$2.5 Million is Partial Settlement for Survivors Drunk Driving and Texting
A fatal auto collision is a heart-rending tragedy. At such times, personal-injury attorneys sympathize with their clients, support them through their emotional loss and know that their job is to fight for their clients’ rights and to get them all the financial compensation they are entitled to. When the Grahl family was devastated by loss, Hausmann-McNally, S.C., attorneys picked up the ball, handled all the complications and interactions with authorities and insurance companies and helped the survivors go forward.
On September 12, 2012, Paul and Joanna Grahl were killed in an auto accident near their home in Campbellsport, Wisconsin. . The Grahls and their daughter Esther were driving home from Chicago after getting their passports for their upcoming trip to China. Paul Grahl was a businessman who had built a thriving company that revolutionized ice fishing and the ice fishing industry. His firm sold a huge array of products, most notably the famous HT line of ice-fishing tip-ups and premium-grade graphite rods. Although Grahl had turned over much of his company to his sons Ken and Nate, he was still responsible for overseeing manufacturing in China and other aspects of the business.
Paul Grahl was driving on Highway 45 in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, when his vehicle was struck head-on by a vehicle driven by Daniel Shea of Campbellsport, WI. Shea was driving over the center line. The impact was so severe that the Grahls both died at the scene. Their daughter Esther, who was severely injured and trapped in the back seat of the crushed vehicle, witnessed her parents’ death.
Shea was driving while intoxicated and later admitted he was texting immediately prior to the incident. Hausmann-McNally, S.C., attorneys Charles J. Hausmann, John F. McNally and David Bischmann, brought multiple personal-injury and wrongful death claims against Daniel Shea and his automobile insurer, State Auto Insurance Companies, on behalf of Esther, Ken and Nate. Often, insurance carriers try for a lesser settlement. However, convinced of the severity of the claims, the company offered to settle all claims for the maximum available insurance policy limits applicable to Shea’s vehicle–$2.5 million.
As part of the settlement, Hausmann-McNally, S.C., insisted that the Grahl children reserve the right to pursue further claims against companies that provided additional insurance. While the $2.5 million is already distributed, the attorneys are still pursuing another source of insurance money that will further provide for the family. While no amount of money can replace Paul and Joanna in the lives of their survivors, the family’s attorneys know it is their job to seek every avenue of compensation and to obtain the maximum settlement for them under the law. And that is just what they are doing.
Grandmother Tragically Injured by Reckless Driver Receives Verdict in Excess of $120,000
On a cold day in February 2010, Martha Larkin was on her way to pick up her grandson at a local high school in Sylvania, Ohio. Martha was stopped at the intersection of Monroe Street and Silica Drive waiting for traffic to clear so she could turn left onto Silica Drive. After the light turned she started to turn left and was suddenly hit by a driver coming through the intersection. Immediately on impact, Martha felt severe pain in her left ankle and her chest and was rushed to a nearby hospital. She later learned that the bones in her ankle had been crushed and her chest severely bruised. Ultimately, Martha would require surgery to repair her left ankle which included inserting two large screws into her ankle bone. In addition, the bruising on Martha’s chest was so severe that she had to undergo surgery for a partial mastectomy of her right breast. With her bills piling up and nowhere to turn Martha called Hausmann-McNally, S.C., for help. Attorneys Matthew T. Wolf and J. Scott Bowman of Hausmann-McNally, S.C.’s Columbus, Ohio office took quick and decisive action filing the suit against the negligent driver. They soon discovered that a witness had watched the defendant accelerate through the intersection in an attempt to beat the light, recklessly causing the wreck with Martha. Despite this mounting evidence, the other driver would not take responsibility for causing the wreck. It was at this point that Attorneys Wolf and Bowman knew they would have to take Martha’s case to a jury. After battling the insurance company, Martha finally had her day in court. The jury returned a verdict in excess of $120,000, which was over $40,000 more than the insurance company’s last offer. While Martha may never physically be the same person she was prior to the accident, she is able to use this money to begin to put her life back together. Hausmann-McNally, S.C., and Attorneys Wolf and Bowman thank Martha for letting us fight for her rights and work to deliver her the justice she deserved.
Victim Gets $3,211,752.70 Verdict After Arson Fire
Hausmann-McNally, S.C., Attorneys Refuse Insurance Offer of $150,000
On January 6, 2006, Sammie Vance was in his first floor apartment at 3417 W. Hampton in Milwaukee’s inner city. At about 4:30 a.m., he noticed flickering under his door. On opening his door to explore the situation he found his apartment hallway was engulfed in flames. Confronted with this emergency he ran out of the apartment through the flaming hall without shoes or shirt. In his attempt to escape he fell and rolled on the fiery floor severely burning his feet, legs and back which resulted in second and third degree burns to 30 percent of his body. This extremely unfortunate situation offered an opportunity for attorneys at the law firm of Hausmann-McNally, S.C., to help him obtain just compensation for his injuries and pain and suffering. He endured four surgeries in addition to debridement and skin grafts to his feet, arm, shoulder and back. He was hospitalized for three months and still has permanent scarring from burns and grafts. The three attorneys on the case were all veteran attorneys in the firm: Charles Hausmann, the firm president, and partners Michael Donovan and David Bischmann. The question that bedeviled the three attorneys on the case, was what caused the fire? What could have been going on in the pre-dawn hours of the cold winter day? The investigation of the origin of the fire determined that a tenant with a previous arson conviction was allowed residency in the apartment building.
