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Invasion-of-Privacy-Wisconsin-Attorneys

Invasion of Privacy Civil Claims

In the digital age, it has become increasingly easy for people to invade the privacy of others. As technology advances, things like cameras and other recording devices are becoming smaller and easier to hide. What was once a James Bond movie gadget, can now be delivered to anyone with 2-day shipping for a few dollars from Amazon.

Recently, one such device was found at a Milwaukee area BMW dealership. According to reports, on April 6th, a small camera was found hidden in the towel dispenser in the women’s room at Umansky BMW in Glendale. The camera was found after one of the dealership’s employees noticed a light coming from the dispenser.

The police were called to the dealership and the camera was removed. After investigation, the police found that the video camera had several videos of women changing clothing and using the bathroom. The video also, reportedly showed one of the dealership’s employees, a manager, placing the camera in the bathroom and adjusting it. The manager was arrested and fired. It is not currently known how long the camera was in the restroom or how many victims were recorded.

In cases like these, the victims of such a terrible invasion of privacy have several possible civil claims. Employees could have workers’ compensation claims, and both employees and members of the public who were exposed to these actions potentially have claims for invasion of privacy and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Workers’ compensation claims for employees go through the employer’s work comp insurance, but these cases often still need the guidance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help navigate the complex insurance system in place.

Wisconsin also recognizes a right of privacy and those who have had their privacy unreasonably invaded are potentially entitled to compensation. According to Wisconsin statutes, an invasion of privacy is an “intrusion upon the privacy of another of a nature highly offensive to a reasonable person, in a place that a reasonable person would consider private . . .” such as a bathroom or changing room.

Negligent infliction of emotional distress is another civil cause of action recognized in Wisconsin. Negligent infliction of emotional distress has three elements that must be proved for the injured person to recover as a plaintiff in Wisconsin. First, someone has to have engaged in negligent conduct. Second, that person must have caused the emotional distress. And third, the emotional distress that was caused must be severe. When determining the severity of the emotional distress, it must be more than a reasonable person could be expected to endure.

Both invasion of privacy and negligent infliction of emotional distress are complicated cases to settle or bring to trial, as are workers’ compensation claims. If you or someone you know has been the victim of the Umasky BMW manager’s recordings or any similar invasions of privacy, contact a skilled, dedicated, and proven attorney to discuss your options.


 

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.

Sources:

https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/tida.site-ym.com/resource/resmgr/State_Law_Summaries/WI.pdf

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/995/50/2

https://www.cbs58.com/news/glendale-car-dealership-employee-arrested-after-camera-found-hidden-in-womens-bathroom

 

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.

Personal Injury Lawyer WI

How Much Is My Case Worth?

One of the most commonly asked questions by clients of personal injury attorneys is, “How much is my case worth?” Many times, this question is asked either shortly after an accident has occurred or while the client continues treating for injuries sustained in the accident that they hired the attorney for in the first place. The truth is that this question cannot be honestly answered by the attorney as there are many moving pieces in a personal injury case. Unless the client has made a full recovery, there are too many unknown factors that make it nearly impossible for an attorney to answer this question.

There are multiple components that make up a personal injury settlement. While treatment is ongoing, these factors are constantly changing in value. The purpose of this blog article is to touch on the various components that generally comprise a personal injury settlement and how they are largely all moving pieces until a case is ready to be submitted for settlement.

1. Medical Expenses

Medical expenses are typically one of the largest components of a bodily injury case. The extent of the injuries and the duration of treatment will usually determine how much in sheer medical bills an injured person will incur. The longer a person treats, the more in medical bills he or she will incur. A fractured bone requiring surgery and months of therapy will likely have more medical expenses than a neck strain that resolved in a few weeks. While these injuries are all worth SOMETHING, it is usually not possible to say with any degree of certainty exactly what the value is while an injured person is actively treating and convalescing from their injuries.

