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330 East Kilbourn Avenue, Suite 1170
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP

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motorcycle accident lawyerBy: Attorney Chris Strohbehn 

Drivers of motor vehicles are required to act safely and take all necessary measures to prevent harm to others who use the roads. Drivers should be sure to understand that motorcycles and bicycles have the right to share the road, and they should follow the correct traffic laws at all times when driving near these vehicles. When bicyclists or motorcyclists are involved in collisions with cars or trucks, they are likely to be seriously injured. In some cases, a driver may claim that they were not responsible for the injuries in a motorcycle accident or bicycle accident because the person was not wearing a helmet. In these situations, injury victims will need to understand their rights and determine how helmet use will affect their ability to receive compensation for their injuries.

Wisconsin Helmet Laws

The state of Wisconsin strongly recommends that motorcyclists and their passengers and bicyclists wear helmets that meet or exceed the standards for protecting against brain injuries. However, the state does not require either adults or children to wear helmets when riding bicycles. Motorcyclists who are at least 18 years old are not required to wear helmets, but helmets are required for cyclists and passengers under the age of 18. Helmets are also required for people with motorcycle learning permits and any passengers they are carrying. 

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milwaukee golf injury lawyerBy: Attorney Chris Strohbehn

While golf is usually not considered to be a dangerous sport, there are many ways that golfers may be injured, and other people on or near golf courses can also suffer harm due to the actions of golfers or other parties. When these injuries occur because of negligence, victims may be able to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. However, some unique legal issues can play a role in these cases, and an experienced attorney can help victims understand their rights and options.

Liability for Golf Course Accidents and Injuries

People who are injured on or around a golf course will need to determine the party or parties responsible for causing them harm and determine whether they have a valid claim for compensation against these parties. Some common golf course injuries include:

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milwaukee injury attorneyOver this past Fourth of July, many people enjoyed using or watching fireworks. While they can be a fun way to celebrate the holiday, fireworks can also be very dangerous, and if they are defective or used incorrectly, they can cause serious injuries. Those who have suffered harm or property damage due to dangerous fireworks will want to work with a personal injury attorney to determine how they can recover financial compensation from those who were responsible.

Fireworks Injuries Have Increased in Recent Years

While people regularly suffer injuries from fireworks, the number of people who have been injured has risen over the past few years. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that in 2020, more than 15,000 people suffered fireworks-related injuries that required treatment in an emergency room. This was a significant increase from around 10,000 injuries in 2019. The number of deaths related to fireworks also increased, with 18 people being killed in 2020, while 12 people died in 2019.

Most fireworks injuries in 2020 (66%) took place during the month before and after the Fourth of July (June 21-July 21). During this time, burns were the most common type of injury, accounting for 44% of these cases, but people also suffered from contusions (bruises) and lacerations. 30% of injuries affected people’s hands and fingers, while 22% caused harm to the face or ears and 15% affected the eyes. Firecrackers were the most common cause of injuries, accounting for around 1,600 cases, followed by sparklers, which caused around 900 injuries.

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milwaukee property tax assessment lawyerBy: Attorney Chris Strohbehn

Owners of real estate property are required to pay property taxes, and each year, property tax assessments are performed to determine the value of a property and the portion of a local tax levy that the property owner will be responsible for. A property tax assessment will affect the amount of taxes that a property owner will be required to pay, and property owners will need to make sure their property is valued correctly to avoid being required to pay excessive property taxes. Currently, owners of apartments may be facing financial issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially since the federal moratorium on evictions may have prevented them from removing tenants who have been unable to pay rent. To address issues related to property taxes, apartment owners will need to work with an attorney who can advise them of their options for challenging a property tax assessment.

Property Tax Assessment Appeals for Apartments

Property owners who disagree with an assessment may work directly with an assessor to address this issue. If the issue cannot be resolved satisfactorily, the owner may pursue an appeal with their local Board of Review. If the owner disagrees with the determination of a property’s value made by the Board of Review, then further appeals can be pursued in the Wisconsin circuit court.

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Milwaukee accident lawyerThe use of cell phones and other types of handheld electronic devices has grown significantly over the last couple of decades, and it is likely to continue to increase in the future. The dangers of using electronic devices while driving has become well-known, and to prevent car accidents, talking on cell phones or texting while driving has been discouraged. Many states, including Wisconsin, have passed laws prohibiting drivers from using handheld devices while behind the wheel. However, drivers are still allowed to use hands-free devices such as Bluetooth headsets or speaker systems that connect with their phones. While these types of devices are often seen as safe ways to make phone calls while driving, they may also contribute to dangerous motor vehicle accidents.

Are Hands-Free Devices Safer Than Handheld Devices?

Distracted driving can involve three components: visual distractions in which a person is not looking at the road, manual distractions in which a person uses their hands for tasks other than driving, and cognitive distractions in which a person pays attention to non-driving conversations or activities. While hands-free devices can reduce manual distractions and visual distractions (although a person may still need to look at and touch a phone to make and receive calls), cognitive distractions will still be present while a driver is carrying on a conversation with someone.

