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Uninsured Motorists and Phantom Vehicles

Uninsured motorist coverage provides protection to the insured if the other driver(s) in an accident do not have car insurance. This coverage has the added benefit of offering protection to motorists who are victims of hit-and-run type accidents when the at-fault driver cannot be identified. In addition to this protection, uninsured motorist coverage can also protect you from “Phantom Vehicles.”

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving causes innumerable accidents, and sometimes the distracted driver is not even aware they’ve caused an accident. For instance, a driver could ignore a red light and causes you to swerve to avoid a collision. It’s possible they might not have seen you, and perhaps they continue driving and leave the accident. These situations can result in severe injuries to you, and expensive damage to your vehicle. In most hit-and-run accidents, physical contact between all involved vehicles is required to make an uninsured motorist claim. Phantom vehicles have no such requirement, but instead have unique criteria.

Being Involved in an Accident With a Phantom Vehicle

In order for a “phantom vehicle” to qualify under uninsured motorist coverage the following must be met under Wis. Stat § 632.32(2)(bh):

  1. The motor vehicle is involved in an accident with a person who has uninsured motorist coverage
  2. In the accident, the motor vehicle makes no physical contact with the insured or with a vehicle the insured is occupying
  3. The identity of neither the operator nor the owner of the motor vehicle can be ascertained

If these criteria are met, then timely steps are required to succeed on this claim under Wis. Stat § 632.32(2)(g)2:

  1. The facts of the accident are corroborated by competent evidence that is provided by someone other than the insured or any other person who makes a claim against the uninsured motorist coverage as a result of the accident
  2. Within 72 hours after the accident, the insured or someone on behalf of the insured reports the accident to a police, peace, or judicial officer or to the department of transportation or, if the accident occurs outside of Wisconsin, the equivalent agency in the state where the accident occurs
  3. Within 30 days after the accident occurs, the insured or someone on behalf of the insured files with the insurer a statement under oath that the insured or a legal representative of the insured has a cause of action arising out of the accident for damages against a person whose identity is not ascertainable and setting forth the facts in support of the statement.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Wisconsin

Groth Law Firm has experience and success in handling auto accidents. If you think your auto accident has hit-and-run, or “phantom vehicles” issues, contact us today and let us start working on your case.

The Most Dangerous Intersections in Milwaukee County

With thousands of businesses and nearly a million people, Milwaukee County is a place of hustle and bustle. Every year there are thousands of car crashes. In the past, we’ve talked about the recent car accident trends in Milwaukee County. Now, we will identify the 10 most dangerous intersections. The following 10 intersections were found to be the most dangerous based on data from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WDOT) from 2010-2015.

1. Capitol Dr W – 35th St N

  • Number of Accidents: 136
  • Accidents that Resulted in Injuries: 104

The intersection of Capitol Drive W and 35th Street North is considered to be one of the most complex intersections in Milwaukee county due to both ways of traffic having mutliple lanes, a merging lane from 35th to Capitol, and the complex merging lanes from Roosevelt Drive onto Capitol.
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2. Port Washington Rd N – Silver Spring Dr W

  • Number of Accidents: 136
  • Accidents that Resulted in Injuries: 74

The intersection of Port Washington Road North and Silver Spring Drive West is extremely dangerous due to the fact that it is the intersection outside of the Bayshore Town Square Mall. This is one of the biggest malls in Milwaukee County and is also closely located to the on and off-ramps of I-43. Be especially careful in this are during the holidays and back-to-school when the mall is the most popular.
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3. N Mafair Rd – W North Ave

  • Number of Accidents: 128
  • Accidents that Resulted in Injuries: 65

The intersection of North Mayfair Road and West North Avenue is extremely dangerous due to the fact that is the main intersection for traffic going to and coming from the Mayfair Mall. Once again, traffic here is much heavier during back-to-school and the holidays, so be sure to exercise extra caution during these times.
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4. 27th Street N – Center Street W

  • Number of Accidents: 122
  • Accidents that Resulted in Injuries: 102

The intersection of 27th Street North and Center Street West is actually quite dangerous due to fact that West Fond Du Lac Avenue runs at a diagonal line through BOTH intersections. This creates quite a bit of confusion in high traffic situations and the presence of accidents only makes it worse.
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5. Fond Du Lac Ave W – Capitol Dr W

  • Number of Accidents: 113
  • Accidents that Resulted in Injuries: 75

The intersection of Fond Du Lac Avenue West and Capitol Drive West is one of the best dangerous intersections in Milwaukee County due to the fact that both of these streets are two of the largest and busest streets in the county, so when they intersect, problems often occur.
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6. 108th St S – Lincoln Ave W

