Monthly Archives: October 2014

A-to-Z Assistance: How We’ll Help With Every Aspect of Your Claim

A personal injury attorney that’s with you from start to finish

Although it can be tough to keep all the TV commercials and billboards straight, every law firm is different. At Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, we’re committed to practicing law the old-fashioned way. Instead of watching the clock and focusing on the most profitable problems, we comprehensively address the legal needs of each and every one of our clients. There’s no shortage of legal professionals out there who make quick appearances to facilitate the transfer of funds only, but that’s not how we operate: It’s always our priority to help you through every stage of the claim process.

Consultation and Analysis

An accident or injury can be an overwhelming and potentially life-changing experience. To ensure that our clients feel comfortable approaching us at any time of the day or night, we maintain an open door policy and are always available for an in-depth, no-obligation consultation that assesses your case and can help you determine the best course of action to take.

Filing and Managing Your Claim

If you determine that the best course of action involves filing a claim against your insurance company or another party to the accident or injury, we commit to handling every aspect of the case. Our comprehensive approach to managing each claim ensures that you can focus on recovering from your physical and emotional injuries without worrying about its legal or financial dimensions.

All Kinds of Claims: Fender Benders to Wrongful Death

No claim is too big or small for our seasoned legal team. If you’ve been involved in a relatively minor accident and simply need to negotiate a fair, efficient insurance settlement, we deal directly with your insurance company to expedite the process. If your case is more serious or complex, we handle every interaction with medical providers, insurance firms, fellow parties to the accident, and other actors who could affect its outcome.

We’re Always on Your Side

Throughout every step of the process, it’s important to remember that we’re always on your side. Unlike some law firms that handle personal injury law, we never advocate on behalf of insurance companies. Our sole priority is the welfare of the people of northeastern Wisconsin, and not the profit margins of insurers in Chicago or New York.

Your Trusted Personal Injury Attorney in Neenah and Appleton, WI

If it isn’t clear already, no claim is too big or small for our talented team of legal professionals. No matter what type of legal obstacle you face, we’re happy to provide you with professional, empathetic service at every step of the way. To learn more about what we can do for you or to schedule a no-obligation consultation, visit our website or fill out our online contact form.

Are Drivers the Only Ones Liable for a Car Accident?

When you should think twice about letting others drive your car

There are plenty of myths in the world of car insurance. One of the most pervasive is the notion that you can’t be held liable for another driver’s actions behind the wheel of your car. While there are certainly protections in place to ensure that you aren’t unfairly penalized, it’s important to understand the liability issues that surround this common practice and know how to anticipate potential problems.

Young Drivers and Liability

You might not think twice about letting your teenager or twentysomething drive your vehicle, but you could be held liable for their actions. There are several legal frameworks that govern liability in this situation:

• Family purpose: The owner of a “family vehicle” may be held liable whenever that vehicle is used by any driver. It’s an old Wisconsin doctrine, but the driver could be found to be an agent of the owner, thus subjecting the owner to liability.

• Negligence: If you lend your vehicle to a child who may be deemed incompetent due to inexperience or intoxication, you may be held liable.

• Minor drivers: By signing your minor child’s driver’s license application, you may have complicit liability in their actions behind the wheel as a sponsor.

If you’d like to learn more about the liability issues surrounding teenage drivers, watch our Youtube video.

Letting an Employee Drive a Vehicle You Own

If your employee needs to use a vehicle owned by you or your company for business activities, the owning individual or entity—that’s you or your business—could be liable for damage or injury that results from an accident. However, employees using company vehicles on their own time and without permission are liable for their own actions.

Intoxicated Drivers

If you lend your vehicle to someone who’s clearly intoxicated, you’ll be held liable for whatever happens. If they’re not yet intoxicated but are likely to indulge while the car is in their possession, you may be held liable as well.

Otherwise Unfit or Incompetent Drivers

Similar rules apply with other types of incompetency, including:

• Unlicensed drivers
• Drivers with little on-the-road experience, including those with just a learner’s permit
• Drivers who have previously been charged with vehicular crimes like DUI or reckless driving
• Elderly drivers
• Drivers with medical conditions that could affect their ability to drive, including epilepsy

Work With a Seasoned Car Accident Lawyer in Neenah and Appleton, WI

Whether you’re being kept up at night by your teenage kid’s driving habits or the fact that you lent your family vehicle to a close friend for a weekend up north, we’re happy to help you sort out the liability issues that come with letting other drivers use your car. To learn more about what we can do for you, call us or visit our website to fill out our online contact form.

What to Expect in a Duel With an Insurance Company

And how to arm yourself properly

As the old saying goes, you shouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight. While we certainly hope that this turn of phrase won’t ever literally apply to your circumstances, you’ve probably been in plenty of situations in which such a metaphor is apt. Fighting to secure just compensation from your insurance company is certainly one of them. If you’re gearing up for a duel with an insurer, here’s what you should expect.

1. Convincing You to Hand Over Medical Records

Your medical records are protected by federal and state privacy laws. You’re not obligated to sign any documents that would provide your insurer with unfettered access to them. If there needs to be a discussion of medical care you received as a result of your injury, consult with your attorney to determine how to approach it.

2. Telling You to Deal With Another Insurance Company

If your accident involved another person with an insurance policy from another carrier, your insurer may argue that that carrier is in a better position to negotiate and settle your claim. However, the law allows you to pursue whichever insurer you choose. If the circumstances require it, you’re free to deal with both.

3. Warning You About Filing Delays

Insurers often try to convince policyholders that their claims have come after the expiration of an internal statute of limitations and thus aren’t valid. This simply isn’t accurate. Under state law, you’re free to file an insurance claim and negotiate a settlement until the expiration of the state’s statute of limitations. That’s a much longer time frame. Wisconsin has additional rules that may help you even if you miss a time limit spelled out in your insurance policy.

4. Arguing That You Didn’t Pay out of Pocket

If your insurer argues that it won’t cover medical bills, lost wages, or other expenses that don’t technically constitute out-of-pocket expenses, don’t listen. In Wisconsin, the out-of-pocket status of a covered expense is often irrelevant: Insurers may be obligated to cover it anyway.

5. Convincing You Not to Work With an Attorney

For many injured individuals, this one is the icing on the cake. Before or during settlement negotiations, many insurance companies make a point of pressuring policyholders into forgoing legal representation from a trained attorney. They might make the argument that doing so is “simpler” or “faster.” In most cases, however, it simply results in a lower settlement.

Work With a Seasoned Personal Injury Attorney in Neenah and Appleton, WI

At this point, it should be clear that it’s not wise to do battle with an insurance company on your own. The stakes are simply too high to roll the dice like that. That’s why we’re proud to stand with regular folks across the Fox Cities area—and against insurance companies that aim to deny them what’s rightfully theirs. To learn more about what we can do for you, head to our Resources page or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.