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One Click That is It

Groth Law Firm understands the stress, pain and worry caused by a car crash or other personal injury.  With technology today we can make the process as stress less and hassle free as possible.

Once you come to our page you just need to click on our chat or click on our number to get the help you need at the exact time you need it.

Watch for more ways our technology will help you when you need help the most.

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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

Move Over Laws

car accident lawyer in Milwaukee WisconsinWhile 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 maintain 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 not 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.

Five Things to Do to Preserve Your Claim in a Premises Liability Case

premises liability lawyer in milwaukee wisconsinIn our practice, we speak with many individuals who have been injured because they slipped and fell or tripped and fell on someone else’s property. These types of cases, called premises liability cases, occur frequently and many times result in serious injuries. Premises liability cases can be difficult to prove if certain steps are not taken in a timely manner or if the proper evidence is not obtained to be able to satisfy the burden of proof in an injury case. The purpose of this article is to outline five basic steps that must be taken following a fall in order to pursue a claim against the property owner or homeowner for injuries sustained.

1. Notice

When a fall has occurred on either public property or a private residence, it is important to make someone aware that a fall occurred and there were injuries. If the fall occurs at a store or restaurant, you should speak with a manager and ask that they document the fall by filling out an incident report. Proper documentation in premises liability cases is crucial and giving notice of the fall itself is something that absolutely must be done in a timely manner, preferably immediately after it occurs. If you wait too long to give notice, not only can important evidence be lost, but it also begins to look rather suspect. The thought would be something like, “If this person really was injured this badly on my property, why did they wait so long to say anything about it?” Notice not given immediately after the fall calls into question many things, including the believability of the person who fell and whether the fall actually did occur where and when he or she claims it did. To avoid these problems, give notice right away and insist that a written incident report is completed.

2. Take Photos

In this day and age, most of us carry our cell phones with us everywhere we go. Cell phones are useful for gathering the initial photographic evidence of the area where the fall occurred. When an injury has occurred on someone else’s property, the hazard that caused the fall must be documented with photographs. If photos are not taken immediately, there is a high likelihood that the evidence will be lost. For example, ice could melt, a spill could be cleaned up or the area where the fall occurred could be otherwise manipulated such that it no longer constitutes a hazard before photos are obtained. The saying “pictures are worth a thousand words” rings true in premises liability cases. It is much more difficult for a property owner or their insurance company to refute concrete pictorial evidence than someone’s verbal recollection of what happened or what caused their fall. Taking a few photographs of what caused the fall will prove to be extremely helpful to an injured victim down the road.

3. Take Contact Information for Any Witnesses to the Fall

If any witnesses were around at the time of the fall, it is important to take down their contact information. Given the difficulty in proving liability on a property owner in a slip or trip and fall case, the more important it becomes to have independent witnesses on your side that can substantiate your version of facts. Even if the witness did not actually observe the fall itself, they can still talk about the general condition of the property, which is helpful in establishing that the property owner did not maintain the property in a safe manner. Unless you know a witness personally, you must obtain any witness contact information right away, or you have likely lost the opportunity to do so.

4. Go to The Doctor

If you were injured in a fall, it is important to seek medical care immediately. Going to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care is best as you will receive care immediately and not have to wait for an appointment with your family doctor. Many injuries caused by a fall are serious, and it is important that you get to a doctor right away. Be truthful with the doctor when asked about what caused your injuries. The more information that medical professionals have, the better they are able to diagnose and treat your injuries.

5. Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions

After your initial visit with the doctor following a fall, you will receive follow up instructions. Depending on the extent of the injuries, a doctor may have recommended a follow up in three to five days, or the doctor may have referred you to a specialist if the injury was more severe. In these types of cases, it is vital that an injured person follow their doctor’s instructions. Do not let large amounts of time pass without going back to the doctor. Make your well-being a priority and be diligent in getting the treatment that you need to fully recover from your injuries.

If you have been injured due to negligence on someone else’s property, time is of the essence. There are many things that need to be done in a short amount of time in order to preserve an injury claim. Evidence must be preserved, investigations need to commence and statements must be taken from witnesses before their memories fade. Groth Law Firm takes this burden off of their clients’ shoulders and makes sure that the proper steps are being taken to build their case from start to finish.

If you are injured, you need a strong legal team on your side to make sure that the proper steps are taken to ensure that your rights are protected. The Groth Law Firm wants its clients to focus on what is most important, and that is getting the treatment they need to recover from their injuries. Contact the Groth Law Firm if you were injured by negligence on someone else’s property. The Groth Law Firm offers free consultations and is available seven days per week to speak with injured victims, answer their questions and help them in their journey of recovering from their injuries.

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.

Governmental Immunity

municipality lawyer in milwaukee wisconsinGovernment bodies and municipalities in the state of Wisconsin enjoy various immunities and protections from lawsuits. Wisconsin Statute Section 893.80 governs what must be done in order to pursue a claim against governmental entities or municipalities, and it also outlines certain immunities enjoyed by these entities. In light of the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision in Engelhardt, et al. vs. City of New Berlin, et al., this article will specifically focus on “governmental immunity”: what is is, who is protected and what are the exceptions.

