Featured post

Wind Lake Gymnastics Center and Claims against James Kivisto

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

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

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

Contact Groth Law Firm

It’s Motorcycle Season!

The weather is getting warmer, and that means riders are anxious to get out on their motorcycles. Although it is very exciting to enjoy a nice motorcycle ride, it is important to keep certain things in mind. Rider’s must keep in mind that it has been a long winter and they might be a little out of practice. Before enjoying the first ride of the season, riders should take it slow at first and be very cautious.

Rider’s should also be aware of their equipment and make sure that they inspect it thoroughly. It is advised that riders inspect certain aspects of their motorcycles and motorcycle gear, these include:

  • Tires
  • Fluids
  • Lights
  • Controls
  • Throttle
  • Brakes
  • Horn
  • Mirrors
  • Helmet
  • And any other gear used.

Motorcycle accidents can be avoided if time is taken to prepare. When riders are ready to get back on the road, they should test their reflexes first. It is advised that rider’s test their legs on their first time out. Testing your legs can ensure that a rider doesn’t feel unsteady. They can practice stopping fast until they become comfortable on their bikes.

It is also advised that riders keep an eye out on the weather at all times. Keeping an eye on the weather forecast can prepare riders for their day on the road. Strong winds and rain can be dangerous to riders and can increase their chances of getting into an accident.

Riders are also advised to be aware of the road conditions. A long winter can cause damage to the roads and be hazardous to individuals on their motorcycles. Potholes created because of the snow and ice of the winter can cause damage to the bike’s suspension, tires or wheels. Apart from the damage to the bike, potholes can lead to swerving and can cause the driver to lose control of the motorcycle. Riders should be aware of their surroundings, and if the pothole is unavoidable, they should slow down as much as possible.

If you or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident, contact our attorneys at Groth Law Firm, S.C. You can call or text us at 414-375-2030.

Uber and Lyft Injuries: Who Pays?

Uber and Lyft are everywhere. Most major US cities have drivers for at least one of these two ride-sharing companies. Uber operates in cities from Abilene to Zacatecas – including Milwaukee.

One of the most common concerns that riders have is who pays for their injuries if they’re hurt by or while riding in an Uber or Lyft.

As Uber celebrates one million drivers worldwide and Lyft hits 60 US cities, some still have concerns about using services like Uber or Lyft. One of the most common concerns that riders have is who pays for their injuries if they’re hurt by or while riding in an Uber or Lyft.

Over the holiday weekend, Sean Conley, 32, died at the hospital after the Lyft he was riding in was hit by another car causing a crash on the north side of Milwaukee. According to Conley’s brother, he was taking a Lyft home when another driver hit his Lyft.

For both Uber and Lyft, their drivers carry third party liability coverage of “at least $1 million of total liability coverage.”[1] What does this mean? If you are injured because your car was hit by an on-duty Uber or Lyft driver or you are injured in an Uber or Lyft as a rider—whether the injury is the driver’s fault or the fault of another party—your injuries are covered by the company’s insurance.

With the growing number of ride-sharing cars on the road more and more people are becoming passengers. As a passenger in someone else’s car, your own car insurance might not cover your injuries if an under- or un-insured driver hits you. It is more important than ever to understand your rights as a Lyft or Uber rider.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a Lyft or Uber, contact a skilled, dedicated, and proven personal injury attorney to discuss your options as a victim of a crash.

[1] https://www.uber.com/drive/insurance/, https://help.lyft.com/hc/en-us/articles/115013080548-Insurance-Policy#duringride

 

Supervised Or Not: Do You Really Know

With the Warm Weather Comes Dog Bite Season

It’s every parents fear: leaving their child in the care of someone else, only to have them severely injured while being “supervised.” This nightmare recently became a reality for a half-dozen families in North Carolina. On March 20th, a stray male pit bull managed to make his way into a Charlotte elementary school. Upon entering the school, the children (many of them understandably frightened) reacted by running and screaming. The dog became overstimulated by this reaction and began to chase after, jump on, and bite no fewer than seven children before a teacher was able to confine the canine. Fortunately, all seven children suffered “minor” injuries.

