stated that it is important that the individual does all that they can to get to a safe location. Lt. Bain defined a safe location as one that is “eat least four to five feet away from any lane of traffic.”  Once he or she is in a safe location, Lt. Bain encourages them to notify the authorities who can provide traffic control in an effort to keep everyone safe. He further advised that, at least until authorities arrive to aid in traffic control, the individual is to stay in their vehicle with the seat belt fastened. (https://fox11online.com/news/local/part-of-i-41-closed-in-ashwaubenon)

Motorists in Wisconsin must remind themselves of what the Move Over Law mandates and become more mindful of its purpose while driving, especially on busy roadways. Fatalities along Wisconsin roadways would be drastically reduced if drivers were more conscientious about the Move Over Law. It is especially important to remind ourselves of the Move Over Law during the winter months as snow covered and icy roadways oftentimes lead to an increase in traffic crashes and stalled vehicles on the sides of the road. Abiding by the Move Over Law creates a safety zone for the law enforcement officers, tow truck drivers, highway workers, and others tending to vehicles along the roadways.

Two lane county highways often create a greater risk of danger as there might not be room for a vehicle to “move over” if there is oncoming traffic. This is why it is crucial that if a vehicle cannot safely move over, it must slow down to a speed safe for traffic conditions but slow enough that the driver maintains control of the vehicle if it needs to slow or stop in a short amount of time.

Injuries caused when a motorist fails to abide by the Move Over Law are often serious, many times even resulting in death, due to the speeds that vehicles travel along the highways in Wisconsin. The Move Over Law was designed to keep people safe and protect the lives of those who work along Wisconsin roadways each day.

If you find yourself in an emergency situation along a Wisconsin road or highway, you should first get to a safe location and immediately call for help. Do not attempt to exit your vehicle and tend to it without the proper traffic controls to notify passersby of your presence near the roadway. Make the call and request the help of law enforcement officers because it can save your life as well as the lives of those in your vehicle. This is especially important in the evening hours when there is no natural daylight making it easier to spot a stalled vehicle on the side of the road.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a vehicle vs. pedestrian crash, call the skilled, dedicated and proven attorneys at Groth Law Firm. Groth Law Firm understands the pain and stress caused by these types of injuries and has years of experience helping clients on their journey of recovery. The team at Groth Law Firm dedicates their practice exclusively to representing those injured by the negligence of others, particularly in the context of motor vehicle crashes and vehicle vs. pedestrian crashes. Groth Law Firm will make sure that all of your rights are protected and use their knowledge and experience to maximize your recovery. Call the team at Groth Law Firm at (414) 375-2030 for a free consultation.

Wisconsin Laws

Snow Removal Rules in Wisconsin

With the recent winter storm in Wisconsin, many homeowners and occupants of properties have spent a great deal of time outside clearing snow and ice from their driveways and walkways. Property owners in Wisconsin have a duty to keep sidewalks in front of or alongside their property clear of snow and ice. Property owners should familiarize themselves with the ordinance that applies to snow removal in the city or municipality where the property is located. The rules do vary depending upon the municipality, but in general, property owners have a certain number of hours from when a snowfall ends to remove the snow and ice from the walkways adjacent to their property.

The ordinance governing snow removal in Milwaukee states: “Private property, residential or commercial property owners and occupants are required to clear the sidewalks abutting their property of snow or ice within 24 hours after the snow has stopped falling. This includes the corner crosswalk area for property owners with corner lots or those whose property abuts a midblock crosswalk.” When a violation is reported in Milwaukee, the property owner will be charged $50 and receive a notice to clear the walk. If the property owner does not sufficiently clear the walk before the city contractor arrives to inspect, the property owner will receive an additional $75 charge for the first violation and a $100 charge for any subsequent violations in addition to the cost of the snow and ice removal to be completed by the city.

The City of Waukesha ordinance regarding snow removal is as follows: “Within 12 hours after the snow has stopped, sidewalks should be cleared of snow or ice. After 12 hours, if the City receives a complaint of snow or ice-covered walk, the City will begin enforcement action.” Once a violation is reported, the City inspects the sidewalk. If the City determines that there is a violation of the ordinance, the representative leaves a courtesy tag at the property to notify the owner or occupant of the violation and the need for corrective action. The City then revisits the property the next business day. If the violation is still present, the City sends a contractor to remove the snow or ice and bills the property owner for the service. The City charges an additional penalty for repeat violations as well.