He started the fire. Then the question was, “How did he get to be a tenant in a multi-family apartment building?” The owner did not bother to perform a criminal background check to determine his suitability for tenancy. michaeldonovan The defendant’s insurance company, American Family, said the owner/landlord had no obligation to do background checks on his tenants and alleged that the owner did perform adequate background checks. They even argued that Vance’s injuries were solely the result of his own negligence because he ran headlong into a fiery hallway when he had an alternate escape route from his first floor apartment through a sliding window immediately adjacent to his bed. They argued that the other tenants in the building escaped unharmed either through window exits or waiting in their apartments until the arrival of the fire department rescue crews. So, Vance’s injuries were his own fault, they said. They made a final offer of $150,000 to settle the case. The Hausmann-McNally, S.C., trial team felt the case was worth dramatically more. They pointed out that in addition to letting an arsonist in as a tenant in the multi-family building, and neglecting to do a background check, the apartment building itself was not up to safety code. The building lacked the proper number and type of fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and fire alarm systems.
Then it was brought out that the landlord knew that the arsonist tenant would “become a monster when he was drunk” and gave a statement to his insurance company to that effect. Knowing this, he still allowed the man to remain as a tenant in the building. The Hausmann-McNally, S.C., team further argued that the landlord was negligent for failing to have an on-site resident manager and security cameras to monitor tenant activity in what was known as a high-crime building in a high-crime neighborhood. The defendants tried to say it was Sammie Vance’s own fault, that he could have avoided these injuries by simply stepping out of his first floor apartment window and exiting the building safely. The Hausmann-McNally, S.C., attorneys argued, and the jury agreed, that this was an emergency situation and the plaintiff was entitled to react instinctively to protect his own life and survival by immediately exiting through the doorway which he used to enter and exit his apartment. After all the arguments on both sides were heard, the jury found Sammie Vance was not at all negligent and placed 100 percent of the negligence on the landlord for allowing a dangerous convicted arsonist to reside in the building and not providing proper safety and security. The jury awarded $2,725,827.40 in damages and the court ordered an additional amount of prejudgment interest based upon the plaintiffs offer to settle the case approximately four years earlier for $1,000,000.00 and granted approximately $485,925.33 in prejudgment interest bringing the total verdict to $3,211,752.70.
Hausmann-McNally, S.C., Lawyer Represents Two-Year-Old Boy Bitten by Dog
In 2010, 16 deaths were caused by dogs in the U.S. Eleven of the victims were little children. Fourteen of the deaths were caused by “family dogs.” Pit bulls and Rottweilers were responsible for 15 of the 16 deaths. It was one of the worst dog-bite injuries he’s seen, said Hausmann-McNally, S.C., Attorney Patrick O’Neill. The two-year-old boy’s face was torn, his skull fractured. The boy had been bitten by a dog– his grandparents’ Pit Bull. While he was recuperating, he contracted a staph infection in the hospital. Patrick represented the boy’s family in a case to obtain compensation for his injuries and losses. On August 20, 2010, the Milwaukee County Circuit court approved a settlement for the family of over $300,000, the maximum coverage of the homeowner’s policy that covered the incident. Attorney Patrick O’Neill has handled over 50 dog-bite cases for clients during his career as a personal injury attorney. He has achieved settlement amounts from $7,500 to $305,000. While, in Patrick’s opinion, the amount is not sufficient to cover the life-long consequences of the boy’s injuries, he is satisfied that Hausmann-McNally, S.C., was able to obtain maximum compensation for the child as the grandparents had little money or property to draw on. After the experience of this case and others he has brought to trial, Patrick said he cannot understand why people insist on keeping unsafe animals. “If they knew the law and its consequences, they would pay more attention to the selection, training and restraining of their animals.” Dog owners need to be aware that their pet could get them into big trouble if they bite someone. In Wisconsin, for example, the owner is strictly liable for the full amount of damages caused by the dog, subject to the defense of comparative negligence. However, Wisconsin law also recognizes that children under the age of seven are incapable of being guilty of negligence. For those children, the fact that the dog may have been teased or provoked is not a defense. Wisconsin law states that if the owner knew that the animal had attacked or injured a person or property in a previous incident, then the owner is liable for two times the full damages. What many people do not know is that even if the dog injures another dog in a fight the owner could be liable for double damages on subsequent incidents, if he or she had been notified. Further, the law provides statutory penalties up to $500 if the owner had no prior notice of the dog causing previous injury and up to $1,000 if the owner had notice. Patrick O’Neill likes dogs, but has seen the serious injuries they can cause. Dog owners need to be vigilant in order to avoid the damage they can inflict, especially to children. Families need to know that sometimes the family pet can do serious harm. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention offers some useful recommendations for would-be pet owners. (http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/dog-bites/biteprevention.html)
How Can Dog Bites Be Prevented
Before you bring a dog into your household:
- Consult with a professional (veterinarian, animal behaviorist or responsible breeder) to learn what breeds of dogs are the best fit for your household.
- Dogs with histories of aggression are not suitable for households with children.