Nonetheless, with winter coming to an end it is important to note that the number of reported dog bites increases dramatically. With warmer weather, and the end of the school year, more children are outside. The same goes for dogs. Not surprisingly, this combination means that the summer season tends to be the peak season for dog bites.

The attorneys at Groth Law Firm, SC are highly experienced when it comes to representing clients who have been bitten by a dog. Whether the injuries are minor or catastrophic, Groth Law Firm handles every case diligently and aggressively. From the very beginning, the attorneys and investigators work together to determine the dog’s owner, the owner’s insurance policy, and whether the dog has previously attacked someone. This latter fact is especially important when considering that Wisconsin has a law specifically designed to hold dog owners accountable when their dog has attacked more than once.

Wisconsin Statute §895.045 states that the owner of a dog is liable for 2 times the full amount of damages caused by the dog biting a person with sufficient force to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement if the owner was notified or knew that the dog had previously done so. That is, if the dog owner was previously made aware that their dog had bitten someone else, and the dog does it again, they are liable for twice the amount of damages.

The attorneys at Groth Law Firm are not only aware of this law, but also investigate every case extensively to determine if the statute applies. In cases where the law does, in fact, apply client settlements can increase tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is this attention to detail, as well as a comprehensive understanding of Wisconsin’s dog bite laws, that separates Groth Law Firm from other firms in the state.

If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog, call Groth Law Firm, SC today. The staff is experienced and knows exactly what it takes to win a dog bite case and maximize your settlement. We are here to make sure that our clients are represented, protected, and compensated.

Attorneys are standing by 24/7 to answer all questions that you might have, and can help navigate you through an undoubtedly difficult time.

For a free consultation, please call (414) 375-2030. You can also visit our website at www.grothlawfirm.com and live chat with someone who is eager to assist you.

 

USA Gymnastics Seeks Dismissal of Lawsuits Related to Larry Nassar

Michigan State University was the first to attempt to distance itself from lawsuits related to Larry Nassar’s sexual misconduct because, according to MSU, Michigan’s statute of limitations blocks the suits. Now, USA Gymnastics is making the same argument.

In briefs it’s filed with the courts, USAG argues that the majority of the claims against it are barred by law because of the statute of limitations.

In Michigan, the statute keeps personal injury suits from being filed three years after the date of the injury for adults and three years after the victim’s nineteenth birthday for injuries as a minor.

Because of the statute, MSU and USAG argue they are not liable for Nassar’s actions because victims waited too long to file suits.

Of the 149 cases against USA Gymnastics currently, USAG claims that at least 101 of them should be dismissed outright simply because the statute of limitations has run out. This means that the court could, if it agrees with USAG, drop the cases of 101 victims of sexual assault.

While Larry Nassar, USA Gymnastics, and Michigan State University have been in the national headlines, here in Wisconsin, James Kivisto, owner and operator of Wind Lake Gymnastics Center in Racine has been charged with ten counts of possession of child pornography.

At least some of the photos and videos may have been taken with a camera Kivisto hid in the girl’s bathroom at the Gymnastics Center. Kivisto has owned the Wind Lake Gymnastics Center for eleven years and has been a gymnastics coach since 1987.

What do the USAG and MSU dismissal attempts mean for Wisconsin victims? It means that it is more important than ever to seek legal representation if you or your child has been a victim of sexual misconduct by a gymnastics coach. In Wisconsin, the statute of limitation for personal injury is three years for adults but ends only two years after a minor victim’s eighteenth birthday.

At Groth Law Firm, S.C., we have a skilled, dedicated, proven, and compassionate team ready to help you seek justice during a difficult and emotional time. If you or your child has been the victim of sexual misconduct by a coach or other trusted trainer, contact us immediately at 414-375-2030, or toll free at 1-800-375-7001

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal 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 may contain errors. An attorney can provide legal guidance only after reviewing the details of your individual case.

