How Are Truck Accidents Different From Car Accidents?

Car accidents and truck accidents both can result in injuries and personal injury lawsuits, but truck accidents often lead to more serious injuries and complex lawsuits, for a variety of reasons. Truck accidents also are likely to be more fatal than car accidents. Therefore, when you are hiring an attorney to represent you in your personal injury case, you should take the time to find an attorney who has experience in handling truck accident cases.

First, the sheer size of semi-trucks dwarfs regular passenger vehicles. As a result, the impact of an accident with a large tractor-trailer is likely to be much greater than with a vehicle that is closer to your vehicle’s size. A passenger vehicle or motorcycle simply cannot measure up to the size of a large commercial vehicle and do not have adequate safety features that would protect an individual from the impact of such a collision. Likewise, when a semi-truck strikes a pedestrian, he or she is much more likely to suffer catastrophic or even fatal injuries.

Next, there are significant evidence issues that exist in truck accident cases that do not exist in regular car accident cases. Commercial truck drivers are subject to extensive federal regulations that require limits on consecutive driving and resting hours, logging of all work-related activities, and routine inspections of trucks. Semi-trucks are also equipped with black boxes that record information that could be essential to your personal injury case, such as speed and braking. Given this potentially crucial evidence, it is necessary to engage the services of a personal injury attorney as early as possible following the accident. Otherwise, necessary evidence could be lost.

When you are involved in a truck accident, medical expenses are likely to be a substantial and unexpected cost that you may be ill-equipped to handle. In this situation, you may wish to pursue a personal injury case, which can entitle you to various types of damages from the responsible party or parties. To find out more information about whether you have a valid personal injury claim, contact the Wisconsin personal injury lawyers of Boller & Vaughan today.

 


What Are the Different Types of Spinal Cord Injuries?

The spine is an extremely fragile part of the body, so when a spinal cord injury occurs, the results are almost always devastating, either immediately or over time. It is highly likely that extreme and/or permanent discomfort will occur, as well as at least some level of debilitation. The potential consequences of a spinal cord injury can include temporary or permanent paralysis, pain, numbness in extremities, headaches, difficulty standing, and muscle stiffness. Depending on the severity of the injury, it can be extremely life-altering, both for you and your family. Furthermore, any recovery from a spinal cord injury can take years and years of rehabilitation and treatment. As a result, the continued costs of therapy and care can be astronomical.

There are three major types of spinal cord injuries: paraplegia, quadriplegia, and paralysis. With paralysis, there is some hope of recovery through rehabilitation, in that the victim eventually will regain some sensation or control. If the injury occurs farther up the spine, however, the consequences are more severe. Paraplegia occurs when paralysis affects all or part of the person’s trunk, legs, and pelvic organs. Quadriplegia occurs when paralysis affects essentially every extremity and part of the body below the person’s neck.

A spinal cord injury can be complete, in that there is no feeling below the site of the injury. If the injury is incomplete, however, then the person still may have some sensation below the injury site. A series of tests following the injury will determine the completeness of the person’s spinal cord injury.

When you or a family member suffers serious or fatal injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, from a motor vehicle crash or any other type of accident, that is caused by the negligence of another person, you may have a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim under Wisconsin law. Call Boller & Vaughan today at (608) 268-0268, or contact us online at www.bollervaughan.com in order to schedule a time to meet with one of our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys, and see how we can help.


Accounting for Long-Term Medical Expenses in a Personal Injury Claim

When you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries as a result of an accident caused by the negligence of another, you are likely to incur significant expenses in the treatment of those injuries. Depending on the nature and extent of your injuries, you may have to receive medical treatment for a substantial amount of time. Therefore, it is essential that you refrain from accepting the first offer of settlement from the wrongdoer’s insurance company, because it may simply be inadequate to truly compensate you for the medical expenses that you will incur in the future as a result of your injuries.

Accounting for long-term medical expenses can be difficult until you have been treated for your injuries by your medical providers and an official prognosis reached. While no prognosis can be completely certain, it may take some time for you to consult with all appropriate doctors and specialists so that they can determine your needs for future treatment. It is only once you have reached this point that your personal injury attorney can begin to place a monetary value on your personal injury claim in terms of economic damages, which include current and future medical expenses related to your injuries.

When a vehicle crash causes serious injuries to you or a loved one, the impact can be devastating, not only physically, but financially, especially if you have lost wages and incurred medical bills as a result of the accident. Although some accidents are just that – accidents – others are caused by the negligence of another, such as a driver who is distracted, speeding, or violating other traffic laws. If you are in this situation, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Call Boller & Vaughan today and learn how our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys can advocate on your behalf.