While a client continues actively treating for his or her injuries, medical bills continue to add up. Without knowing how much more treatment a particular client will require, whether he or she will be instructed to try a different treatment modality altogether or ultimately whether the injury will require surgery are all unknowns that make it difficult for an attorney to say what a case is worth with any degree of certainty. What we do instead is encourage our clients to continue treating if they are in pain, follow their doctor’s instructions and not let large gaps of time pass with no treatment. We explain that case value is a discussion that will have to be had in the future when we have more certainty regarding the extent of their injuries and recovery therefrom.

2. Lost Wages

After sustaining an injury, it is not uncommon for an injured person to miss work due to their injuries. Lost wages are also compensable in a personal injury claim. In order to make a claim for lost wages, many insurance companies require documentation from a physician, such as a work excuse or some sort of notation in the medical records, that the injured person should remain off of work for a specified period of time. Because injured people do have a duty to mitigate their damages, insurance companies want to make sure that the wage loss was legitimate as opposed to a claimaint remaining off of work and claiming lost wages when they could have safely performed their duties despite their injuries.

In cases with significant injuries, clients may be off of work for long periods of time. Even if PTO or vacation time is used, those hours may still be submitted as part of the bodily injury claim because those hours are no longer available to use for pleasure due to the accident.

3. Mileage

Mileage to and from the doctor for accident related treatment is also compensable in a bodily injury claim. It costs money to travel to doctor and therapy appointments, and as such, mileage expenses are claimed as part of the injured party’s damages. It is important to track your mileage to and from each appointment, so that mileage expenses can be easily calculated at the time of settlement.

4. Permanency and Future Care Needs

In many cases, the injury or pain is permanent and care may be needed indefinitely. For most personal injury claims, Wisconsin has a three year statute of limitations which means that a lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date of injury, or the injured party loses their right to pursue their claim. Because many injured people will treat longer than three years, we must somehow be able to estimate the cost of their future care. We do this by getting opinions from their treating physicians and do the math to extrapolate the cost of the care recommended over the time frame set forth by the doctor, or if the treatment is needed indefinitely, over the client’s remaining life expectancy.

5. Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is another well-known component of damages in a personal injury case. Unlike the other items of special damages, however, pain and suffering is not a tangible number we can calculate like medical expenses, lost wages, etc. There is no magic formula that we can use with every case that tells us what each is worth in terms of pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering is very factually specific to each case. In many cases, attorneys may even differ on the valuation for pain and suffering because while pain and suffering is real, it is difficult to put an arbitrary number on it. Pain and suffering depends largely on the nature and extent of the injuries, duration of treatment and whether a permanent injury exists. Every case is different, and many cases may include more or different factors than those mentioned here. In a case that involves permanent injuries and future care needs, we must also factor in future pain and suffering.

The components of personal injury claims discussed in this article are certainly not exhaustive. Because no two cases are exactly alike, some cases may have more components that make up the entirety of the claim. The purpose of this article is primarily to demonstrate why the question, “How much is my case worth?”, is nearly impossible for an attorney to answer during many stages of the case. There are many moving pieces and various components that factor into the value of a case, and many of those pieces are changing right up until the time of settlement.

If you or someone you know has been injured by the negligence of another, the Groth Law Firm may be able to help. Call us at (414) 375-2030 for a free consultation today!

Slip and Fall Attorney WI

Winter Slip and Falls

We at the Groth Law Firm are no strangers to harsh Wisconsin winters. Collectively, our law firm has weathered decades upon decades of snowy Wisconsin weather. Accordingly, we know the dangers of walking around outside in icy, slippery conditions. “Black ice” refers to transparent ice that can be difficulty to see, and easy to slip on. Although most such falls result in little more than embarrassment and inconvenience, some slip and falls can have disastrous, life-altering consequences. While bumps and bruises are one thing, fractures, head injuries, and other trauma should be treated as the serious injuries they are. Since insurance companies are in the business of often denying slip and fall claims, you need skilled legal assistance to help you fight for the compensation and justice that you deserve.

Slip and fall accidents are broadly defined as accidents that occurr when you are walking in an area that has a dangerous condition, like snow or ice, that causes a fall, and then subsequent injuries. Oftentimes, we see these accidents occur in un-shoveled parking lots, inadequately salted sidewalks, and in other places of business where the owners are negligent. State law requires both homeowners, and businessowners alike to keep their premises free from dangerous conditions that may cause such accidents. Although Wisconsin weather is un-predictable, the law still requires people to keep their property safe. A failure to clear snow and icy can give rise to a valid claim against their homeowner, or business insurance. If you are involved in a slip and fall type accident, there are a few facts you should be aware of.

