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From helping you after a dog attack or truck accident in Wisconsin to defending your rights as a rider, the personal injury trial attorneys at Hupy & Abraham will be fierce advocates in your time of need.
With offices across Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa, and representing clients hurt by slip and fall incidents, car accidents, wrongful deaths, drug and medical device injuries, dog bites, nursing home abuse and motorcycle crashes, we are available where you need us and when you need us.
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What is comparative negligence, and how does it affect my Wisconsin motorcycle accident case?
Let’s begin with the term “negligence” itself. In simplified terms, a negligent person is one who has failed to exercise reasonable and proper care for the results of his or her behavior. As a result of this negligence, bad things have happened — for instance, the “bad thing” could have been an Appleton or Green Bay traffic accident.
The person who negligently causes an accident is said to be “liable,” or legally responsible, for the costs and injuries that follow from the negligent behavior. Much of our civil justice system is devoted to determining exactly who is responsible for various incidents. Depending on the nature of the case, a judge or jury may be asked to make that determination.
Things get a little more complicated when more than one person made errors that caused the accident to happen. When more than one person is held to be negligent, they each may find themselves liable to pay a portion of the damages — the exact percentage guided by state laws and the determination of the judge or jury.
In some states, if you are even slightly at fault in an accident, you cannot recover anything at all — a principle called the pure contributory negligence. Because that rule often leads to harsh results, most states now follow a comparative negligence rule, under which the jury or judge determines how much fault to assign each person responsible for the accident.
Wisconsin follows a system called the “modified comparative negligence, 51 percent rule.” That means that a person may potentially recover damages as long as his share of the fault for the accident was 50 percent or less. The amount of his recovery would be reduced by the extent of his own fault. For example, if jury determined that the victim of a Wisconsin motorcycle accident suffered $15,000 worth of harm, but that she was 40 percent responsible for the collision, she could only collect $9,000 in damages — 60 percent of the whole value claim.
Even when there are several people liable in some degree for an accident, if one of the people is 51 percent or more at fault, then everyone who was injured can seek full recovery from him. On the other hand, it’s possible to imagine situations where nobody has majority liability: imagine a three-way collision in which each rider was equally negligent and bears one-third of the liability. In such a tangled case, each of the three would have a legal case against the other two riders.
If you have suffered a serious motorcycle injury due to an Appleton or Green Bay traffic accident, the insurance company may have said you cannot recover damages because you are partially at fault. That’s simply not true. Wisconsin’s comparative recovery rule may still allow you to be compensated for some of the injury done to you.
Resolving the issue
In any case, why should you accept the word of the insurance adjuster about whether you’re at fault? What you need is the professional judgment of an Appleton motorcycle crash lawyer from the law firm of Hupy and Abraham. Contact us today. Call 920-882-8382 (local) or (800) 800-5678 (toll-free) to arrange for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your legal case. Just for calling, we will send you a FREE copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims, even if you do not hire us as your legal team.
What should I do if Im stuck in my car on the side of the road?
Though you should never exit your car on the highway following a Wisconsin car crash or breakdown, the following directions can help keep you safe while waiting for help to come:
- Roll up a white cloth or piece of paper into the driver’s side window to signal to other drivers that you are in trouble. This also lets them know to go around your vehicle. This signal can help prevent traffic from piling up, and keep you from being rear-ended while stalled.
- If you have a cell phone, use it to call the highway patrol or, if you have membership, an auto club such as AAA. If you see that you are near to an emergency phone box, get back in the car and lock the doors as quickly as you can following the call. Only do this if the emergency call box is very close by; if it is across lanes of traffic, you are safer waiting in your car.
- If you must get out to work on your car, never stand on the side of the car closest to traffic, because that entails significant risks of being struck by a passing driver. Try to do what you can from the front of the vehicle, or from the side farthest from the traffic.
How can I avoid a Gurnee motorcycle crash when riding in the rain?
With the approach of spring, we riders are chafing at the bit to get out on the road after a long, cold winter. Some of us dread riding on wet roads with seeds and other debris from budding trees. There are precautions you can take to steer clear of a Gurnee motorcycle wreck and love your ride—even in these conditions.
- Be prepared for rain at all times. Carry decent-quality rain gear in your saddlebag. If you’re caught without good cover, get hold of a large plastic garbage bag, cut a hole in the bottom, and wear it like a poncho. It’s not great, but it’ll do.
