Wisconsin Car Accident Lawyer

The Dangerous Habit of Running Red Lights

If you’re a regular driver on Wisconsin roads, you’ve probably been the victim of a habitual red light runner. Some drivers accelerate through yellow lights as they’re changing to red; other drivers simply disregard red lights altogether, as though the rules don’t apply to them. When reckless drivers approach intersections with no intention of slowing down, they add an unnecessary element of danger for other drivers traveling on the same roads. While any driver can cause an accident, drivers who habitually disregard traffic signals increase their risk.

Drivers who regularly run red lights may view the violation as a harmless way of reaching their destinations with minimal delay. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. A driver who runs a red light is just as culpable as other reckless drivers. Their actions are illegal and inherently dangerous, and they put other drivers at risk.

When a driver runs a red light, other vehicles entering the intersection become easy targets. Many reckless drivers fail to slow down as they cross through an intersection; in fact, many actually speed up to cross as quickly as possible. This added speed not only increases their chances of causing an accident, but also it enhances the potential for serious injuries in the event of a crash.

Running a Red Light Constitutes Negligent Driving

When drivers intentionally or unintentionally disregard traffic signals, they’re responsible for the damages that they cause in the event of an accident. If a reckless driver caused an accident that injured you or your family member, it’s important to take immediate action. You should reach out to the personal injury attorneys at Groth Law Firm, S.C. We dedicate our practice to protecting our clients’ legal rights. Our legal team has fought to recover damages for clients who have sustained injuries due to reckless actions taken by other drivers, including running red lights.

What Does Wisconsin Law Consider Running a Red Light?

The idea of stopping at a red light is a simple concept. Young children learn at a very early age that “red, yellow, green” means “stop, wait, go.” Wisconsin law provides specific definitions that cover red lights and other traffic signals.

A driver’s duty to stop begins when a traffic signal displays a yellow light. As the law explains, a driver should only enter an intersection during a yellow light if he or she cannot stop safely prior to the intersection. A red light constitutes a definitive order to stop. Exceptions apply to a driver stopped in an intersection to complete a turn, drivers governed by turning arrows, and drivers at intersections where it’s legal to turn right on a red light. Even in those scenarios, a motorist must stop and proceed cautiously enough to safely complete the action.

Speeding and Running Red Lights

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other agencies track drivers who speed and those who run red lights under different categories. Still, running red lights and speeding are often different elements of the same problem. NHTSA’s statistics indicate that 9,717 persons died in one recent year because of speed-related accidents on American roads.

National research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) documented 811 red light-related fatalities in 2016. IIHS’s national urban crash study determined that 22 percent of all accidents in 2015 involved red lights, stop signs, and other traffic control devices. Related research found that drivers who regularly exceed the speed limit are also more likely to run red lights and engage in other unsafe driving behaviors.

Red Light Runners Don’t Just Injure Other Motorists

Drivers who frequently run red lights put both other drivers and non-drivers risk. The IIHS estimates that, nationally, 137,000 persons sustained red-light-related injuries in 2015. Drivers and their passengers weren’t the only victims; pedestrians and bicyclists also sustained injuries, and some even lost their lives.

While those in vehicle-only accidents can sustain serious injuries, pedestrians and bicyclists usually fare far worse when they are involved in car accidents. They lack adequate protection to prevent injury if they strike the vehicle or road. Pedestrians and cyclists often sustain fatal or catastrophic injuries, some which involve long-term disabilities and lifelong consequences.

Catastrophically injured pedestrians and cyclists often sustain multiple different serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, multiple fractures, and/or crushed extremities. These individuals usually incur high medical costs for treatment, rehabilitation, and extended care. Even once they’ve reached maximum recovery, catastrophically injured individuals may have difficulty ever resuming normal, daily activities.

Who Runs Red Lights?

According to the IIHS, young males run red lights more frequently than other drivers. Furthermore, a recent IIHS study determined that youthful male drivers who caused red light-related multi-car crashes often had prior speeding convictions and alcohol-related accidents. They are also generally less likely to wear a seatbelt or to hold a valid driver’s license.

