My Claim’s Adjuster Says I Don’t Need an Attorney for my Workers Compensation Injury.  Is That True?

My Claim’s Adjuster Says I Don’t Need an Attorney for my Workers Compensation Injury.  Is That True?

While the workers’ compensation system was originally developed in Wisconsin to relieve the worker from the cost of hiring an attorney, that only applies to claims in a “perfect world” setting.  A “perfect world” where the insurance company has conceded or accepted the injury claim and the injured worker is getting ALL the benefits that he is entitled too, without argument, delay, or hassle from the workers compensation insurance carrier.

Rarely does this “perfect world” happen when a Wisconsin worker is injured.  The insurance company always has an eye out to deny the claim, lessen its exposure, and responsibility.  With that mindset, the insurance company looks for reasons to not pay, delay, and ultimately deny.  They have many tricks up their sleeves to either never pay or stop benefits.  They may claim that the injury never occurred at work, or that the injury is personal to you and not related to what happened on the job.  Or they may claim you did not report the injury timely, or that your rendition of how the injury occurred is a lie.  Sometimes, they just ignore you and don’t even respond to your report of injury hoping you will just go away.  Mays Law Office has seen and heard it all from workers compensation insurance carriers.  When hiring an attorney, make sure you are choosing an attorney who has years of experience advocating for injured Wisconsin workers to ensure that you are getting every benefit you are entitled to under the law.

Even if you are not quite ready to hire an attorney, at the very least, make a call to Mays Law Office for a free consultation to discuss with Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays if you are being treated fairly and legally by the insurance company and getting EVERY monetary benefit under the law.

During most consultations, Attorney Pierobon Mays can spot concerning issues, such as advising on benefits not told to you by the insurance company.  For example, an injured worker is entitled to medical mileage reimbursement for treatment, therapy, and pharmacy runs at .51 cents a mile.  Most insurance carriers will not tell the injured worker about such reimbursement.  The injured worker simply needs to make the request for reimbursement by indicating the date and address traveled to determine mileage and the insurance adjuster has to pay.  Or perhaps, the injured worker is having her privacy violated by a workers compensation nurse showing up at her appointments and going into the examination room with her and the doctor!  Attorney Pierobon Mays will caution that the injured worker can deny such access and forbid this intrusion.  Or, oftentimes, the injured worker does not know that they get to choose their own doctor; the workers compensation representative cannot dictate medical treatment.  In Wisconsin, the injured worker chooses who they will treat with.

Often time, Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays get calls from injured workers because they have been given notice that they must go see the workers compensation insurance doctor, termed “Independent Medical Examiner” or an “IME.  Ironically, there is nothing independent about these doctors.  These doctors are hired by the workers compensation insurance companies making thousands of dollars to help the insurance carrier review claims with a bent toward denying benefits.  These doctors do not provide medical treatment.  They see you for 15-30 minutes, at a rented facility, and ask you a few questions, all in the hopes that you will say something inconsistent or give them a bit of information to use against you.  Like, when one injured worker told the doctor that before the injury he enjoyed weight lifting.  The alleged “Independent Medical Examiner” then used this information about weightlifting to proclaim that this caused the injury and NOT the lifting of the 100 pound machine at work which caused him to drop to his knees screaming in pain.

During your initial consultation and conversation with Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays, she will spot these troubling issues and guide you accordingly.  Such as how to interact and communicate with these IME doctors.  Attorney Pierobon Mays will quickly correct that this doctor’s appointment should be seen as an “adverse medical doctor” and not your friend or advocate.  These doctors have an understood job to act in favor of the worker’s compensation carrier which is generally not in line with an injured worker’s interest in collecting benefits.  So, while you may be getting benefits now, it is always good to have a familiar voice to call on in the event the insurance company tells you that it wants you to see their doctor/IME.  Establishing a relationship with an experienced Wisconsin worker’s compensation attorney early on will give you confidence.  Confidence that if in the future you need to hire an attorney then you have already established a relationship with Mays Law Office and confident in hiring them to advocate and collect for you.

If ultimately you do need to hire an attorney, under Wisconsin law, workers’ compensation lawyers can ONLY charge up to 20% of the amount of recovered compensation.  This attorney fee is simply deducted from your payment; therefore you do not pay attorney fees until you receive compensation for your injury or illness.  At Mays Law Office, we offer free consultations, often on the same day that you call.

Nothing can compensate you for the pain and suffering you have endured following a work-related injury, however receiving the workers compensation benefits that you are entitled to is an important step on the way back to recovery.  Lisa Pierobon Mays can help guide you through the Wisconsin workers’ compensation system, working to ensure that you file the necessary paperwork within each specific time frame.  Lisa stays involved with your claim from the moment you speak with her.  She does not turn your claim over to a paralegal to handle your claim.  Lisa stays in direct contact with you from your first contact, through your doctor appointments, to preparing your claim and you for a potential hearing, often pushing the workers compensation insurance company to make a fair settlement or defend itself at the hearing.

