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Eau Claire Law Blog

Welcome to our new, revised website. Whether you are a past client, friend, or someone just looking for legal help, we appreciate your interest in Hertel Law, S.C. I’m used to saying “we” when it comes to this firm, as we have always provided help to those in need through a team effort. Our paralegals, Sue, Brenda and Arlene are a vital part of how we respond to, communicate with, and plan and prepare for meeting our clients’ needs. In the past, I have had a number of attorneys who have been mentored by and/or worked for or with me, and have always relied on them for covering client cases when I could not. Two former partners, Steve Gibbs and Sarah Harless, have gone on to become Circuit Court Judges, reflecting the quality of reputation this firm has enjoyed. Most recently, I have become a sole practitioner for the first time in my nearly 43 years of practicing law, which means that if you hire this firm, I will be your attorney. As talented and capable as my colleagues have been, I have made a commitment to be the attorney you still want on your side for a long time to come. As I often respond when asked when I’ll retire, I have two responses:

1) When there are no more crimes or injury accidents; or

2) When I finally appear in the 24 Wisconsin counties where I have not yet appeared in their courts.

I greatly enjoy helping people through difficult circumstances and like to think I have made a difference in how I have affected the results in their lives. I intend for that to continue. Just ask our landlord who is negotiating a new lease through mid-2021 at the minimum. Please don’t hesitate to take advantage of our free initial consultations, email us with your concerns, or stop in if you’re a former client and just wish to say hello. Also feel free to look at our revitalized Facebook page as well. It is our goal to provide you the best possible legal representation and advice whether in having to go to trial, or determining a way that it is not necessary in satisfactory mediation or negotiations. We want you to continue to view us as the law firm you still want on your side. Thanks, Harry.

Critics accuse crime apps of stirring up unnecessary fear

Many people in Wisconsin have downloaded one or more of the smartphone apps that purport to help prevent crime. Apps like Citizen, Nextdoor or Ring may offer a sense of improved safety for many users. However, critics warn that these apps do little to nothing to affect crime but could increase racial stereotyping and neighborhood distrust. In the past 25 years, crime has gone down dramatically across the United States. Still, many people feel at greater risk despite the statistics.

Some attribute this growing fear of crime despite improved safety to media coverage of major crimes, which can be sensationalized. Others point to apps like these as encouraging an environment of unnecessary fear. One app, Citizen, encourages users to turn on its GPS location capabilities by presenting a fake alert for a nearby shooting. However, when users scroll down, they see that this is only a prompt encouraging them to give the app greater access to their personal data, not an actual alert for their area.

Increase in truck fatalities

Wisconsin residents might be interested to know more about big truck crashes as data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that fatalities from large truck accidents are at the highest rate in 29 years. While the overall fatality rate for traffic accidents has declined, the rate has increased for big truck crashes.

The latest NHTSA data is from 2017 and shows that 37,133 people died due to motor vehicle accidents. This was a 2% decline from 2016 while fatalities from crashes involving large trucks rose to 4,761, a 9% increase from 2016. In 72% of these truck accidents, the deaths were people in vehicles other than large trucks. When those in the trucks were killed, around 40% were not wearing seat belts.

The legal definition of negligence

When a car accident happens, one or more parties may be negligent for its occurrence. However, Wisconsin residents and others should know that negligence is a specific legal term with certain elements that must be fulfilled. For example, it must be shown that there was a duty of care that was violated. It also must be demonstrated that there was a financial loss caused by the negligence of another person or entity.

Generally speaking, all drivers have an obligation to act in a safe manner while on the road. If there is evidence that they were tired, drunk or driving too fast for the road conditions, this could be a violation of that obligation. In a car accident case, it would need to be shown that driver fatigue, impairment or other negligent action was the direct cause of a crash that caused a financial loss.

Increase in truck fatalities

Wisconsin residents might be interested to know more about big truck crashes as data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that fatalities from large truck accidents are at the highest rate in 29 years. While the overall fatality rate for traffic accidents has declined, the rate has increased for big truck crashes.