Eliminating Red Light Running Problems

Red lights are an integral part of our traffic control system. When drivers react and respond properly to traffic signals, they help keep everyone safe. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to abide by the law. To combat this, the IIHS recommends the following traffic control alternatives:

  • Roundabouts. Intersections that include roundabouts instead of traditional traffic signals reduce fatalities and injuries for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. A roundabout is a tight circular configuration; to properly navigate one, a motorist must slow down. Roundabouts aren’t an economic or efficient solution, however, as they often require a complete restructuring of existing intersections.
  • Red-light cameras. Red light cameras deter habitual red light runners, as they automatically photograph a driver who runs a red light. Some systems send the information to law enforcement agencies to follow up, while others automatically generate a citation. These high profile enforcement measures reduce the frequency of drivers who run red lights. In fact, one IIHS study noted a 40 percent reduction in red light violations in one area with such cameras. Wisconsin currently has no laws that permit red light cameras.

Did a Driver Injure You After Running a Red Light? Call Us Today

If a reckless driver ran a red light and caused an accident that injured you or your loved one, contact Groth Law Firm, S.C. today. Our personal injury attorneys have helped clients in Brookfield, Milwaukee, and throughout Wisconsin. While we cannot guarantee a favorable result in every case, we’ve recovered millions of dollars in personal injury damages for past clients. Let us determine if we can help you. Call Groth Law Firm, S.C. at (414) 240-0707, or complete our case submission form, to schedule your free consultation today.

Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

Texting and Driving Laws in Wisconsin: What to Do If You’re Seriously Injured by a Distracted Driver

One of the most common uses for smartphones is texting. On average, Americans send text messages twice as often as they make phone calls. While texting anywhere and at any time has been completely normalized, this daily habit becomes dangerous when done behind the wheel. As texting continues to dominate distracted driving issues, state lawmakers strive to design laws to protect citizens and punish offenders. If you’ve been seriously injured by a distracted driver who couldn’t wait to text, contact our Wisconsin personal injury lawyers without delay.

Wisconsin Texting and Driving Laws

Forty-seven states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virginia Islands all currently have laws that ban texting while driving. As part of this group, Wisconsin has enacted laws that prohibit drivers from composing or sending any type of electronic message while driving.

Notably, the law does not apply to individuals who operate emergency vehicles or use voice-activated devices. The law also includes exceptions for licensed amateur radio operators, and it permits the use of navigational devices while driving.

In 2017, lawmakers expanded Wisconsin’s inattentive driving laws to also prohibit the use of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and similar applications while driving. In an attempt to discourage distracted driving, the new laws increased the associated fines as well.

Distracted driving is perhaps one of the most underreported traffic safety issues in the country. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, it’s often difficult to prove driver distraction following an accident, which leads to underreporting.

If you’re involved in an accident, and you suspect that the other driver was texting or otherwise distracted and caused the crash, tell law enforcement when they arrive. Take pictures of the accident scene, and gather contact information for witnesses. If you are medically unable to do so, ask a passenger or bystander to help. After seeking medical treatment, you should contact Groth Law Firm, S.C. to discuss your case and your potential to seek compensation for your injuries.

Common Injuries from Serious Car Crashes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sending or reading a text message while traveling at 55 mph takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

The forceful impact of another vehicle striking you can cause serious injury and even death. Whether you are walking, riding a bike, or in your own personal vehicle, if you’re struck by a distracted driver you may sustain the following injuries:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injury (SCI)
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Broken bones

Patients with these and other similar injuries often face a variety of expensive and long-term medical needs, including:

  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Personal in-home care or private home care, like at a nursing home
  • Immediate and future surgeries
  • Multiple monthly medications
  • Home modifications
  • Medical equipment or assistive devices

It may only take five seconds to send a text message while driving, but the results of that short time can result in a lifetime of suffering for another driver.

Texting and Driving Statistics

Americans of all ages are so dependent upon their smartphones for communication, entertainment, and information that many view it as an addiction. There is even a term for it: nomophobia, which is the fear of being without a mobile phone.

