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When you have questions concerning a potential car accident case, Hupy and Abraham will have your answer. Review extensive FAQ page for auto wrecks.
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The insurance adjuster asked for my Social Security number after my Milwaukee car crash. Is it mandatory that I give it to him?
You are not legally obligated to give your Social Security number in any situation except when dealing with a taxing authority. You certainly shouldn’t need to give it before your settlement is finalized.
It’s possible that the insurer is only using your SSN as an account number and is asking for it so they can access your account in their database. However, be aware that this piece of highly personal information can easily be used to research your involvement in other settlements and claims.
Obviously, this history doesn’t apply to your current case, but it can be used against you if the provider is looking to deny your personal injury claim or diminish your settlement.
Once your settlement is finalized, the adjuster might need your SSN in order to release your payment. Some states have legislation that restrict insurance companies from paying out settlements until your Social Security number has been run through a government database to check for outstanding tax or family support debt.
It is essential that you ask what the adjuster needs your SSN for before giving it out. If you are uncomfortable with this question or have any concerns about dealing with Wisconsin insurance adjuster, talk to a Milwaukee auto accident attorney.
Are you having problems dealing with an insurance provider after a Wisconsin, Iowa, or Illinois car crash? The skilled legal team of Hupy and Abraham may be able to help. Call 414-223-4800 (local) or 800-800-5678 (toll-free) now to make an appointment for a confidential case review at no cost.
A friend of mine says he got a “structured settlement” after his auto accident near Green Bay. What does that mean? What is a structured settlement?
A structured settlement is a financial arrangement, agreed upon by both parties, for paying the settlement amount in a personal injury lawsuit. Commonly, this is used for larger amounts of money. Instead of receiving a lump-sum payment for the accident, the injured person will get periodic installment payments. Perhaps a check will come every month, or every three months, or once a year.
The person, business or insurance company paying the money may prefer a structured settlement. A periodic payment plan does not require getting together a huge amount of money at once. Instead, the business can set aside smaller periodic payments, or purchase an annuity.
The person receiving the settlement may also prefer getting paid periodically, for at least three reasons:
- A guaranteed income. Payments arrive regularly and predictably on specific dates, either for a definite term or until the end of life.
- Tax management. A single lump-sum payment may be subject to state, local, or federal income taxes at a very high rate. A structured settlement typically doles out money over several years. This provides significant tax savings or treatment as nontaxable income.
- Spending control. A lump-sum settlement is intended to compensate personal injury damages extending over a significant period of time. However, some people do not have the self-discipline to budget for years of needs after they receive a check for thousands of dollars. Expenses include medical care, transportation, food, and other necessities. A structured settlement helps control impulsive spending and makes budgeting for future bills easier.
Cashing In a Structured Settlement
Some people may be pleased to receive regular, scheduled payments. Other people realize they dislike having their settlement given to them in bits and pieces. The most common complaints that Green Bay car crash lawyers hear from recipients of structured settlements include the following:
- “I don’t feel like the money is mine when I don’t have complete control.”
- “I want flexibility to spend more than my monthly check if I need to make a larger purchase like a car.”
- “I have a sudden need for more money right now to pay for my child’s college education. It’s inconvenient to have to wait for a quarterly check.”
- “I need money to pay off my credit card debt.”
- “I could invest this money and get a better rate of return than the annuity gives me.”
For people in this position, there is a market in selling structured settlements. Individual investors or financial services companies can buy a structured settlement and give the owner a lump-sum payment for it. Technically, this is called a structured settlement factoring transaction. After that, the purchaser will receive the income from the settlement or annuity. The value of this transaction is whatever the buyer and the seller agree on.
The federal government and most states have enacted laws to protect the seller of a structured settlement. Most of these state laws are based on a model law developed by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators. Wisconsin is one of the few states that do not have a Structured Settlement Protection Act enacted into state law. However, the federal rules under Internal Revenue Code Section 5891 apply to structured settlement sales. It is also possible that another state’s regulations may have to be obeyed if the purchaser of a Wisconsin structured settlement lives in another jurisdiction.
Help From Hupy and Abraham
The Green Bay car crash lawyers of Hupy and Abraham are available to answer your questions. Contact us to discuss any aspect of your settlement for a Wisconsin car accident, including inquiries about structured settlement sales. You can reach us at 920-593-5050 (local) or 800-800-5678 (toll-free), or by completing the inquiry form on our website.