Lisa is not intimidated by any employer or insurance company.  She has taken on the big box retailers and nationally recognized insurance companies in advocating for her clients.  See the Mays Law Office 5-Star Google customer review rating.  Those kinds of reviews and results tell it all.

For more information about how we can help now or in the future, contact Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays at 608-257-0440 for a free consultation.

What Happens if You Get in an Accident While Driving Drunk in Wisconsin?

What Happens if You Get in an Accident While Driving Drunk in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, the consequences of getting arrested for drunk driving can be severe. Even “standard” first-time drunk driving charges carry substantial penalties, and having a conviction on your record for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) can negatively impact many aspects of your life.

But, the consequences are even more severe if you cause an accident while driving drunk.

If you cause an accident while driving drunk, the penalties that are at stake depend on the consequences of the accident. Wisconsin law establishes three separate offenses for OWI accidents: (i) causing injury while OWI; (ii) causing great bodily harm while OWI; and, (iii) homicide by OWI. These are felony charges in many cases, and convictions carry mandatory jail time.

Criminal Charges for OWI Accidents in Wisconsin

Each of these offenses carries its own set of penalties, and each offense has its own “elements” that prosecutors must prove in order to secure a conviction. Here is an overview of the charges you may be facing if you have been accused of causing a serious or fatal accident while driving drunk in Wisconsin:

1. Causing Injury While OWI

Causing an accident that results in any level of injury elevates the risks of facing an OWI charge in Wisconsin. If convicted, you could face a $2,000 fine and up to a year of jail time—with a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days.

2. Causing Great Bodily Harm While OWI

If the accident results in “great bodily harm,” you can be charged with a Class F felony. These felonies carry up to a $25,000 fine and 12.5 years of imprisonment.

What constitutes “great bodily harm”? Section 939.22(14) of the Wisconsin Statutes defines “great bodily harm” as “bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily injury.” As you can see, this is extremely broad, and this breadth allows prosecutors to pursue Class F felony charges in many cases.

3. Homicide By OWI

If you are involved in a fatal accident while driving under the influence, you can be charged with homicide by OWI. Under Section 940.09 of the Wisconsin Statutes, homicide by OWI is a Class D felony in most cases. However, it can be elevated to a Class C felony for individuals who have prior criminal records. As a Class D felony, homicide by OWI carries up to a $100,000 fine and 25 years of imprisonment. Repeat offenders facing Class C felony charges can be sentenced to as many as 40 years behind bars.

Defending Yourself Against an OWI Accident Charge in Wisconsin

Due to the severe consequences of getting convicted of causing injury or death while driving under the influence in Wisconsin, if you are facing an OWI accident charge, you need to defend yourself by all means available. This starts with putting an experienced OWI defense lawyer on your side. When you hire an experienced lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will examine all potential defenses and put together a trial strategy focused on protecting you to the fullest extent possible.

While there are several potential defenses to OWI accident charges in Wisconsin, the defenses you have available will depend on the facts of your case. With this in mind, some examples of defense strategies your lawyer might be able to use to protect you include:

  • Challenging the Prosecution’s Evidence that You Caused the Accident – Even if you were involved in an accident while driving drunk, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you caused the accident. If prosecutors cannot prove that you caused the accident, then you do not deserve to be held accountable for any serious or fatal injuries that resulted from the collision. Since the prosecution has the burden of proof, you don’t need to be able to prove that the accident was someone else’s fault—you just need to be able to convince the jury that prosecutors haven’t proven that you caused the accident beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Challenging the Prosecution’s Evidence that You Were Intoxicated or Impaired – Your lawyer may also be able to fight your OWI accident charge by challenging the prosecution’s evidence that you were intoxicated or impaired. There are several ways to fight an “ordinary” OWI charge, and all of these are potential defenses to OWI accident charges as well.
  • Challenging the Admissibility of the Prosecution’s Evidence – Even if the evidence shows that you caused an accident while driving drunk, prosecutors still won’t be able to secure a conviction if their evidence is inadmissible in court. If you have grounds to keep the prosecution’s evidence out of court (i.e., because the police violated your Fourth Amendment rights), this could save you from a conviction as well.
  • Asserting Other Constitutional and Procedural Defenses – Along with challenging the admissibility of the prosecution’s evidence, there are several other potential constitutional and procedural defenses to OWI charges filed in the Wisconsin courts. If prosecutors violate your right to a speedy trial, if there are issues with the jury selection process, or if any of a variety of other issues arise during your case, these could all potentially serve as grounds for acquittal.
  • Negotiating a Plea Bargain if Necessary – Finally, if the cards are stacked against you, you may be able to minimize the consequences of your OWI accident by negotiating a plea bargain. Your lawyer can help you decide if this is in your best interests; and, if it is, your lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor’s office on your behalf.