The false sense of security provided by hands-free devices is based on the myth of multitasking. While many people believe that they can complete multiple tasks at once, putting one’s attention toward one task will reduce the amount of mental energy used for other tasks. By taking part of their attention away from driving, drivers become more likely to miss important details, and they may be unable to react in time to the sudden movements of vehicles or pedestrians and take action to avoid a collision. In fact, research shows that a person’s field of vision narrows by as much as 50% while they are talking on the phone, and this greatly increases the likelihood of being involved in an accident.

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Milwaukee BWI defense lawyerAs the weather continues to warm up during the summer, more and more people will be spending time on boats and enjoying the many rivers and lakes in Wisconsin. Boating can be a fun and relaxing activity, and it often involves the consumption of alcohol. However, boat operators should be aware that the same laws apply to them as to drivers of motor vehicles. This means that if a person operates a boat while they are under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances, they could face criminal charges of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI).

Penalties for Boating Under the Influence in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s OWI laws apply to those who operate motorboats. The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of .08% is in effect for boat operators, and a person may be charged with a criminal offense if a chemical test shows that they were above this limit while engaging in the operation of a motorboat. The legal limit for commercial motorboat operators is .04%. Boat operators may also face criminal charges if they have any amount of an illegal controlled substance in their system, and those who are under the age of 21 may be charged if they have a BAC higher than 0.0%

Operating a boat while under the influence is commonly referred to as boating while intoxicated or BWI. A person may be charged with this offense if they exceed the legal BAC limits or if they refuse to take a chemical test for alcohol or other substances. The penalties for BWI include:

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milwaukee family law attorneyBy: Attorney Max T. Stephenson and Paralegal Courtney M. Hess

Most people are familiar with the concept of prenuptial agreements, which are signed by a couple before they get married and address how matters will be handled if they decide to get a divorce in the future. In many cases, a couple may not feel that they need this type of agreement at the time of their marriage, since neither spouse may own significant assets that would need to be protected. However, after multiple years of marriage, the issues that would be addressed in a prenup may become relevant, and either or both spouses may want to put protections in place if the possibility of divorce does enter the picture. In these cases, a couple may consider creating a postnuptial agreement.

When to Use a Postnuptial Agreement

As with a prenup, a postnup can address issues related to a couple’s finances and property and make decisions about what will happen in a potential divorce. An agreement can specify that certain assets are separate property that one spouse will own following a divorce, or it can detail how different assets will be allocated between the spouses during the property division process. An agreement may also make decisions about spousal maintenance, such as by specifying the amount and duration of payments that one spouse will pay to the other following divorce or by waiving a spouse’s right to receive spousal support.

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Milwaukee, WI charitable trust attorneyBy:  Attorney Denis J. Regan and Paralegal Steven M. Lant

During the estate planning process, you will want to make sure your family members will have the resources they need after you are gone, and you can also make sure your wishes will be followed throughout the rest of your life. However, in the event you have substantial assets beyond the level necessary to support or assist children, you may want to consider the legacy you leave behind from a charitable perspective.  Incorporating charitable giving into your estate plan is a great way of supporting causes you believe in and using your financial resources in a positive way.  The most common method is to provide specific bequests to designated charities in your will/revocable trust.  For charitably inclined persons with substantial resources, charitable trusts can offer a number of benefits for the organizations worthy of support, as well as you and your family members.

Types of Charitable Trusts

When you create a trust, you will place certain assets in the control of a trustee and provide instructions for when and how the assets should be distributed to your beneficiaries. This will protect your assets and ensure that they will be used properly. With a charitable trust, you can name one or more charitable organizations as a beneficiary, and assets may be donated in a lump sum or over time. Unlike living trusts, charitable trusts are usually irrevocable, and once they are created, they cannot be modified.

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milwaukee child custody lawyerBy: Paralegal Courtney Hess

Since 2018, Wisconsin law requires a parent to obtain approval before moving with their child more than 100 miles away from the other parent, regardless of whether the move is within Wisconsin or out of state. If the parents can agree to the terms of the relocation, whether on their own or with the assistance of a court-ordered mediator, then the move can usually proceed as planned. However, Wisconsin courts have the authority to deny a parent’s request for relocation depending on the circumstances.

Reasons for Denying Parental Relocation

There are a number of reasons why a Wisconsin court may decide that a parent should not be permitted to relocate with their child, some of which include:

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wisconsin divorce lawyerBy Paralegal Courtney D. Hess

Couples who choose to legally dissolve their marriage through divorce will need to address many different legal, financial, and practical issues. The division of marital property is one of the key issues that will need to be resolved, and all of the assets and debts that a couple acquired while married will need to be divided as fairly and equitably as possible. While determining how to divide some assets can be a straightforward process, complex financial issues may arise when addressing certain types of assets, including retirement accounts and pension benefits. When dividing these assets, a couple will usually want to use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO.

Using a QDRO to Divide Retirement Savings and Benefits

Retirement benefits usually fall into one of two categories: defined contribution plans and defined benefit plans. Defined contribution plans usually take the form of retirement savings accounts, such as a 401(k), and the value of these assets is usually easy to determine based on the current balance of the account. Defined benefit plans such as pensions can be more difficult to value, since the amount that will be paid when a person begins receiving benefits usually will not be known until a person retires. A QDRO can be used to divide both of these types of assets between divorcing spouses.

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