Category Archives: Wisconsin Auto Accidents

Car Accident Lawyer WI

Hit and Run Crashes in Wisconsin

All too often, we hear from victims seriously injured in hit and run type accidents. A “hit and run” accident occurs when a vehicle causes a crash and subsequently flees the scene. Most times, these crashes occur between two vehicles, but hit and runs can also occur when a vehicle strikes a bicyclist or pedestrian and flees. There are many questions that surround these types of crashes, including how to hold the negligent party accountable when there is little to no contact information or other identifying information available.

In early November of 2018, a 4th grade Girl Scout troop from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin was volunteering their time to pick up litter along the roadway of a nearby town when a pickup truck crossed the center line, drove into the ditch and struck several members of the group. The driver then fled the scene. Three of the Girl Scouts and one adult with the group died as a result of the incident. The driver eventually turned himself in.

More recently, on Friday, February 8, 2019, a Milwaukee Department of Public Works employee named Bryan Rodriguez was working on the city’s north side filling a pot hole when he was struck and killed by a hit and run driver. In a Journal Sentinel article, Mayor Tom Barrett is quoted saying that Mr. Rodriguez was following the standard procedure of the department for filling a pothole. He was positioned directly behind the truck as he filled the pothole when a car struck and killed him. The driver of the vehicle fled on food, leaving the car at the scene. Police did locate the driver, and she was taken into custody.

When crashes happen, people sometimes go into temporary shock and are not able to think clearly. If you are involved in a crash and it becomes clear that the person who caused the accident is going to flee, it is important to get as much identifying information as possible. The most obvious bit of information to obtain is their license plate number, but even the color, make and model of the car can be useful. Authorities can use the license plate number to check who the vehicle was registered to and use that information in their investigation.

It is also important to call the police – not only to conduct an investigation and try to find the person who caused the crash, but to generate an Accident Report to document the crash and the fact that it was a hit and run. The accident report will also be useful when filing a claim with your insurance company soon thereafter.

It is also useful to check if there are any traffic cameras in the area where the crash occurred that may have captured any identifying information. If there were no traffic cameras nearby, area businesses may have surveillance cameras mounted onto their buildings that captured some useful evidence. With regard to traffic or surveillance camera footage, time is of the essence because many cameras recycle old footage by taping over it, sometimes after only a matter of hours. It is crucial to act as quickly as possible to recover the footage before it is destroyed. A personal injury attorney can work with their investigators to try and locate and preserve all pertinent evidence, which is why it is important to reach out for help right away.

Take photographs to document the scene of the crash and damages to your vehicle as it appears immediately after the incident. Even if the at-fault vehicle is no longer present, it is important to document the damages to your vehicle as well as the location at which the crash occurred. The photographs should also be time- and date-stamped to further corroborate the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident.

If there were any witnesses to the crash, take down their contact information in case you, your attorney or the police need to contact them for more information. If you do not take down their names and contact information at the scene, chances are you will not be able to locate them. Witness testimony is critical in many cases as it provides an independent, unbiased account of how the incident transpired. Witness observations may also help investigators locate the person who caused the accident as they might have gotten a better look at the vehicle that caused the crash.

If the negligent party who caused the hit and run accident is unable to be located, that does not necessarily mean that the injured victim is out of luck as far as compensation goes. The injured person can still recover under their own auto insurance policy or the policy covering the vehicle they were in at the time of the crash. Hit and run crashes are generally treated as Uninsured Motorist cases, so the injured person can recover under their own policy for injuries sustained in the crash. The Uninsured Motorist coverage steps in the shoes of the coverage that should apply but is unknown (or does not exist in most cases) because the driver fled the scene and was unable to be located.

If you or someone you know has been the victim in a hit and run type accident, our firm may be able to help. Time is of the essence in these types of cases as critical evidence may be lost if not obtained quickly. At the Groth Law Firm, our goal is to take all of the hard work off of our clients’ shoulders so that they can focus on recovering. We will work with investigators to try and find the person who caused the accident, secure and preserve any pertinent evidence and work directly with the insurance company so that you don’t have to. The Groth Law Firm has handled dozens of hit and run cases over the years, and their team is equipped to fight for you in the most difficult of times. Don’t wait – call the Groth Law Firm today for a free consultation at (414) 375-2030!

