Social Media and Personal Injury Claims

Social media use has grown dramatically in the last several years. Recent polls have indicated that as many as 78% of adults in the United States have at least one active social media profile. Although people use these platforms for varying reasons, most people use them to share personal aspects of their lives, from what they had for dinner to marriages and deaths. Whether it comes in the form of a tweet, a quip or a photo, our lives have become a story for just about anyone to read.

Many people do not consider, or perhaps fully understand, the ramifications such open access can have, especially in legal matters. Law enforcement routinely uses social media to identify, track and even prosecute criminal activity. Insurance adjusters and attorneys have used social media profiles to search for evidence that might contradict or support a claim or case. This is especially true in personal injury cases.

When you’ve been injured in an accident, it can feel like second nature to post a status, photos of your mangled car or injuries, and periodic updates …
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SUBROGATION CLAIMS AND WHAT TO DO

A person will most likely hear the term subrogation in the course of dealing with insurance companies after an accident. In its essence, subrogation is when an insurer seeks reimbursement for any claims they have paid on your behalf, when a third party is held responsible for your injuries. The issue is not usually whether they’ve made payments, but rather how much of those payments they should be reimbursed. Subrogation can be a confusing and frustrating matter, for even the most skilled litigators. However, there are a few basic subrogation issues that arise frequently and are important in almost every case.

The most common issue arising out of subrogation claims is what expenses, if any, the subrogated party should be reimbursed for. This can be most easily understood in a car accident scenario. Imagine you’ve been in a car accident that was not your fault. Your health insurance company pays for your medical expenses and asserts a claim that should be reimbursed for those expenses related to the accident. Whether the expenses a subrogated party seeks to be reimbursed for …
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Punitive Damages

When a person is injured in an accident caused by someone else’s actions, the goal of the subsequent tort, or bodily injury, claim is to make the victim, or plaintiff, whole. When the defendant’s actions are found to have been an intentional disregard for the rights and safety of others, the potential for a punitive damages claim arises.

Punitive damages are monies awarded to the plaintiff, in excess of their bodily injury settlement. At least in part, they are intended to punish the defendant for their actions. As noted above, the tort, or bodily injury, claim is intended to justly compensate the plaintiff for their injuries and make them whole. Punitive damage claims have the potential to make the plaintiff more than whole.

Determining an accepted understanding of intentional disregard has proven extremely difficult, with many contested definitions arising in each case presented before the Court. However, the accepted framework for this concept is acting with purpose “to cause the result or consequence or be aware that the result or consequence is substantially certain to occur from the person’s conduct.” …
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The Irony of Immunity Laws

Civil liability immunity laws are, ostensibly, created to benefit the community, by relieving certain “classes” of individuals or segments of the economy from the threat of liability and to encourage commerce and recreational participation.

Over the years, Wisconsin has expanded immunity laws tremendously as the following demonstrates:

895.475 Safety Inspection or Advisory Services 895.497 Child Safety Restraint Safety Services 895.527 Sports Shooting Range Activities 895.48 Emergency Medical Care 895.506 Obesity Claims 895.529 Trespassers 895.4802 Hazardous Materials 895.51 Donations of Food or Emergency Household Products 895.53 Tests for Intoxication 895.4803 Paternity Information 895.512 Access to Toilets 895.54 Notification of Release 895.481 Equine Activities 895.514 HIRSP 895.55 Oil Discharge Control 895.482 Ski Patrol Members 895.515 Equipment or Technology Donations 895.555 Anhydrous Ammonia 895.483 Emergency Response Teams And Sponsoring Agencies 895.517 Solid Waste Donation or Sale 895.56 DOT Handling of Petroleum-Contaminated Soil 895.485 Foster and Family-Operated Group Home Parents 895.52 Recreational Activities 895.57 Unauthorized Release of Animals 895.486 Insurance Fraud Reports 895.523 School Recreational Activities 895.58 Use of Special Waste Under Public Works Contracts 895.487 Employment References 895.524 Agricultural Tourism Activity 895.61 Asbestos …
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Similarities and Differences Between Tort Laws

This particular article will focus on three subsets:

  1. Comparative Fault;
  2. Statutes and Limitations; and
  3. Subrogation 

Comparative Fault

Comparative fault is a legal doctrine whereby the negligence of parties who contribute to injury are measured in terms of percentage. Any damages allowed are diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributed to the person for whom injury recovery is sought. Recovery is not barred provided the plaintiff’s percentage of fault does not exceed that of the defendants.

Both Minnesota and Wisconsin are considered Modified Comparative Fault states. In both states, the defendant’s assigned liability will be reduced in direct proportion to the plaintiff’s assigned liability.

Statute of Limitations

Statutes of limitations are laws defining the period of time available to bring a lawsuit or certain kinds of legal action.  The statutes of limitations vary between states, as do the laws that govern them. The limitations outlined below are general. Special circumstances require analysis, so it is recommended that you consult an attorney if you have questions regarding your unique case.

Personal Injury/Motor Vehicle Accidents: Minnesota – 6 years …
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