I Don’t See The Guy Who Hit Me? Crash with a Driverless Car

In recent months talk regarding driverless cars has reached a fever pitch as companies continue to pour resources into creating the first consumer-ready prototypes. Uber, an established leader in the ride-sharing gig economy, is on the forefront of this movement. Although is it easy to get excited at the prospect of our cars driving us to our errands, or through rush hour traffic, recent events raise questions about the safety and responsible use of these cars.

Although reports of minor accidents early in the development of these vehicles was met with little media coverage or caution, a fatal accident on March 18th, 2018, exposes serious concerns with this new technology. Elain Herberg, a 49-year-old woman, was struck while walking her bicycle across the street in Tempe, Arizona. Elain was transported to the hospital from the scene and passed away from her injuries at a local hospital. Although preliminary reports are short on details, Tempe Police Detective Lily Duran reported that the car could have been traveling approximately 40 mph in a 35 mph zone. Local authorities from the Tempe Police Department are investigating, and the National Transportation Safety Board is also pursuing it’s own investigation.

Uber offered the following statement via a spokesperson, “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with the local authorities in their investigation of this incident.”

Despite Uber’s condolences to the family of the deceased, it is unclear if the company will accept full liability for the vehicle’s actions. Negligence in the age of driverless cars is uncharted territory, and although there has been significant speculation about how to handle driverless car accidents, very little has been incorporated into any new law.

At the time of the crash the Uber vehicle was in “self-driving mode.” Perhaps as precautionary measure, a vehicle operator was in the vehicle at the time of the crash. As of now, it is unclear how much control this operator had prior to, or at the moment of the crash. Arizona is well known as an early adopter of self-driving cars. In fact, just this month the Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, signed an executive order allowing for self-driving cars to be used on state roads without a human driver behind the wheel. A few factors influenced this decision and include; Arizona’s dry, static climate and the large population of nearby retired individuals who are expected to benefit from this technology.

In this instance, the self-driving car that caused this accident was owned and being tested by Uber. Other major manufacturers, such as Google and GM have analogous test models and are still investing heavily in the development of autonomous vehicle tech.

This technology raises a myriad of legal issues. Is there a products liability case if something inherent in the vehicle causes an accident? If the vehicle acts in accordance with it’s programming and an unforeseen variable causes a wreck, is the operator negligent if they do not adapt to this variable? Most self-driving cars have an onboard camera system that shows all angles of a vehicle’s surroundings. Will this affect how accident reports are constructed? If a crash is imminent will a self-driving car take action to save it’s own occupants over other cars? Pedestrians?

It can be scary and almost impossible to approach this issue on your own. If you or someone you know has been in an accident with a self-driving car you need not only an experienced attorney, but a law firm that is willing to dive into unexplored areas of law on behalf of their clients. As mentioned, there is little law on this topic and you can be sure that major corporations will fight tooth and nail to protect their investments. If you want a law firm that is unafraid to take on the big guy, call Groth Law Firm at 414-375-2030.

 

Does Driverless Mean Less Responsibility?

In recent months talk regarding driverless cars has reached a fever pitch as companies continue to pour resources into creating the first consumer-ready prototypes. Uber, an established leader in the ride-sharing gig economy, is on the forefront of this movement. Although is it easy to get excited at the prospect of our cars driving us to our errands, or through rush hour traffic, recent events raise questions about the safety and responsible use of these cars.
Although reports of minor accidents early in the development of these vehicles was met with little media coverage or caution, a fatal accident on March 18th, 2018, exposes serious concerns with this new technology. Elain Herberg, a 49-year-old woman, was struck while walking her bicycle across the street in Tempe Arizona. Elain was transported to the hospital from the scene and passed away from her injuries at a local hospital. Although preliminary reports are short on details, Tempe Police Detective Lily Duran reported that the car could have been traveling approximately 40 mph in a 35 mph zone. Local authorities from the Tempe Police Department are investigating, and the National Transportation Safety Board is also pursuing it’s own investigation.

