In the afternoon of May 18, 2001 on U.S. Highway 10 in Calumet County, Wisconsin, Robert Vanden Boom was riding his motorcycle when an automobile pulled out of a private driveway directly into his path and with no time to take evasive action, he smashed into the car. He was flown by helicopter to Theda-Clark Hospital due to the catastrophic nature of his injuries and was treated for traumatic brain injury and broken bones, leaving him permanently disabled. He was not wearing a helmet at the time.
The defendant driver was covered by an American Family insurance policy that carried a $500,000 limit, but the company paid nothing and instead made excuse after excuse to avoid doing so. Attorney Jason F. Abraham intervened and began pressuring American Family to meet its obligation to pay our client, getting them to advance him $100,000 and securing him a total of $500,000 by the time the case was settled. Attorney Abraham also pursued the defendant driver—who caused the accident—personally for an additional $200,000.
We are happy to report that Mr. Vanden Boom is making great strides in his recovery.
Mr. Vanden Boom’s case among many others clearly illustrate that the process of resolving a personal injury claim is one in which the insurance companies look out solely for their own financial interests. The Milwaukee personal injury law offices of Hupy and Abraham are here to protect your interests when you’re injured in an accident.
After Attorney Abraham’s victory, the Wisconsin Supreme Court handed down a decision detrimental to the interests of motorcycle riders: motorcycle operators who were not wearing helmets at the time of an accident could be limited in recovery for their injuries even if the accident had been caused by someone else’s negligence.
Hupy and Abraham believed this decision was unjust and unwarranted, especially since there is no helmet law in Wisconsin. We worked with local legislators to have a law passed that would rescind the Court’s decision. In Mr. Vanden Boom’s case, his recovery would’ve been reduced under the Supreme Court’s decision because he was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. This reduction could have occurred even though he was gravely and permanently injured by a negligent driver that was solely responsible for the accident.
On August 26, 2003, Attorney Michael F. Hupy testified at a public hearing on a bill he helped to draft that would change the Supreme Court’s ruling. The bill was sent to the Senate floor by the committee on November 4, 2003 and was passed after discussion by a vote of 23-9. The bill went to the Assembly and a public hearing was held again, Attorney Hupy once more testifying and pointing out the unfairness of the Court’s ruling. Thanks in part to his testimony, the bill passed the Assembly by a vote of 84-12.
On March 15, 2004, Governor James Doyle signed SB 223 into law and explained that non-use of a helmet could not be used as evidence if negligence in an injury trial. He invited Attorney Hupy to the signing ceremony and publicly thanked him, Attorney Hupy, handing him the pen used to sign the bill.