According to the City of Waukesha website, common problems that constitute violations of the snow removal ordinance include sidewalks that are not shoveled, ice-covered sidewalks, sidewalks not shoveled to their full width, handicap ramps not sufficiently cleared of snow and ice and snow placed in the street.

The city of Madison takes a bit of a different approach to its snow removal guidelines. The Madison guidelines state: “To make public sidewalks safe for pedestrians, the owner or occupant of the property immediately adjacent to a public sidewalk is responsible for the removal of any snow or ice that accumulates on the sidewalk. Residents are required to clear snow from their sidewalk by noon of the day after the snow stopped. And remember, snow plows might create a blockage even after your drive has been cleaned. In the event that removal of ice is impossible, the property owner or occupant is required to use sand, salt or other suitable substance to prevent the ice from being dangerous. This should be done by noon of the day after the snow/ice stopped.” Unlike in Waukesha, the City of Madison notes on its website that it will not issue a warning before citing the property owner for not properly removing snow and ice pursuant to the ordinance because it is a safety issue.

Given that the rules vary fairly substantially between municipalities, it is important for property owners to be aware of the rules for their specific region. Ordinances can generally be found on the city or municipality’s website. Property owners must be cognizant of the rules surrounding snow and ice removal to avoid monetary penalties if they are found to have violated the ordinance, or worse, if their failure to remove snow and ice results in a serious injury for someone who is injured on the sidewalk on their property. It is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that the sidewalks on their property are maintained in a manner such that it is safe for pedestrians who use the sidewalk.

Aside from city sidewalks, homeowners are also responsible if someone, such as a guest or delivery driver, are injured on their property due to their failure to adequately remove snow and ice from their driveways and walkways leading to their home. While there is not an ordinance or statute governing snow removal on private property, a homeowner has a duty to maintain his or her property such that it is free of any unreasonable risks of harm for those who are on the property with permission. For example, if a delivery driver or mailperson are injured because the homeowner did not properly remove snow and ice from their walkways, the homeowner (usually through their homeowner’s insurance policy) can become responsible for paying for the damages sustained by the injured person, such as medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

If you or someone you know has been injured on someone else’s property due to snow or ice that has not been properly removed, there may be grounds to make a personal injury claim against the homeowner and his or her insurance company. Time is of the essence in these types of cases as oftentimes evidence must be gathered soon after the injury or it may be forever lost. The team at Groth Law Firm has successfully handled cases against property owners who have failed to maintain their properties in a manner that is safe for guests and others that come onto the property with permission resulting in serious injuries. The attorneys at Groth Law Firm offer free consultations and would be happy to speak with you to determine if you may have a case. Call the Groth Law Firm at (414) 375-2030 today.
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https://city.milwaukee.gov/mpw/divisions/operations/environmental/sanitation/winter/SidewalkSnowRemoval.htm#.XEUtf1xKg2w
https://waukesha-wi.gov/1677/Snow-and-Ice-Removal
https://www.cityofmadison.com/residents/winter/SnowIce/snowRules.cfm
https://www.cityofmadison.com/residents/winter/SnowIce/snowRulesFAQs.cfm

Pedestrian Accident Lawyer WI

Crosswalk Laws in Wisconsin

Over the years, it has become increasingly dangerous to cross the streets of Wisconsin even where there are marked crosswalks. Whether it is because of an increased population resulting in an increased number of drivers on Wisconsin roadways, or simply a greater number of distractions causing drivers to divert their attention away from the road, accidents involving pedestrians have been on the rise in Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the average number of crashes involving pedestrians each year between 2011 and 2015 was 1,248. Of those 1,248 pedestrian crashes, an average of 46 pedestrian deaths occurred and 1,196 pedestrian injuries were reported. The year with the highest number of deaths and injuries was 2015. In 2015 alone, there were 1,289 reported accidents involving pedestrians, 54 deaths and 1,227 injuries in Wisconsin.

Many of these pedestrian accidents occur because Wisconsin drivers simply do not abide by the rules pertaining to pedestrians crossing the road in crosswalks. It is illegal in the state of Wisconsin to fail to stop for a pedestrian crossing in a crosswalk. A pedestrian in a crosswalk does have the right of way. A crosswalk does not necessarily have to be marked in order to be considered a crosswalk. As Tom Held, ambassador for Wisconsin Bike Fed, explains it, “Any point where there is a natural crossing for a sidewalk, pedestrians have the right of way. It’s not an option for drivers to stop or not stop – they are obligated by law to yield or stop.”