Uber offered the following statement via a spokesperson, “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with the local authorities in their investigation of this incident.”
Despite Uber’s condolences to the family of the deceased, it is unclear if the company will accept full liability for the vehicle’s actions. Negligence in the age of driverless cars is uncharted territory, and although there has been significant speculation about how to handle driverless car accidents, very little has been incorporated into any new law.

At the time of the crash the Uber vehicle was in “self-driving mode.” Perhaps as precautionary measure, a vehicle operator was in the vehicle at the time of the crash. As of now, it is unclear how much control this operator had prior to, or at the moment of the crash. Arizona is well known as an early adopter of self-driving cars. In fact, just this month the Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey signed an executive order allowing for self-driving cars to be used on state roads without a human driver behind the wheel. A few factors influenced this decision and include; Arizona’s dry, static climate and the large population of nearby retired individuals who are expected to benefit from this technology.

In this instance, the self-driving car that caused this accident was owned and being tested by Uber. Other major manufacturers, such as Google and GM have analogous test models and are still investing heavily in the development of autonomous vehicle tech.

This technology raises a myriad of legal issues. Is there a products liability case if something inherent in the vehicle causes an accident? If the vehicle acts in accordance with it’s programming and an unforeseen variable causes a wreck, is the operator negligent if they do not adapt to this variable? Most self-driving cars have an onboard camera system that shows all angles of a vehicle’s surroundings. Will this affect how accident reports are constructed? If a crash is imminent will a self-driving car take action to save it’s own occupants over other cars? Pedestrians?

It can be scary and almost impossible to approach this issue on your own. If you or someone you know has been in an accident with a self-driving car you need not only an experienced attorney, but a law firm that is willing to dive into unexplored areas of law on behalf of their clients. As mentioned, there is little law on this topic and you can be sure that major corporations will fight tooth and nail to protect their investments. If you want a law firm that is unafraid to take on the big guy, call Groth Law Firm.

Florida Bridge Tragedy

The bridge collapse that occurred last Thursday has claimed six lives. The bridge collapsed around 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 15th. Although officials say there will be no more casualties, they are going through the rubble again to ensure that no one else is trapped beneath it.  A total of 950 tons of rubble were moved when in search of the six victims. That same day, engineers gathered together to discuss the structural integrity of the bridge just hours before the collapse.

This new structure was supposed to connect Florida International University campus to the bordering neighborhood. The collapse happened months before the completion of the bridge. The bridge was supposed to enhance safety, keeping pedestrians safe from traffic due to a previous incident involving a fatal crash and a FIU student last August.

The meeting held at 9:00 a.m. that Thursday, gathered together engineers including the people responsible for designing the bridge (FIGG). The meeting was held to discuss a crack that appeared on the structure due to an observation that was made two days before, that Tuesday.

The Tuesday before the collapse, a FIGG engineer called an FDOT employee to warn about “some cracking” on the structure of the bridge. The FDOT employee was out on an assignment that day and missed the call, and did not hear the voicemail that was left by the engineer W. Denney Pate until Friday, the day after the collapse. The voicemail left by Pate discussed the crack that was found on the structure and stated that it needed to be repaired, however, he said there were no safety concerns.

It is unfortunate that six lives were lost in such a horrific and avoidable accident. At Groth Law Firm S.C., we have experience with a wide variety of cases dealing with wrongful death incidents, each one of our attorneys prepared and here to help you with your wrongful death case.

Traffic-Related Deaths Remain High in the U.S.