In the Engelhardt case, an eight year old girl named Lily went on a field trip with the New Berlin Parks and Recreation Department to an aquatic center. Lily could not swim, and her mother made the playground coordinator aware of that fact prior to the field trip. Lily’s mother even questioned whether Lily should go on the field trip at all, but she was assured by the playground coordinator that Lily would be safe because the camp staff would evaluate her ability to swim in the shallow end. Lily drowned while most of the staff were still in the changing area assisting other campers.

Put simply, governmental immunity is the notion that municipalities (and other government bodies) are immunized from liability for acts that are within their discretion while performing their work-related functions. This is codified in Wis. Stat. § 893.80(4). As long as it can be shown that an employee of a governmental body or municipality was acting within his or her discretion when the claim arose, the individual and municipality is subject to governmental immunity.

As with most rules, there are some exceptions to the rule of governmental immunity. There are multiple sets of acts that would not enjoy immunity pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 893.80(4).

“There is no immunity against liability associated with: 1) the performance of ministerial duties imposed by law; 2) known and compelling dangers that give rise to ministerial duties on the part of public officers or employees; 3) acts involving medical discretion; and 4) acts that are malicious, willful and intentional.”

The question in many cases becomes whether the act of the public officer was ministerial, which would create an exception to the general rule of immunity, or whether the act of the public officer was discretionary, thus invoking the protections of governmental immunity. The Court describes a test to determine whether an act constitutes a ministerial duty. “A public officer’s duty is ministerial only when it is absolute, certain and imperative, involving merely the performance of a specific task when the law imposes, prescribes and defines the time, mode and occasion for its performance with such certainty that nothing remains for judgment or discretion.”

Another exception to the rules of governmental immunity, and the exception that was the most prevalent in the Engelhardt case, is the known danger exception. For purposes of the known danger exception, a ministerial duty is said to arise “when an obviously dangerous situation presents itself.” The case that originally established the known danger exception was Cords v. Anderson, 80 Wis. 2d 525, 259 N.W.2d 672 (1977). The Cords case involved hikers who, while hiking at night, fell deep down into a gorge that was located on a part of a trail that the park manager knew was hazardous. While the park manager would have otherwise been protected from liability by governmental immunity, the Court found that the known danger exception applied because the park manager knew that the area was particularly hazardous, was in a position to do something about it (such as put up a warning sign) and failed to do so. The Court noted that the park manager “had an absolute, certain, or imperative duty to either place the signs warning the public of the dangerous conditions existing on the upper trail or to advise his superiors.” Having failed to do so, the Court determined that the park manager had breached his duty.

In a similar fashion, the Wisconsin Supreme Court noted the same sorts of dangers as were present in the Cords case to be present in the Engelhardt case. The Court noted an apparent danger of bringing a young, eight year old girl, who was unable to swim, to a busy aquatic center with dozens of other children. The Court recognized that serious injury or death can occur very quickly if a young child cannot swim, and that the nature of the dangers were “immediate, compelling, and self-evident.” The Court emphasized that the playground coordinator for New Berlin was aware of the fact that the young girl could not swim yet he did not inform any other staff member of the same nor did he ensure that she received a swim test prior to allowing her to be in the water without direct supervision. As was the park manager in the Cords case, the Wisconsin Supreme Court concluded that the playground coordinator for New Berlin was aware of the danger, in a position to do something about it yet failed to do so. Accordingly, the Court determined that the known danger exception to governmental immunity applies.

In cases involving injuries due to the negligence of a municipality or government body, there are certain things that need to be done in a short amount of time in order to preserve the injured victim’s right to pursue the claim against the municipality. In many cases, arguments will develop, as in the Engelhardt case, that the act fell outside of the realm of immunity for the municipality. If you or someone you know has been injured by this type of negligence, you need a strong team of attorneys on your side with the experience to stand up to and fight the municipalities. The team at Groth Law Firm has that experience and welcomes the opportunity to fight for you. Call us today for a free consultation.

Stadium Injuries

On July 26th, The Milwaukee Bucks released long anticipated information about the naming of the new downtown arena. Fiserv Inc. entered a 25 year naming rights deal with the Bucks to call the new stadium The Fiserv Forum. Fiserv is based in Brookfield, Wisconsin and provides financial services technology. The arena opens in September with popular band, The Killers, leading the Grand Opening event.