The pertinent language from the Wisconsin statutes is as follows:

“346.23: Crossing controlled intersection or crosswalk.

(1) At an intersection or crosswalk where traffic is controlled by traffic control signals or by a traffic officer, the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian, or to a person who is riding a bicycle or electric personal assistive mobility device in a manner which is consistent with the safe use of the crosswalk by pedestrians, who has started to cross the highway on a green or “Walk” signal and in all other cases pedestrians, bicyclists, and riders of electric personal assistive mobility devices shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully proceeding directly ahead on a green signal.”

While pedestrians crossing roadways at any point other than a marked crosswalk (or an area where a sidewalk ends and there is a natural sidewalk crossing) do have to yield the right of way to vehicles, drivers should always be scanning the sides of the roads while they drive to look for pedestrians who may be attempting to cross. Even though pedestrians must yield to vehicles in those situations, many pedestrian involved crashes could be avoided if drivers paid closer attention, even in areas where there are not crosswalks.

346.25, Wis. Stats. governs the rules pertaining to crossing at any point other than crosswalks. It states:

“346.25: Crossing at place other than crosswalk

Every pedestrian, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked or unmarked crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.”

On Friday, February 15, 2019, 82 year old crossing guard, Gail Bantes, was struck by a vehicle while performing her crossing guard duties in the Peshtigo School District. Prior to getting struck by an SUV, Bantes pushed two young girls to safety. Before working as a crossing guard for the city of Peshtigo, Gail Bantes was a bus driver for 43 years. Bantes spent several days in the hospital due to the injuries that she sustained.

The Peshtigo police chief confirmed that the woman driving the SUV did receive a citation. She allegedly told officers that she was unable to see people in the crosswalk due to the sun glare.

Barriers to vision do not render the laws pertaining to crosswalks null and void. Drivers must exercise greater caution when their vision is obstructed in order to avoid a pedestrian collision. Sun glare does pose an issue, especially when driving directly toward the sun, but a driver still has a duty to exercise ordinary care, particularly in less than ideal driving conditions. Wearing sunglasses, using a sun visor and reducing speed are several ways to reduce the risk of a crash on very bright days.

In the winter, there are other types of hazards drivers face when it comes to being able to see when approaching a crosswalk. Large snow piles block the view of drivers as they approach intersections, particularly in a winter such as this where there are record snowfalls for the season in parts of the state. Many snow piles are pushed so high that it is impossible to see if pedestrians are walking behind them and are about to step into the crosswalk. In these situations, it is important to slow down and exercise greater caution, especially near school zones. Peshtigo police chief warned drivers, “Slow down, watch at intersections, because if you can’t see them, they can’t see you.”

With the ever-increasing number of distractions drivers are faced with nowadays, it is crucial to be aware of the Wisconsin crosswalk laws and exercise an even higher degree of caution when approaching crosswalks. Pedestrians in crosswalks have the right of way, and it is illegal not to stop for a pedestrian who is crossing a street in the crosswalk. Additionally, it is illegal to begin making a turn, even on a green light, if there is a pedestrian crossing in the crosswalk if the turn would endanger or interfere with the pedestrian in any way.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a pedestrian vs. vehicle crash while crossing lawfully in a crosswalk, the team at Groth Law Firm may be able to help. Time is of the essence in these types of cases, so call the Groth Law firm today to make sure that your rights are protected and valuable evidence is retained and preserved. Call the attorneys at Groth Law Firm at (414) 375-2030 today.

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https://onmilwaukee.com/buzz/articles/crossingthestreet.html

https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/about-wisdot/newsroom/statistics/final.aspx

https://www.wsaw.com/content/news/-Home-Local-Article-82-year-old-crossing-guard-pushes-kids-to-safety-before-being-hit-by-SUV-506071891.html

Personal Injury Lawyers WI

Five Common Mistakes People Make After a Car Accident

Being injured in a car accident causes all sorts of stress, including physical, emotional and financial stress. Most people want to get their lives back on track as quickly as possible and put the whole ordeal behind them, even if it means taking some losses financially. This blog article focuses on five of the most common mistakes car crash victims make following an accident and why these mistakes can seriously decrease the value of their claims. If you have been involved in a car accident, read these carefully and do not fall into the insurance company’s trap!