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https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2019/02/08/one-person-killed-crash-involving-milwaukee-public-works-truck-and-vehicle/2811828002/

https://www.apnews.com/c967fce38daa4fb4b4be64a088333a13

Car Accident Lawyers Milwaukee

What To Do After You’ve Been In An Auto Accident

Car accidents happen every day across the state of Wisconsin. Despite being a common occurrence, many drivers do not know the proper steps to take when a car accident does happen. Even if you are fortunate enough to have never been involved in an auto accident, knowing the steps to take if one should happen is important.

First and foremost, any person involved in an accident must not leave the scene of the crash. Fleeing the scene of an accident is a criminal offense in Wisconsin and an offender could face fines ranging from $300-$100,000 and jail time of up to 25 years if convicted.

The law in Wisconsin says that an auto accident must be reported if it resulted in any injury or death, damage of $200 or more to any state or government owned property other than a vehicle, or if the damage to any vehicle involved appears to have sustained damage of $1,000 or more. Wisconsin Stat. Sec. 346.70, which is entitled Duty to report accident; assistance following accident, states that if injury or damage to any one vehicle in excess of $1,000 occurs, the owner or occupant must notify authorities using the quickest means of communication possible. Nowadays this can happen almost instantaneously since most people carry cell phones with them wherever they go.

If the police are not called to the scene to make a report, the operator of the vehicle involved must file a written report of the accident within ten (10) days of the crash to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The crash form application that must be filled out to appropriately report the crash can be found online at www.wisconsindot.gov.

It is also important to exchange information with the other parties involved. Do not leave the accident scene without writing down, or taking a photograph of, key information. This pertinent information includes name, address and telephone number of the other parties involved in the crash. You should obtain the driver’s license number and license plate number for all other parties as well. It is also very important to exchange insurance information, especially if the accident was not your fault. If police arrive on the scene, they will typically assist the parties in obtaining and exchanging this important information.

Safety must remain your top priority at the scene of an accident. If it is not possible to safely move the vehicles out of traffic, it is best to remain inside your vehicle until law enforcement arrives. If it is possible to safely move the vehicles out of traffic, you should do so. There may be other traffic attempting to get through or past the scene, and you do not want to risk being stuck by a passing vehicle in an attempt to assess the damage or talk to the other parties involved. It is best to remain in your vehicle until police arrive to direct traffic and secure the area.

Once it is safe to do so, use your cell phone to take photographs of the damage to all vehicles involved in the crash. Photographs of the scene of the accident can be some of the best pieces of evidence, particularly in a case where liability – or who caused the accident – is being disputed or called into question. Because it is not uncommon for stories to change or people to be untruthful about how a crash really happened, photographs are often helpful in piecing together how a crash occurred based upon points of impact and location of the damage on the vehicles involved.

Be honest with officers as you tell them how you recall the crash occurring and whether or not you were injured in the crash. If you are experiencing any pain, it is important that you report it even if you do not believe you need to be transported to the hospital by ambulance. If you do have pain following an accident, you should seek care immediately at an Emergency Room. Do not wait for several days hoping that the pain will subside. Your health should be your number one priority after being involved in a motor vehicle crash. It is better to be safe than sorry. Get the care you need right away to ensure that you are on the fastest road to recovery.

If you are instructed to receive follow up care, it is crucial that you follow the doctor’s orders. Do not let large gaps in your treatment occur. Insurance companies use large gaps in care to devalue bodily injury claims on the basis that if the claimant was truly injured in the accident, he or she would have sought the care they needed in a timely manner. When gaps in care occur, insurance companies believe that the care is more likely related to something else that occurred during the gap in time rather than from the auto accident. While treatment does take time and adds to already busy schedules, it is the key to making a full recovery.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, the Groth Law Firm may be able to help. We tell all of our clients and potential new clients that our goal is to take the burden of being in an accident off of their shoulders so that they can get their lives back on track as quickly and easily as possible. We do all of the heavy lifting so that all our clients need to focus on is receiving the care they need to recover and feel better. We know that being involved in a car accident is frustrating and overwhelming, and we don’t want our clients to go through it alone.

