Category Archives: Milwaukee Personal Injury Attorney

personal injury lawyer in Milwaukee Wisconsin

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

civil litigation lawyer in Milwaukee Wisconsin

Civil Litigation Overview

If you are a party in a lawsuit, the process can seem both scary and overwhelming. Most people have never had this experience, and without a basic understanding of civil litigation, trials and court can be perceived as daunting. Fortunately, most civil litigation lawsuits follow a basic, often formulaic, trajectory.

The first component of any civil lawsuit begins with what are known as the “pleadings.” In essence the pleadings are the documents that activate the litigation process and give a basic overview of what claims a party is alleging. A plaintiff in a lawsuit files a “complaint” with the court. This complaint is also formally served on the defendants. Within the complaint, the plaintiff (through his or her attorney) alleges what harm the defendant caused and also provides the legal foundation that holds the named defendant responsible.

Following the filing of the complaint, the defendant will respond with an “answer” within an allotted amount of time. Essentially, the answer outlines and explains the defendant’s response to the charges laid out in the plaintiff’s complaint. In addition to their response to the specific allegations found in the complaint, the defendant is afforded the opportunity to file a counter-claim. A counter-claim is a defendant’s claim that the plaintiff may have harmed the defendant in some way, and should be held liable. This counter-claim can sometimes give rise to a reply from the plaintiff, depending on the allegations contained in the counter-claim. It is also important to note that within certain allotted times following the filing of pleadings, both the plaintiff and the defendant are provided opportunities to amend their pleadings without suffering any harm to their case. This is often done to add additional relevant parties, or amend information found in their initial pleadings.

Sometime after the pleadings are filed (timing is often dependent on jurisdiction and the court’s current calendar), the court will call a scheduling conference where all parties will meet with the judge to determine the major dates for the remainder of the case. This includes trial, and everything leading up until that point. Typically, the first relevant dates will dictate how discovery is to be carried out.

Broadly, discovery refers to the curated exchange of information between all parties in a lawsuit. Discovery serves multiple purposes, and is typically the longest part of any given case. Discovery includes interrogatories which request parties to answer specific questions as they relate to a case. For example, interrogatories in an auto accident case may include, “Were you using your cellphone at the time of the accident?” or “Have you ever had injuries to your back prior to this accident?” More than anything, attorneys use discovery strategically to look for information that might help their case, and harm the other’s side case. Discovery can become contentious, especially when parties seek to keep information about their clients private, and outside the scope of discovery. It is uncommon for a court to weigh in on discovery unless there are genuine disagreements that all parties are unable to resolve amongst themselves.

In addition to the exchange of information through the use of interrogatories, discovery will also contain requests for production of documents. The scope of these requests is often broad and all encompassing. Alongside document exchanges, parties will conduct interviews and depositions of relevant parties. Depositions include sworn testimony from a witness that has the potential to be used at trial. For example, in an auto accident case, depositions may include testimony from witnesses, police officers, and doctors who have treated any injured individuals. These depositions help parties learn about the case that their opposition hopes to present. Insurance companies will often hire a doctor, or multiple doctors, to evaluate plaintiffs and their injuries. These doctors often represent insurance companies on multiple cases throughout the year. Sometimes these are referred to as independent medical examinations, but they could be more appropriately characterized as defense medical examinations as there is disagreement over whether or not these exams are truly independent. If testimony from anyone in a deposition is inconsistent or contradicts their testimony at trial, then attorneys from either side may use their sworn testimony in a deposition to impeach that witnesses credibility.

When parties in a lawsuit utilize “expert witnesses”, a court will often require a written report regarding what their testimony may contain at trial. For doctors, this report may be very comprehensive and can include years of an injured person’s medical care and treatment. Additional experts might include crash reconstruction experts who can more accurately describe how a collision occurred, or vocational experts, who may provide testimony regarding a injured person’s lost wages, or lost of future earning capacity.

Prior to trial, parties may exchange and file motions with the court asking for the court’s ruling or specific action on a matter. They typically ask the court to deviate from normal trial practice and procedure. These motions often require support from legal briefs that attorneys file with the court. Additionally, the court may require that the parties argue their rationale for or against filed motions, in front of the court.

Many civil litigation cases that go into suit are ultimately settled before trial occurs. This is most commonly done through mediation, which is a popular type of alternative dispute resolution. Mediation entails a neutral third party mediator who will help try to reach a middle ground between adverse parties. The mediator is either picked by the court, or agreed upon by all parties in a case. Typically, the results of mediation, and the fact that it occurred are confidential. Mediations are not inherently binding, and if one or both parties do not reach a mutually agreed upon middle ground, they are not prejudiced or held to their negotiations. The majority of personal injury lawsuits are settled through mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution and do not ever get to trial.

Before trial occurs, most judge will order a pre-trial conference where they discuss particulars for trial and address any attempt by the parties to resolve the case prior to trial. Broadly, the aforementioned provides a brief overview of the civil litigation process. Every case is different, and unfolds accordingly. Collectively, the Groth Law Firm has decades of trial experience and success. Call today to discuss your free case 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

Stadium Injuries

On July 26th, The Milwaukee Bucks released long anticipated information about the naming of the new downtown arena. Fiserv Inc. entered a 25 year naming rights deal with the Bucks to call the new stadium The Fiserv Forum. Fiserv is based in Brookfield, Wisconsin and provides financial services technology. The arena opens in September with popular band, The Killers, leading the Grand Opening event.

With all of Wisconsin getting ready to cheer on the Bucks in their upcoming season, it’s a good time to reflect on keeping your family safe at sporting events. Whether it’s poorly maintained bathrooms, simple food spills, or flying balls or shirts, there are a host of dangers to be cautious of. For instance, if you were to slip and fall on concessions, what are your next steps? First, immediately seek medical attention. Even if you feel like you are able to “walk off” an injury, most major stadiums have medical transportation available and at the ready. Depending on the circumstances of your incident, you will want to make a report as soon as possible. These reports are useful in determining whether or not the stadium owner was negligent. Next, contact The Groth Law Firm so that we can start working on your case. If you are injured at a stadium, the last thing you want to worry about is dealing with insurance and paperwork. The Groth Law Firm is your Milwaukee firm that has the expertise required to take on your injury case.

Although premises liability cases are the most common instance of injuries at a sports stadium, fans could also be injured by flying baseballs, pucks, and even players. Most stadiums have safety measures in place to protect fans, as well as disclaimers in the fine print on many tickets. Although these injuries are less common, they can be severe. In 1970 the L.A. dodgers Manny Mota fouled a ball into the stands the struck a young fan in the head. Tragically, the fan passed away four days later. A fan at a Chicago Blackhawks game was struck by a puck in 2013, despite sitting beyond a safety net. This ultimately resulted in a lawsuit. In 2015, at the Daytona International Speedway, a vehicle crashed into the fence protecting the spectators, injuring five. Auto racing accidents are among the deadliest as debris from crashes can fly into the stands at an extremely high rate of speed.

Owners of these stadiums have a legal obligation to minimize the risk of injuries to fans. If an owner is aware of damages, such as a loose railing or slippery floor, they must repair it or warn others of the dangers. If an owner fails to take these reasonable steps, they may be liable for your injuries and other damages.

With the recent draft pickup of Donte DiVincenzo and new Head Coach Mike Budenholzer, the Milwaukee Bucks are looking forward to a strong season and playoff push in a weak Eastern Conference. The Bucks will start regular season play in the new Fiserv Forum in October of 2018.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a sports stadium contact Groth Law Firm at 877-375-7001.