- Be sensitive to clues that a child is fearful or apprehensive about a dog. If a child seems frightened by dogs, wait before bringing a dog into your household.
- Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog into a house hold with an infant or toddler.
If you decide to bring a dog into your home:
- Spay/neuter your dog (this often reduces aggressive tendencies).
- Never leave infants or young children alone with a dog.
- Don’t play aggressive games with your dog (e.g. wrestling).
- Properly socialize and train any dog entering your household. Teach the dog submissive behaviors (e.g. rolling over to expose the abdomen and giving up food without growling).
- Immediately seek professional advice (e.g. from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or responsible breeders) if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.
In a Box
Dog-bite facts from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.
- Almost one in five of those who are bitten–a total of 885,000–require medical attention for dog bite-related injuries.
- In 2006, more than 31,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs.
When a dog bites someone, it can cause serious injury. Tearing of flesh, broken bones, infection, disfigurement can result. Often the injured party sues the dog owner to help recover from the loss and injuries incurred. In many cases, homeowners’ insurance is called upon to compensate victims for injuries inflicted at people’s homes. Uninsured dog owners may have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars out of their own pockets and may lose their homes and other property as a result of court judgments. Dog bite cases call for an attorney who has in-depth knowledge of your state’s laws. If you were injured by a dog, you need an attorney who knows the laws and who will investigate all avenues of recovery so that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries. Call Hausmann-McNally, S.C., 800-227-6699.
Bad Faith Insurance Nets Client an Extra Fifty Thousand
Hausmann-McNally, S.C., Gets Huge Settlement for Denied Insurance Coverage
It’s hard to believe insurance companies can be so short-sighted at times. The lawyers who work for the corporations have got to know some of the policies enacted by the companies are in a legal gray area. That’s why it’s important to have lawyers fighting for your rights like the experienced personal injury attorneys at Hausmann-McNally S.C. In some cases, having a lawyer can be the difference between a client gaining tens of thousands of dollars and filing for bankruptcy because of medical bills. One recent Hausmann-McNally, S.C., client found this out firsthand. Our client sustained serious neck and back injuries when he was cut off by a left-turning car that pulled in front of him. After the accident, the client and his wife applied for health insurance hoping the insurance company would help pay for his medical bills. Our client was completely upfront about his injuries to the insurance company and, despite the serious nature of his upcoming treatment, the company decided to take him on as a customer. Our client was charged $1,000 a month for his insurance, not cheap by any means. Somewhere along the line, however, the health insurance company decided they did not like this arrangement with our client. The company inexplicably revoked all medical payments it made to our client’s doctors and hospital. The health insurer claimed that our client did not inform the company about his pre-existing injuries when he signed up for coverage. This was not accurate. Hausmann-McNally, S.C., took the health insurer to court, and after medical bills were paid, our client was awarded $50,000 in “bad faith” compensation because the insurer broke its contract. The Hausmann-McNally, S.C., attorney said that the insurance company’s actions were “unheard of,” and that he had never before seen an insurance company withdraw payment to a hospital. “Our client paid good, hard-earned money for his insurance,” Hausmann-McNally, S.C., declared. “For this insurance company to try and pull a stunt like that was outrageous.” This $50,000 was on top of the $100,000 our client had already received from the offender’s auto insurance company. Had the victim not hired Hausmann-McNally S.C., he could have actually lost out on money he was entitled to. That is why if you have been in an accident, you should call the Hausmann-McNally, S.C., at 800-227-6699 for a free consultation. Our staff is friendly, professional and ready to answer any and all questions.
Bar Shooting Victims Recover $275,000
Hausmann-McNally, S.C., Fights Violence in Inner City
Milwaukee Attorney Charles Hausmann has been an observer and activist in the minority community for over 40 years. He has worked mostly behind the scenes to eradicate and supplant violence in Milwaukee’s central city—known as one of the nation’s worst in terms of violence and crime. While many people are working on this difficult issue, Charles has developed several unique approaches of his own to try to alleviate some of the problems. One of his key efforts to eradicate violence from the inner city relates to his work with victims of violence. He says he is particularly irked that certain taverns in the inner city are trouble spots–known to be lax in their management of dangerous characters and their premises. “As long as customers pay for their drinks, these tavern owners don’t care what they do,” Charles charges. “They over-serve people who are obviously drunk and don’t take preventative measures to ensure their law abiding patrons are safe.” He enlists civil lawsuits for money damages to sue the negligent business owners on behalf of the victims. “If the police and the city can’t get them to do right by their customers, maybe a big lawsuit can,” he reasons. Hausmann-McNally, S.C.’s trial team of Charles Hausmann, firm president and partners Michael Donovan and David Bischmann’s victory involves an incident at the Carter’s House of Jazz, 507 W. North Avenue, where a patron James Bell was killed in 2006 and two other patrons were wounded. Around 1:30 a.m. on August 16, 2006, the owner, John Carter, announced the last call for drinks and turned up the lights to inform the patrons that they would soon have to leave. As patrons started to exit, one of the regulars at the club, Donald Oliver, for no apparent reason, pulled a hand gun and fired indiscriminately into the crowd killing Bell, and wounding Donta Williams and Latjana Williams. Upon review of prior Milwaukee Police Department criminal incident reports, 911 calls for police services and Milwaukee Common Council records, Charles