  • Number of Accidents: 105
  • Accidents that Resulted in Injuries: 72

The intersection of 108th Street South and Lincoln Avenue West presents plenty of dangers with multiple lanes, double merging lanes, and three bus stops being located neear traffic lights. This combined with high traffic volumes throughout the day make this an extemely dangerous intersection.
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7. 35th St N – Center St W

  • Number of Accidents: 101
  • Accidents that Resulted in Injuries: 96

On paper, the intersection of 35th Street North and Center Street West looks quite tame, but fading lane lines, bus stops, and bike lanes make this intersection very dangerous at times of high traffic.
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8. Lincoln Ave W – 76th St S

  • Number of Accidents: 100
  • Accidents that Resulted in Injuries: 54

Much like the previous intersection, the intersection of Lincoln Avenue West and 76th Street South seems pretty tame at first, but bus stops, multiple gas stations, and poor line-of-sight make this intersection dangerous for unwary drivers.
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9. 108th St S – National Ave W

  • Number of Accidents: 99
  • Accidents that Resulted in Injuries: 53

With over sixteen lanes intersecting, the intersection of 108th Street and National Avenue West has plenty of chances for accidents to occur. This combined with a plethora of nearby food and shopping opportunites makes this intersection very dangerous at all times of the day.
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10. S Howell Ave – Drexel Ave

  • Number of Accidents: 97
  • Accidents that Resulted in Injuries: 27

The intersection of Howell Avenue and Drexel Avenue is much like the previous intersection in that fact that is made up of many lanes and is surrounded by multiple shopping centers. This intersection also includes some interesting merging lanes that create very dangerous circumstances for drivers who are not paying attention.
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Winter Safety Tips For Wisconsin Residents

Winter means not only changes in weather, heavy coats and mittens, hot chocolate and cozy fires, but potentially extreme changes in driving conditions. The latest blizzard, winter storm Jonas is reported to have claimed 27 lives to date according to www.weather.com. Here are some tips for staying safe while traveling in the Winter.

Make sure you’re ready before it snows. Check the weather conditions before leaving the house. If the forecast advises caution, consider adjusting your commute or simply staying put if you are able. After it snows, be aware of road conditions. Be safe, make sure your car is properly maintained, a full tank of gas, safe tires, plenty of windshield washing fluid. Remember, you may be a skilled and confident winter driver, but others on the road are not and you could potentially be the victim of another bad driver.

Note that Southeast Wisconsin is identified as a ‘moderate risk’ driving zone in winter weather. Ice can build up and make for unpredictable driving conditions. Blowing or drifting snow can cause white out conditions or severely decreased visibility.

If you must leave the house or office during questionable winter weather, drive cautiously and slow down!

Settle Whenever You Want?

Recently, we have been asked about the timing of a settlement. “Can you settle whenever you want?” Technically, yes. As long as an injured party is within the 3 year statute of limitations (for auto crashes or slip and falls, NOT against a governmental entity) you have the ability to settle whenever you want to. But why leave money “off the table?” If you need to settle “right now” and just can’t wait, that gives the insurance company a hint that they can leave value “off the table”. Thus, they will offer less than the full compensation an injured party deserves. As the victim why would you want to be victimized a second time?

Injury attorneys can do a lot to help. Our advice and analysis about strategy is our greatest asset. Be sure to really understand what it means to settle prior to signing a full release of all claims. Once you sign that release, you will not be eligible to make additional claims or receive further compensation for that particular incident. This is true even if your injuries get worse or new complications arise. This is why it is beneficial to fully assess and understand your injuries before settling.

If you have any questions or need a second opinion about your car crash case, please contact our attorneys over the phone or email. Good luck!

What Can You Expect from a Deposition?

Maybe you have heard of a legal procedure called a deposition. This post will briefly outline what a deposition is and what to expect if you are ever deposed.

A deposition is a question and answer session with an attorney or multiple attorneys that can take the place of testimony at a trial. You may know that many, many cases that go into suit will be settled. A deposition is one of many steps that could take place preceding a trial to learn information. The deposition also substitutes for testimony at trial, so that, in some cases, a trial never has to be held.

Some people claim to want “their day in court.” Court can be inefficient, take a long time, and (in situations where lawyers are paid hourly rates) cost a lot of money. A deposition can either substitute for a court hearing or help supplement the information necessary to put forward legal briefs or strategy for hearings or trial.

In a deposition, one or more attorneys,depending on the case, will have the opportunity to ask questions of a witness. A court reporter and your attorney will also be present. The court reporter will administer on oath and record the dialogue between the witness and the attorney, and your attorney will object to questions that are inappropriate according to the legal rules of evidence.

If you are called to be a deponent (a person who is deposed), your role is fairly easy. Although, you may be nervous or intimidated by the legal process, you don’t need to be. The key is to listen to the attorney’s questions carefully and answer them directly and truthfully. That is really is all there is to it.