Category Archives: Minor Settlements

Wind Lake Gymnastics Center and Claims against James Kivisto

Our firm is currently investigating claims against the Racine County based gymnastics center known as “Wind Lake Gymnastics Center,” its owner James “Jim” Kivisto and USA Gymnastics.  There are possibly hundreds of victims from our community.  It seems that James Kivisto had been videotaping young girls for quite a while and now admits that he recorded his victims changing on “multiple occasions.”  Fox 6 Milwaukee has posted numerous articles about these incidents and the work that the Racine Sheriff and law enforcement now have to undertake to decipher who was, in fact, a victim of these crimes.

The sad thing is that any parent whose child was coached at Wind Lake Gymnastics may be a victim and it’s not unreasonable that all parents have now had to talk with young kids about this.  Many parents are asking themselves whether they can ever trust a coach again.    Attorney Groth recently stated, “The lack of diligence in certifying Wind Lake Gymnastics has cost our community so much.  I hope these kids are able to continue in sports – its such an important part of growing up.  But, as a parent I understand if you want to never let your child out of your sight!”

If you would like to talk about the process involved in claims like those against the Windy Lake Gymnastics Center and James Kivisto please call our office (414-375-2030).  Our attorneys have tried negligent supervision cases and Attorney Groth has helped a number of survivors of assault and rape obtain verdicts (and the closure associated with a verdict) before Wisconsin Circuit Courts.

Contact Groth Law Firm

Lack Of Mobility Is Isolating

The loss of physical mobility is frightening and generates multiple other complications for the struggling individual. The loss of mobility is often caused by aging but can also be caused by tragic accidents. In either case, lack of mobility has far-reaching consequences not only physically, but also emotionally and socially.

An article published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior states, “Mobility is central to fulfilling needs beyond basic survival, such as social engagement”[1] The article highlights the many repercussions of the lack of physical mobility. One of the negative effects of immobility is reduced social engagement. This connection makes sense when applied to our everyday lives. The places and events we connect with people often require a level of physical mobility to allow us to be present.

Many people live through the disappointment of realizing their inability to attend a football game with friends or go shopping at the mall with their family. These events used to be part of their everyday lives, but with reduced mobility, they become difficult and time-consuming. The thought of slowing down friends and family down as they enjoy life burdens them. To avoid this feeling, they retract themselves from the social interactions they once actively participated in.

Even though society has made great strides in opening venues and events to those with mobility struggles, people often choose to withdraw anyway because of the inherent difficulties of their mobility level.

As the article mentioned above indicates, this sort of retraction from society causes harm to the individual’s social well-being. Relationships are built and maintained by steady interaction, and when that interaction is cut off, the relationship suffers. This effectively renders the individual socially isolated, which on its own is troubling. However, studies show that social isolation has even deeper effects on a person’s well-being.

In 2012, a study was conducted by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that reported, “Reducing both social isolation and loneliness are important for quality of life and well-being.”[2] Engaging in healthy social interaction is a major force in increasing physical well-being and consequently life expectancy.

A study published by Brigham Young University in 2010 reiterates the importance of social interaction with overall health.[3] The study found that those with the strongest social relationships had a 50% higher chance of survival than those without strong social relationships. This data establishes that, “low social interaction harms longevity as much as alcoholism and smoking, has more impact than lack of exercise, and is twice as harmful as obesity.”[4]

Overall, the damaging effects of a lack of mobility extend farther than one would expect. In many cases, the lack of mobility causes a forced withdrawal from society. This withdrawal negatively impacts the individual and potentially shortens their life span. It important for people with mobility struggles to stay engaged with society, family, and friends even when it may be difficult. As humans, we require a certain level of engagement with others to stay healthy.

If you have lost mobility because of an injury as the result of a someone else’s negligence, see a doctor, and, as always, please call Groth Law Firm, S.C. with any questions.  We are available 24/7 to discuss your options as the victim of negligence. Our initial consultations are always free.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice. It is not medical advice and should not be used as medical advice. The legal statutes, laws, and procedures contained in this article may not be current and may have been revised since the time of publication or contain errors. An attorney can provide legal guidance only after reviewing the details of your individual case.

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3683993/

[2] http://www.pnas.org/content/110/15/5797#sec-1

[3] http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316

[4] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/196056.php

It's important that victims of serious animal attacks report the attack and hire an attorney to compensate your pain and loss.

Treatment After a Dog Bite

We’ve seen a great number of dog attacks in Milwaukee, Racine and West Allis.  I’m not sure whether it is kids walking for Halloween or the moderate weather and everyone is just taking advantage of clear sidewalks before the snow comes.  But, there is a definite uptick in calls about injuries from vicious dogs.