Mistake #1 – Not Calling the Police

While it is not uncommon for one or both parties to be hesitant to get the police involved, you should always call the police after a car accident. In fact, reporting the accident to police is required in certain situations. For example, you must report the accident if there were any injuries sustained or if the property damage to any one vehicle is greater than $1,000.

Not only is it required by law to report the accident to police in many situations, but it is helpful to have the police document the crash in the form of an Accident Report. This report will make the insurance claims process much smoother as it has all of the pertinent information about the accident in one place. Also, an Accident Report eliminates any doubt between the parties about the exact time and location at which the accident occurred.

Mistake #2 – Giving a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company

Another one of the biggest mistakes auto accident victims make after an accident is believing the insurance company when they are told they must give a recorded statement in order to move the claim forward. Do not let the insurance company fool you! While you may be required to give a recorded statement under the terms of your own personal auto insurance policy if you intend to make a claim under your medical payments or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you do not have to give a recorded statement to the insurance company for the at-fault driver.

Insurance companies often try to obtain a recorded statement shortly after an accident occurs and lock you into statements you make while still caught up in the shock of the crash. It is not uncommon for people to exaggerate the facts of the accident or the extent of their injuries because they think it will help their claim when, in reality, the exact opposite is true. It is also common for people to talk too much and give the insurance company too much information, which in turn, also harms their claim. The best practice is to not agree to give a recorded statement, and instead, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before giving the insurance company any information.

Mistake #3 – Not Going to the Doctor

It is extremely important to seek medical care following an accident, even if you do not feel like you are very injured. Many people have a burst of adrenaline following a crash and do not realize how serious their injuries are until hours, or even days, after an accident. Your health should be your number one priority after being involved in an accident. If you do not see a doctor right after an accident, it gives the insurance company power to argue that you must have been injured in some other way (NOT in the accident) or you would have sought medical care right away. Do not give the insurance company a reason to doubt your injuries! Make sure to see a doctor right away and follow their instructions regarding follow-up care.

Mistake #4 – Admitting Fault of Any Kind

When discussing the facts of the accident, use your words wisely. Insurance companies can take your words out of context and use them against you, so it is important to simply stick to the facts as you remember them and not comment on whose fault the crash was. It is also important to not admit any fault at the scene of the accident. While you may want to be considerate of the other parties involved, even a simple “I’m sorry” can be taken the wrong way, so it is best not to say it at all.

Mistake #5 – Settling the Claim Quickly

It is the insurance company’s job to settle a claim as quickly as possible while paying the least amount of money possible. The quicker they settle a claim, the less risk the company is exposed to. It is not uncommon for insurance adjusters to call a car accident victim mere hours after a crash and try to convince them to accept a nominal amount of money in full and final settlement of their claim. Until you know the real extent of your damages, which may not be for quite some time depending upon the severity of your injuries, it is a bad idea to settle your claim. What many people do not realize is that once they accept a settlement, they can never go back after the insurance company for the injuries they sustained in the crash, even if the injuries get significantly worse.

Do not accept a nominal offer from the insurance company just for the sake of putting the whole ordeal behind you. Call an experienced personal injury attorney who will fight to ensure that you are receiving the compensation you deserve.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, the Groth Law Firm may be able to help. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience you need on your side to ensure that the insurance companies do not take advantage of you. The team at Groth Law Firm will fight to protect your rights and maximize your recovery. They offer free consultations and are available seven days per week to speak with accident victims, answer their questions and put their minds at ease. Do not fall victim to the ploys of the insurance companies. Call the Groth Law Firm at (414) 375-2030 today!

Truck Accident Lawyers WI

Truck Accident Cases

After being the victim of an accident, it is hard to know what to do first. The shock and trauma of the impact, in addition to any injuries make it a challenge to remain level-headed. This can be compounded further if you are in an accident involving a semi-truck, or any commercial vehicle.

Truck accidents have the frightening potential to cause much more severe injuries than accidents that involve normal passenger vehicles. The sheer mass of most semi-trucks cause impacts that can compromise even the safest vehicles.

If you or your family is involved in an auto accident caused by a truck, the most important thing is to immediately call emergency services. Even if you initially only feel soreness, it is vital to get checked by medical professionals immediately. Many common symptoms of an accident, like whiplash, often do not have visible symptoms. Additionally, accident related injuries oftentimes develop over time and may not be evident at the scene of the crash. Symptoms can take days to fully manifest and having someone with the proper medical training evaluate you is essential.

