What Are the Penalties for a First-Time Owi in Wisconsin?

If you are charged with a first-time OWI in Wisconsin, you will be facing fines, a revocation of your license and the requirement of an ignition interlock device if your BAC was .15 or above. If a minor was in the vehicle, you will be facing jail time. View the official Wisconsin Statutes detailing laws pertaining to a conviction of “operating under influence of intoxicant or other drug”.

If you are charged with a first or subsequent OWI, contact Gatzke and McFadden Law Offices. Selecting an experienced attorney is the first step towards regaining control of your life. 

How to Secure a Beneficial Fresh Start Post Divorce

According to a Business Insider article, opinions about divorce in the United States have evolved. It has become clear to many that divorce may be a crucial choice, due to a plethora of reasons. Most of these reasons involve securing your happiness. Despite the benefits and fresh start your divorce may offer, the process is quite stressful. Here are some tips on how to effectively maneuver initiating a fresh start in your post divorce life.

If you hope to secure a bright post divorce future, contact our firm. At Gatzke and McFadden Law Offices, we strive to find solutions that effectively protect your rights.

Statistics Reveal Reality of Prevalence of Fatal Car Crashes

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) website offers statistics detailing the number of fatalities that have resulted from different car crash types. 56 percent of fatal car crashes were frontal impact crashes (7,433), while 23 percent were side impact crashes (3,568). After examining these numbers, it becomes clear that many kinds of car crashes can prove deadly. It is paramount to hold the negligent party responsible for any damages you or your loved ones suffer as a result of a car accident. 

At Gatzke and McFadden Law Offices, we understand and that when an accident happens, your life becomes forever changed. Our attorneys assume the responsibility for providing effective, aggressive investigation and representation.

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Department of Justice Ordered to End Reliance on Private Prison Contracts

President Biden signed an executive order calling for a halt to the Department of Justice’s reliance on contracts with private prisons. The order asserts itself as part of Biden’s broader approach to combat racial inequity. Before signing the action, Biden asserted it is crucial for the United States to shift “its whole approach” when it comes to handling racial injustice. Identical restrictions of the Justice Department’s contracts with private prisons were put into place under the Obama administration.

Link to Article

The Dangers of Winter Driving

During these Wisconsin winter weather months, it is important to be aware of just how dangerous winter conditions can prove when we are behind the wheel. Did you know that each year, there are nearly 2,000 fatal car crashes as a result of icy and snowy conditions? According to AAA, it could take your car up to 10 times longer to complete a stop in snowy road conditions. View these statistics and more eye-opening information via the following link. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident this winter, contact Gatzke and McFadden Law Offices. Our legal counsel is aware that personal injuries can cause physical and mental injuries, that can severely inhibit your well-being. We routinely ensure our clients obtain the compensation they deserve for any damages incurred. 

Link to Statistics

Mental Injuries Caused by a Personal Injury Accident

In a personal injury case, along with physical injuries suffered, mental injuries caused by your accident are relevant as well. As a result of someone else’s negligence, you may suffer from mental illnesses that can significantly decrease your quality of life. These illnesses may include depression, loss of appetite, sleep disturbances or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is crucial to seek compensation for all damages incurred as a result of a personal injury accident, no matter if they are physical, or mental. Both physical and mental damages are detrimental to one’s well-being. 

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Woman’s Shoulder Injury Results in Policy Limits Settlement

Milwaukee.  A 62 year old West Allis woman, who was injured in an automobile accident, received a $300,000 settlement from the insurance company, according to court records released last week.

The client, an occupational nurse, injured her shoulder in the accident when a vehicle she was driving was struck by another motorist at the intersection of S. 70th Street and Orchard Street in West Allis. The other driver was cited by West Allis police.

The client was initially treated immediately after the accident for what appeared to be minor shoulder injuries. Within a week of the accident, she began to experience ongoing problems with her shoulder and returned to her physician. She ultimately endured months of physical therapy and chiropractic treatment before finally resorting to shoulder surgery nearly two years after the crash. That surgery was then followed by more than 15 months of post-operative therapy.

