Wisconsin Injury Attorney Blog

The Wisconsin personal injury lawyers of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. (“SKS”) have over 100 years of combined experience helping people who have been injured due to someone else’s actions. Attorney Jonathan S. Safran is a partner and founding member of SKS. Practicing personal injury and civil rights law for over 30 years, Attorney Safran is widely recognized in the Milwaukee area as a leader in the business and legal communities.

On April 7, 2014, the Business Leader Spotlight (“BLS”) Show interviewed Attorney Safran regarding his expertise in personal injury law. The BLS Show has featured many prominent and successful business leaders who have shared their knowledge with BLS listeners.

Attorney Safran began the BLS Show interview by explaining that, when a client hires SKS, the client is actually represented by one of our attorneys. At other personal injury firms, clients might only see their lawyer in television commercials, and only deal with the lawyer’s support staff. By contrast, clients represented by SKS receive attentive personal service from an experienced personal injury lawyer. During the initial consultation, clients will actually get to meet or speak to their attorney. As the personal injury case progresses, clients will have regular contact with their attorney to discuss the status of the case. Because SKS attorneys work on a contingency basis, we only get paid if the client gets a recovery. As a result, there is no charge for communicating with the lawyer during the case. SKS clients can therefore feel free to contact their lawyer whenever they have a question or concern about their case.   

After discussing the value of personal representation by an SKS lawyer, Attorney Safran set forth the firm’s various practice areas. Our personal injury attorneys represent clients who have been involved in vehicle accidents, wrongful death incidents, vaccine-related injuries, slip-and-fall accidents, workplace accidents, defective products cases, animal bite incidents and civil rights violations. Because of our extensive experience in a wide variety of cases, clients feel confident hiring SKS personal injury attorneys.

Attorney Safran then discussed the importance of hiring a personal injury attorney. When someone has been injured, they frequently deal with insurance companies. Attorney Safran explained that, in those situations, insurance companies are not your friends. Their job is to maximize profits, not your recovery. As a result, you need to hire a personal injury attorney who knows how to deal with insurance companies. At SKS, our team of personal injury lawyers knows how to get the most insurance policy benefits for our clients. Attorney Safran also explained during the BLS Show interview that hiring a personal injury attorney levels the playing field in a personal injury case, because the client will have an experience advocate on their side. Indeed, Attorney Safran stated that when a client hires SKS, “we are a team.”

Attorney Safran then discussed the daunting task of deciding which personal injury lawyer to hire. Attorney Safran explained to the BLS Show audience that there are several resources available to assist with making that choice. For example, the person can check with the Better Business Bureau (“BBB”). SKS is an accredited business with the BBB, and is rated as an A+ business by the BBB. There are also several online resources such as Avvo, which provides ratings and reviews for attorneys. Attorney Safran is rated a perfect 10 by Avvo.

SKS congratulates Attorney Safran for being recognized by the BLS Show as a leader in the legal and business community. Please check here for more information about Attorney Safran and to listen to his BLS Show interview. And if you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury, contact SKS for a free online case evaluation.

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It may be hard to believe, but spring is finally here. With warmer weather hopefully on the way, we can look forward to spending some time outdoors. The Wisconsin personal injury lawyers of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. want you to enjoy the spring, so we offer the following safety tips.

Before we can fully rid ourselves of winter, it is always a good idea to engage in some spring cleaning around the house. Here is a checklist for your spring cleaning:

  • Change the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors;
  • Store winter items properly;
  • Check the house for broken items and discard them;
  • Use caution when moving large items;
  • Be careful when using ladders and step stools;
  • Keep stairways, landings and walkways free of clutter;
  • Follow the instructions on cleaning product labels;
  • Throw out any expired medication;
  • Check that the fire extinguisher is working;
  • Prepare and practice a family emergency plan; and
  • Check your first aid kit and replace any missing supplies.

In addition to cleaning, there are several steps you can take to make your home safer this spring:

  • Install grab bars and no slip stickers in bathtubs and showers;
  • Keep porches, stairways and walkways well lit;
  • Place window guards in upstairs windows so that young children cannot climb out;
  • Make sure all dangerous products have child resistant caps; and
  • Repair any hazards that could cause injury.