found that Carter’s House of Jazz had serious security problems in the past. There had been numerous shootings in and around the tavern, disruptive crowds outside the premises at closing time and multiple violent incidences at the location involving guns and requiring police intervention. As a result, the Milwaukee Common Council labeled Carter’s House of Jazz a chronic nuisance and suspended the tavern license for 90 days. As a condition for re-opening, Carter’s House of Jazz agreed to employ an armed security force to check all incoming patrons for weapons, verify ID cards and age, maintain crowd control and premise security. But, as Attorney Hausmann says, hiring a security firm isn’t the final answer. Security personnel have to be trained, supervised and competent. Carter’s House of Jazz hired the professional security company Central Protective Services. They assigned two armed and uniformed security officers to the club. Central Protective Services guards notified their supervisor two weeks prior to the shooting incident that their “electronic wand” to check for metal, knifes and guns was broken. The guards testified that they had, on numerous occasions, requested a replacement wand but that all requests had gone unanswered. The guards further testified that during the period they were unable to search and pat down any female patrons because the security company did not provide a female guard. The shooter Donald Oliver admitted that he tipped the security guards on the night of the incident. He was not searched and was waived through the entry door while carrying a high-powered handgun. Oliver testified that he was high on drugs and intoxicated at the time of the shooting and claims he had no particular motive. He is now serving a long prison sentence. The defense put forth that the gun came into the tavern secreted in a female’s crotch prior to when the security guards of Central Protective Services came on duty attempting to place the entire blame on the security guards employed by John Carter, which were uninsured and non-professionals. Charles, president and partner of Hausmann-McNally, S.C., and a practicing personal injury attorney for over 40 years, claimed negligence based on:
- Security company’s guards not having the proper equipment,
- Security guards failure to search Donald Oliver, allowing him to enter the premises while armed,
- Shooter’s sworn statements that he was not searched because he tipped the security guards.
Despite the security company’s efforts to “get off the hook,” the claim of the three plaintiffs were settled for a total of $275,000.00 several days before the trial was scheduled to begin. Hausmann-McNally, S.C., is involved in several other cases where shootings and violence occurred at dangerous inner-city businesses. Charles says he feels that when business owners realize that they have an obligation to provide a safe environment for their customers and an obligation to provide adequate security that the community will be a safer place for both customers and businesses. “Businesses can’t just consider profits but also have to consider safety. Human life trumps profits.” he says.
Other Attorneys Refused the Case Hausmann-McNally, S.C., Recovers $310,000
In November of 2005, a young man was helping an individual who was repairing his home. He was mounting a ladder when it slipped and he fell to the ground head first. As a result, he suffered serious brain injury. He lost much of his memory and thought-processing ability. Doctors could not promise full recovery. He was unable to work for an extended period and felt pretty hopeless about his future. The first two attorneys he contacted flatly refused to take the case. They felt it was hopeless because it appeared most difficult to establish liability in the situation. Charles Hausmann, president of Hausmann-McNally, S.C., felt this man deserved his day in court. Hausmann-McNally, S.C., agreed to take the case. The firm’s attorneys and investigators thoroughly examined the circumstances of the incident. The firm located and retained the services of a noted ladder expert, who reported to them that the specific ladder used was clearly meant to be tied down and braced as outlined by the OSHA instructions. The process to bring the matter to justice included numerous depositions and motions by the defendant’s insurance company to avoid its responsibility for paying the claim. After a complicated series of procedures, the injured man agreed to accept a settlement in the amount of $310,000. He is now taking college-level courses and rebuilding his life after the accident.
Indiana Attorney Finds an Additional $50,000 for Injured Client
Rodney Tucker, personal injury attorney who manages the Hausmann-McNally, S.C., Indianapolis office, recently represented a woman who fell and was injured at her workplace. Her employer had hired contractors to repair their sidewalks and handicap ramp, but the plywood they laid down in front of the building was not secure. The woman slipped on the plywood as she was trying to enter the building, resulting in painful hand and wrist injuries that required several surgeries. The injuries were painful and also diminished her ability to do her job. While her workers’ comp eventually came through with a settlement of $45,000, Rodney felt that the property owner (and their insurance company) was also responsible for not overseeing the outside work. He was able to obtain an additional $50,000 for the woman from the companies that insured the property owner and the construction crew. “It is not that we are looking out to ‘get’ people,” he maintains. “But the law clearly places responsibility on people who own property to take reasonable precautions to ensure customers and workers are safe. In this case, the property owner and construction company were negligent and rightly had to pay the injured party.” Many people believe that Workers’ Comp is the absolute end of the story when someone is injured at work, but the attorneys at Hausmann-McNally, S.C., have often discovered other parties that bore responsibility for the injury and pursued a case against them on their client’s behalf. (See lawyers’ explanation below.) Slip-and-fall injuries are an area where Hausmann-McNally, S.C., personal injury attorneys have years of experience. If you have had such an injury, do not hesitate to call for a consultation that will help you decide if you wish to pursue a case against a negligent property or business owner. Call us at 1-800-227-6699 to make an appointment. We are willing to come to you at your home, in the hospital, your office or any location that is convenient for you.