The latest NHTSA data is from 2017 and shows that 37,133 people died due to motor vehicle accidents. This was a 2% decline from 2016 while fatalities from crashes involving large trucks rose to 4,761, a 9% increase from 2016. In 72% of these truck accidents, the deaths were people in vehicles other than large trucks. When those in the trucks were killed, around 40% were not wearing seat belts.

Optical illusion crosswalk tries to address distracted driving

As summer approaches, the topic of distracted driving is an increasingly important one. The weather is getting better and children are playing outdoors, meaning that drivers need to be especially careful and attentive behind the wheel. Teen drivers, who are some of the most likely to drive distracted, will be spending more time behind the wheel as they work summer jobs and travel.

Unfortunately, there is no easy cure for distracted driving. It must be a personal choice to put away your cellphone and pay attention to the road. That being said, sending that safety message to drivers sometimes requires an attention-grabbing display. Recently, a pair of elementary students devised such a display, and it is getting news coverage around the country.

Serious car crash injuries aren't always obvious at first

Motor vehicle accidents occur every day, and the vast majority of them only result in minor injuries. If you get into a serious crash and don't suffer an obvious injury, you might believe that you have avoided the worst potential consequences. However, that isn't always the case.

In fact, some of the most serious injuries that you could suffer in a car crash may not have immediate symptoms. Understanding this can inform the way that you respond to a collision. Just because you can walk away doesn't mean you should avoid adequate medical review after a crash. You should also stay alert and aware of potential symptoms for many days or even weeks after the crash.

Clowns arrive in Eau Claire in time for Halloween

A few lines from an old Joni Mitchell song go, "But where are the clowns? Send in the clowns. Don't bother; they're here."

Those lines are eerily applicable here in Eau Claire, as earlier this month scary clowns were spotted on the campus of the University of Wisconsin.

Semitruck accident cases hinge on the facts of the crash

Two weeks ago, we discussed some of the factors that can affect semitruck accidents. We touched on how violations of regulations and laws can lead to these accidents. If you were in an accident caused by a semitruck driver who wasn't complying with the law, you have the option to seek compensation in Wisconsin for the injuries that you suffered.

We know that you might feel like you don't have the time or energy to do the digging into records that might be required for your case. We have some good news for you -- we are here to do that digging on your behalf.

What is violent crime?

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, violent crime is any illegal activity that includes the threat of force or actual force. The FBI categorizes violent crime into four subsets. Those are murder, robbery, forced rape and aggravated assault.

When dealing with a violent crime charge, it's very important to understand exactly what you are being charged with. Many people consider robbery to just be theft, for example, and that's not true. Robbery requires an element of force, whereas burglary or other forms of theft do not. Someone who simply walked into a home and took something that didn't belong to them might not have committed robbery, for example.

Violations of laws and regulations might be factors in crashes

Semitruck accidents are very serious incidents that can leave the victims fighting for life or worse. For the people who have been injured in these accidents, the horror of being in them is often something that is overwhelming for some time. After the initial shock wears off, the desire to do something about the accident might come into the picture. Knowing some of the basic points about truck accident law can help you to decide what you are going to do about the tragic situation.

There are several different places that you have to look for laws that apply to semitrucks and their drivers. The federal government has laws and regulations on the books regarding the trucking industry. Each state has laws and regulations that apply. This can make it rather complicated to determine which laws and regulations apply to which cases.

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Make Your Free Initial Consultation Appointment

Hertel Law offers a free initial consultation without obligation. Harry will meet with you and listen to the details of your case. His office is in Eau Claire and offers daytime hours. Evening hours are available by appointment. Call him today at 715-598-2761. You may also request your appointment through the firm’s contact form. Hertel Law: The law firm you still want on your side.

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Hertel Law, S.C.
4330 Golf Terrace, Suite 108
Eau Claire, WI 54701

Phone: 715-598-2761
Fax: 715-832-5159
Eau Claire Law Office Map

No Obligation, Free Initial Consultation
715-598-2761

In cases of personal injuries prohibiting you from traveling, we can meet with you at the hospital or in your home.