On February 15, 2018, the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “U.S. Road-Death Rates Remain Near 10-Year High.” The article discusses the National Safety Council’s (NSC) statistics on traffic-related fatalities for 2017.[1] The NSC found that traffic-related deaths in the U.S. declined by approximately 1% in the year 2017. While any decline in traffic-related deaths is good news, analysts hoped to see an even larger decline following back to back increases in traffic-related fatalities in 2015 and 2016.

The National Safety Council is one of two primary organizations that publish data on roadway fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also published data but only reports deaths occurring on public roadways. The NSC incorporates incidents from private roadways into their report which slightly increases the number of total fatalities.

The NSC reported a 7% increase in 2014 and a 6% in 2015.[2] Both years’ data came as a surprise because traffic-related deaths per vehicle miles traveled (VMT) have declined since 1921 (see graph below).[3]

The Wall Street Journal article also documents the comments of experts regarding the factors behind the unfortunate trend.[4] A spokesperson for the NSC attributed the rising fatality rate to drunk driving incidents. She cites the differences between the blood alcohol level laws in the United States and other nations and remarks that the best way to drive down roadway deaths is to reduce drunk driving. Automotive executives point to the increased use of hand-held devices as a catalyst for the trend. Automakers have focused resources in recent years to add hands-free technology in their vehicles to reduce this trend among motorists.

Experts are unable to pinpoint the exact reasons the trend in traffic-related fatalities has shifted upward in recent years; however, the problems of drunk driving and smartphone use continue to plague drivers across the nation.

In most cases, traffic accidents result in injuries rather than fatalities. Over the past decade, traffic-related injuries in the U.S. have vacillated between 2.2 million and 2.4 million.[5] The sheer volume of these numbers underscores the necessity of paying attention while driving. Of course, avoid driving while intoxicated and refrain from smartphone use, but it is also imperative to stay alert while operating a motor vehicle realizing that others may not exercise careful driving.

If you think you have been injured as the result of a traffic accident see a doctor, and, as always, please call Groth Law Firm, S.C. at 877-375-7001 with any questions.  We are available 24/7 to discuss your options as the victim of someone else’s negligent actions. Our initial consultations are always free.

 

[1] https://www.wsj.com/articles/death-rates-on-u-s-roads-remain-near-10-year-high-1518692401

[2] http://www.nsc.org/NewsDocuments/2017/12-month-estimates.pdf

[3] http://www.businessinsider.com/traffic-fatalities-historical-trend-us-2016-4

[4] https://www.wsj.com/articles/death-rates-on-u-s-roads-remain-near-10-year-high-1518692401

[5] https://www.statista.com/statistics/191900/road-traffic-related-injuries-and-fatalities-in-the-us-since-1988/

The New Trend: Legal Apps

This new digital technology is revolutionizing the practice of law. Some of the earliest well-known justice apps are legal aid attorneys. These apps can help individuals when they find themselves in the middle of a crime. There is an app called Stop & Frisk Watch that does just that, by helping prevent police brutality by being able to record an encounter between a police officer and the individual being questioned. A few other useful apps include: Citizenship Works, My Attorney Apps, Oh Crap, Ask a Lawyer, and Berniesez.

It has been found that legal apps can help deal with the legality of things from a much more informed vantage point. In addition, it has been debated that legal apps would come in handy while in the courtroom. It is believed that these new legal apps may end up educating citizenry and will be able to engage them in a meaningful way in the political process.

The hard part about creating and incorporating these apps into society however isn’t the technology. Politics, turf, funding, and other barriers are the obstacles that developing these legal apps face. With the creation of legal apps, it is believed that for some of the most basic questions an individual might not need to pay for a lawyer. It is predicted that in less than three years as much as eighty-five percent of all customer interactions, when dealing with cases, will not include a human being. For this reason, many highly encourage law firms to embrace this new technology and even create an app for their own firm.

Groth Law Firm, S.C. is on the cutting edge of technology. Our clients can communicate with us with email, text, sms or any of the “old fashioned” ways.  If you have questions about how we utilize technology to help our clients please ask one of our attorneys.