Like the old adage states, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Due to the inherently temporary nature of ice and snow, documentation of hazards conditions can be the difference between having a case, and not having a case. Even though snapping a picture after a bad fall, may be difficult, or in some cases, impossible, try to have a trusted family or friend photograph that hazardous condition as soon after the fall as possible. After reports of a fall, or multiple falls on their premises, many business owners will quickly seek to address the hazardous condition so that it appears as though they were not negligent in the first place. Act quickly and take pictures of unsalted, uncleared walkways and sidewalks immediately when possible. Beyond this, if your fall occurs at a place of business, you should report the incident to management. Many times, when we reach out to negligent business owners due to a fall that occurred on their property, this is their first notice of our client’s injuries. Making a full and complete accounting of your fall to management or staff can help preserve early evidence of your claim.

Slip and fall cases are based on a foundational principal of civil law. The principal is that of negligence. In order to establish negligence, you must prove that a property owner had a duty to exercise reasonable care to you; that this duty of reasonable care was breached; and that the breach of the property owner was a direct and proximate cause of the slip and fall that resulted in your injuries. If you are able to prove the aforementioned, then you have a strong claim against the property owner. Once liability is established through this framework, the Groth Law Firm can fight for you and maximize your compensation. Through a valid claim, you are entitled to various forms of compensation as an injured plaintiff. Typically, an injured person can recover compensation for, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, future care costs, and any other expenses that the injury and your recovery from the injury incur. If the injury you receive from the slip and fall requires care in the future, or is permanent, you will want to consider the cost of that future care as part of your claim. The Groth Law Firm has experience in helping injured people prepare for future care by fighting for additional compensation for you. Experience matters; you want an attorney who litigated complex, multi-layered cases to ensure that you are receiving every dollar you are entitled to.

In addition to maximizing your compensation, Groth Law Firm utilizes a team of investigators throughout the state. This advantage can make a critical difference in your slip and fall case. If you are injured as a result of a slip and fall or other accident, do not hesitate to call the day of the injury. Some evidence needs to be preserved immediately, and we can send someone from our team to the scene of the injury the day of. In addition to preserving evidence, there are often challenges associated with finding the correct defendant in these cases. If you slip and fall in a large parking lot of a mall for instance, who is the responsible party? Is it mall ownership? The store in front of where you fell? Perhaps it’s a snow removal company that you’ve never heard of before. These challenges are common to slip and fall cases in the winter. This challenge is compounded by the possibility that you may have been injured on a public owned or government property. If that is the case, certain notice documents must be filed. Many such notices are extremely time-sensitive, and if you do not file in the required time period, you may be forever barred from receiving any compensation, no matter how negligent the defendant may be. Some entities may be so complex or hidden that you may have to name a “John Doe” defendant in a potential lawsuit. Experience matters in these cases. You want to hire a law firm that is skilled, dedicated, and has a proven track record in slip and fall cases. Your case needs individual and prompt attention. At Groth Law Firm your case is not just another number. You can expect daily access to a full staff of attorneys, paralegals, investigators, and law clerks.

Accidents happen, but negligent accidents can be prevented. If you are involved in a slip and fall accident and do not know where to start, let us help you. The Groth Law Firm staff is available any day of the week and offers a free consultation regarding your potential case.

Auto Accident Lawyer WI

Auto Insurance in Wisconsin: What Is Covered and Why It’s Important

The Wisconsin Financial Responsibility Law requires all drivers to have an auto insurance policy in force. Unfortunately, many people do not understand what it means to have proper coverage to protect themselves and their assets in the event they cause a serious accident or are injured in a crash caused by an uninsured motorist. Oftentimes people say that they have “full coverage” but do not realize that, when it comes down to it, they are far from fully covered if a horrific accident were to occur. Full coverage simply means that not only does your policy have liability coverage, which pays for damages that you cause to other people or property, but it also includes collision and comprehensive coverage.