- Wear waterproof gloves and boots.
- Pre-treat the visor of your helmet with a water-repelling coating, such as Rain-X.
- Wear or carry a helmet with a face shield.
- Each time before you ride, check for proper tread and inflation of your tires. This inspection is especially critical in wet weather, as your life depends on good traction.
- Leave more space between yourself and other vehicles.
- Brake carefully:
- Use light, even pressure.
- Use a bit more rear brake than front.
- If you lose traction, such as on wet leaves, do not apply the brake—steer carefully through this patch of road.
- Use caution, courtesy, and common sense.
If the elements get the better of you, and you are injured in a motorcycle accident in Gurnee, contact Gurnee motorcycle crash lawyers Hupy and Abraham. Call us toll free at 800-800-5678 or locally at 414-223-4800. Use our online contact form for a FREE, no-obligation consultation. You can also request our FREE book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims.
If cervical spine injuries are common in Gurnee motorcycle crashes, why doesnt someone design neck protection for motorcyclists?
Someone does! His name is Dr. Chris Leatt, a South African neurologist and an avid motorcycle racer himself.
Dr. Leatt extensively researched the types of neck injuries that motorcyclists are likely to suffer if they are involved in an accident. He found that no safety device available supported the neck in such a way that it could prevent neck injuries common to riders.
- Leatt got to work designing a brace that would
- Adequately protect a motorcyclist’s neck from injury;
- Be comfortable;
- Be easy to put on; and
- Not get in the way of operating the motorcycle safely.
The result was the Leatt Brace. It is a flexible device that works with your helmet and is designed to “bring the head to a controlled stop,” according to the company. Also per the company, “Helmet impacts otherwise transmitted from the helmet to skull and then to the neck are redirected from the helmet to the brace to other body structures in a safe way.”
- The Leatt Brace is designed to prevent the following types of neck injuries—in lay terms:
- Extreme forward, backward, and sideways movements of the head;
- Compression of the spine; and
- Rearward movement of the head or helmet on the neck.
If motorcyclists take advantage of this kind of protective brace, the incidence of neck injuries due to Gurnee motorcycle accidents should decrease significantly. If you are injured in a motorcycle wreck in Gurnee, contact Gurnee motorcycle accident lawyers Hupy and Abraham toll free at 800-800-5678 or locally at 414-223-4800. Use our online contact form for a FREE, no-obligation consultation. You can also request our FREE book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims.
My old lawyer said that I had a bad attitude that was hurting my case. Do lawyers think that motorcycle riders are poor clients?
No more so than any other clients. No two people are alike, and every client reacts differently to the stresses of recovery after a serious motorcycle accident and to the slow pace of pursuing justice through the courts. It’s really not our place to criticize our clients; after all, we are Wisconsin personal injury lawyers, and our clients are our employers. We give them the best advice we can, but ultimately they must make all the crucial decisions about their own cases.
And yet, maybe we can explain what your lawyer meant by that remark. We’ve been in the game of dealing with Wisconsin traffic accident victims for quite a while now, after all. Over time, we’ve noticed some patterns in temperament among our clients.
Think of the common stereotype of the motorcycle rider: a person who is fiercely independent, distrustful of authority, often a little rebellious, and strongly committed to rugged self-reliance while maintaining close friendships within a community of other riders, This popular image of the “chrome cowboy” turns out to be a self-reinforcing one: people who find the stereotype appealing tend to become motorcycle riders themselves.
However, taken to an extreme, this rider attitude can undermine your legal case if you are injured in a serious motorcycle accident. A client who cannot accept advice and rebels against following directions is one who, ultimately, works against his own self-interest in at least two ways.
- The client tends to ignore legal advice. He may get cocky and talk to insurance adjusters against our recommendations. He may decide to throw out medical reports and receipts we have asked him to preserve. He may have negative ideas about law-enforcement officials and the court system that prevent him from cooperating with his own attorneys.
- The client tends to ignore medical advice. She may fail to keep appointments for medical tests, doctors’ visits, or physical therapy. This is important, because the insurance company lawyer will use these missed appointments to suggest that the client doesn’t seem to consider her injuries serious enough for regular treatment.
Just as clients have different personalities, lawyers do also — and law firms. If you were injured in a serious motorcycle accident, consider hiring Hupy and Abraham as your legal representation. We understand the rider mindset; many of our staff are riders.