While the reconstructive shoulder surgery appears to have resolved the pain complaints, the client has never been able to return to the condition she was in prior to the accident. A doctor’s report provided by Gatzke Law indicated that the client had suffered a 10% permanent injury to the shoulder. The payment from the insurance company represented the policy limits in the case. Gatzke had originally demanded the policy limits nearly a year before the case settled, but at that time the insurance company was only offering a few thousand to settle the claim.

“It was extremely frustrating to deal with this particular insurance adjuster in this case because up until a week before the case was settled, they were continuing to deny that the shoulder injury was related to the accident,” Gatzke said. “They claimed that the lack of serious damage to the car was an indication that her shoulder injuries must have been related to some other incident.”

Once the attorneys at Gatzke Law were able to produce conclusive medical evidence linking the shoulder injury to the accident, the insurance quickly moved to settle the case.

Gatzke Law also represented the client’s 16 year old daughter, who was a passenger in the car and who was also injured in the crash. That portion of the case settled just over two years after the accident.

New Berlin Firm Wins $300,000 Award

Milwaukee.  A Dousman man was awarded $300,000 for injuries suffered in an auto accident more than six years ago caused by a driver who fell asleep and ran a stoplight.

A 43-year-old postal worker suffered neck and shoulder injuries as a result of the accident and has undergone three separate surgeries since the accident.

The client was represented by the attorneys at Gatzke Law. Two separate insurance companies will split the responsibility for payment of the $300,000 pursuant to the agreement signed by all parties.

The accident occurred when another motorist ran a red light and struck the front end of the GEO Metro driven by the client. The force of the collision tore off the entire front end of the client’s car. The client was ambulatory at the scene but went to see his doctor as a precaution. His doctor determined that he had suffered a shoulder injury and following a brief period of conservative care, they performed the first surgery to repair the tear.

Doctors performed surgery again one year later and ultimately followed up with a complete shoulder reconstruction two years after that.

“Our client has undergone a lot in the last six years,” Gatzke said. “While he is pleased with the award, I’m sure that if he had his choice, he’d rather the accident never occurred.”

“The hope is that the award will provide our client with the resources he will need to ensure that if he wants to change careers or if he needs additional medical care, it’s there for him,” Gatzke said.

Gatzke Law Wins Stacking Argument, $1.76 Million Judgment.

Milwaukee.  Gatzke Law won a $1.76 million judgment in a wrongful death motor vehicle accident case in Kenosha County.

That verdict was more than three times the amount originally identified as “policy limits” by the Minnesota-based insurance company.  The insurance company originally claimed that the limits in the case were $500,000, but the attorneys at Gatzke Law closely reviewed the policy and determined that coverage for the three vehicles could be “stacked,” raising the policy limits to $1.5 million.

The family was driving northbound on US 45, a two-lane rural highway, and as he approached the T-intersection with Highway N in Kenosha County, the client slowed down to drive around road construction signs which had been erected near the intersection as a result of roadwork being done.

Our client had the right of way on US 45 as he came to the intersection with Highway N. Westbound Highway N ends at US 45 in a T intersection, and there is a stop sign at the intersection controlling traffic on Highway N. There is no stop sign for traffic on US 45. Immediately west of the intersection of Highway N and US 45 is a deep culvert and drainage ditch and then a farm field. The area is not well lit, but the sightlines along Highway N toward US 45 were not obstructed because the corn in the field had not yet grown. The evening was clear and dry, and there were no apparent obstructions preventing a vehicle traveling westbound on Highway N from seeing a vehicle traveling northbound on US 45 with its headlights “ON.”

The client reported hearing screeching tires and within a matter of one to two seconds, a vehicle smashed into the passenger side of his car, near the pillar between the front and back doors. The family’s vehicle was pushed to the west and thrown approximately 100’ into a farm field drainage ditch.

The driver who struck the family did not have insurance.  The client’s claim, therefore, was against his own insurer and the uninsured motorist coverage that existed under the policy.