We’ve asked a doctor to give some thoughts about treatments after a dog bite.  Certainly, the best practice is to call 911 and ask for an ambulance or just go the ER or urgent care.  Here is some interesting, and useful info, about treatment after a dog bite and attack:

Dog Bites

Domestic animals, like dogs, are responsible for most animal bites. Injuries from a dog bite make up 85 to 90 percent of animal bites. There are more than 4.5 million dog bites that occur each year in the U.S, half of them children between ages 5 and 9 and are more likely to be injured than adults. Approximately 900,000 dog bite victims seek emergency medical care at hospitals in the U.S. every year. One out of every five of those bites causes an injury that requires medical attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and more than 25,000 victims require reconstructive surgery.

Bites that don’t break the skin are not at risk for infection. Injuries often occur on the fingers or hands. These may involve structures deep beneath the skin including muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels. Infection from dog bites is caused by bacteria. They can be found in the mouth or saliva of the dog. The bacteria then enter the wound after being on the skin or from the environment. Infections like tetanus and rabies need to be considered because these are fatal diseases affecting the nervous system if left untreated. Tetanus and rabies are caused by bacteria and virus respectively.

What to do If Bitten by a Dog

The dog bite victim should go to a safe place away from the assailant dog to prevent further attack. Dog bites may cause laceration or puncture of skin, muscles or bones. Medical care should be accessed by a healthcare practitioner if there is a pain at or near the injury site as well. If there is only a minimal abrasion/bruise present, it is reasonable to watch for signs of infection (pain, redness, warmth, swelling, and drainage of pus or fluid) if the victim elects not to seek medical care.

The immunization status of the dog must be determined immediately by asking the owner that the vaccination is up to date or not including rabies and find out if the dog was provoked or not. Anyone who is bitten by a dog is at risk of getting rabies. Exposure to a rabid animal does not always result in rabies if treatment is initiated promptly following a rabies exposure, rabies can be prevented. If a rabies exposure is not treated and a person develops clinical signs of rabies, the diseased almost always results in death.

First Aid for Dog Bites

Although we can provide first aid for a dog bite at home, it’s very important to see a doctor, especially if the dog is unfamiliar, the bite is deep,  you can’t stop the bleeding, or there are any signs of infection. The first step with a dog bite is to properly clean and assess the wound. The following steps could help prevent infection:

Wounds should be kept elevated and, if possible, wash the wound with soap and tap water.Don’t use cotton to prevent bleeding, apply a sterile bandage instead.Use betadine or another antibiotic ointments to prevent infection from external environment.If the wound is deep, apply pressure with a clean, dry cloth to stop the bleeding.Dog bites can cause infections that need to be treated with antibiotics.

 

These are some good thoughts about care after a dog bite.   We can’t stress enough the important of getting immediate medical  care.  Better safe than sorry.

As always, please call Groth Law Firm, S.C. with any questions.  We are happy to discuss your situation and will give you and honest answer if there is a case or if there is no need to hire an attorney.  Our initial consultations are always free.

The “Unusual” Minor Settlement

When we settle a claim for someone under the age of 18 years we just assume that everyone will be asked to get in front of a Circuit Court Judge for approval.

It isn’t a guarantee though. Sometimes insurance companies don’t require a minor settlement hearing. It’s their prerogative. They can do what they want to do when it comes to demanding court approval.

That’s what makes some minor settlements unusual. It is the unusual case that does NOT require court approval. The statute involved is:

Wisconsin Statute Section 807.10

(1) A compromise or settlement of an action or proceeding to which a minor or individual adjudicated incompetent is a party may be made by the guardian, if the guardian is represented by an attorney, or the guardian ad litem with the approval of the court in which such action or proceeding is pending.

It is really up to the insurance company to decide whether they want to risk not having the force and effect of the court system. Minors cannot be held to a contract. So, if an insurance company pays an amount of money to settle an injury claim for a child and does NOT require court approval that minor could come back when they are 18 (but before they are 20) and file a lawsuit against the insurance company for damages.

You can be sure that the insurance company would fight the claim and show the court the cashed check, letters and other claims documents regarding the claim. It would be up to the court to decide whether the claim would survive. My guess is that a jury would ultimately have to decide what amount in damages the plaintiff would recover. If the jury verdict was for an amount larger than the settlement the plaintiff would have “won.” But if the amount was for an amount less than the previous settlement the insurance company may be able to recover all of their costs from the plaintiff for having to fight the claim.

Most of the time we recommend that a Judge approve a minor settlement even if the insurance company doesn’t require one.

Call us if you have any questions about the process.

877-375-7001

Attorney Jon P. Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney located in the Milwaukee area and serving clients across Wisconsin from Black River Falls to Wauwatosa and Kenosha to Marinette.