The Best Accident and Personal Injury Attorney Legal Team
- The Best Legal Team
- The Experience to Know and to Avoid the Legal Traps
- The Team Has the Experts and the Financial Ability to Hire Them and the Knowledge to Use them Effectively
- The Team Will Destroy the Insurance Company’s Experts
- The Winning Strategy is “The Truth”
- We Are the Best at Knowing and Exposing the Insurance Company’s Tricks
- The Danger to You is Enhanced When Making a UM or UIM Claim
The fact that we are the best is not a “sales pitch”. We are rated by Martindale-Hubbell in the top 5% of all personal injury lawyers in the nation. Martindale-Hubbell was first published in 1868 by James B. Martindale who was a practicing lawyer. His purpose was to provide a list of at least one reliable law firm in every major city in the United States. In 1930 the Martindale Company purchased the publishing rights to Hubbell’s Legal Directory which consisted of a digest of the individual laws of each state, a very detailed and reliable guide to the laws of that state. The laws of each state vary so that no two are the same. This combined publication was the beginning of Martindale-Hubbell and has become the “Bible” for lawyers who practice in more than one state and it has become more valuable as motorists travel to different states and get involved in accidents. Today, Martindale-Hubbell provides the reliable rating of more than a thousand lawyers in the United States. That rating for each is limited to the field of law in which they practice. It is the most comprehensive and reliable rating data base in the country.
“Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings” serve as an unbiased standard and indicator of a lawyer’s high ethical standards and professional ability, determined from questioning other lawyers and judges in the United States who know of or have had reason to be engaged in professional contact with the law firm being judged. The “General Ethical Standards” rating means that the law firm comports with and practices according to the law professions’ standards of conduct, ethics, reliability and diligence. Those lawyers who meet the “Very High” criteria can then proceed to the next step which is rating the firm’s Legal Ability. After this total assessment the firm is rated on three possible levels. Level one “Rated”, level two “BV Distinguished” and the top level “AV Preeminent”. This highest rating is a significant accomplishment and is a “testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him at the highest level of professional excellence”. (Martindale-Hubbell). Jerome A. Maeder has been just been celebrated by Martindale-Hubbell by having achieved and held this honor for over 35 years. This is your assurance of the greatest legal ability available to you as a personal injury claimant. This is the proven track record that you can use to decide which law firm you want to have develop and move your claim forward. In this business you don’t get “do overs” so it is to your best interest to make the right choice and the Maeder Legal Team is that choice.
Wisconsin has a comparative negligence statute which means that a jury must find you are no more negligent than the defendant, i.e. the person who injured you, to recover. If you are found more negligent, you lose. The jury is instructed by the judge to answer a “special verdict” which consists of usually 6 or more questions which ask about the negligence of the defendant and the plaintiff (you) and then asks the jury to compare your and the defendant’s negligence taking 100% as to total negligence in the case. What the jury does not know (and the judge or the lawyers cannot tell it) is that if the jury finds the plaintiff more than 50% negligent the plaintiff does not get a dime. If the plaintiff is as negligent or less negligent than the defendant then the plaintiff recovers the amount awarded to him/her, less the amount of negligence found on the plaintiff. An example, assume the jury awarded the plaintiff $100,000 but found him 60% negligent he would not get any money, however, if they found he was 40% negligent (and of course the defendant 60%) then he would receive $100,000 reduced by 40% or a net recovery of $60,000. Other states for the most part have adopted Wisconsin’s comparative negligence law but have varied it so that in two aspects they are different, one: the court and lawyers advise the jury as to the effect of the law and two: the law is less punitive. Most of the states have a “pure” comparison, i.e. there is no 50% or 51% bar to recovery, if the plaintiff we discussed above is 60% negligent he will still receive $40,000.
This fact of legal life is important because it is a prime consideration not only in jury trials but in the settlement of claims. It is this ultimate truth that drives the judgment of value both for the insurance companies but also the plaintiffs’ lawyers who specialize in this work. While all of them know this law very few of them have had the tremendous amount of jury trial experience the Team has. We know and recognize these “contributory negligent” factual situations and know how to find and reveal the real “truth” of a case, so as to accurately portray the conduct of our clients. An example, the Mall Store where you shop denies your claim on the basis that you were “contributorily negligent” because you failed to see the water on the floor and that your slip and fall was due to your “failure to keep a proper lookout”. However, what it has failed to acknowledge and weigh in its assessment of your claim is the fact that the store maintained an attention demanding display of its products at the same place you fell that caught your eye and caused you not to perceive the hazard. After the photographs of this display and this argument was pressed by the Team, the insurance company paid, realizing that the jury will know and the Team will tell it, “the store made the sale of its goods a priority over customers’ safety” and that “profit and greed cannot trump the lives and health of our citizens.”