The team at Groth Law Firm combined has decades of experiencing fighting to protect the rights of those injured as a result of the negligence of others. Groth Law Firm offers free consultations and is available to speak with injured victims seven days a week. If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, call us at (414) 375-2030 today.

Car Accident Lawyer WI

Winter Driving Tips for Wisconsin Motorists

With the winter weather upon us in Wisconsin, it seems to be as good a time as ever to remind drivers of some basic rules to keep in mind while navigating the wintery roadways. First and foremost, slow down. Our vehicles do not handle nearly as well in snow and icy conditions as they do on a dry road surface. Remember that speed limits are the maximum speed that a car should be driven in ideal conditions. Winter weather creates less than ideal road conditions, and speed should be reduced accordingly to maintain control of the vehicle.

Give yourself extra time and distance to stop since the tread on tires does not grip the road as effectively in winter conditions. Maintaining a safe following distance means something completely different in winter than it does the rest of the year. Motorists must be cognizant of the fact that slippery conditions exist more often in the winter due to snow and ice and give themselves more space between themselves and the vehicle in front of them, particularly in case that vehicle slows or stops suddenly. In the event that your vehicle begins to slide, do not slam on the brakes. Instead, pump your brakes to give your tires a chance to regain traction. If your vehicle begins to fishtail, it is recommended that you turn your wheel in the direction that the car is sliding and do not press the brake. This should allow the vehicle to correct itself without spinning out.

Visibility is often diminished in the winter months. Visibility can be reduced with precipitation, or when the slow is falling. Visibility may also be reduced based upon our own vehicles and whether or not they have been adequately cleared of snow and ice. This type of visibility, unlike the weather-related visibility, is something we, as drivers, have complete control over. It is not safe to drive a vehicle that has not snow or ice covering any parts of the windows or headlights. Always keep a snow brush and ice scraper in your vehicle during the winter months.

Oftentimes this visibility issue occurs when a vehicle has been parked outside during a snow fall or ice freezes to a vehicle’s windows overnight. Many people will clear a small section of the windshield, just large enough for themselves to see through, in an effort to save time or avoid standing in the cold temperatures to fully clear their vehicle. They will then proceed to drive with their defrost blaring hoping that the rest will melt or otherwise disappear quickly as they drive. This is obviously not safe.

In Wisconsin, drivers can be ticketed for operating a vehicle without all of the windows cleared of snow and ice. While not included in the law regarding snow on windows, officers also want to see hoods and roofs of vehicles void of snow accumulations prior to driving. Once the vehicle begins to move, a safety hazard is created as that snow can either fly up into the air or slide down from the roof obstructing the view of not only that particular driver, but potentially drivers in the vehicles behind them as well. All drivers should make sure to clear their entire vehicle before driving. The fine for driving with snow on the windows of a vehicle is $175. The driver will likely also be forced to clear the entire car before being allowed back on the roadway. Avoid the hassle, and get in the habit of clearing your vehicle completely of snow and ice accumulations before hitting the road.

It is also highly recommended that motorists adequately prepare their vehicles for winter driving conditions. A large part of preparing a vehicle to safely traverse Wisconsin roadways in winter is equipping them with winter tires. Winter tires are designed to grip the roadways more effectively in colder temperatures thus making winter driving much easier and safer. While it may sound absurd, insurance companies have taken the position that drivers can be liable for crashes caused by “inadequate tires.” Take responsibility and make sure your vehicle is appropriately prepared for winter conditions so that you do not cause an accident and injure yourself and others.

It is especially important in winter that drivers keep their vehicles stocked with items to help in the event that the car breaks down or gets stuck in the snow. A shovel and rock salt should be kept in the trunk at all times. If the vehicle slides off of the road and into a ditch, these items can help the driver get the vehicle out by shovelling around the tires and pouring salt down to give the tires some traction. A blanket and an extra set of winter hats and gloves should also be placed in the vehicle to keep the occupants warm in case of a breakdown. Emergency flares or reflectors should be a priority as well because they can be put out to warn passing vehicles of a disabled vehicle on the side of the road. A rope or chain comes in handy if the vehicle needs to be towed out of a ditch. Jumper cables, which should be kept in the vehicle year round, are also especially important in winter in the event of a dead battery. A flashlight is also a necessity as it gets darker much earlier in winter, so the chances of being on the side of the road in the dark is much greater than at other times during the year.