What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a person suffers damage to the brain that results in the loss of motor skills or nerve function. In most cases, a person sustains a TBI when the momentum of the brain causes it to come into contact with the skull as a result of a sudden stop, shaking, or other type of trauma, usually with a foreign object. A driver can sustain a TBI when she is involved in a car accident and strikes the windshield or dashboard with her head. Similarly, an athlete who strikes his head on the floor during a basketball game may suffer a TBI.

Since your brain controls essential functions such as emotions, senses, movement, and breathing, a TBI is no laughing matter. The nature and intensity of the symptoms will depend upon the type and severity of the brain injury sustained. However, even a minor TBI can have lifelong effects on an individual. A mild brain injury, or a concussion, may not require medical treatment. However, it can still have serious consequences that may appear days, weeks, or even months following the incident that led to the concussion. A moderate brain injury seriously affects mental skills such as speech and learning. A severe brain injury can lead to paralysis and even death, depending on the type of TBI sustained.

TBIs occur either as closed or penetrating head injuries. A closed head injury happens when there is a blow to the head that may fracture the skull, cause contusions or bruising at the point of impact, create blood clots or hematomas, result in lacerations to the brain, and cause nerve damage. With a penetrating head injury, a foreign object actually enters the brain and causes damage to that specific part of the brain.

In far too many cases, drivers and their passengers receive serious injuries from car accidents, which can include traumatic brain injuries. In this situation, you need the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney who can help guide you through the personal injury claims process. The Madison personal injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan handle personal injury cases on a daily basis, and we know what it takes to get the compensation that you need. Take the first step and call our office today to set up your free consultation with one of our Wisconsin auto accident lawyers.


Tips for Recognizing a Dog’s Body Language

Wisconsin ranks in the top 10 states for insurance claims related to dog bite injuries, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Nationally, there are about 4.5 million reported dog bites each year, and 1 in 5 of those bites requires medical treatment, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you or a loved one was injured by a dog bite in Wisconsin, one of the most important steps you can take after receiving medical attention is to call the Madison injury attorneys at Boller & Vaughan at 608-268-0268 for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.tips for understanding a dog's body language

Dog bites are often avoidable, and there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of a dog attack. Dogs are effective communicators, and they say much through their body language. Understanding these physical indicators can help prevent a conflict with an aggressive dog.

A relaxed dog, for example, will hold its head high and its ears either straight up or flat against its head (depending on the type of dog). Its mouth may be open and its tongue out, but the dog breathes normally. Its tail will be down, and it will stand at ease.

When a dog is in a playful mood, it will crouch on its forepaws with its tail wagging in the air. Its ears may be pointed upward or perked, and the dog may pant a bit more heavily in anticipation of play.

A dog that is alert or wary will have its ears pointed forward or raised. It will likely watch with wide eyes and a closed mouth. The dog’s tail may point horizontally, and its stance will be slightly rigid and forward leaning.

When a dog is anxious or stressed, it will lay its ears back or down and stand with its body lower to the ground. The dog’s tail will likely be down, and the dog may begin to pant rapidly.

A dog that is scared will also tuck its ears back or downward, as well as tuck its tail. A worried dog may make only brief eye contact and lick at the air.

If a dog is aggressive and desires to display dominance, it may bare its teeth and curl back its lips. It will stand stiffly and may raise its hackles, and its tail will be firm and raised slightly. Its ears may also be upright and slightly turned.

When a dog feels fear-based aggression, it will lay its ears back, raise its hackles and may snarl as a dominantly aggressive dog. However, a fearful dog will lower its body to a near crouch and tuck its tail.

A submissive dog will roll onto its back to display its stomach. It may raise its paws, tuck its tail and avoid eye contact. It may even release a small amount of urine.

The ability to recognize these signals can help prevent potentially dangerous encounters with dogs.

If you or a loved one was injured by a dog bite in Wisconsin, the Madison injury lawyers at Boller & Vaughan are here to help. Please contact us today for a free case consultation.


How Can I Afford to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

We often think the bad things in life simply won’t happen to us. We never truly anticipate receiving the bad news about a loved one, whether it is a cancer diagnosis, a workplace injury, or injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. When the unthinkable occurs and a loved one is injured in a car wreck, your emotions are likely to run high, not only out of concern for your loved one and the losses that he or she has sustained, but also out of fear for your future, financial and otherwise. You may have young children to raise, a home mortgage to pay, and massive medical expenses to worry about; losing what often constitutes half or even all of your household income is incredibly stressful. As a result, obtaining compensation for your family’s losses through a personal injury claim may be essential to keeping your finances afloat.

