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

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Phone414-271-1440

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Wisonsin personal injury attorney, Wisonsin car crash lawyer, Milwaukee car crash attorneyAlthough self-driving cars sound like the stuff of science fiction, they may be closer to becoming a reality than people think. Google has been testing and improving its fleet of autonomous cars for years, and the CEO of Nissan recently predicted that automated cars could be available to consumers by 2020. The rapid development of these vehicles means that they are still operating in something of a legal grey area, and open questions about a variety of issues. One of the most commonly asked of these questions is who bears responsibility in the event of a self-driving car crash.

The Problem

The problem with assigning liability in self-driving car crashes is that there are two potential options, and they both come with their own issues. First, the law could simply hold the owner liable in cases where their self-driving car crashes. However, this does not seem satisfying. After all, the person who owns the car has no control over what it does. It would be similar to a car's owner today loaning their car to someone else and had to bear the responsibility for any accidents that the person may cause.

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Wisconsin personal injury attorney, Wisconsin auto accident lawyer, Milwaukee car crash lawyerIn Wisconsin, the use of a mobile device while driving is considered a primary offense. This mean a driver can be ticketed for texting while driving or for using a cell phone, even if hands-free, while driving without first being pulled over for another type of traffic violation.

There are several types of distracted driving that put people on the road in danger, including:

  • Eating and drinking;
  • Reading maps;
  • Grooming; and
  • Using a navigation system.

However, the frequency of mobile device use can be directly linked to increased distracted driving accidents. According to Distraction.gov, as of this time last year, over 153 billion text messages were sent each month and a high number of those were sent while driving. Additional statistics from the website show that a quarter of teens respond to texts once or more every time they drive.

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Wisonsin personal injury attorney, Wisonsin car crash lawyer, personal injury lawsuitThere are many good reasons to wear seat belts. For instance, they limit people's injuries in car accidents, and the law requires people to wear them. Yet, most people do not think about another benefit that comes from wearing seat belts: protection from the “seat belt defense” if the person is involved in a traffic accident. The seat belt defense is a controversial defense raised by the person who caused the accident, and it argues that the victim's damages should be reduced because they were not wearing their seat belt at the time of the crash. While only 15 states recognize this defense, Wisconsin is one of them, so drivers should be aware of how the defense operates.

The Seat Belt Defense

When one driver causes an accident with another, the driver who caused the accident is allowed to raise certain defenses that reduce the amount that the liable driver would otherwise pay to the victim to cover their injuries. One of these defenses is known as “failure to mitigate damages,” meaning that even though the liable driver was negligent, there were steps that the victim should have taken to reduce the harm that they suffered. If the jury is convinced that the victim had a duty to take those steps, the victim's damages can be reduced in proportion to the amount of harm that they could have prevented on their own.

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Wisonsin personal injury attorney, Wisonsin car crash lawyer, Milwaukee car crash attorneyThe advent of text messaging and the rapid spread of smartphones has led to a common problem, texting and driving. People who are texting and driving take their eyes and concentration off the road and that can cause deadly accidents. In response, numerous states have passed laws making it illegal to text and drive; however, these bans are proving challenging for police officers to enforce. In fact, a local Wisconsin news station recently compiled the citation statistics for the four years that the ban has been in place. It turns out that the state police have only issued 229 citations during that entire period.

The Problem with Texting and Driving

The core problem with texting and driving, apart from the fact that it takes people's eyes off the road, is in the way the human brain multitasks. Although the expression “multitasking” is common enough and many people brag about their skill at it, the actual phenomenon itself is something of a myth. People can certainly do multiple things at once, but the brain cannot. Instead, the brain rapidly switches back and forth between the two tasks. At the speed that it does this switching, it seems like multitasking, but the problem is that the constant switching takes a toll on the brain's abilities. What this means for texting and driving is that even when a person is looking at the road, his or her divided attention is preventing him or her from seeing about half of what is going on in his or her visual field. This sort of carelessness can cause accidents, and it is what led the state legislature to pass the texting ban.

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Wisonsin personal injury attorney, Wisonsin car crash lawyer, Milwaukee car crash attorneyOne of the most difficult things for people to deal with in relation to traffic accidents and verbal statements is the fact what they say early in the process can have powerful impacts later on. People involved in traffic accidents will end up dealing with complex bureaucracies like the police department and insurance companies. People should understand that things they say at the scene of the accident or when talking to insurance companies can be used as evidence against them later in the case. In fact, people can even accidentally settle their claims without meaning to when talking to insurance companies because the law and legal ethics give clients a wide degree of authority to settle their own cases.

What Not to Say to Police

The first place many people make mistakes with regard to saying things they should not is when they are talking to the police after an accident. When people get into a traffic accident, it is important to call the police. This will usually involve an officer coming to the scene and taking statements from both drivers. It is important to be truthful when giving these statements, but it is also important not to volunteer more information than a person has access to.