Discuss Your Wisconsin OWI Accident Case with an Experienced Defense Lawyer

Are you facing an OWI accident charge in Wisconsin? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information. To discuss your case with an experienced defense lawyer in confidence as soon as possible, call 608-257-0440 or tell us how we can reach you online now. 

10 “Defenses” that Won’t Protect You Against a DUI Conviction in Wisconsin

10 “Defenses” that Won’t Protect You Against a DUI Conviction in Wisconsin

If you are facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin, you need to defend yourself by all means available. There are several ways to fight a DUI charge, and mounting a successful defense starts with understanding which defenses you can use based on the facts and circumstances of your case.

It also starts with understanding what “defenses” won’t actually protect you.

When you are at risk for a DUI conviction, mistakes can be costly. While there are several mistakes you need to avoid, one of the most dangerous mistakes you can make is saying something that prosecutors can use against you. Too often, we see people say things that they think will protect them, but that in reality only serve to help seal their conviction.

What Not to Say When Facing a DUI Charge in Wisconsin

What are some examples of the things you need to avoid saying when facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin? Here are 10 common “defenses” that not only won’t protect you, but that can also do more harm than good:

1. You Thought You Were Okay to Drive

When facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin, it doesn’t matter whether you intentionally broke the law. If you are under the influence “to a degree which renders [you] incapable of safely driving” or your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit, you can be found guilty of DUI. If you tell the police or the judge that you thought you were okay to drive, this can effectively amount to a confession that you got behind the wheel after drinking.

2. You Just Had One Beer, Shot, or Glass of Wine

While most people are aware of Wisconsin’s BAC limit (which is 0.08% for most drivers), far fewer people are aware that you can be charged with DUI even if your BAC is below the legal limit. This is based on the language in Wisconsin’s DUI statute quoted above. Even if you just have one beer, shot, or glass of wine, if this renders you “incapable of safely driving,” you can be convicted of DUI in Wisconsin.

3. You Were Only a Little Bit Buzzed

For this same reason, you should not tell the police or the judge that you were “only a little bit buzzed.” In Wisconsin, any evidence of alcohol impairment can be enough to justify a conviction.

4. You Thought You Waited Long Enough Before Driving

If you think you might be too drunk to drive, the right thing to do is wait until you are sober before getting behind the wheel. But, even if you try to do the right thing, you can still be convicted of DUI if you don’t wait long enough. This is similar to saying that you thought you were okay to drive. While it might seem like a sound defense, it simply isn’t.

5. You Didn’t Have Any Other Way to Get Home

When you are too drunk to drive, not having another way to get home is not an excuse for getting behind the wheel. If your designated driver left without you or your Uber driver never showed, the law says that you needed to find another way home.

6. You Weren’t Driving When the Police Approached Your Vehicle

There is a common misconception that you can’t be convicted if you aren’t driving when the police approach your vehicle. We’re not sure where this comes from, but it is dangerously incorrect. Even if you are parked when the police approach you, it is still very possible to face a DUI conviction.

7. You Weren’t Driving Dangerously

Another common misconception is that you can avoid a DUI conviction if you weren’t driving dangerously. In Wisconsin, you can be convicted of DUI if you are “incapable of safely driving” or your BAC is over the legal limit. Prosecutors do not need to prove both. So, even if you are fully capable of maintaining control of your vehicle, if you blow above the legal limit on the breathalyzer, this alone can be enough to establish your guilt in court.

8. The Police Stopped You for a Nonmoving Traffic Violation (Not for Drunk Driving)

When the police conduct a lawful traffic stop, they can pursue charges for any traffic violation or criminal offense for which they find probable cause to make an arrest. This means that even if a police officer pulled you over for a broken taillight, if the officer smelled alcohol on your breath after pulling you over, the officer acted appropriately in testing you for alcohol intoxication or impairment.

9. The Police Didn’t Read Your Miranda Rights

Under the U.S. Constitution, the police must read your rights before interrogating you in custody. However, police officers are not required to read your rights before they make an arrest on the side of the road. This means that if you confessed to drinking and driving before your arrest, your confession could be admissible even though the arresting officer hadn’t yet read your Miranda rights.

10. You’re Sorry and You Won’t Do It Again

In Wisconsin, being sorry isn’t enough to save you from a DUI conviction. If you admit to driving under the influence—even if you say that you will never do it again—you can expect to be convicted in court.

While none of these “defenses” will protect you, as we mentioned in the introduction, there are several ways to fight a DUI in Wisconsin. When you meet with a lawyer about your DUI case, your lawyer will examine all of the options you may have for beating your DUI charge. Before you say anything that could make it harder (if not impossible) to fight your DUI, you owe it to yourself to seek advice from an experienced defense lawyer.