If you find yourself in this situation, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you and your family get the compensation that you need and deserve. We know that you may be reluctant to seek legal help because of the potential costs of hiring an attorney. However, at Boller & Vaughan, like most personal injury attorneys, we will provide you with a free initial consultation about your personal injury claim. If you have a valid claim, we will then agree to represent you and your family in your personal injury case on a contingent-fee basis. This means that you don’t have to pay any legal fees or costs up front in order to hire us as your attorneys. Rather, we will pay these costs and fees for you until you receive a settlement or damages award following a trial. If you don’t receive compensation for your losses, then we don’t get paid. It is as simple as that.

We are the Wisconsin personal injury lawyers to whom you always can turn if your loved one suffers serious injuries in a traffic accident. No matter how complex or difficult your situation may be, the Madison injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan are here to advocate for your interests and hold negligent drivers and other parties responsible for any injury or death that has occurred.


Wisconsin DOT Releases Preliminary 2016 and 2017 Fatal Crash Data

While we are just in the midst of completing the first quarter of 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation-Division of Motor Vehicles (WisDOT-DMV) has released preliminary data on fatal traffic crashes for 2016 and year-to-date 2017. So far this year, the number of fatal crashes is significantly down from this time in 2016. In 2017, we have seen 70 fatal traffic crashes, as compared to 91 fatal traffic crashes this time last year. Similarly, there have been 79 fatalities to date in 2017, as opposed to 102 fatalities during the same time period in 2016. As Wisconsin traffic fatalities increased by some six percent in 2016, the hope is that 2017 trends continue and result in a smaller number of traffic fatalities for the year. More specifically, there were 588 traffic fatalities in 2016, which was 33 more than 2015 and 40 more than the previous five-year average.

Over the last four years, from 2012 to 2016, year-to-date, there have been an average of 72 fatal crashes so far and an average of 81 fatalities. The vast majority of fatalities so far, both in 2016 (63) and 2017 (53) have been drivers. The next most common type of fatality was passengers, with the remaining fatalities consisting of bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.

Trends also continue with the number of fatal traffic accidents among the different Wisconsin counties. Thus far in 2017, the highest number of fatal traffic accidents occurred in Milwaukee County, as was the case in each of the previous four years. This is not uncommon due to the more urban nature of that county, as opposed to more rural areas.

As this post illustrates, there are still far too many deaths attributable to motor vehicle accidents throughout the United States, some of which are due to increased speed limits. Boller & Vaughan are Wisconsin motor vehicle accident lawyers who dedicate their practice to protecting the interests of individuals who have been fatally injured in traffic crashes, as well as their surviving family members. Call our office today to set up your free consultation and learn what options are available to you.


Calculating Damages in Car Crash Cases

Car crashes occur on a daily basis in the state of Wisconsin and throughout the United States. Serious injuries and even fatalities can result from these crashes, often when families least expect it. When the negligent or reckless behavior of another person causes a crash that leads to injuries or death, Wisconsin law permits families to file lawsuits seeking compensation from the responsible person, or damages. These damages are one way that an injury victim and his or her family can recover from a debilitating or fatal accident.

The first step is to establish that the other person is liable, or legally responsible for, the crash that led to your injuries. Once you have proven liability, then you must determine the amount of damages to which the injury victim is entitled. Since Wisconsin law uses a modified comparative fault system, or the 51% rule, to calculate damages, then you must determine percentage of fault that is attributable to each party. As long as the victim is less than 51% responsible for the accident that led to his or her injuries, then the victim can recover damages from the responsible party. However, the ability of the victim to recover damages is limited by his or her degree of responsibility for the accident. In other words, the amount of the victim’s recoverable damages is reduced by his or percentage of fault for the accident. Therefore, if the victim is 10% responsible for the accident, then his or her damages award will be reduced by 10%.

There are different types of damages available through a personal injury lawsuit. Generally, damages are classified as economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that represent the actual financial losses that the victim has suffered as a result of the accident. Examples of economic damages include medical expenses related to the injuries from the accident, such as hospital expenses, emergency transport costs, surgical costs, and physical therapy expenses. Economic damages also may include lost wages or income due to your injuries from the accident.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are more difficult to calculate, since they are not based on actual economic losses. The most common type of non-economic damages is pain and suffering, which is the physical and emotional consequences of the accident on the victim and his or her family. Pain and suffering might include the psychological trauma resulting from the accident and ongoing physical pain from the injuries sustained in the accident.