It is not uncommon for the number of car crashes to increase during the winter months, especially around the first few snowfalls as drivers are getting used to driving in slippery conditions again. Therefore, it is especially important for Wisconsin drivers to keep these winter driving tips in mind as they venture out into the snowy conditions. If you or someone you know has been injured in a weather-related crash due to the negligence of another driver, the team at Groth Law Firm may be able to help them recover for their injuries and other expenses associated with the crash. Call the Groth Law Firm today at (414) 375-2030.
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https://www.weau.com/home/headlines/Cops-give-tickets-to-drivers-who-havent-cleared-snow-ice-off-vehicles–184354601.html
https://www.tmj4.com/news/local-news/authorities-warn-of-snow-danger-on-cars-after-wisconsin-man-child-injured

car accident lawyer in Milwaukee Wisconsin

“Move Over Laws” in Wisconsin

While deaths on Wisconsin roads declined slightly in 2018 compared to the previous two years, many deaths still occur each year when drivers fail to abide by the state’s “Move Over Law.” Just recently, a tow truck driver was struck and killed by a passing motorist as he was working to remove a stalled vehicle on I-41 northbound near Oneida Street in Ashwaubenon. The incident occurred in the early afternoon and there were no inclement weather conditions that contributed to the crash. The tow truck driver died at the scene after being struck and left behind a wife and two small children.

In 2001, Wisconsin passed the “Move Over Law,” which was designed to protect the many brave men and women that work along the state’s roadways from harm. Among those that the law was designed to protect are law enforcement officers, emergency responders, tow truck operators, and other highway maintenance workers.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the concept of the Move Over Law is simple: “If you see a vehicle on the side of the road with its emergency lights flashing, you are required to move out of the lane closest to the vehicle if possible. If a safe lane change is not possible, or you are traveling on a two-lane roadway, you are required to slow your vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for traffic conditions, and drive at a reduced speed until completely past the vehicle.”

The penalties for not abiding by the Move Over Law are not light given the extreme risks to those working along Wisconsin’s roadways if vehicles do not move over or slow down. If someone who violates the Move Over Law receives a ticket, he or she will be assessed three demerit points from their driver’s license and also receive a $249 fine. If a violation of the Move Over Law results in a crash, the violator’s driver’s license will be suspended. If someone is hurt or killed, the violator can serve up to seven years in prison for the violation. (https://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/about-wisdot/who-we-are/dtsd/bto/brochure-moveover.pdf)

While it is important as drivers to be aware of and abide by the Move Over Law, it is also worth mentioning some rules of thumb to keep in mind if you find yourself in an emergency situation alongside a road or highway. In an interview with Fox 11 News, Lieutenant John Bain from the Brown County Sheriff’s Department acknowledged the inherent risks of being stopped or stranded on the side of the road and gave the public several rules to follow if they are in an emergency situation. First and foremost, he stated that it is important that the individual does all that they can to get to a safe location. Lt. Bain defined a safe location as one that is “eat least four to five feet away from any lane of traffic.”  Once he or she is in a safe location, Lt. Bain encourages them to notify the authorities who can provide traffic control in an effort to keep everyone safe. He further advised that, at least until authorities arrive to aid in traffic control, the individual is to stay in their vehicle with the seat belt fastened. (https://fox11online.com/news/local/part-of-i-41-closed-in-ashwaubenon)

Motorists in Wisconsin must remind themselves of what the Move Over Law mandates and become more mindful of its purpose while driving, especially on busy roadways. Fatalities along Wisconsin roadways would be drastically reduced if drivers were more conscientious about the Move Over Law. It is especially important to remind ourselves of the Move Over Law during the winter months as snow covered and icy roadways oftentimes lead to an increase in traffic crashes and stalled vehicles on the sides of the road. Abiding by the Move Over Law creates a safety zone for the law enforcement officers, tow truck drivers, highway workers, and others tending to vehicles along the roadways.