I’d like my child to be safe in the event of a Wisconsin car crash. What is the best car seat for me to use?
According to Wisconsin car accident attorney Jason Abraham, there is not a single “best” car seat. All car seats sold in the United States must meet the same government standards for crash and fire safety. However, to meet these standards, the seat must be installed properly and used correctly.
There are three basic types of car seats:
- Infant-only car seats
- Convertible car seats
- Booster seats
Infant car seats are rear-facing. They have a weight limit of between 22 and 35 pounds. A baby who has reached the height or weight limit for his infant seat should be moved to a rear-facing convertible car seat.
Convertible car seats can be used in both the rear-facing seats and forward-facing position. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children be placed in a rear-facing car seat until the age of 2, but it is safest to leave your child facing the rear until he reaches the rear-facing limit for the seat.
Only children who are at least four years old and weigh at least 40 pounds should use booster seats. These seats position the car seat’s seat belt so the child can use it safely.
Our Wisconsin car accident attorneys suggest that parents check NHTSA’s ease of use ratings to learn which seats are easiest for parents to install. Parents should also get their car seat installation checked at their local fire or police station.
For more information about child safety visit our online library. To discuss a car accident with a Wisconsin accident injury lawyer, contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678. The initial consultation is free.
What are some ways I could have my Wisconsin speeding ticket dismissed?
Speeding laws in Wisconsin are absolute, and both the quantity and severity of a speeding violation can seriously affect your auto insurance premium and driving record. Knowing how to proceed after receiving a Wisconsin speed limit violation citation could mean the difference between walking away with a fine, or facing a substantial insurance cost increase.
The following are steps you can take to try and have your Madison speeding ticket revoked:
- Plead not guilty and be proactive in scheduling a court date.
- Make a note of any serious errors on the ticket. An admissible mistake does not include a wrongly spelled name or misidentified vehicle color; look at the location of the incident, the make and model of your vehicle, and the type of statute cited. A mistake in any of these areas can result in the dismissal of your ticket.
- Note any inconsistencies with the officer’s report. If the police officer who issued your ticket reports several different speeds, or has contradicted himself in his reports of the handling of the incident, bring up these discrepancies in order to provide room for reasonable doubt.
- Request a dismissal from either the officer who issued your citation or with the judge if he is present.
- Stay polite, patient, and professional. Never raise your voice or become personally defensive when addressing the judge. Remaining objective and clear-headed will reflect far better on you and your case than any biting or sarcastic remarks toward the judge or the police officer.
- When in doubt, contact an experienced and dedicated lawyer.
My teenage daughter just got her Wisconsin learner’s permit. Do I have to add her to my insurance policy?
Our Wisconsin car accident attorneys say, “Yes.” A teen with a Wisconsin driver’s permit has the same responsibilities as any other driver who operates a motor vehicle on public roads. The teen must follow traffic laws, show concern for public safety, and carry auto insurance.
If your child owns her own car, she may be able to purchase her own policy. However, she will get better rates if you add her to your policy.
If your child will be driving or learning on your vehicle, you are required to notify your insurer. A new driver is considered a change in the risk factors associated with your policy, and you are required to report such changes within 30 days. If you fail to add a new driver to your policy, especially if the driver is a minor child, your insurer may deny any coverage in the event of a Wisconsin motor vehicle accident, even if your child was not at fault.
For more information about teen driving, visit our article library. For more information about what to do after a Wisconsin auto accident, request a free copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Automobile Accident Victims. This guide will advise you about your rights after a Wisconsin car crash.
If you’d like to discuss a specific accident with a Wisconsin car accident attorney, contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678. The initial consultation is free.
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.
What do I need to know about Wisconsin hit-and-run laws?
The state of Wisconsin considers it a criminal offense to leave the scene after being involved in a car accident. If someone leaves the scene of an accident which resulted in injury, he could face jail time.
Even if the accident has only caused damage to property, in Wisconsin you are legally required to stop your vehicle. Failing to do so could have serious consequences:
- If you leave the scene of an accident that did not result in any injuries, you may be charged with a misdemeanor and be subject to fines ranging from $300 to $1,000. You could also face up to six months of jail time.
- If the car crash caused minor injuries, you’re likely to be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, and risk facing up to nine months in jail as well as fines as high as $10,000.