Finding the right lawyer for you
Here’s the deal: call an Appleton motorcycle accident attorney today at 920-882-8382 (local) or (800) 800-5678 (toll-free), and ask us to send you a FREE copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims and a FREE riders’ Rights Card. If you like our approach, we can set you up with a free, no-obligation consultation about your case. Let’s discuss whether we can get you the compensation you deserve for your motorcycle crash. We’re here to give you our best advice — but you, as the client, will always be the boss.
While I was traveling through Wisconsin, my motorcycle was struck by a car that sped away. What do I do?
Dealing with a Wisconsin motorcycle collision is challenging enough, but it's an outrage when the incident is a hit-and-run accident. Unfortunately, hit-and-runs are a significant portion of all vehicle collisions; a survey a decade ago estimated that 3.8 percent of all fatal motor accidents were caused by drivers who did not stop. Informal reports from large metropolitan areas suggest that the rate of hit-and-run incidents has been increasing steadily since 2003.
Your initial response to a hit-and-run accident involving your motorcycle will be much the same as you would act following any accident:
- Call for medical help if you or anyone else has been injured. If you cannot make a telephone call, ask a bystander to do so for you.
- Call for police. You will want to make a complete police report to expedite the process of finding the person who hit you. Any information you can provide the police to identify the car will be helpful.
- The make, model, and color of the car
- The car's direction of travel
- A description, if possible, of the driver
- A partial license plate number
- Contact your insurance agent. Do this at your earliest convenience. Often, hit-and-run drivers have no insurance coverage, or inadequate insurance. Depending on your own insurance coverage and the state in which your policy was issued, you may be eligible for compensation from your own insurer if the hit-and-run driver cannot be found or cannot pay for the damage he caused.
- If possible, take pictures of the accident scene. Use your cell phone, if necessary. Get a picture of your motorcycle and the damage it sustained. Pictures will help your insurance adjuster — and your motorcycle collision lawyer, if you hire one — better assess the property damage and personal injuries that occurred during the collision. Get a picture of your motorcycle and the damage it sustained.
Wisconsin hit-and-run laws are harsh
Chapter 346 of the Wisconsin code (subchapter XI) was amended in 2003 to significantly strengthen the laws against hit-and-run drivers. The law now imposes the following obligations on a driver who hits a person or a vehicle carrying a person:
- Immediately stop at the scene or as close as possible.
- Give name, address and the registration number of the vehicle to all other parties.
- Give operator’s license to other parties if requested.
- Render reasonable assistance to anyone injured.
Criminal charges can be brought against a hit-and-run driver, in addition to civil personal injury lawsuits. If a driver leaves the scene of an accident, even if nobody was injured, the penalty can range up to $1,000 in misdemeanor fines and up to six months in jail. If any injury occurred, the fine can be up to $10,000 and a prison term of 42 months. Penalties are even more severe if serious or fatal injuries resulted.
Obtaining further legal advice
If you have more questions about dealing with the aftermath of a Wisconsin hit-and-run accident, contact an Appleton motorcycle accident lawyer at the Hupy and Abraham law firm. Our staff and attorneys are committed to getting the best compensation available for our clients, whether from the legally liable driver or the insurance company. You can reach us locally at 920-882-8382 (or toll-free at 800-800-5678) to schedule a free consultation and get your FREE copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims.
Sometimes I take my child for rides on my motorcycle. Is it safe if he uses my wifes helmet, since hers is smaller?
Even though Illinois has no age restrictions for motorcycle passengers, the Gurnee motorcycle accident lawyers in our office urge you to seriously consider the safety of letting your child ride along with you on your motorcycle.
As for the helmet question, the answer is: No, your child will definitely need his own helmet, even if he rarely goes for rides.
Many people underestimate the importance of a properly fitted helmet. It is absolutely imperative that all of the required fit tests are performed before a helmet is purchased and/or worn.
Helmets are supposed to fit very snuggly, which can be difficult for a child to get used to. It is not uncommon for kids to say that their helmet “hurts,” when in reality it is just the proper, tight fit. The best thing to do is to take both your child and your wife into a local motorcycle helmet retailer and have a professional properly size them each for a helmet.
If it turns out that they are both the same size, according to the professional at the store, then you can probably have them share a helmet — as long as they are not riding at the same time, of course.