Two lane county highways often create a greater risk of danger as there might not be room for a vehicle to “move over” if there is oncoming traffic. This is why it is crucial that if a vehicle cannot safely move over, it must slow down to a speed safe for traffic conditions but slow enough that the driver maintains control of the vehicle if it needs to slow or stop in a short amount of time.

Injuries caused when a motorist fails to abide by the Move Over Law are often serious, many times even resulting in death, due to the speeds that vehicles travel along the highways in Wisconsin. The Move Over Law was designed to keep people safe and protect the lives of those who work along Wisconsin roadways each day.

If you find yourself in an emergency situation along a Wisconsin road or highway, you should first get to a safe location and immediately call for help. Do not attempt to exit your vehicle and tend to it without the proper traffic controls to notify passersby of your presence near the roadway. Make the call and request the help of law enforcement officers because it can save your life as well as the lives of those in your vehicle. This is especially important in the evening hours when there is no natural daylight making it easier to spot a stalled vehicle on the side of the road.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a vehicle vs. pedestrian crash, call the skilled, dedicated and proven attorneys at Groth Law Firm. Groth Law Firm understands the pain and stress caused by these types of injuries and has years of experience helping clients on their journey of recovery. The team at Groth Law Firm dedicates their practice exclusively to representing those injured by the negligence of others, particularly in the context of motor vehicle crashes and vehicle vs. pedestrian crashes. Groth Law Firm will make sure that all of your rights are protected and use their knowledge and experience to maximize your recovery. Call the team at Groth Law Firm at (414) 375-2030 for a free consultation.

Auto Accident Lawyers WI

“Dangerous Dozen”: The Most Crash-Prone Intersections in the Milwaukee Area

While motor vehicle crashes can (and do) happen almost anywhere, there are several intersections in the Milwaukee area that tend to see a higher number of crashes than others. According to a May 24, 2018 article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, there are 12 intersections, referred to as the “Dangerous Dozen,” that had the highest number of crashes in a five-year period. If you live in Milwaukee or the surrounding area, you probably travel through some of these intersections on a regular basis.

The number one, most crash-prone intersection, according to data obtained through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, is the area where Interstate 41/Highway 45 crosses over Capitol Drive in Wauwatosa. Wayne Higgins, the president of a traffic engineering consulting firm, stated that the three-tiered nature of this particular intersection is “unusual” as three-tiered intersections are not all that common, which likely contributes to driver confusion and thus a higher volume of crashes. Higgins stated, “You’ve got the through traffic east-west, and then you have all the turning traffic one layer above, then you have the freeway section above that, so there’s plenty of opportunity for confusion by drivers.”

The intersection of I-41 and Capitol Drive had 218 crashes between 2012 and 2016 alone with a total of 87 people who reported injuries from those crashes. In reality, that number may be even greater because this number only accounts for crashes that were actually reported to the Department of Transportation. Many crashes are left unreported and are not included in the statistics.

The rest of the intersections rounding out the top 12 most crash-prone intersections in the Milwaukee area are as follows:

• I-94 and Hwy 164 in Pewaukee
• I-94 and Hwy 83 in Delafield
• W. Greenfield Ave. and Moorland Rd. in Brookfield/New Berlin
• I-94 and Moorland Rd. in Brookfield
• Port Washington Rd. and Silver Spring Dr. in Glendale
• I-94 and Hwy F in Pewaukee
• Bluemound Rd. and Barker Rd. in Brookfield
• Bluemound Rd. and Moorland Rd. in Elm Grove
• Les Paul Pkwy and E. Racine Ave. in Waukesha
• S. 108th St. and W. Lincoln Ave. in West Allis
• East Moreland Blvd. and Kossow Rd. in Waukesha

While these intersections are said to be the most crash-prone, they are also some of the busiest intersections in the Milwaukee area. The sheer volume of traffic going through these intersections on a daily basis attributes to many of the crashes. A Glendale police officer, Todd Lynch, stated that when you get a lot of traffic traveling through an area, “you are going to invite more traffic accidents.” Officer Lynch also made an interesting observation: most of the crashes are not caused by people driving recklessly, they are caused by people not paying attention.

