Monthly Archives: May 2017

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Wisconsin

The warmer weather is here and that means motorcycles throughout Wisconsin and the rest of the United States will come out of their garages and hit the road. More motorcycles on the road during the summer months means more opportunities for motorcycle accidents to occur, and data from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation shows that this has been the case since at least 2012.

Although motorcycle accidents predictably increase during the warmer months, the weather is not the only factor that contributes to the increase. With the increased rainfall of April, May, and June, the road is more likely to be wet and thus, slippery. Below are four common causes of motorcycle accidents in Wisconsin, some of which are closely tied to the weather.

Driver Negligence
Negligence on the part of a motorcyclist or another motorist can cause an accident. Examples of driver negligence include:

    • Riding or driving while talking on a cell phone or otherwise while distracted. This can include eating while driving, using a vehicle’s onboard computer, or looking at the scenery instead of the roadway;
    • Driving or riding while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs;
    • Speeding;
    • Riding or driving in an aggressive manner, such as weaving in and out of lanes and tailgating; and
    • Riding or driving while too tired to do so safely.

Adverse Weather Conditions
There are a few ways rain and other weather conditions can cause motorcycle accidents. It takes longer for a vehicle to come to a complete stop on a wet roadway and when conditions are slick, drivers must make wider, slower turns to avoid spinning out and potentially colliding with other vehicles, pedestrians, and stationary objects.

Poor Road Conditions
Motorcycles are more sensitive to roadway conditions than other types of vehicle. A wet roadway during a rainstorm can be dangerous for motorcycles, but this is not the only issue the rain creates. When puddles develop in potholes and dips in the roadway, they can be very dangerous for motorcyclists. Uneven pavement and sharp turns can be magnified by the presence of water on the asphalt and the oils that rise to the asphalt’s surface during the first moments of rainfall.

Poor Visibility
Rainstorms and fog make it difficult for motorcyclists and motorists alike to see hazards in the roadway and other vehicles. At night, visibility decreases further. Motorcyclists can reduce their chance of being involved in accidents by making themselves as visible as possible with lights on their motorcycles and reflective tape on their helmets and clothing.

Work with an Experienced Appleton Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a collision with a motorcycle, you have the right to seek monetary compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more about your rights and legal options as an injured victim, contact our team of Appleton personal injury lawyers at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to set up your initial consultation in our office.

Who is Liable in my Dog Bite Injury Case?

As the weather becomes warmer, dogs and children alike will spend more time outside playing in their yards. Once school lets out for summer, children will be playing outside for far longer hours each day, often putting them into contact with dogs that can potentially bite and cause injuries.

When a dog bite results in an injury, the victim may seek compensation for his or her damages through a personal injury claim. A victim can only recover compensation if another party is liable for his or her damages. In a dog bite, the liable party is not always obvious. Dog bites are not like other types of injury case in that the doctrine of strict liability applies.

Strict Liability in Dog Bite Cases

Strict liability means that when a dog bite occurs, the dog’s owner is liable for the victim’s damages regardless of whether he or she acted in a negligent or intentionally harmful manner. It is important to note, though, that this does not mean that the dog’s owner is liable in all cases. There are circumstances under which a dog’s owner’s liability is waived.

Wisconsin’s dog bite law states that if a dog’s owner knew about the dog’s aggressive tendencies before the bite occurred and the bite broke the skin and causes permanent scarring or disfigurement, the owner may be required to compensate the victim twice the dollar amount of his or her damages. Knowledge of a dog’s aggressive tendencies is defined as knowing that the dog had previously bitten a victim and broken the skin to cause scarring or disfigurement.

A victim may file an action to have the dog euthanized. Generally, the court will agree to have a dog put down if both of the following circumstances apply:

  • The dog caused severe injuries on two or more occasions without reason, such as provocation; and
  • The dog’s owner knew that his or her dog caused the first injury before the second injury occurred.

What if a Dog is Provoked into Biting a Victim?

This is the scenario under which a dog owner’s liability for the victim’s damages are waived. If a dog is provoked into biting a victim, the victim might not be able to recover compensation for his or her damages or his or her compensation package may be reduced. Provocation can include teasing a dog, chasing or cornering the dog, or striking the dog with an object or projectile, such as a BB pellet.

Work with an Experienced Appleton Dog Bite Lawyer

Sadly, avoiding dog bites in Wisconsin is not always possible. If you or your child is bitten by a dog, seek medical attention for the bite as soon as possible to ensure that it is cleaned and treated properly. Left untreated, a dog bite can become infected, which can have severe complications for a victim. After receiving treatment for the bite, contact the experienced Appleton personal injury lawyers on our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC to schedule your initial consultation in our office.