Once your home is cleaned and ready for spring, it is time to go outside and clean up the yard. Follow these safety tips:

  • Wear protective clothing when using fertilizers, pesticides or other chemicals;
  • Rake your lawn prior to mowing it to remove any dangerous items that the mower could launch into the air;
  • Never operate a lawn mower in bare feet or loose clothing;
  • Never start a lawn mower indoors;
  • For gasoline mowers, always turn off the mower before refueling and do not smoke when refueling;
  • For electric mowers, never operate them on wet grass;
  • Read all manufacturer’s instructions before using tools;
  • Wear eye protection and other safety gear;
  • Unplug all electric tools when not in use;
  • Make sure a tool is in the “off” position prior to plugging it in; and
  • Always use the proper tool for the task.

Now that your chores are done, you can go outside and play. Spring means sports activities which can be both fun and dangerous. Here is some advice for playing it safe:

  • Have an emergency plan in case of injury;
  • Before engaging in any activity, warm-up and stretch to loosen muscles and prevent injury;
  • Make sure to wear the right clothing, shoes and safety equipment; and
  • Drink plenty of water.

If drinking water is not enough for you to keep cool this spring, there are always activities in the water, such as swimming, boating and water-skiing. Follow these tips to stay safe in the water:

  • Learn how to swim;
  • Always wear a life jacket or personal floatation device;
  • Never go in the water alone;
  • Make sure you have the right equipment for the activity;
  • Boats should have a radio, mobile phone, fire extinguisher, first aid kit and a horn;
  • Plan your activity in advance and know the weather forecast;
  • Avoid alcohol; and
  • Avoid over-exposure to sunlight.

Spring also means getting out the bicycles, scooters, and skateboards. Before getting on these vehicles, make sure you are aware of these safety recommendations:

  • Always wear a helmet and other safety gear such as wrist, elbow and knee pads;
  • Ride on smooth surfaces;
  • Only ride during daylight hours;
  • Learn the proper hand signals for turning and stopping; and
  • Always yield to cars and other motorized vehicles.

With all that activity, you are going to get hungry. Spring is the perfect time for barbecues. Here are some safety tips for grilling out:

  • Leave enough room between the grill and any walls or eaves
  • Make sure it is safe before grilling on a balcony;
  • Never leave a grill unattended;
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill;
  • For charcoal grills, only use starter fluids designed for such grills and never pour starter fluid on burning charcoal; and
  • For gas grills, make sure that all connections are tight and that there are no leaks.

Spring also means camping season. Follow this advice to be a safe and happy camper:

  • Use a flame retardant tent;
  • Set up the tent away from the camp fire;
  • Use flashlights and battery-powered lanterns;
  • Build the campfire down-wind from the tent;
  • Clear all vegetation and create a pit surrounded by rocks for the camp fire; and
  • Always put out the camp fire before going to sleep and before leaving the camp site.

Do not forget your pets this spring. Here are some safety tips for our furry friends:

  • Make sure all windows have screens so that pets cannot get out;
  • Do not leave your pet in a closed car;
  • Pet-proof your garden by ensuring that pets cannot get into fertilizers and pesticides; and
  • Get flea and tick protection for outdoor pets.

These safety tips should help you enjoy the spring. If an accident does happen, you will need one of the experienced personal injury attorneys of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. to help you recover for your injuries, pain and suffering, property damage and lost wages. If you or someone you know has been injured, contact us for a free online case evaluation.

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On Friday, March 7, 2014, at around 4:15 P.M., a bus struck a car in the City of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The car was waiting in the turn lane at the intersection of Johnson and Pointer when it was rear-ended by the bus. Both the driver and the passenger of the car were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. No one on the bus was injured, although the bus driver received a citation for causing the accident.