Whether it is a cell phone, a passenger, changing the radio station or picking up an object that fell onto the floor (only to name a few), there are countless ways drivers are becoming distracted behind the wheel nowadays. Distracted driving, especially in busy intersections, is a recipe for disaster.

One common type of intersection accident is a rear end type collision. While rear-end crashes happen frequently and most often due to distracted driving, Delafield Police Captain Bob Hagen made an interesting observation as it pertained to the third most crash-prone intersection, which happens to be in Delafield. He noted that many rear-end collisions occur on the I-94 offramps with vehicles attempting to make a right-hand turn. The first car will pull out and the car directly behind the first car immediately pulls up and begins checking for traffic to the left. Oftentimes, the first car, upon inching out, will see an oncoming vehicle and brake to allow it to pass. Meanwhile, the second car continues moving forward while looking to the left and a rear-end collision with the first car occurs.

At the Groth Law Firm, we hear of this exact scenario happening frequently. While these are not usually high-speed impacts, they can still result in serious injuries given the way the driver’s body is positioned inside the vehicle at the moment of impact – i.e. head turned to the left looking for oncoming traffic. As drivers, we have a duty to maintain a proper lookout so as to prevent a collision or injury. Before turning to look for oncoming traffic, we cannot assume the vehicle in front of us has executed a turn simply because the vehicle began to move forward. Make sure the vehicle ahead has committed to a turn before diverting your attention elsewhere. This small act alone could decrease the volume of rear-end collisions significantly.

Four-way stops can also be dangerous because many drivers either do not recall or do not follow, the rules of the road for four-way stops. In general, the vehicle that arrives at the intersection first has the right of way. If two vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle on the left must yield to the vehicle on the right. There are many things we can all do to make our roads a safer place. While distracted driving continues to play a large role in traffic crashes, keeping in mind the basic rules of the road may help to avoid a collision, particularly at a busy intersection.

If you or someone you know has been injured due to the distracted driving of another person, we may be able to help. The attorneys at Groth Law Firm dedicate their practice exclusively to the representation of those injured due to the negligence of others, most often in the context of motor vehicle crashes. Our skilled, dedicated and proven team will take the necessary steps to ensure that your rights are protected and your recovery is maximized. At the Groth Law Firm, we understand that being involved in an auto accident is overwhelming. Our goal is to take the stress off of your shoulders so that you have the time and energy to focus on what is most important, which is healing and getting your life back on track. If you have been injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, call us today for a free consultation.
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https://www.jsonline.com/story/communities/west/news/2018/05/24/12-most-crash-prone-intersections-milwaukee-suburbs/623054002/

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

The Truth About Phantom Vehicles

car accident lawyer in milwaukee wisconsinMost often when people think of auto accidents, they imagine a physical crash between two or more vehicles. Sometimes, however, a vehicle causes an accident without actually impacting any other vehicles and subsequently gets away. These types of accidents are sometimes referred to as “miss and run” accidents.

For example, a woman is driving in the far left lane of I-94 when the vehicle to the right of her abruptly switches lanes and cuts her off. In an attempt to avoid the crash, the woman moves to the left but ends up crashing into the concrete barrier. The two vehicles never actually touch, but the woman’s vehicle is now totaled, and she is injured. The vehicle that abruptly changed lanes continues to drive, and the woman has no way of identifying the driver or other vehicle. The vehicles that cause these miss and run accidents are called “phantom vehicles,” and unless you act quickly and diligently, it may be difficult to recover for the damages caused by a phantom vehicle.

In Wisconsin, a phantom vehicle is defined as “a motor vehicle to which all of the following apply:

  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.” (Wis. Stat. § 632.32 (2)(bh)).

Prior to Wisconsin’s 2011 legislative session when a new law called “Truth In Auto Insurance” was enacted, victims of these miss and run crashes were largely out of luck because in order to make a claim under the Uninsured Motorist portion of one’s own insurance policy, physical contact with another, uninsured vehicle was required. For accidents occurring prior to November 1, 2009, uninsured motorist coverage was only available if there was physical contact between the vehicles.