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Wisonsin personal injury attorney, Wisonsin car crash lawyer, Milwaukee car crash attorneyWhen looking to assign fault in a traffic accident, most people focus on the two drivers involved. Yet, they are not the only people with control over the situation. There are times when the crash happened because of a mistake made by the car's manufacturer or designer - resulting in a vehicle defect - rather than by either of the drivers who were in the crash. From this standpoint, there are three major mistakes by a car company that can cause an accident: manufacturing defects, design defects, and failure to warn or properly instruct consumers about the danger.

Manufacturing Defects

One possible way that a car company could be at fault for a crash is if there was a manufacturing defect. A manufacturing defect occurs when the car is properly designed and should be safe, but there is an error in how it is put together. For instance, if a car is assembled at the factory in such a way that the brake pads are likely to fall off, that would be a manufacturing defect. In order to recover for a manufacturing defect, a victim must show five things:

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Posted on in Car Accidents

Wisonsin personal injury attorney, Wisonsin car crash lawyer, Milwaukee taxi cab accident lawyerThe law surrounding any car accident can be complex, but taxi cab accidents can have their own unique legal issues. As a passenger, there are special rules related to the fact that taxi cabs are “common carriers,” which means that they have a higher obligation to keep their passengers safe than ordinary drivers do. As a bystander, such as a driver in another car, there are also unique rules pertaining to cabs because they are commercial, regulated vehicles, rather than just normal cars being driven by private people.

As a Passenger

Taxi cabs owe their passengers special duties because of their common carrier status. The leading legal dictionary defines common carriers as “a commercial enterprise that holds itself out to the public as offering to transport freight or passengers for a fee.” These sorts of enterprises typically include taxi cabs, buses, and railroads among others. Taxi cabs' common carrier status is important because it means that they have an increased duty to protect their passengers from harm.

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Posted on in Car Accidents

Wisonsin personal injury attorney, Wisconsin car crash lawyer, Wisconsin wrongful death lawyerCar accidents can be confusing events, and people are often unsure of what to do afterward. One of the most challenging parts is selecting the right attorney to handle your car accident case. Yet, insurance industry statistics suggest that people will be involved in between three and four car accidents in the course of their lives. This means that it is important for people to understand how to choose the right car accident attorney for them since a good attorney can make all the difference. The two steps to selecting an attorney are to do research on attorneys beforehand, and to ask questions during the initial consultation before committing to anything.

Things to Research

The first step in finding a good attorney to handle a car accident claim is doing research beforehand. One of the best ways to do research is by talking to friends who have had to go through car accident claims and seeing if they had good experiences with any of their attorneys. Absent that, the internet is a powerful tool for finding out more about attorneys as potential representatives.

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Posted on in Personal Injury

Wisonsin personal injury attorney, Wisonsin car crash lawyer, Wisconsin wrongful death lawyerMotorcycles have become more popular in the past ten years among Wisconsin residents. For every 100 residents, there are 5.9 registered motorcyclists and over 515,000 registered motorcyclists. With the increasing popularity of motorcycles, there has also been an increase in accidents. According to statistics in the 2012 Wisconsin Motorcycle Safety Facts Book, 112 motorcyclists or their passengers were killed in 2012. That is an increase of 40 percent from 2011. Failure to control the motorcycle and inattentive driving are the two leading causes of both fatal and non-fatal crashes. With more residents receiving their motorcycle endorsement, it is important to know what to do in case of an accident.

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Similar to receiving your driver’s license, motorcyclists are required to obtain a motorcycle permit and then complete a rider education course or motorcycle skills test.  Even with the extra training and education, sometimes road conditions or actions from others can cause an accident. Not fully stopping or looking before going to an intersection, not looking before changing lanes, or going too fast in unsafe road conditions can be a contributing factor to motorcycle accidents.

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Wisonsin personal injury attorney, personal injury liability, Wisconsin wrongful death lawyerWisconsinites are used to dealing with the cold and the ice that come along with winter, but these conditions can still pose a danger to people. One of the most common dangers is from slick sidewalks covered in ice. In fact, worldwide there are hundreds of thousands of deaths each year from falls, according to statistics compiled by the World Health Organization, and they can be especially serious for older members of the population. Fortunately, the law provides people with the ability to recover for these sorts of slip and fall injuries under a doctrine known as premises liability. That doctrine holds people responsible for maintaining their property in safe condition for other people. However, there are a variety of factors at play that can affect the strength of someone's claim.

Premises Liability

Premises liability is a legal doctrine that requires landowners to keep their property in safe condition for other people who may enter onto it. The idea behind the law is that landowners must exercise reasonable care to ensure that their land is safe by removing hazards or warning people of their existence. This idea can get a bit complicated when snow and ice start to get involved.

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