Experts believe that when we receive a text message, we feel happiness. The compulsive habit of checking our phones makes us feel connected and more productive, according to experts. The need for feeding this habit while driving, however, often results in tragedy. Consider the following alarming statistics:

  • More than 3,000 teens die each year in crashes that involve texting and driving.
  • Mobile phones are involved in an estimated 1.6 million auto crashes each year; on average, these accidents cause half a million injuries and result in 6,000 deaths.
  • Research shows that using a cellphone while driving delays a driver’s reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol concentration level of .08, the legal limit. This data applies to both hand-held and hands-free cellphone use.
  • 48 percent of teens report having seen their parents text while driving, which increases the teens’ likelihood of engaging in similar behaviors.

Additional research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 88 percent of drivers surveyed believe that distracted driving is on the rise. Another AAA study found that drivers talking on a cellphone are four times more likely to crash, and drivers texting behind the wheel are eight times more likely, compared to those that refrain from cell phone use while driving. Despite all of the research, public safety campaigns, and tougher laws meant to discourage reckless driving, drivers continue to take unnecessary risks.

Call the Groth Law Firm, S.C., When a Distracted Driver Hurts You

No matter how defensively you drive, the negligent behavior of another driver can greatly damage your life. While you can’t change or predict the reckless behavior of others, you can pursue justice if you’ve been involved in an accident.

At Groth Law Firm, S.C., our experienced personal injury attorneys have represented individuals injured in car accidents throughout Wisconsin. Distracted driving can cause serious injuries. Depending upon the force of the impact and the circumstances of the crash, an injured individual may face a long road to recovery. No one should suffer financially, physically, or emotionally due to the actions of a distracted driver. Each case is different, and every case depends upon the facts involved; however, if you’ve been involved in an accident, you should inquire about your eligibility to recover compensation for your injuries.

Insurance companies often offer low-dollar initial settlement amounts in an effort to quickly close a claim. Suffering serious injuries from a crash requires rest; let our experienced legal team handle aggressive insurance agents while you focus on your recovery. We don’t settle until we secure fair compensation for our clients, and if we are unable to settle, we are not afraid to take your case to trial.

To schedule a free consultation and evaluation of your case, call Groth Law Firm, S.C. at (414) 240-0707, or contact us online. We are proud to represent clients in the Wauwatosa and Milwaukee region, and throughout all of Wisconsin. Don’t settle for less than the full cost of your injuries. Contact us today to speak with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.

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

 

Accident Lawyer in Wisconsin

ATV Rollover Accidents

Tragedy struck near the new Foxconn construction sight on October 12th, 2018. According to Mount Pleasant Police, a driver and a passenger were involved in an accident early Friday morning. The Mount Pleasant Police and the South Shore Fire Department responded to a report of an ATV crash near the Foxconn Technology Group construction area, on the 12500 block of Braun Road. Apparently, the caller was the passenger of the ATV, and reported that his friend was unconscious at that time.

Unfortunately, and upon further investigation by the responding professionals, the driver of the ATV was pronounced dead. The passenger was transported to Ascension All Saints Hospital Emergency Room where, thankfully, he was seen for non-life threatening injuries.

Although initial details were sparse, police believe that the driver may have ignored a road closed sign and crashed into a rocky ravine. It was also believed that alcohol may be a factor.

Horrific accidents like this one not only have an effect on the community at large, but they can have a dramatic impact on passengers, drivers, and any other victims. Individuals who are injured in similar crashes can sustain life-altering injuries that may be permanent in nature. Some of these injuries can take years to properly treat, and often necessitate continued care far beyond the day of the accident. Simple mistakes can have lasting impacts on a family, whether that is physical, financial, or even emotional.

Medical bills pile up quickly, and if your injuries prevent you from working, an accident can take a tremendous toll on you and your family. At the Groth Law Firm, we believe the only thing you should worry about after being involved in an accident is recovering. It’s our job to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, so that you are not bombarded by irritating calls from insurance adjusters. We collectively have decades of experience in handling property damage, injury cases, and making sure that you are not left with medical bills in the future.

