Category Archives: Wisconsin Auto Accidents

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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Wrong of Way – Wauwatosa Road Car Crash

When you turn left at an intersection you must be sure that you have the “right of way.”  If you don’t have the right then you must have the “wrong of way,” right?  Probably not, it doesn’t make much sense.  Right of way vs. wrong of way.  Not catchy but maybe someone will pick up on the nuance.

Anyway, when a crash occurs due to someone turning left at an intersection it is always a fact intensive situation.  Does each driver claim a green light, green arrow, where did the damage occur on each vehicle, how far into the turn was the vehicle, how far left or right was the other vehicle?   And, oftentimes most importantly, were there witnesses?  Not just witnesses that the police talked to – were there witnesses who called 911 but didn’t share their info with the police at the scene so there facts aren’t in the report.

Just today a crash occurred in Cedarburg near Wauwatosa Road and Pioneer Road. Fox 6 Milwaukee notes:

An initial investigation has revealed a 16-year-old boy from Cedarburg headed east on Pioneer Road failed to yield the right of way to another vehicle while he was attempting to make a left turn onto Wauwatosa Road.

The 16-year-old boy’s vehicle struck a vehicle being driven by a 36-year-old Cedarburg man.

A third vehicle was struck after the collision.

A utility pole and traffic light post were damaged as a result of the crash.

Two of the drivers involved in the crash had to be taken to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

There are many factors that the police will review.  Public property was damaged along with multiple cars.

Someone had the right of way and someone was in the wrong.  I doubt the police will put “wrong of way” anywhere in their report.

 

Uber Nation – Passenger’s Perspective

We’ve talked about a car crash from the perspective of the Uber driver.  What about a passenger?

Uber Passenger Injury Claims

First, I can tell you from experience with our recent clients that Uber will question whether you were in an Uber car or an Uber look a like.  In one recent instance it took weeks for confirmation from Uber that the driver was, in fact, an Uber driver.  Our client did not book the fair with Uber, his friend did.  We had to work with multiple parties, not involved, to get proof to Uber that the driver was an Uber driver and insured.

In some instances the police will obtain the wrong insurance for the Uber driver.  Like we said previously, a personal auto line of insurance will most likely have an exclusion for “drivers for hire.”  This does not mean you don’t ask.  Certainly check to see where compensation can be obtained.  Especially in claims where medical bills can exceed any limit of insurance.

If you are injured always call the police and make sure you inform them that you were involved in a crash and give identifiable information for the cars involved.  If you called 911 please tell your attorney immediately of the call.  These 911 calls can be obtained with a FOIA request and many times have lots of useful information.

If you don’t tell the police and wait to make a claim for injuries be aware that Uber’s insurance will question most everything you do.  Witnesses are necessary – so write down who saw you get into the vehicle and leave the vehicle, where you were picked up and where you were ultimately taken.

All in all, we have heard fewer claims for passengers than for drivers of Uber vehicles. Let’s hope this continues to be the case.  Drive Safe!

Uber Nation – Information for Uber Drivers

What happens when an Uber driver is involved in a car crash?uber-driver-1100x550

Talk about getting complicated mighty fast!  If you are an Uber driver the question you have to ask is whether your insurance will cover your property damage and the damage or injury to any of your passengers. If you think you have your own private insurance and that will cover these losses, think again. Most insurance companies have a very specific exclusion for “drivers for hire.” If that is the case you will have to go through Uber’s insurance which, many times, has a $1,000.00 deductible.

There are many sides to a car crash.  For now we are just discussing the Uber driver’s perspective.

Our firm has worked with many Uber drivers who were victims of car crashes.  Uber’s corporate insurance is not local to Wisconsin.  Many times the adjusters are on West Coast time and have to hire independent contractors to deal with property damage adjusting.  James Rivers’ insurance adjusters are certain to inquire about whether this truly was a “Uber ride” or “personal ride.”  At the same time the driver’s personal insurance is taking the opposite stance.

Another thing to consider as an Uber driver is wage loss and the loss of earning capacity. If you have an established track record as an Uber driver, accounting for this wage loss is manageable but still somewhat difficult to prove given the independent contract nature of Uber.

Many times wage loss can be complex from the start given Uber’s “surge pricing.” For example, if the Milwaukee Bucks have a game against the Cavaliers or Lakers we all know that Uber will pay its drivers more for these busy days.  The same goes for the Milwaukee Brewers.  Missing the home opener as an Uber driver can mean hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars lost.

I have placed some links into this post that will hopefully help you to understand and work through the maze that can be created when an Uber driver is involved in a collision.  No matter what be sure to consult with an experienced attorney who gives free initial consultations.  Better safe than sorry.