With all of Wisconsin getting ready to cheer on the Bucks in their upcoming season, it’s a good time to reflect on keeping your family safe at sporting events. Whether it’s poorly maintained bathrooms, simple food spills, or flying balls or shirts, there are a host of dangers to be cautious of. For instance, if you were to slip and fall on concessions, what are your next steps? First, immediately seek medical attention. Even if you feel like you are able to “walk off” an injury, most major stadiums have medical transportation available and at the ready. Depending on the circumstances of your incident, you will want to make a report as soon as possible. These reports are useful in determining whether or not the stadium owner was negligent. Next, contact The Groth Law Firm so that we can start working on your case. If you are injured at a stadium, the last thing you want to worry about is dealing with insurance and paperwork. The Groth Law Firm is your Milwaukee firm that has the expertise required to take on your injury case.

Although premises liability cases are the most common instance of injuries at a sports stadium, fans could also be injured by flying baseballs, pucks, and even players. Most stadiums have safety measures in place to protect fans, as well as disclaimers in the fine print on many tickets. Although these injuries are less common, they can be severe. In 1970 the L.A. dodgers Manny Mota fouled a ball into the stands the struck a young fan in the head. Tragically, the fan passed away four days later. A fan at a Chicago Blackhawks game was struck by a puck in 2013, despite sitting beyond a safety net. This ultimately resulted in a lawsuit. In 2015, at the Daytona International Speedway, a vehicle crashed into the fence protecting the spectators, injuring five. Auto racing accidents are among the deadliest as debris from crashes can fly into the stands at an extremely high rate of speed.

Owners of these stadiums have a legal obligation to minimize the risk of injuries to fans. If an owner is aware of damages, such as a loose railing or slippery floor, they must repair it or warn others of the dangers. If an owner fails to take these reasonable steps, they may be liable for your injuries and other damages.

With the recent draft pickup of Donte DiVincenzo and new Head Coach Mike Budenholzer, the Milwaukee Bucks are looking forward to a strong season and playoff push in a weak Eastern Conference. The Bucks will start regular season play in the new Fiserv Forum in October of 2018.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a sports stadium contact Groth Law Firm at 877-375-7001.

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 414-395-8976

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!

Insurance Coverage and Driving for Hire Uber and Lyft

In the past few years, rideshare apps have been gaining massive popularity and becoming the preferred transportation choice when compared with taxis, buses or shuttles. With the click of a button, you can arrange to be picked up from the location identified by your phone’s GPS feature and select your destination. You are told who your driver is (and even provided with a photo of them), what type of vehicle he or she is driving, what the license plate number is and when the driver is expected to arrive. It is also not necessary to have cash or a card on you because payment has already been linked to one of your accounts through your mobile device.

As one can imagine, with the ever-increasing popularity of services like Uber and Lyft comes a greater chance of accidents to occur involving Uber and Lyft vehicles. What many people may not know is that one’s own personal auto insurance coverage typically does not apply when driving for Uber or Lyft. This is because most insurance policies exclude coverage when you are “driving for hire,” or being paid to drive as you are as an Uber or Lyft driver.

Uber and Lyft do provide insurance to their drivers but only when certain requirements are met. When a driver has accepted a rider and is en route to the rider’s location, he or she is covered under coverage provided by Uber or Lyft. Likewise, when the driver actually has the rider in the vehicle, he or she is covered through Uber or Lyft. When the driver has the app on and is simply driving around waiting to accept a new fare, however, Uber and Lyft may provide minimal coverage. If you drive for a rideshare company such as Uber or Lyft, it is important that you have adequate liability coverage limits to cover the gaps that exist with the Uber and Lyft policies.

Furthermore, while the commercial policies through Uber and Lyft may provide up to $1 million in liability coverage when a rider is in the vehicle, they generally do not provide collision and comprehensive coverage. If collision and comprehensive coverage is available, there is usually a hefty deductible (sometimes up to $2,500) associated with the policy, so it is very important to make sure you carry adequate collision and comprehensive coverage or you may be on the hook for the total damages to your vehicle in the event of a crash. If your insurer denies your claim because you were “driving for hire,” you may, unfortunately, still be responsible for the damages to the vehicle.

The purpose of this blog post is really two-fold. First, if you are an Uber or Lyft driver, it is crucial that you be aware of what amounts of coverage you carry on your personal auto policy and when that policy is primary versus when the rideshare policy kicks in. It is important to have adequate coverage to make sure that you are covered for any of those gaps not covered by the commercial policy or where the commercial coverage is minimal. If you do not carry adequate personal auto coverage, you run the risk of your personal assets being at stake in the event that you cause a crash.

On the other hand, if you happen to be injured as a result of the negligence of an Uber or Lyft driver, whether that be in the context of a car, pedestrian or bicycle accident, it is important to know that there may need to be some fact finding completed to determine which insurance policy will cover the loss. You should call an attorney experienced in handling claims against Uber and Lyft drivers to help you navigate the process and find the applicable coverage. The Groth Law Firm has handled these types of cases and welcomes the opportunity to speak with anyone who has been injured due to the negligence of a rideshare driver, such as Uber or Lyft. Call or text today at 414-375-2030 for a free consultation!
1 https://www.answerfinancial.com/insurance-center/how-does-car-insurance-work-for-uber-drivers
2 https://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/lyft-insurance.axpx

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/