Many injuries, especially if you are older, can have effects that last well into the future. If you require care in the future for injuries stemming from an accident, we will fight side by side with you to make sure you get every dollar from the insurance company. The insurance companies are in the business of minimizing claims, and they are not sympathetic to the severe stress accidents put on you and your family. The Groth Law Firm is in the exact opposite business. We make it our personal mission to maximize every claim for our clients. Whether it’s lost wages, future care, or reimbursement for damage to property, we have the skills, dedication, and proven track record that’s required to take care of our clients.

ATV, and other recreational sport accidents have the potential for severe injuries, and unfortunately, death. Dissimilar from most commercial cars, recreational vehicles typically are not equipped with safety equipment such as seatbelts, airbags, and roll cages. As a result, injuries from these types of accidents have the propensity to be much more catastrophic. Additionally, ATV vehicles often give riders a false sense of security due to their ability to traverse different types of terrain. Alcohol is often a factor in these types of accidents because, unlike cars, ATV’s sole purpose is recreation, and they’re often driven while on vacation, or over the weekend. Although most people are familiar with how to operate a vehicle, many individuals have little to no experience in operating an ATV or other recreational vehicle. Further, they are often given the controls without proper safety instruction, and worse, without property safety gear such as a helmet.

The exposed nature of these vehicles also causes minor mechanical defects to have much more catastrophic outcomes. For instance, a flat tire on a car can often be a minor inconvenience, but a sudden, unexpected flat tire on an ATV has the potential for much more severe consequences.

Oftentimes, individuals will overload ATVs, either with equipment, people, or game that you’ve successfully hunted. This can create the potential for rollovers, or difficulty in breaking, and accelerating. Prior to using an ATV, you should familiarize yourself with the weight limits, and passenger limits. Many ATVs are designed exclusively for one passenger. In instances of reckless driving with more than one passenger, the results can be dire. Generally the most common ATV accidents are caused by rollovers, and these rollovers can cause crushing-type injuries, and even death.

The location you choose to drive your ATV can also have a serious impact on how safe your ride will be. ATVs are designed, primarily, for off-road driving. It’s right there in the name, “All Terrain Vehicle.” Very often, ATV accidents occur when they are ridden on pavement or other surfaces that they are not necessarily designed to operate on.

Due to their recreational nature, ATVs can be seen only as toys, and not the serious vehicles they are. ATVs are responsible for tens of thousands of injuries, and even deaths. Drivers and riders alike are strongly encouraged to approach these vehicles with the respect they require to be enjoyed safely.

ATV’s are an enjoyable way to navigate some of Wisconsin’s more treacherous terrain, and when used safely, are fun for a variety of ages. Helmets, proper lighting, and understanding of the area you’ll be driving on, safety training, all help ensure that an ATV trip starts and ends without injury.

Even with safe operation, accidents and injuries happen. Especially given the colder weather and snowy conditions, drivers should exercise even greater than usual caution while using our roadways. While using an ATV, make sure you familiarize yourself with not only it’s operation, but any limits on riders, weight, or terrain. Ensuring that you are prepared can help avoid potentially disastrous consequences and injuries. Further, properly adhering to any road signs, and cautions can be the difference between a safe weekend, and an accident. Planning out your route ahead of time may take some time away from your ride, but it also might save your life.

Auto Accident Lawyer in Wisconsin

Marijuana on the Road

As marijuana usage becomes increasingly legalized throughout the United States, police officers and law enforcement are noticing a frightening increase in people driving while high. Unlike alcohol, which is much easier to objectively test for, driving while high creates new complications for officials working to keep our roadways safe. The increasing prevalence of both recreational and medical marijuana means this issue will not be going away anytime soon.

Alcohol can be tested onsite, via breathalyzers and other instant-read type devices. Marijuana however, typically necessitates blood or urine tests. Dissimilar from alcohol, marijuana affects people at a much more subjective rate than alcohol. While BAC (Or Blood Alcohol Content) can quickly provide information as to how intoxicated someone is, Marijuana is more significantly affected by factors like bodyweight, tolerance, and potency of the marijuana smoked. Even with advanced testing (which is often expensive, and not yet widely available) the level of impairment of someone who has smoked marijuana is difficult to determine.

