Tag Archives: Wisconsin Auto Accidents

Wisconsin’s New Insurance Laws

It’s a common question lately. When do the new laws go into effect?

Some go into effect next year.

The Journal Sentinel wrote a story about this a while ago.

Motorists will need to have a policy providing at least $50,000 in bodily injury coverage for one person, $100,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident and $15,000 to cover property damage. The current limits are $25,000, $50,000 and $10,000, respectively. The higher limits go into effect Jan. 1.

Your new policy or renewed policy must include underinsured motorist coverage starting November 1, 2009.

Underinsured motorist coverage, which now is optional, will be required for state drivers on new or renewed policies starting Nov. 1.

Auto insurance will be required starting June 1, 2010.

I hope this answers some of those questions.

Largest “Soft Tissue” Auto Accident Verdict in Sheboygan

That’s according to the presiding Sheboygan Judge’s memory from his 20 years on the bench.  The Jury came back with this verdict in my trial yesterday afternoon.  The trial against State Farm lasted about 3 days.

Before trial (this is a topic for another post) and when I returned to the office we did a few searches on Verdict Reporting companies.  From what we can find there were no soft tissue verdicts in reach. 

Now that the trial is over I’ll have more time to post and get back to my ‘old’ self.

Watch for more posts soon.

Distracted Drivers

I’ve emailed comments on a couple list serves about my opinion on what set of facts would allow punitive damages in Wisconsin.  In Wisconsin, the standard is set forth in the Strenke decision.

The majority opined:

In response to the issues presented, we conclude that
a person acts in an intentional disregard of the rights of the
plaintiff if the person acts with a purpose to disregard the
plaintiff’s rights, or is aware that his or her acts are substantially certain to result in the plaintiff’s rights being disregarded. Furthermore, we determine that a defendant’s conduct giving rise to punitive damages need not be directed at the specific plaintiff seeking punitive damages in order to recover under the statute.

I’ve been thinking about this language as it applies to drivers on cell phones.  The National Safety Council has a few studies about cell phone ban laws across America.  According to nsc.org:

Driver inattention is a leading cause of traffic crashes, responsible for about 80 percent of all collisions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Check out the link and especially the videos of the drivers who are on their cell phones.   I argue that each one of those drivers were very aware of the risks of driving while on a cell phone  (this applies to driving while texting too).  If they were aware of the risk doesn’t it follow that the punitive damages law would apply to their actions?

Is that a bad thing?  Punitive damages are meant, in part, to prevent individuals and corporations from acting in a manner that will cause harm to others.  So, don’t drive while on your cell phone, or buy a bluetooth headset.

  I’d like to know your thoughts.

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in West AllisSheboygan,  Plymouth,  and Germantown.

If you’d like to submit a question or case please complete a case submission form.

“Look Both Ways”

I’ve said that phrase a bazillion times the past few years.  Those with small boys will understand.  As a personal injury attorney maybe I’m a little (actually a lot) more worried about car versus pedestrian accidents.  I’ve handled a great number of cases where people walked across the street at the cross walk and not at the cross walk.   In short, always cross at the cross walk, even if it means walking a few hundred feet out of your way.

The reason I mention this is a blog post that Attorney Michael Pines of California wrote.  California has a new program called the “Safe Routes to School Program.”  It’s a good idea.  I don’t know of anything like it in Wisconsin.

In short Attorney Pines describes it as:

What the program intends to do is to create specific, easily accessible routes for children to walk to school with reduced dangers and hazards.  The routes include smaller traffic flow, safety barriers between pedestrians and traffic, lower speed limits in these zones, and in some areas, the restriction of auto traffic altogether.

I don’t know what the cost of the program would be.  But, in theory it sounds like a good idea.  Maybe some generous foundation could fund this?

www.jonpgroth.com

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Fond du lac, West Bend, Kenosha and Wauwatosa.

Click here to submit a Case or Question.

The Safe Cars of 2009

In short, don’t buy a Chrysler. 

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety released it’s safe cars list.   Ford (including its Volvo subsidiary) topped the list with 16 vehicles.  Honda came in second with 13 vehicles.

Why do I say don’t buy a Chrysler.  Well, Chrysler didn’t win any awards.  None.   

The story that I link to above states:

Seventy-two cars, trucks and SUVs received the top safety pick designation for the 2009 model year, more than double the number of vehicles in 2008 and three times the number in 2007.

“No matter what kind of vehicle buyers may be considering, now they can walk into just about any dealership and find one that affords the best overall protection in serious crashes,” said Institute president Adrian Lund.

But when it comes to Chrysler:

IIHSsaid Chrysler LLC was the only major automaker that did not receive a single award. They said Chrysler could have picked up five awards if the head restraints had been improved.

I may be a little biased against Chrysler.  My Dad owned a K car in the ’80s.  He didn’t like it.  I think he didn’t like it so much that I’ve been tainted. 

For full disclosure I own a Ford and Saab.

www.jonpgroth.com

 Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Fond du lac, West Bend, Kenosha and Wauwatosa.

Click here to submit a Case or Question.