- If anyone involved in the accident suffered “great bodily harm” and you flee the scene, you face a felony charge that could mean up to 15 years in jail and a $50,000 fine.
- In the unlikely event that you flee the scene of a crash that has resulted a fatality, the penalty could include up to 25 years in jail plus a fine of $100,000.
If you have been injured in a Wisconsin hit-and-run car accident, contact the Appleton car accident lawyers of Hupy and Abraham. Contact us online or call us 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 Auto Accident Victims as well as a FREE DVD Valuable Information Insurance Companies Don't Want You to Know!
Is Wisconsin a no-fault insurance state?
No, the state of Wisconsin operates under a tort system, meaning that in the event of a car crash, someone must be determined to have been the cause of the accident. Fault must be established.
The tort auto insurance system is the most traditional and the most widely used auto insurance system in the United States, with 38 states currently employing the system. The Wisconsin fault laws require the person found to be at fault to cover expenses beyond just lost wages and property damages; they are responsible for reimbursing additional pain and suffering costs.
The tort system allows two options for insurance: full tort and limited tort. Full tort grants the injured party unlimited rights to pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault party. The option of full tort entails paying higher premiums in exchange for receiving more coverage. While the premium on the limited tort option is somewhat cheaper, limited tort insurance coverage will make it more challenging to win a claim, and in a sense amounts to signing away your rights in the event of an injury or accident.
After establishing fault in Wisconsin, the person found responsible for the crash will be required to cover all damages, which are typically handled through that person’s insurance company. Because fault must be established in the event of a Wisconsin car accident, many insurance companies advise all drivers to think about higher-than-required insurance coverages.
If you’ve experienced a Wisconsin car accident and have questions about your insurance coverage, contact us online or call us directly at 608-277-7777 or toll-free at 800-800-5678 for a free, no-obligaton consultation. We would be pleased to send you a FREE copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide For Automobile Accident Victims.
What are the most important safety tips for bicycles sharing the road with motor vehicles?
As a bicyclist, sharing the road with cars and other motor vehicles can be dangerous, and you are largely unprotected in the event of a crash. The following bike safety tips will make you a more responsible driver, and ultimately a safer one:
- Ride in a straight line. Weaving in and out of traffic increases your risk of being hit by a car. Be a predictable driver, and obey traffic signs and laws.
- Watch for car doors. Always try to leave room in case a door opens unexpectedly. The general rule is to maintain a three-foot gap between you and a parked car.
- Always look and signal before turning. Before turning or changing lanes, be sure to signal and to make eye contact with the driver in your immediate vicinity. Just because you see a driver does not guarantee that he sees you, so always make sure your intentions are known before taking action.
- Stay focused. Keep music players and cell phones in your bag while riding to prevent distraction and potential collisions. Letting your mind wander from the road demonstrates poor Wisconsin bike safety.
- Protect your head. The most important safety gear a bicyclist can wear is a helmet. Helmets have been proven to decrease the chance of a head injury should an accident happen.
- Be visible. During the day, keep your clothing brightly colored and clearly visible to drivers. When it’s dark, use reflective clothing and bright lights.
As a Wisconsin bicyclist, you will be sharing the road with motor vehicles. Car and truck drivers sometimes tend to overlook bikes, with tragic consequences. Because you are unprotected and vulnerable in any collision, you need to exercise extra caution in traffic.
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, the Wisconsin personal injury attorneys at Hupy and Abraham want to help you. Contact us at 800-800-5678 (toll-free) or 414-223-4800 (local) to schedule a FREE consultation. We'd be pleased to send you a copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide For Automobile Accident Victims; it's FREE just for your asking, even if you don't choose us to represent you.
Is it illegal to drive under the influence of prescription medication in Wisconsin?
The question of the legality of driving while impaired by the side effects of legal drugs raises the question of measuring drug intake and its effects. There is no practical system to enact statutes for medications like there is for alcohol. The same drug does not have the same effects on different persons. It is also not possible to establish rules for the hundreds of different drugs people take.
However, if you fall asleep behind the wheel because of drugs you have been taking, you will be held accountable for the damage you cause in a crash. The states of Illinois and Wisconsin have strict "per se" laws that forbid any presence of a prohibited substance or drug in the driver's body while operating a vehicle. This means that if you are involved in a crash, you can be tested for the presence of drugs and charged for driving under the influence.