Hausmann-McNally, S.C., Wins $1.7 Million Verdict for Tavern-Shooting
The life of a young musician, Youantis Wright, took a bad turn when he was severely injured in a tavern shooting. He finally received justice in Milwaukee County Circuit Court when his attorneys at Hausmann-McNally, S.C.—Charles Hausmann and Michael Donovan–won a $1.7 million verdict. On November 28, 2005 Youantis Wright just happened to be in at Remedies Bar & Grill, 5666 N. Teutonia Ave., with friends celebrating the production of his first CD. At closing time he noticed a fight in the parking lot and because he knew some of the people involved he tried to stop the argument. Unfortunately, he was in the path of assault weapon bullets fired by the tavern’s security guard, Decosta Edwards. One of bullets tore through Wright’s chest and went out his back, causing injuries which almost killed him. After being taken to Froedert Memorial Hospital where he had to be resuscitated several times, Wright endured months of surgeries and medical treatments to repair the damaged areas in his chest and torso. Judge Charles F. Kahn found that Decosta Edwards was negligent the night of November 19, 2005 and ordered $500,000 for Wright’s past and future pain and suffering, $230,000 for medical bills and $1 million in punitive damages. The judge found that the defendant intentionally disregarded Wright’s rights. The bar owner, Suzana Ristic-Crumble declared bankruptcy just as the case was going to trial, to avoid facing the consequences of this action. Attorneys Hausmann and Donovan say the case definitely sends the right message. “For one thing, Youantis Wright deserves justice for his injuries,” said Michael Donovan. “The man who shot him only served five days in prison for the shooting that almost cost him his life and Youantis was not satisfied that was adequate punishment.” “We are absolutely convinced that the trouble that comes from area taverns has to be stopped,” says Charles Hausmann. “Badly managed taverns are a blight on many neighborhoods–the root of many drug, alcohol and violence problems. We are sending notice that tavern and other business owners can be hit in their pocketbooks as well as face criminal charges,” he added. The firm has several other pending civil lawsuits aimed at holding businesses accountable for violence at their premises.
Hausmann-McNally, S.C., Lawyer Gets Client $70,124 After Allstate Offers $4,181 Resourceful Attorney Gets Client 16 Times What Allstate Offers
COLUMBUS, OHIO–A good part of the law business involves dealing with insurance companies. Many times, the insurance company will low-ball a client and make an absurdly low offer which they hope the client will take. Clients without legal representation may fall for the insurance company’s offer to settle quickly, say that the case isn’t worth much, or claim that injuries were pre-existing conditions. Have no doubts, most insurance companies would rather pay you less than more, and would prefer to pay you nothing if they could get away with it. That includes your own insurance company. A major victory over an unreasonably low offer involved Hausmann-McNally, S.C., Attorney J. Scott Bowman, who represented a client injured in an automobile accident. After the accident, she was unable to get the surgery she needed because she did not have health insurance. It didn’t help that Allstate dragged its feet by refusing to make a fair settlement. The 36-year old woman was injured by an automobile driver who failed to yield at a stop sign. Injuries included tear to her ACL as well as cervical, thoracic and lumbar sprains/strains. Medical bills were projected to top $20,000. J. Scott also showed she had lost wages in the amount of $12,000 to $13,000. Aside from the bad publicity Allstate garners for not adequately paying claims, J. Scott had to go before a jury and, during a three-day trial, proved that his client’s injuries and medical bills were worth a whole lot more than Allstate offered her. Allstate’s final offer was $4,181! After hearing both sides, the jury awarded Attorney Bowman’s client $70,124, almost all of what he had asked for. The case was written up in the Winter 2011 issue of the Columbus (Ohio) Lawyers Quarterly. Their slogan might be “You’re in Good Hands with Allstate,” but this client believes she was in far better hands with Hausmann-McNally, S.C., a personal injury law firm that really looks after their clients’ interests. Attorney Bowman is the managing attorney for Hausmann-McNally, S.C.’s Columbus, Ohio office.
Five-Years Case Finally Settles for $1 Million
As she was driving to work, a 32-year old woman was hit by a truck on the front driver‘s side. The truck driver was clearly out of his lane. The woman’s injuries were severe and included a severed aorta, which is the largest artery in the body . In life-saving surgery, her aorta was surgically repaired by means of inserting a mesh patch. Her other injuries, including a badly broken leg and broken wrist which made it impossible for her to work. Tragedy struck again as her boyfriend, with whom she had been living, died of brain cancer only a few months after her accident and while she was still recuperating. Not surprising for cases with insurance companies, the case dragged on as she struggled to find ways to make a living and maintain a roof over her head. Meanwhile, the attorneys at Hausmann-McNally, S.C., did what they could to keep up her spirits. After a long period, the case was settled with the insurer paying her $1 million for her injuries and losses. She now has a regular income from the structured settlement, which is an option clients can choose when they win a settlement.
