Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.
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February 2013 Archives

Law permits nursing homes to conceal records of abuse, neglect

A Wisconsin state law that passed in 2011 changed the way long-term health care providers are required to report their facilities' records for injuries, abuse and deaths. The tort reform law, known as Wisconsin Act 2 of 2011, makes state records related to injuries and death on their property inadmissible in court, including records regarding investigations of these facilities for abuse, medical malpractice and other events. However, these records are still available for the public to view. Furthermore, the law also places an upper limit on the amount of damages that those who pursue a personal injury lawsuit for negligence or wrongful death may obtain from cases against long-term care providers. Prior to this law's passage, there was not a cap on punitive damages in these cases. The law also places a greater burden on the plaintiff who was seeking punitive damages in a personal injury lawsuit; he or she is now required to prove that the provider knew about the actions or behaviors that resulted in the injury.

Reckless homicide charges filed against Necedah man

A Necedah man was recently charged with second-degree reckless homicide and jailed following a fatal crash in November 2012. If the 31-year-old is convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison because of his role in the auto accident, which occurred in the city of Lemonweir north of 47th Street on 15th Avenue and claimed the life of the passenger in the vehicle he was driving. Neither the driver nor his passenger, a 28-year-old woman, was wearing a seat belt at the time of the incident, and both were ejected from the vehicle; these details were later ascertained by an accident reconstruction team, who used evidence that included tire marks left behind at the scene to additionally determine that the man had been driving at around 90 miles per hour when he failed to stop at a stop sign.

Wisconsin good Samaritan dies from injuries sustained in crash

Late last month, a Toyota Highlander and a PT cruiser were involved in an automobile accident along Wisconsin 172. A 26-year-old man stopped to assist passengers in the Toyota. As he and an unidentified third party were helping the victims of the accident, they were struck by a passing Chevrolet minivan, resulting in the wrongful death of the good Samaritan. The impact sent the man and the other person flying from the overpass. Both were injured. However, the 26-year-old man later died from his injuries. Miraculously, the other person did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

Changed liability laws may hinder accident victims' claims

In April of last year, a 51-year-old Wisconsin man was injured while driving on Highway 151 when a large chunk of concrete dislodged from the road and flew through the driver's windshield, hitting his skull before landing in the rear seat of the vehicle. The driver was able to reach a hospital 20 miles away. He received surgeries and implants to treat the skull fracture.A year after the incident, this driver suffers from blindness and occasional numbness on the left side of his face as well as shoulder issues. While he did have auto insurance and health insurance at the time of the accident, changes to Wisconsin liability laws enacted in 2011 mean that he can't claim any damages for the brain injuries or medical expenses that resulted from the freak accident.

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