For example, there is a generally accepted national standard that if your BAC is 0.08 percent or higher, you are considered impaired to an extent that renders you unsafe to drive a motor vehicle. Since marijuana effects the human body in notably different ways than alcohol, this level of impairment is much more difficult to quantify.

As of this writing, Marijuana is now recreationally legal in 10 different states. These states include Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, Michigan, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine. This is in addition to the District of Columbia. New York has also indicated that legalization of marijuana has would be a top priority going into the 2019 year. Beyond recreational usage, over thirty states have cleared the use of medical cannabis.

The national trend clearly is in favor of increasing legalization of marijuana, whether it is for recreational, or medicinal purposes. This will force lawmakers, and law enforcement alike, to adapt and adopt new ways to deal with the inevitability of drivers operating vehicles while affected by marijuana. Policies regarding impairment will have to be in place soon if the government wants to keep pace with this trend.

Marijuana, notwithstanding some of the health benefits it may provide, can have multiple adverse impacts on a user’s reflexes and ability to focus. Both of which are essential to safely operate a motor vehicle. These potential negative effects have caused some states to implement zero tolerance laws that prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle when you have any amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in your system. THC is the component in marijuana that is largely responsible for it’s intoxicating influence. Some states with this law include, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.

Conversely, Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2012 considers drivers with more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood to be “intoxicated.” Despite these policies that are already on the books, this is clearly an evolving area of law. Both legal experts, and users of marijuana, cannot seem to agree on what constitutes intoxication, and how to codify potential intoxication.

This confusion and disagreement can be attributed to a few factors. For one, the testing available for THC is limited, and often imprecise. This is compounded by the fact that THC can stay in a user’s bloodstream for weeks after use. So, for example, someone could use marijuana legally, and a test a month later could reveal that THC was still in their blood or urine. Thus, any analogies to alcohol consumption are flawed at best. For instance, it is hard to compare “shots of liquor” to amount of marijuana smoked, or ingested. Variances in potency and the method of consumption have a tremendous influence on a user’s level of intoxication.

The complications caused by testing procedures provide exacerbate challenges for law enforcement personnel. Often characterized as the most reliable procedure for testing, blood testing is costly, and difficult to do on-scene. Additionally, often seen as an alternative test, hair follicle tests are just as cumbersome. Many private companies are workshopping different THC-breathalyzers, although most are in their very early stages, and are not for widespread, national use.

Some law enforcement agencies are using subjective tests administered by on-scene officers to determine whether or not someone is impaired. These tests, similar to field sobriety tests that enjoy wide use, are also inexact and open law enforcement up to legal challenges. Even so, many highway patrol members are being given training to determine whether or not someone under the influence of marijuana is legally impaired.

Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving are also working to ensure that officers are properly trained and that people are aware of the dangers of driving while under the influence of marijuana. Even with adequate training, these tests are subjective, and are subject to human error.

Despite increased education regarding marijuana use and abuse, the amount of auto accidents that are caused (at least in part) by marijuana use, use of marijuana is on the rise. As mentioned, the national trend is increasingly slanted towards legalization, whether that is for recreational use or medicinal use. Thus, Americans can reasonably expect that drivers impaired by marijuana will become more and more prevalent over time.

If you are involved in an accident where another driver was influenced, or suspected to be influenced, by marijuana or any other drugs, do not hesitate to call the Groth Law Firm. We have experience handling cases involving alcohol, marijuana, prescription pills, and many other drugs. Often these cases require specific expertise to make sure you are adequately compensated for your injuries. Due to increasingly accepting attitudes regarding marijuana, drivers are more likely to take the risk of driving while under the influence of marijuana.

If you, or a family member, was injured by a driver under the influence of marijuana, Groth Law firm is your Wisconsin personal injury law firm. We handle accidents of every size and severity. When you call, you can always expect to reach your attorney. At Groth Law Firm we believe you deserve legal counsel that is skilled, disciplined, and proven.