One of the changes brought about by Truth In Auto was the availability of coverage when crashes occurred with phantom vehicles but only if certain criteria were met. In Wisconsin, in order to have a valid claim for Uninsured Motorist coverage when a crash is caused by a phantom vehicle, three elements must be satisfied according to Wis. Stat. § 632.32(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.

The first element is arguably the most difficult element to satisfy as it requires that an independent party or witness to the incident come forward and corroborate the facts of the incident. This independent party may not also be someone who is making a claim for coverage under the uninsured motorist portion of the policy, so a passenger in the vehicle who is also injured and seeking to make his or her own claim would not suffice. If there was a witness to the crash and his or her contact information is available, the witness would be able to provide the necessary evidence to fulfill the first element. If there were no independent witnesses, or the witnesses’ contact information is not available, it will likely be very difficult to satisfy element number one. This is precisely why it is crucial to jot down contact information from the Good Samaritans who stick around after a crash to make sure everyone is okay. On the flip side, if you happen to see an accident happen, it is important that you stay on scene to provide your name and statement to the police officers when they arrive. This information can be vital to the victim’s case, but detrimental if not properly accounted for.

Elements two and three are not nearly as difficult to satisfy in comparison to element number one, in part because they are generally done in a majority of car crash cases as standard protocol. It is important to call the police to report every car accident, but especially accidents involving phantom vehicles, because without a report made to the appropriate authorities within 72 hours, the victim could lose his or her right to pursue an uninsured motorist claim.

Finally, within 30 days, a statement must be given under oath by the victim or his/her representative setting forth the facts which create the basis for the claim and affirming that the identity of the person causing the victim’s damages is unknown or not ascertainable.

If any of the three elements set forth in Wis. Stat. § 632.32(g)(2) are not satisfied within the time periods set forth in the statute, the insurance company may have a basis to deny the claim. This is why it is important to have a skilled, dedicated and proven attorney fighting for you and your rights from day one. Make sure that you are not giving up any important rights by missing a statutory deadline.

If you have been the victim of an auto accident, particularly a crash caused by a phantom motor vehicle, give the attorneys at Groth Law Firm a call. They will fight to make sure that your rights are protected and your recovery is maximized. The attorneys at Groth Law Firm offer free consultations and would be happy to answer any questions you might have. You can reach the Groth Law Firm by calling (414) 375-2030. Let us fight for you.

Harley-Davidson Roars into Milwaukee for 115th Anniversary

This Labor Day weekend marks the 115th anniversary of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. With their distinctive “potato-potato-potato” idle and rumble, thousands of riders and their Harleys have roared into Milwaukee this week to celebrate 115 years of an American tradition.

Harley-Davidson and the Harley-Davidson Museum have packed each day this weekend with events. There are museum tours, motorcycle demos, live music acts, street parties, and many more events. Visit Harley-Davidson.com for a full schedule of events

Harley-Davidson Roars into Milwaukee for 115th Anniversary.

The celebration is not without dangers though. With all the extra bikes on the road, Milwaukee’s streets and highways have many more smaller moving vehicles on them this weekend than usual.

Drivers who aren’t used to large numbers of bikes on the road may miss the smaller Harleys if they aren’t careful and some riders may find traveling alone or in larger groups more difficult depending on what they’re used to. All of this is a recipe for a crash or other traffic accident. But there are things everyone on the road this weekend can do.

To help avoid accidents and injuries this weekend, both riders and drivers should:

  • Watch out for each other – check your mirrors and be aware of your surroundings
  • Obey traffic laws and directions from the Officers and Sheriff’s Deputies directing traffic
  • Park in designated spots near events
  • Wear your seatbelt or helmet
  • As always, don’t drink and drive or ride

Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend and enjoy all that the 115th anniversary of Harley-Davidson has to offer! If the unthinkable happens and you or a loved one is involved in a crash and injured, see a doctor and contact a skilled, dedicated, and proven personal injury attorney to discuss your options as a victim of a crash. At Groth Law Firm, S.C., we are available 24/7 to discuss your injuries and offer a free consultation. Call or text us today at 414-240-0707

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.