A significant, but common problem arises when people mistake the fact that they technically have “full coverage” with believing that the types and amounts of coverage they have are sufficient. When determining the amounts of coverage one should purchase, he or she should work with a knowledgeable insurance agent and consider their assets, income and risk profile. One of the primary purposes of insurance is to protect your income and other assets and prevent you from financial ruin if an accident occurs. It is crucial to make an educated and informed decision when purchasing auto insurance to ensure that your income and other assets are protected.

The minimum limits of auto insurance one can purchase in Wisconsin are as follows:

• $25,000 for injury or death of one person
• $50,000 for injury or death of two or more people
• $10,000 for property damage

Additionally, Wisconsin law also requires a minimum of $25,000 per person, $50,000 for two or more people, in uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist, or UM, coverage applies to bodily injuries sustained by you, your family or other occupants of your vehicle when struck by an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run driver. Uninsured motorist coverage works by stepping in the shoes of the coverage the at-fault driver was mandated by law to have, but did not, and covers your damages up to the applicable limit on the policy.

Underinsured motorist, or UIM, coverage is not mandatory in the state of Wisconsin. UIM coverage increases the amount of bodily injury liability coverage to you and occupants of your vehicle in the event that the at-fault driver has insufficient limits to pay for the full extent of your damages. If that is the case, the at-fault driver is, by definition, underinsured, and your UIM coverage should kick in as long as you have greater UIM limits than the underlying liability limits of the at-fault driver. Underinsured motorist limits are reduced by what was paid by the underling liability limits.

Medical payments coverage pays medical expenses for you and occupants of your vehicle up to the applicable limit on your policy for injuries sustained in an accident while riding in your vehicle. Medical payments coverage applies to you, as the driver, even if you cause the accident. This coverage also applies to you and your family members if struck by a car as a pedestrian. Medical payments coverage can also apply if you or a family member are injured as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, but depending on the policy language, it may be secondary to the medical payments coverage on the vehicle you were riding in at the time of the accident.

Medical payments coverage is a coverage that is oftentimes rejected as people do not understand why they would pay an additional premium for this type of coverage when they have health insurance. This happens most often when they do not have a knowledgeable agent to educate them about the different coverages and how they work. The minimum limit for medical payments coverage in Wisconsin is $1,000, but it is typically purchased with a limit of $10,000.

If you are involved in a crash with an uninsured motorist and only carry liability coverage on your own policy, there will be no coverage available to fix the physical damage to your vehicle. While collision coverage is also not mandatory in Wisconsin, it is useful to have if you do not have the financial ability to afford a similar vehicle should your vehicle be wrecked. A deductible typically applies for collision coverage. The deductible, usually $250 or $500, must be paid by the insured before the insurance company begins to pay for the loss.

These are the coverages that we, as Wisconsin personal injury attorneys, typically deal with when helping our clients after they have been injured in an auto accident. We help our clients understand the various types of coverage available – both from their own personal policies and the policies of the at-fault driver. While insurance is mandatory in the state of Wisconsin, we often see coverage insufficient to adequately compensate an injured victim for their injuries. This is why we believe it is important to educate Wisconsin motorists on the various insurance coverages available and why adequate coverage is so important.

When a negligent driver has insufficient coverage, the driver puts his or her own assets, income and livelihood on the line. Having full coverage in insufficient amounts can leave people in serious financial trouble. It is important to work with an insurance agent that you know and trust to ensure that you and your assets are protected even if a serious accident does happen.

It is common to have many questions after being involved in a motor vehicle crash. If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, the team at Groth Law Firm may be able to help. We help our clients by investigating to find applicable insurance coverage for all parties involved and work directly with the insurance companies on our clients’ behalf so that they can focus on what is most important: getting the care that they need to make a full recovery. The skilled, dedicated and proven attorneys at Groth Law Firm fight for their clients who have been injured in motor vehicle crashes all across the state of Wisconsin. To see if the Groth Law Firm can help you, call (414) 375-2030 for a free consultation.
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https://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/coverage/full-coverage.html

https://oci.wi.gov/Documents/Consumers/PI-233.pdf