When a traffic accident occurs as a result of a driver’s negligence, and causes injury to a passenger, driver of another vehicle, or even a pedestrian, the injured individual may have a claim for damages under Wisconsin law. However, there are strict time limits on personal injury claims in the state of Wisconsin, and you can lose your right to compensation if you do not consult an experienced lawyer in time. Don’t delay in contacting the Madison personal injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan today, and set up your free consultation today.


How Much Long-Term Care Will I Need?

Long-term care is defined as the support and services necessary to meet an individual’s health and/or personal care needs over an extended period of time. The reality is that an individual who is turning 65 years of age today has nearly a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services in the remainder of his or her lifetime. Although one-third of individuals in this age group will never need long-term care, 20% of these individuals will need long-term care services for a period of five years or longer. Additionally, women tend to have a greater need for long-term care for a longer period of time (3.7 years) as opposed to men (2.2 years).

On the whole, older Americans are more likely to use long-term care services in the home as opposed to in a facility, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility. 65% of individuals use in-home long-term care for a period of at least two years, 59% of which is unpaid for at least one year. On the other hand, 42% of individuals use paid in-home care for less than one year. Only 37% of these individuals require long-term care through some sort of facility. More specifically, 35% of these individuals require one year of care in a nursing facility and 13%, less than one year of care in an assisted living facility.

While long-term care is a necessary part of life for many older individuals, there always is the risk of neglect or abuse at the hands of those caregivers who are entrusted with the care of these individuals. The nursing home neglect lawyers of Boller & Vaughan pride themselves on advocating on behalf of clients who have been neglected in some way while residing in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or other similar institution. We can seek compensation for you through the personal injury or wrongful death claim process, while you and your family can concentrate on healing, recovering from any trauma that you and your family might have experienced, and moving on with your lives. Don’t hesitate to call our office today and learn how we can help.


What are Accelerated Death Benefits?

Many individuals have declined to purchase long-term care insurance, mostly out of fear of spending money on a situation that never occurs. As a result, some life insurance companies have offered variations on traditional life insurance policies in order to induce consumers to purchase some degree of long-term care funding. Accelerated death benefits (ADBs) are a feature of some life insurance policies, which allows you to use some of the policy’s death benefit prior to death, as a sort of cash advance. These benefits often come at an additional premium, but may be an automatic provision in some policies. By using these accelerated death benefits, either alone or in conjunction with other life insurance-related products, you may be able to fund the steadily rising costs of long-term care, either for yourself or for a loved one.

There are different types of ABDs that are available in different situations. For instance, ABDs may cover one or more of the following situations:

  • Terminal illness
  • Life-threatening diagnosis
  • Need for long-term care for an extended period of time
  • Permanent confinement to a nursing home due to an inability to perform the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, or brushing one’s teeth

Many ADB policies that cover long-term care services are capped at 50% of the policy’s death benefit. Some policies, however, will allow you to lose the entire amount of the death benefit. Most policies allow you to use two percent of the face value of the life insurance on a monthly basis. If home care is needed and is covered by the policy, then the monthly limit is typically one-half of that amount. Whatever the amount of ADB that you receive from your life insurance policy, that amount is subtracted from the amount that the policy will pay out to your beneficiaries upon your death.

There are some important considerations to take into account, however, in deciding whether to purchase a life insurance policy with ADBs. For example, qualifying for a policy with ADBs may not require you to undergo health screenings, such as might be required if you attempted to purchase long-term care insurance. Thus, if you have a health condition that might prohibit you from qualifying for long-term care insurance, then an ADB policy may be your best option. On the other hand, ADB policies often are much more limited than the services that are typically covered by long-term care insurance. Additionally, the face value of your life insurance policy may be too low to sufficiently provide for your long-term care needs. If this is the case, then you may need additional coverage or another source from which to fund long-term care.

Unfortunately, long-term care also can result in problems that may lead to serious injuries or even death, in some cases. If you have lost a loved one as a result of any type of abuse or neglect while he or she was residing in a nursing home or residential facility, you may be entitled to compensation. This inquiry involves determining which party or entity was at fault for the accident, acted negligently, or otherwise caused the conditions that led to your loved one’s death. At Boller & Vaughan, our Madison elder abuse lawyers can help you with these determinations, and support you through any wrongful death claims that you may have.


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