As discussed, addressing any potential injuries is the most important first step. If possible, move your vehicle off to the side of the road to avoid any secondary impacts. If your hazard lights are still functioning, activate those as soon as you are able to safely do so.

Once you have called emergency services and moved your vehicle to a safe position, collecting evidence may be important to ensuring a successful claim. As long as you are able to safely do so, you should make contact with the other driver and ascertain their 1) Name 2) Contact info 3) License plate number 4) Insurance carrier information 5) Driver’s license number 6) What company or business they were hauling for. Just as importantly, you should speak with any nearby witnesses to ask them what they saw, and for their contact information. In a case where liability is disputed, and independent witness and their testimony can mean the difference between fair compensation for you and your family, or nothing. When police show up, make sure that the law enforcement officers are aware of, and speak to, the witnesses. Having witness statements in an accident report can clear up any ambiguity and lends additional credibility to your case.

In addition to witness statements, pictures are a more objective way to determine what happened to cause a crash. Whether it’s the scene of the accident, or the damage to all the involved vehicles, pictures can help paint a clear picture and can make a huge difference for your case. Photos of nearby traffic signals, stoplights, stop signs, anything potentially blocking views of drivers, should all be documented. Since nearly everyone has a high-quality camera in their pocket, this should be a top priority after ascertaining the safety of all of the victims in an accident.

Truck accidents can have a variety of causes. Although most truck drivers are some of the most experienced drivers on the road, they are just as prone to make the same mistakes as any other driver. Some causes of truck accidents include, 1) Driving while tired 2) Driving for too many hours in a row 3) Speeding 4) Improper lane changes 5) Failing to properly secure their truck load. Certainly mistakes on the road happen. Fortunately, this is why trucking companies carry insurance. In fact, it is a requirement in Wisconsin to drive with auto insurance. Failure to obtain valid insurance could result in a ticket.

It is likely following a truck accident that an insurance company will reach out to you. This could be either your insurance, or the insurance for the trucking company. It is important to contact a lawyer before they call. Increasingly, insurance companies are attempting to rapidly settle cases for less than they are worth. They are doing so, in part, because they know that when injured victims obtain legal counsel this means higher settlement amounts. If the insurance companies are in the business of minimizing their exposure, and minimizing payments, the Groth Law Firm is in the exact opposite business. We will work hand in hand with you to ensure that we are maximizing your compensation.

If you are the victim of a truck driver’s negligence, you are entitled to various forms of compensation that help you get back on your feet. The Groth Law Firm will work to ensure that you are compensated for 1) Medical Bills 2) Wage Loss 3) Pain and Suffering 4) Property Damage and 5) Costs related to future care you may need for your injuries.

Truck accidents have the unfortunate potential for much more severe injuries. As a result, many injuries victims sustain are permanent in nature. When that is the case, we will work with your doctor and other medical professionals to help ensure that you are not stuck with bills in the future. We will not settle your case until we are certain that we have obtained the maximum available compensation. Some law firms will rush you through the case process to receive payment quickly. The Groth Law Firm will continue to work diligently on your case, up to, and through any potential trial if needed.

Experiencing an accident can be one of the most traumatic events in a person’s life. Whether it is the impact, the pain that comes from injuries, or the uncertainty of whether or not you will be able to pay your medical bills, the entire experience can be overwhelming, and life-altering. This disorientation is normal. At the Groth Law Firm, we believe the only thing you should have to worry about is your recovery. It will be our job to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and to ensure that they do not undervalue your case. We will work with any medical providers, and take care of any paperwork associated with your case. If you, your family, or friends were involved in a truck accident case, please call Groth Law Firm for a free consultation.

 

Auto Accident Lawyers WI

“Dangerous Dozen”: The Most Crash-Prone Intersections in the Milwaukee Area

While motor vehicle crashes can (and do) happen almost anywhere, there are several intersections in the Milwaukee area that tend to see a higher number of crashes than others. According to a May 24, 2018 article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, there are 12 intersections, referred to as the “Dangerous Dozen,” that had the highest number of crashes in a five-year period. If you live in Milwaukee or the surrounding area, you probably travel through some of these intersections on a regular basis.