Determined Attorney Finds Ways to Get Victim $1.49 Million for Serious Injuries
Experienced personal injury attorneys are very creative people when it comes to helping accident victims receive compensation for their losses and injuries. The good ones don’t take “no” for an answer. They are bird dogs when it comes to finding sources to help pay for their clients’ injuries and losses. By pursuing all aspects of a case that was racking up huge medical bills for a five-year-old girl’s family, Indiana Attorney Rod Tucker managed to help them recover financially from a serious automobile accident and come out with a structured settlement that will yield an expected payout of $1.49 million. Rod Tucker is a seasoned attorney who manages the Indianapolis office for Hausmann-McNally, S.C., a personal injury law firm. In June 2008, the girl was riding in the back seat and her father was in the front seat as her uncle drove on a rural Indiana road. Their car was going through a four-way intersection where three of the corners were open fields and the fourth was the site of a house with fencing, trees and shrubs. As they went into the intersection, their car was rammed by a car from the right. Both cars flew into a field. The girl’s father was injured, but it was apparent that his daughter was critically injured. Her head and leg injuries were so severe that she was airlifted to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. At the hospital, doctors induced a coma and kept her “asleep” for 55 days while they did what they could to heal her brain and legs. Treatment included risky brain surgery and numerous other therapies. Although he was injured himself, her father never left his daughter’s side in those 55 days. Rodney said it at first appeared that there was not going to be enough insurance money to cover the expensive treatment which had already cost over a half million dollars. The insurance on the cars involved in the accident amounted to $170,000. In the interest of his clients, he set to work to find and sue the parties that shared responsibility. Rodney investigated the site and found that the stop sign was located 20 feet back from the corner and that the county had never ordered the property owners to maintain a clear line of sight for motorists at the intersection. He asked, and Clinton County agreed in mediation, to pay $300,000 because of the poor design and maintenance of that rural intersection. In mediation proceedings in December 2010 Rodney received $350,000 from the homeowners’ insurance because, by creating their privacy landscape, the home owners were responsible for obstructing the visibility at the intersection. In order to maximize the benefit to his client, he further convinced the hospital that treated the girl to significantly reduce the family’s medical bills so that the there would be some money left to help with her care into the future. After being presented a case that seemed to have insufficient insurance, Rodney got five parties to share the expenses for the injuries and loss suffered by that little girl. She will receive an estimated $1.49 million in payments over the course of the next 45 years. Rodney, who teaches several law classes at nearby universities, tells his personal injury law students, “the easy cases are when there are lots of injuries and lots of money.” The hard ones, he says, “are those situations where there are severe injuries, a lot of potential for compensation, but insufficient insurance and assets and it appears that nobody wants to pay.” This was one of those cases. Early on, the insufficient insurance seemed to sentence the family to bankruptcy or a life of paying off huge medical bills. The services of a skilled and dedicated attorney helped shift the picture to a rosier one for the girl and her family. The little girl, now seven, is still receiving physical therapy for her leg injuries. The brace on her right leg may be part of her life for a long time. Doctors continue to monitor her for delayed symptoms related to the brain injuries. Nonetheless, her family is grateful to have her with them and grateful that the medical bills have not bankrupted them. The settlement achieved by Hausmann-McNally, S.C., helps ensure their daughter a brighter future than was originally thought possible. The attorneys at Hausmann-McNally, S.C., know that one of the foundations of the firm’s success is that they work relentlessly to ferret out the ways to get compensation for their clients. Effective management of the legal case and subsequent negotiations with the medical providers mean that, for this client, there will likely be over $1.4 million for her to use for her college education or other things that will assure a secure future. There is never a totally happy ending to a story that begins with a tragic accident, but in these unfortunate circumstances, it illustrates many facets of the services provided by personal injury attorneys.
Tragic Gas Station Shooting Results in Death
The Hausmann-McNally, S.C., trial team of Charles Hausmann, Michael Donovan and David Bischmann have successfully resolved another premise security case. Senior Partner Attorney Charles Hausmann relates that on October 30, 2006 at 10:30 p.m. Nehemiah Prescott, along with three of his young friends, went to the Gas N Go station at 1909 W. Hopkins in the inner city of Milwaukee. For the two year period prior to the date of the shooting of Nehemiah Prescott the Gas N Go station had experienced numerous robberies, gang activity, destruction and damage to vehicles and property, drug dealing and prostitution on the gas station lot. The gas station was not well maintained, had inadequate lighting and only one exterior security camera. The gas station had a part-time, untrained and unarmed security person who doubled as a clean up / maintenance person to work the inside of the convenience store to prevent thefts. The station had no uniformed – armed security guards working the lot although several of the cashiers and employees of the station testified that they themselves had been assaulted on the premises and that the station needed an armed professional security force to protect the employees and customers. On October 30, 2006 an unknown assailant entered onto the premises and secluded himself in an unlit area next to the gas station building that was not in view of the surveillance camera and shot into the back of the vehicle where Nehemiah Prescott was sleeping. The assailant’s bullet ripped through the back window of the SUV and entered Nehemiah Prescott’s skull killing him immediately. Suit was brought on behalf of Nehemiah Prescott’s parents for lose of society and companionship. The plaintiffs alleged that not only was the gas station proprietor negligent in failing to maintain a safe premise for his customers, but that he was negligent in failing to maintain proper security in not providing proper lighting, security cameras, allowing the premises to become a gathering place for criminal activity and failing to provide an armed uniformed security force that would provide a safe location for both employees and customers. Attorney Hausmann explains that in addition to the negligence cause of action the plaintiff plead and the court sustained a claim against the defendant for failure to abate a public nuisance. The public nuisance claim allowed greater latitude in presenting the numerous criminal incidences and violent acts that occurred on the premises during years prior to the Nehemiah Prescott shooting. The defense was that the young men who were in the vehicle with Nehemiah Prescott were involved in prior criminal activity and that the shooting was an act of gang violence and an assassination that was not the result of any negligence on behalf of the defendant, but was a retaliatory killing that was unforeseeable and no level of security could have prevented. The case settled for $125,000 on the morning of trial with the jury waiting in the hallway outside the courtroom.