The driver and the passenger of the car may have a claim against the bus driver and his or her employer for their injuries and damages. If the bus was a school or city bus, the driver and passenger would need to comply with the provisions of Wisconsin Statute Section 893.80(1d)(a), which contains notice requirements for bringing a claim against a local government body and/or its employees. Within 120 days of the March 7, 2014 accident, the driver and passenger would need to serve a “Notice of Injury” upon the appropriate local governmental body. The “Notice of Injury” would have to contain a description of the circumstances giving rise to the driver’s and passenger’s claims. Service of the “Notice of Injury” upon the local government body would need to be accomplished as set forth in Wisconsin Statute Section 801.11.    

The Wisconsin automobile accident lawyers of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. seek to prevent automobile accidents. In fact, we are involved in a campaign to end automobile accidents caused by distracted driving, such as texting while driving. Blue thumb bands are available for drivers to show their pledge to not text and drive. Visit our office at 1110 North Old World Third Street, Suite 405, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53203, e-mail our office at info@skslawyers.com, or call our office at 414-224-0400 to get the thumb bands. Also, if you know of a school or group looking to have a distracted driving presentation provided, please contact us and one of our attorneys would be happy to provide a free presentation and thumb bands.

 

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The Wisconsin legislature is currently considering a bill that would bring significant changes to Milwaukee County’s troubled mental health care system. Under current law, the Milwaukee County Board oversees the mental health care system. The proposed bill would create a new independent mental health board, consisting of a medical director, mental health professionals, clinicians, a legal expert, an expert in finance and administration, and others, who would have authority over the mental health system.

On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, an amendment to the bill was introduced regarding the 11-person mental health board. The amendment states that the governor would appoint nine of the 11 board members, while the other two would come from groups who work on mental health care issues. The State Senate could vote on the bill as soon as next Tuesday, March 11, 2014. The bill would then go to the Assembly, where the bill is expected to pass.

The Milwaukee civil right lawyers of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. represent the families of Brandon Johnson and Andre Harvey, two of the seven patients who died at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex in 2012 and 2013. We also represent a client who was severely beaten by a patient at the Complex in 2012. We hope that the legislature approves the bill; so that the County’s mental health system can improve.  

 

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As previously reported here, the Wisconsin legislature is currently considering a bill that would require all deaths in police custody to be investigated by an outside agency. City of Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission Executive Director Michael Tobin has testified at a public hearing regarding the bill. While Mr. Tobin’s testimony was allegedly for informational purposes only, State Representative Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay), the author of the bill, stated that Mr. Tobin sounded like he opposed the bill. Following Mr. Tobin’s testimony, City of Milwaukee Director of Intergovernmental Relations Jennifer Gonda Birnbaum sent an e-mail to the Wisconsin State Senate Committee on Transportation, Public Safety, and Veterans where she indicated that the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett do not oppose the bill.  

The Milwaukee civil rights attorneys of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. represent the three young children of Derek Williams, along with their mother. Mr. Williams died in Milwaukee Police Department (“MPD”) custody back in July 2011. Video from the incident shows Mr. Williams in the back of an MPD squad car struggling to breathe and begging MPD officers for help. We hope that the proposed bill on police custody deaths becomes law in Wisconsin, so that there can be justice and accountability for deaths in police custody.       

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As previously reported here, several Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department squad cars have been hit by other vehicles this winter. In fact, since December 2013, eight squad cars have been struck, including the most recent incident on Saturday, March 1, 2014. A Sheriff’s deputy was assisting a driver whose vehicle had gone into a ditch on Interstate 94 south of Ryan Road, when the deputy’s squad car was hit by a vehicle whose driver was trying to avoid another vehicle that had lost control in front of him. The Sheriff’s deputy was treated at Froedtert Hospital for minor injuries. The striking driver was issued a citation for following too closely.     

The Wisconsin automobile accident lawyers of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. seek to prevent automobile accidents. When winter weather makes driving difficult, please slow down and leave plenty of room in front of your vehicle to stop. We are also involved in a campaign to end automobile accidents caused by distracted driving, such as texting while driving. Blue thumb bands are available for drivers to show their pledge to not text and drive. Visit our office at 1110 North Old World Third Street, Suite 405, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53203, e-mail our office at info@skslawyers.com, or call our office at 414-224-0400 to get the thumb bands. Also, if you know of a school or group looking to have a distracted driving presentation provided, please contact us and one of our attorneys would be happy to provide a free presentation and thumb bands.