The number one, most crash-prone intersection, according to data obtained through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, is the area where Interstate 41/Highway 45 crosses over Capitol Drive in Wauwatosa. Wayne Higgins, the president of a traffic engineering consulting firm, stated that the three-tiered nature of this particular intersection is “unusual” as three-tiered intersections are not all that common, which likely contributes to driver confusion and thus a higher volume of crashes. Higgins stated, “You’ve got the through traffic east-west, and then you have all the turning traffic one layer above, then you have the freeway section above that, so there’s plenty of opportunity for confusion by drivers.”

The intersection of I-41 and Capitol Drive had 218 crashes between 2012 and 2016 alone with a total of 87 people who reported injuries from those crashes. In reality, that number may be even greater because this number only accounts for crashes that were actually reported to the Department of Transportation. Many crashes are left unreported and are not included in the statistics.

The rest of the intersections rounding out the top 12 most crash-prone intersections in the Milwaukee area are as follows:

• I-94 and Hwy 164 in Pewaukee
• I-94 and Hwy 83 in Delafield
• W. Greenfield Ave. and Moorland Rd. in Brookfield/New Berlin
• I-94 and Moorland Rd. in Brookfield
• Port Washington Rd. and Silver Spring Dr. in Glendale
• I-94 and Hwy F in Pewaukee
• Bluemound Rd. and Barker Rd. in Brookfield
• Bluemound Rd. and Moorland Rd. in Elm Grove
• Les Paul Pkwy and E. Racine Ave. in Waukesha
• S. 108th St. and W. Lincoln Ave. in West Allis
• East Moreland Blvd. and Kossow Rd. in Waukesha

While these intersections are said to be the most crash-prone, they are also some of the busiest intersections in the Milwaukee area. The sheer volume of traffic going through these intersections on a daily basis attributes to many of the crashes. A Glendale police officer, Todd Lynch, stated that when you get a lot of traffic traveling through an area, “you are going to invite more traffic accidents.” Officer Lynch also made an interesting observation: most of the crashes are not caused by people driving recklessly, they are caused by people not paying attention.

Whether it is a cell phone, a passenger, changing the radio station or picking up an object that fell onto the floor (only to name a few), there are countless ways drivers are becoming distracted behind the wheel nowadays. Distracted driving, especially in busy intersections, is a recipe for disaster.

One common type of intersection accident is a rear end type collision. While rear-end crashes happen frequently and most often due to distracted driving, Delafield Police Captain Bob Hagen made an interesting observation as it pertained to the third most crash-prone intersection, which happens to be in Delafield. He noted that many rear-end collisions occur on the I-94 offramps with vehicles attempting to make a right-hand turn. The first car will pull out and the car directly behind the first car immediately pulls up and begins checking for traffic to the left. Oftentimes, the first car, upon inching out, will see an oncoming vehicle and brake to allow it to pass. Meanwhile, the second car continues moving forward while looking to the left and a rear-end collision with the first car occurs.

At the Groth Law Firm, we hear of this exact scenario happening frequently. While these are not usually high-speed impacts, they can still result in serious injuries given the way the driver’s body is positioned inside the vehicle at the moment of impact – i.e. head turned to the left looking for oncoming traffic. As drivers, we have a duty to maintain a proper lookout so as to prevent a collision or injury. Before turning to look for oncoming traffic, we cannot assume the vehicle in front of us has executed a turn simply because the vehicle began to move forward. Make sure the vehicle ahead has committed to a turn before diverting your attention elsewhere. This small act alone could decrease the volume of rear-end collisions significantly.

Four-way stops can also be dangerous because many drivers either do not recall or do not follow, the rules of the road for four-way stops. In general, the vehicle that arrives at the intersection first has the right of way. If two vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle on the left must yield to the vehicle on the right. There are many things we can all do to make our roads a safer place. While distracted driving continues to play a large role in traffic crashes, keeping in mind the basic rules of the road may help to avoid a collision, particularly at a busy intersection.

If you or someone you know has been injured due to the distracted driving of another person, we may be able to help. The attorneys at Groth Law Firm dedicate their practice exclusively to the representation of those injured due to the negligence of others, most often in the context of motor vehicle crashes. Our skilled, dedicated and proven team will take the necessary steps to ensure that your rights are protected and your recovery is maximized. At the Groth Law Firm, we understand that being involved in an auto accident is overwhelming. Our goal is to take the stress off of your shoulders so that you have the time and energy to focus on what is most important, which is healing and getting your life back on track. If you have been injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, call us today for a free consultation.
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https://www.jsonline.com/story/communities/west/news/2018/05/24/12-most-crash-prone-intersections-milwaukee-suburbs/623054002/