Insurance Denies Claim, Lawyer Persists for Justice – $80,000 Settlement
It is a personal injury attorney’s job to fight for his clients’ rights, something we take very seriously at Hausmann-McNally, S.C. Sometimes it is hard to believe the lengths insurance companies will go in order to deny paying rightful claims. A case in the Decatur, Illinois area is a case in point. In 2006, a young woman was hurt in a serious automobile collision. The driver, unfortunately, died several days after the accident. The victim—a Hausmann-McNally, S.C., client—suffered injuries including head, shoulder, hand and neck pain, scarring, numbness and frayed nerves. She needed a host of diagnoses and treatments to restore her health. Her journey through medical and treatment centers made her uneasy but she was encouraged to persist in the quest to get relief from the pain and to heal from her injuries. Meanwhile, the at-fault party’s insurance company denied the claim to pay for her injuries and losses because the driver of the car suffered a Stokes-Adams event* and later died. The insurance company invoked the Divine, saying the accident was “an act of God.” So much for that. Not impressed with their theology, Hausmann-McNally, S.C., Attorney Greg Abel of the Decatur, Illinois office, appealed the insurance company’s decision. He claimed that this was not an act of god—something out of the blue that cannot be predicted–because the at-fault driver had a health condition that he should have addressed. Abel took the matter to the Macon County Circuit Court, and lost in the first round. He persisted, taking the case to the appellate court, where the three justices agreed with his contention that there were facts that needed to be considered. It took a lot of persistence and patience as the case dragged on and the victim worried about medical bills and treatments. When the case went back to the Circuit Court, the defendant’s insurance company suggested the parties work with a mediator to resolve the matter. Pekin Insurance eventually settled the claim for $80,000. It took over five years and a mountain of paperwork, court appearances and court documents to complete the case. The important thing is that the client would have received nothing if Abel did not pursue the case after the insurance company denied the claim. Like we said, we take the protection of our clients’ interests very seriously. * Stokes-Adams syndrome is a heart disorder characterized by dizziness, labored breathing and fainting. If you have been injured in an automobile, truck, or motorcycle accident, do not hesitate to call our office for a free consultation. Calling will put you in touch with a law firm with over 40 years experience and caring for clients.
Bicyclist Awarded $220,000 After Hit-and-Run
Soon-to-Be Repealed Pro-Consumer Auto Insurance Legislation Ensures Hausmann-McNally, S.C., Client Gets Big Settlement.
Complicated policies and legal jargon are two of the most effective weapons insurance companies use to skirt out of paying claims. Insurance representatives can use loopholes to deny their customers out of what they’re owed. Luckily for our clients, the personal injury attorneys at Hausmann-McNally, S.C., know insurance technicalities even better than the claims adjustors at insurance companies. The victim was riding his bicycle in Racine, Wisconsin when a vehicle driving in the opposite direction drifted over the center line and struck him virtually head on. He was ejected from his bicycle. Our client suffered significant injuries, including fracturing his neck, and both feet. The fractured neck required emergent surgery, meaning our client needed to be operated on right away or there was the risk of permanent paralysis or even death. He also suffered numerous abrasions and lacerations. His medical bills ran to the tune of $178,000. The driver fled the scene in the vehicle, and despite attempts to track down the vehicle, the investigation turned up no adequate information. After it became clear that the identity of the driver was most likely not going to be discovered, Hausmann-McNally, S.C., attorneys Miles Lindner and Dave Bischmann turned their focus to investigating uninsured motorist coverage. Our client, a young adult, carried no auto insurance himself, but he did permanently reside with his father. Our client’s father and stepmother insured two cars with their auto insurance company, and it was determined the uninsured motorist provision could be applied to the victim. At first, the insurance company represented that the maximum uninsured motorist coverage was $100,000, and the maximum medical payout would be $10,000. Attorneys Lindner and Bischmann recognized that under then current Wisconsin law, the policy limit was double that of the insurance company’s uninsured motorist coverage because the victim’s father insured two cars, and therefore the family was eligible for double the uninsured motorist coverage and medical payout. After our lawyers presented the insurance company with this evidence, the company agreed to pay $200,000 in uninsured motorist insurance as well as a $20,000 medical payout to our client, for a total of $220,000. Our lawyers then went to work for the victim to reduce his health insurance payment. Originally, our client’s health insurer asserted a subrogation argument to try to obtain $94,755.82 from the victim’s settlement. Subrogation is when an insurance company tries to recoup a claim it paid out when it has been determined another party is responsible for the payments, either the person at fault, or in this case, an insurance company responsible for payment of the damages. In the end, attorneys Lindner and Bischmann got the health insurer to reduce its claim by 71.4 percent to $27,100. Our client’s net recovery claim came to $118,418.57, an excellent outcome for a case where the responsible party fled the scene and the victim himself had no personal auto insurance. If you have been hurt in an auto, motorcycle or bicycle accident, call the Hausmann-McNally, S.C. to discuss the issue with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys. There is no cost or obligation for consultation.