Discuss Your Case with a DUI Defense Lawyer in Madison, WI

If you are facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin, we strongly encourage you to contact us before you say anything that could jeopardize your defense. To arrange a free and confidential consultation as soon as possible, call 608-257-0440 or send us a message online now. 

10 Mistakes to Avoid After a DUI Arrest in Wisconsin

10 Mistakes to Avoid After a DUI Arrest in Wisconsin

When you are facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin, mistakes can be costly. Some mistakes can lead to unnecessary penalties, and others can result in a guilty verdict when you are entitled to walk free. As a result, you need to be very careful, and you need to know what not to do while your case is pending.

What are the mistakes you need to avoid after getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Wisconsin? Here are 10 things you should not do in order to give yourself the best chance of asserting a successful defense:

Mistake #1: Assume You Will Be Found Guilty

No matter what happened, you should never assume that you will be found guilty of DUI. Even if you were driving drunk, you could still have several defenses available. Prosecutors might not have the evidence they need to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; or, even if they have the evidence they need, it might not be admissible in court. If prosecutors can’t use their evidence against you, it doesn’t matter if you were drunk behind the wheel—the law says that you are entitled to walk free.

Mistake #2: Assume You Will Be Able to Talk Your Way Out of a Conviction

While you should not assume that you will be found guilty, you also should not assume that you will be able to talk your way out of a conviction. Facing a DUI charge is a serious matter. It is the prosecutor’s job to convict you, and it is the judge’s job to impose a sentence in accordance with Wisconsin law. If your plan is to walk into court and then walk out a free person, your case is not going to go how you want it to go.  

Mistake #3: Ignore Relevant Facts

In a DUI case, all of the facts surrounding your arrest could be relevant to your defense. This includes not only what you were doing before the police stopped you, but what happened during (and even after) your DUI stop as well. With this in mind, when you are preparing to meet with a criminal defense lawyer, it is a good idea to take detailed notes. Write down everything you remember from the night in question—from where the police started following you to what the arresting officer said to you on the side of the road.

Mistake #4: Focus on Facts that Aren’t Relevant

While you need to avoid ignoring relevant facts, you also need to avoid focusing on facts that aren’t relevant to your defense. For example, if your Uber didn’t show up or your designated driver left without you, this does not justify driving under the influence. Likewise, even if you didn’t think you were too drunk to drive, if you were too drunk to drive, it doesn’t matter that you made an honest mistake.

Mistake #5: Get Another DUI

When you are awaiting trial on a DUI charge in Wisconsin, it is very important that you do not get arrested for DUI again. You want to be able to show the judge that you made a one-time mistake, and that you are remorseful about what happened. If you get another DUI, this could make it much more difficult to assert a successful defense—and it will also increase the penalties you are facing in your second DUI case.

Mistake #6: Get Stopped or Arrested for Anything Else

Just as you need to avoid getting another DUI, you also need to avoid getting stopped or arrested for anything else. When you have a DUI charge pending, any type of interaction with law enforcement can increase the risks involved. To protect yourself, avoid alcohol and drugs, carefully follow Wisconsin’s traffic laws, and avoid spending time with anyone who might get you into trouble.

Mistake #7: Overlook Potential Defenses

In addition to making sure you consider all of the facts that are relevant to your DUI case, you also need to make sure you consider all of the defenses you have available. There are a variety of potential defenses to DUI charges in Wisconsin—including defenses you can assert regardless of your BAC (or any other evidence of impairment). If you overlook defenses that you have available, you could end up getting convicted even though you are entitled to an acquittal.

Mistake #8: Ignore Options for Favorably Resolving Your DUI Case

Along with asserting defenses that can protect you against a conviction in court, you may also have other options for favorably resolving your DUI case in Wisconsin. This is true even if you were driving drunk. For example, an experienced defense lawyer may be able to help you secure a plea deal that minimizes the consequences of your DUI arrest, or you may qualify for a diversion program that allows you to avoid trial.

Mistake #9: Miss a Court Date

Regardless of the options you have available, you can lose these options if you disrespect the judicial process. This includes missing a court date. When you are facing a DUI charge, you need to make plans to be in court on time, and you should plan to be there with your defense lawyer.

Mistake #10: Try to Handle Your DUI Case on Your Own

This brings us to our last mistake: trying to handle your DUI case on your own. Due to the challenges and risks involved, you need to have an experienced defense lawyer on your side. An experienced defense lawyer can help with all aspects of your case, and hiring a defense lawyer to protect you can be the least expensive way to handle your DUI.  

Discuss Your Case with a DUI Defense Lawyer in Middleton for Free

Are you facing a DUI charge in Wisconsin? If so, we can help, but it is important that you contact us right away. To get started with a free and confidential consultation, call 608-257-0440 or tell us how we can reach you online now.