But remember that as soon as a helmet is involved in a motorcycle accident, it should be properly disposed of and never re-used, regardless of how minor the accident seemed. Any sort of impact can cause the protective materials inside the helmet to compress, decreasing the chance that it can protect you in a second accident. So avoid letting your child wear an old, used helmet and purchase a new one.
Injured in a Gurnee motorcycle accident? Call Hupy and Abraham today at 800.800.5678 for your complimentary case evaluation and free book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims.
I live in Gurnee. Do I have to wear a helmet when I ride my motorcycle?
Illinois has no motorcycle helmet use law, so legally, Gurnee motorcycle riders do not have to wear a helmet. However, all the best advice indicates that it is unsafe not to wear one.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the affiliated Highway Loss Data Institute, helmets “decrease the severity of head injuries, the likelihood of death, and the overall cost of medical care.” These are convincing reasons to wear a helmet; after all, Gurnee motorcycle accidents do happen.
What could be a good reason not to wear one—that they aren’t particularly comfortable? That they mess up your hair? Vanity is hardly a good reason to ignore safety concerns.
Helmets are designed to cushion the head and protect a rider’s head during a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that wearing a helmet reduces the chance of dying by 37 percent. The IIHS cites a recent literature study as estimating that helmets are 42 percent effective at preventing fatalities and 60 percent effective at preventing head injuries.
Do you need further convincing? Unhelmeted motorcycle riders are three times more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries than are helmeted riders.
Hupy and Abraham urge you to wear a helmet; it doesn’t make sense not to. If you have the misfortune of being injured in a motorcycle wreck in Gurnee, contact us. As Gurnee motorcycle accident lawyers, we can sort out the details and get you justice. Call us toll free at 800-800-5678 or locally at 414-223-4800. Use our HYPERLINK "http://www.gurnee-motorcycle-accident-lawyer.com/../contact.cfm"online contact form for a FREE, no-obligation consultation. You can also request our FREE book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims.
How can I find out my helmets safety rating?
First of all, the Gurnee motorcycle accident lawyers in our office want to applaud your efforts for wanting to find out. Buying a helmet that is approved by one of the major safety institutes is a smart way to help prevent a serious motorcycle accident injury.
As we have mentioned in our previous blogs and articles, the four main regulators for helmet safety are:
- DOT: U.S. Department of Transportation
- Snell: The Snell Memorial Foundation
- ECE: The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
- BSI: The British Standards Institute
While each regulator performs different tests to check the safety of the helmet, they all have a common goal: protecting a motorcyclist’s head in the event of an accident.
If a helmet is certified by any of the above regulators, it will be clearly marked somewhere on the helmet. For example, all DOT-certified helmets have a DOT sticker on the back of the helmet, at the bottom. Make sure to check the inside of the helmet, including on the tag and underneath the comfort padding. Never assume that a helmet is certified unless you can actually see the certification.
Certifications are almost always listed in the description of any helmet you are buying online, and can also be found on the box that the helmet is packaged in.
If you are dealing with an injury caused by a Gurnee motorcycle accident, call Hupy and Abraham today at 800.800.5678 for your complimentary case evaluation and free book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims.
Do I need a Madison motorcycle accident attorney?
A Wisconsin motorcycle accident and serious injury can be overwhelming. Accident victims are usually struggling to regain their health, missing days or weeks of work, and wondering who will pay for the coming hospital bills. Throughout these days and weeks, you may wonder whether you need the assistance of a WI motorcycle lawyer.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I sure of who was at fault for my accident?
- Do I know what caused my accident?
- Could someone have prevented my accident?
- Did my accident involve someone else’s negligence?
- Did my accident cause significant damage, such as injuries, economic losses, or pain and suffering?
- Do I want to learn more about my accident?
It is important to understand that the core cause of your motorcycle accident may not be apparent without a closer examination of the evidence—and that those involved in crashes may not have an accurate view of the full picture. Even if you are unsure of whether you were at fault for the accident or what caused the accident, it doesn’t hurt to speak to a Wisconsin injury attorney about your crash. At Hupy & Abraham, we offer free, no-obligation consultations for exactly this reason: we want you to know why your accident took place and whether it would be worthwhile to pursue a case. Call today at (800) 800-5678 to schedule a meeting with one of our Madison motorcycle accident attorneys.