An analysis of the declarations section revealed that the family had three vehicles insured the policy, each with an individual uninsured limit of $500,000, and each subject to a specific uninsured motorist premium of $12.46/payment period. Gatzke argued that because the insurance company made the family pay a separate $12.46 monthly premium for each of the three vehicles he had insured, he should be entitled to three times the uninsured limits, or $1.5 million, instead of just $500,000. The insurance company refused and Gatzke filed a motion for declaratory judgment on the issue. When he won on that issue, the insurance company agreed to pay the $1.5 million for the insured claim and additional amounts for injuries suffered by others in the vehicle.

Gatzke Law Stops Destruction of Evidence, Wins $1 Million Judgment in Wrongful Death Motorcycle Case

Milwaukee.  The attorneys at the New Berlin firm, Gatzke Law, acted quickly following an accident to preserve critical evidence and then used that evidence to win a $1 million jury verdict in a Waukesha County wrongful death case.

The client was killed in a motorcycle crash when he was struck by a truck as he crossed the intersection of W. Beloit Road and S. Moorland Road on his way to work in New Berlin in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 19.

The client, 38 and the father of three, worked as a machinist and was on his way to work just before 6 a.m. when he was struck by another motorist, who was driving a brand new leased truck. The client was traveling westbound on Beloit, the other driver was driving southbound on Moorland. 

New Berlin police completed their investigation over the weekend, and on the next Tuesday morning, they notified the lessor that they could pick up the damaged truck from the police impound lot.  In the meantime, the client’s widow met with the life insurance agent representing the decedent and gave him details, as she knew them, from the accident. The insurance agent, sensing that there might be a claim to be made for the accident, advised the widow to contact the attorneys at Gatzke Law and have them investigate to determine if she might have the basis for a claim.

Upon being contacted on Monday afternoon, investigators from Gatzke’s office went to look at the scene of the accident and inspected the car in the NB police impound facility. Gatzke’s investigators were stunned to learn that police had not downloaded information from the truck’s computer which could be used to determine a number of factors including vehicle speed at impact. When Gatzke’s investigators learned that the vehicle was going to be released on Tuesday, they notified Gatzke who prepared an emergency Order and got it signed by the duty Judge on Monday evening and then presented the Order to the police preventing them from returning the car on Tuesday morning. Had the vehicle been returned to Enterprise, the data in the onboard computer would have been lost forever.

The onboard data recorder constantly records a series of data feeds, including the vehicle speed, engine RPM’s, and whether or not the brakes are engaged, and whenever the air bag is deployed, the data recorder freezes the five seconds of data immediately preceding air bag deployment.

Once the Court-order was in place, Gatzke Law retained Robert Krenz, a professional engineer and traffic reconstruction expert, to inspect the vehicle and download the data.  What the data revealed was staggering.

Contrary to the other motorist’s statement that he had slowed nearly to a stop as he approached the intersection, and then accelerated when his light turned green, the vehicle data recorder indicated that his speed was a constant 45 miles per hour during the entire 5 seconds before impact. In addition, the brakes were never engaged prior to impact and the vehicles RPM’s were constant for the entire five seconds before the truck struck the motorcycle.

Gatzke Law’s investigators then went to work and found witnesses who saw the client stopped at the red light at Beloit and Moorland waiting for the light to change, and they found a security video from a nearby gas station that confirmed the witness accounts of the client’s actions before the accident.

At the trial In Waukesha County, the other driver repeated the story he had told police and New Berlin police testified in his favor, albeit they were forced to admit, under questioning by Gatzke, that they had done an inadequate investigation. Gatzke then presented the data recovered by his experts and the witnesses who testified as to what they had seen.

Without an actual witness who could testify that the client had the right of way, Gatzke presented an argument based on the available evidence, challenged the other driver’s honest recollection of what happened, and was able to convince the jury that the driver who hit the client was at fault. The jury awarded the client’s wife $1 million in damages.