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As previously reported here, the Wisconsin State Assembly has passed a bill that would end the practice where law enforcement agencies investigate themselves after a death in police custody. Under the bill, a team of at least two investigators from an outside agency would investigate in-custody deaths. Reports from the investigation would also be released to the public if criminal charges were not filed against the law enforcement officers involved.

The Wisconsin State Senate is currently considering the bill. At a public hearing on Thursday, February 27, 2014, Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) indicated his support for the bill, stating that it was important that investigations into police-custody deaths are independent. Senator Petrowski said that he intends to move the bill through his committee, so that the entire Senate could vote on the bill by April. Also at the hearing, City of Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission Executive Director Michael Tobin testified regarding the bill, allegedly for informational purposes only, stating his belief that the bill would result in less accountability because outside agencies conducting the investigation would not be accountable to the local community. The bill’s author, State Representative Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay) criticized Mr. Tobin’s testimony, stating that Mr. Tobin “testified as if he was against the bill.” Representative Bies also stated that there would be local accountability under the bill, because local district attorneys would still be the ones deciding whether there should be criminal charges filed against law enforcement officers involved in police custody death incidents.  

The Milwaukee civil rights attorneys of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. represent the three young children of Derek Williams, along with their mother. Mr. Williams died in Milwaukee Police Department custody back in July 2011. We hope that the bill becomes law in Wisconsin, so that there can be justice and accountability for deaths in police custody.       

 

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On Tuesday morning, February 25, 2014, workers performing renovations at the Racine City Hall discovered asbestos dust, after it leaked from a sealed area on the third floor of the building. Asbestos is mineral fiber that was used as a fire retardant and as insulation. The asbestos in the Racine City Hall came from glue that was used under some 80-year-old tiles in the building. Exposure to asbestos can cause serious health problems, including lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Racine officials had closed the City Hall to check whether the asbestos dust spread to other areas of the building. Fortunately, the dust did not spread and the Racine City Hall is now open for business.

The Wisconsin asbestos exposure injury lawyers of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. have extensive experience helping people who have been exposed to asbestos receive compensation for their injuries. If you or someone you know may have been exposed to asbestos and is experiencing asbestos-related health problems, contact us for a free online case evaluation.

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On early Wednesday morning, February 26, 2014, two people sustained injuries in an automobile accident on Milwaukee’s south side. The crash occurred when the car in which they were riding careened off the South 35th Street overpass and landed on a basketball court on West Pierce Street. According to the Milwaukee Police Department, the car just missed hitting the buildings that surround the basketball court. Authorities are investigating the accident.

The Wisconsin automobile accident lawyers of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. seek to prevent automobile accidents. In fact, we are involved in a campaign to end automobile accidents caused by distracted driving, such as texting while driving. Blue thumb bands are available for drivers to show their pledge to not text and drive. Visit our office at 1110 North Old World Third Street, Suite 405, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53203, e-mail our office at info@skslawyers.com, or call our office at 414-224-0400 to get the thumb bands. Also, if you know of a school or group looking to have a distracted driving presentation provided, please contact us and one of our attorneys would be happy to provide a free presentation and thumb bands.

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A popular Milwaukee County road has been closed due to damage caused by this winter’s severe weather. Authorities have closed Menomonee River Parkway in Wauwatosa, between Hoyt Park Drive and Church Street, due to an abundance of potholes and broken asphalt. The road’s conditions have made it dangerous for vehicles, and the cold weather has prevented road repairs. Barricades are currently blocking the road, although homeowners will be able to access their properties. The road will likely remain closed until warmer weather permits repairs.   

The Wisconsin automobile accident lawyers of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. encourage drivers to use caution when driving around potholes. Here are a few safety tips:

  • Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you so that you have time to see and avoid potholes;
  • Slow down when driving over a pothole;
  • Hold the steering wheel firmly when driving over a pothole to avoid losing control of your vehicle; and
  • Be careful when driving over puddles, because they might be large potholes filled with water.

This winter has been particularly brutal on Wisconsin roads. If you or someone you know has been injured in an automobile accident, contact us for a free online case evaluation.

 

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