Semi Truck Accidents – What a Mess!

Trucking accidents are very different from your “typical” car accident cases. There is a significant amount of evidence compared to that of a car accident. The first thing that needs to be done is to gather all the evidence. Federal regulations require that some evidence must be held for six months.  Not all evidence will be held!  Some crucial evidence may disappear with the next rainfall!  After this time period, some crucial evidence may be destroyed. Your lawyer can send a notice to the defendant to hold on to this crucial evidence. These notices can be used later if the evidence is destroyed or disappears as a “spoliation claim.” Spoliation is the intentional destruction, mutilation, or concealment of evidence that is damaging the responsible party. Spoliation can be very damaging for a case and if it is proven to have taken place, can change the outcome of the trial. This is why it is important to hire a lawyer to gather this evidence as soon as possible. . It is also important to get access to the at fault vehicle. Many vehicles today have their own “black boxes” that can be used to determine if the vehicle was speeding or driving recklessly.

It is important to call a dedicated, skillful lawyer to help with your trucking accident claim. A lawyer will be able to handle and gather evidence before it may be lost or destroyed. The attorneys here at Groth Law Firm have handled many cases and are willing to fight tooth and nail for a settlement you deserve. Call Groth Law Firm today for a free consultation at (877) 375-7001.

We want to thank our summer inter, Beckett, for all of his help these past few months!

The Hop’s Hot New Tracks Aren’t So Hip

Two people have already been injured trying to cross the tracks of Milwaukee’s newest transit option, The Hop, in less than a week. One man was driving a motorcycle over the tracks when his wheel got stuck in the tracks throwing him from his bike on August 10th. And on the 16th, a woman was crossing the tracks on a bicycle when her wheel also got stuck and threw her to the ground, injuring her ribs and elbows. Both riders are considering suing the city because of their injuries and have retained lawyers to represent them.[1]

The Hop is not yet in operation at the time of writing, but its tracks have been laid throughout Milwaukee in some of the city’s busiest areas. The Hop runs from the Historic Third Ward and Intermodal train station up to the Lower East Side of Milwaukee and back. This route puts the street car’s tracks in the path of several of Milwaukee’s major commuter hot spots.[2]

The Hop’s New Tracks (City of Milwaukee)

©City of Milwaukee

Before the two bike crashes in August, there had already been several reports of less serious injuries, including one in June, sparking concern amongst the city’s cyclists.[3]

Through there are several signs near the tracks warning bikers and cyclists to take the tracks at a right angle – meaning to cross straight over the tracks—this is not always possible for people riding two wheeled bikes and motorcycles in heavy downtown traffic. With two crashes on the tracks in less than a week and the Hop not even running yet, there are likely to be more injuries in the future.

On top of the tracks’ risk to cyclists in warmer months, there is also concern that they will be a slipping hazard in Milwaukee’s common winter and spring storms as snow piles up on the roads.[4]

The Hop and its tracks are owned by the City of Milwaukee. As with any claim against a city, or other municipality, someone who is injured by the city or its property only has 120 days to file a Notice of Claim or they will never be able to bring a lawsuit against the city no matter how badly injured they are. Because of this, it is extremely important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an injury involving the city.

If you or a loved one has been injured by The Hop or its tracks, see a doctor and contact a skilled, dedicated, and proven personal injury attorney to discuss your options as a victim of a crash. At Groth Law Firm, S.C., we are available 24/7 to discuss your injuries and offer a free consultation. Call or text us today at 414-375-2030

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://fox6now.com/2018/08/16/frustrated-2nd-person-could-be-suing-city-after-accident-they-say-was-caused-by-streetcar-tracks/

[2] https://thehopmke.com/

[3] https://www.tmj4.com/news/local-news/-the-hop-milwaukee-streetcar-tracks-raises-bicycle-safety-concerns

[4] https://urbanmilwaukee.com/2015/03/31/a-short-history-of-milwaukees-old-streetcar-system/2/