Jury Awards $540,354 to Motorcyclist Injured in Auto Crash
In July 2007, Randy Swenson was riding his motorcycle west on U.S. Highway 14 near Janesville when he was struck by a young driver traveling east. Swenson suffered severe injuries, which at the time seemed critical as he was in excruciating pain and could hardly breathe. His medical bills ran over $200,000 and therapy ran for a substantial period of time. A trial conducted in Rock County, Wisconsin in late January of 2012 concluded when the jury awarded Swenson $540,354 which included medical payments and a very substantial amount for Randy Swenson’s pain and suffering that he incurred as a result of this most serious accident. Randy Swenson, now 60 years old, is now far better off than he was after the accident. Hausmann-McNally, S.C., trial attorney, Miles Lindner made the case that Swenson suffered devastating injuries, which also caused extreme pain and suffering that will remain with him the rest of his life. The defendant’s insurance company, American Family’s attorney, argued that the primary policy covering the driver had adequately compensated Swenson for his injuries. Attorney Lindner disagreed and insisted that the injuries exceeded the primary policy and that a secondary policy should also kick in and pay for additional injuries over and above the primary policy. Attorney Lindner’s insistence that his client, Randy Swenson, get maximum payment for the full extent of his injuries required him to have a full-blown jury trial to assert his client’s rights to maximum recovery. He argued that the fact that the victim suffered near fatal injuries and spent long periods of time in excruciating pain, which was also traumatic for his family, meant he was entitled to additional compensation for what the law classifies as “pain and suffering.” The insurance company, American Family, did one of the oldest tricks in the book and hired investigators to trail our client and do surveillance videos of Mr. Swenson power walking in the woods in an attempt to show that Randy Swenson had fully recovered from his injuries and that he was not entitled to the substantial recovery that Attorney Lindner was requesting from the jury. Besides being a sleazy and invasive practice, it was a wasted investment and backfired against the insurance company because Attorney Lindner argued they should have been videotaping Mr. Swenson when he was in the surgery room being pieced together and in excruciating pain while being told by the doctors that he may lose his leg as a result of the carelessness of American Family’s insured driver. Attorney Lindner further pointed out where was the video of Mr. Swenson in the Flight-For-Life helicopter and being assisted by his brother when showering and using the bathroom. The jury would have none of this sleazy tactic and rejected it out of hand. Although Randy Swenson suffered very serious injuries and at one time was told he may lose his leg, he has gradually been healing. With the assistance of great doctors and therapists and his own determination, he has made a very good recovery. Attorney Lindner made sure that Mr. Swenson received the credit for his grit, perseverance, and healing, and not American Family. He has also now made a very good monetary recovery from the negligent driver and her insurance company. Attorney Charles J. Hausmann, firm President, congratulated Attorney Lindner and said “This was a marvelous result for our client and Attorney Lindner’s dedication, persistence and superb trial skills netted Randy Swenson a tremendous verdict. Job well done!!!”
Loose Cow Causes $400,000 Crash
It was a warm summer morning in 2008 as Hausmann-McNally, S.C.’s future client drove her motorcycle on a country road heading for her National Guard Post where she had worked for many years. Her thoughts were on her unit’s impending deployment and on the roadway in front of her. She was an experienced, careful motorcycle rider but from behind a clump of trees on her right a cow suddenly bound onto the roadway in front of her much too late for her to have any chance of avoiding it. The motorcycle crashed into the cow and as she went down the rider suffered serious injuries including fracturing both wrists requiring metal plates and screws, multiple surgeries, fractured her two front teeth requiring a root canal, and suffering a nasty laceration inside her lower lip.
She also suffered a head injury that prevented her from remembering how the collision occurred. Attorney Amy Davis The defendant’s insurance company never missing a chance to take advantage of the injuries they caused and used this lack of memory of how the collision occurred to place blame for the accident on our client. Attorneys Rod Tucker and Amy Davis of the personal injury firm of Hausmann-McNally, S.C., immediately assigned the firms investigators to do a background check and found that the farmer who owned the cow had been cited more than twenty times over the prior ten years for allowing his livestock to wonder off his property and onto the roadway.
He even allowed them to get on the road the day after this serious collision. Attorney Rodney Tucker The insurance company in an attempt to take advantage of the head injury and inability of our client to remember how the collision occurred denied and delayed this case for close to five years. The Hausmann-McNally, S.C., personal injury attorneys Tucker and Davis were as relentless and persistent as the insurance company was dilatory and unconscionable in denying this claim. Finally, after years of investigation, discovery proceedings, depositions and trial preparations the insurance company was forced to honestly and realistically look at the actions of its negligent cow owner and compensated our injured client $400,000. While nothing makes up for the losses and injuries suffered by someone in this situation or the frustration of being told it is your fault while the insurance company delays, it is the pledge of Hausmann-McNally, S.C., personal injury attorneys to use our skills, tenacity and persistence to fight for our clients as long as necessary to see that justice is done.