In a poorly guarded machine the man’s hand was mauled. The machines manufacturer defended claiming that it had adequately guarded the machine. After examining the machine the Team found that the guard that was placed on the machine was a total failure, the manufacture had placed the guard at the wrong part of the machine, not where the operator actually had to feed the parts into it. The Team then hired the machine design experts to prove this and when the manufacturer “saw the light” it paid. In fact in that case the defense lawyer, an exceptional one, said “we failed to see what was in plain sight but thanks to you we will now change all of the machines to prevent this from happening again.” The old legal adage, “it is better to have a fence at the top of the cliff than to have an ambulance below” applies to this case and many more like it.
The Team Has the Experts and the Financial Ability to Hire Them and the Knowledge to Use them Effectively
Much of today’s claims depend on experts to exploit the science involved in the dynamics of the accident itself and in the medicine involved in the injured person’s disability. These experts are physicians, chiropractors, psychiatrists, accident reconstruction engineer, human factors engineers, biomechanical engineers, surveyors, automotive designers, product liability experts, construction engineers and construction equipment experts, truck driving instructors, construction specialists such as roofers, pavement contractors and building contractors. The experts can be highly placed in the universities as a professor or can be journeymen workers who know their craft better than the ordinary practitioner. These experts must be paid to go and examine the facts of the case pertaining to their field and give an honest and detailed analysis of two issues: 1. How did the accident happen and 2. How could it have been prevented.
To know when an expert is required and who to hire for the job is, in itself, a challenge. Sometimes they are from California or Texas or as close to home as a local carpenter who knows how to build stairs according to the city building code. The one thing they all have in common is, they cost money. They demand to get paid “up front” so that there is no implication that their opinion is “for sale” but is an objective, informed and honest one. The Team has the knowledge of who these experts are and the financial resources to pay them. The team has used experts from virtually every known category of scientific and practical area of the personal injury business and has the day-to-day experience to know when an expert is required. Our promise: if the case needs an expert we will get the right one and the best one available. We also have the trial ability to produce these experts in front of the jury. We know how to develop their testimony with the necessary written and sometimes animated exhibits to show the jury, by photographs, videos and drawings the factual situation presented to you during the accident. This will give the jury a full explanation of the hazard that you had to deal with and which injured you and changed your life forever. The insurance company will be presented with these exhibits during the settlement negotiations and at the mediation so that it knows what it will be facing if the case is tried and will understand what will happen if they don’t settle before trial. They know that they will have to pay for and hire their own experts and will have to pay their lawyers to produce their own competing exhibits if they are going to face this kind of attack. The Maeder Legal Team has a saying: “don’t prepare for settlement – always prepare for trial”. This means hard work at every stage of the claims process but it is what the Team routinely does. The work ethic pays off, the insurance company knows it must pay “top dollar” for your claim or it will suffer the consequences of a jury verdict and the resulting publicity. It does not want that. It wants to settle.
Our promise to you: we will drill down on your case until we have exploited every possible and legitimate angle so that we will give you the best shot at a fair settlement or verdict. We will perform at the level we are rated at: the very best.
Much of today’s litigation and claims become a “battle of experts” between truth and deception. We have found in our years of experience in cross-examining defense experts that many of them are driven not by the truth but by their dedication to the insurance company’s defense of the claim. In one case a much-used defense neurologist testified that our client was not injured in the accident. What our cross-examination demonstrated was that this expert was “bought and paid for”. He admitted that in all of his many prior physical examinations of claimants for the insurance companies he had never found that the injured person was really injured. When we dug deeper we found that his explanation was “because the cases he received had been ‘screened” before he was retained to look at the case and that the insurance company “only sent him persons who were not injured”. The expert was devastated before the jury when he admitted that these cases were “screened” by the defense attorney! The jury actually laughed at him when he made this damaging admission. The jury awarded the client a large verdict.
In a recent case the insurance company claimed that the accident involved such a minor rear-end impact that there was no scientific basis for a possible injury to our client. It produced a “west coast biomechanical engineer” who had a national reputation for destroying plaintiff’s cases in minor impact motor vehicle accidents. A biomechanical engineer is trained in the science of “body mechanics” which is a study of the strength of human bones and tissue and body parts and organs. They analyze the damage done to the human anatomy by outside forces generated during a motor vehicle accident. They study the statistics generated by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) tests on dummies and human volunteers over the years. Some of these experts have taken this science and claim to be able to apply these statistics to highway accidents so they can testify that a claimant was not injured because the G-loads developed by the impact were insufficient to cause injury. They compute the Delta-V, which is the pulse of the actual impact, and use this to extrapolate data to prove their point. We did an extensive investigation of this “hot-shot” expert’s background and at the trial showed the jury that, in his own state trial courts, he had been barred from testifying by some of the judges because of the junk science that he was “peddling to the jury”. Our jury rejected his testimony and awarded our client a substantial verdict.
We practice law on the basis of “the truth”. We know from our vast jury experience that jurors, if unbiased and fairly chosen, have the ability to find the truth. We only take and prosecute cases which are based on the truth. Indeed, we worship the truth, not only because we have been raised to be that way but we know that it is the only way to win. We encourage our clients and others to serve with pride when called upon to be a juror, it is a “hands on” way to be personally involved in “doing Justice” and to participate in a significant process of our democracy as a citizen of the greatest nation in the world. The right to a trial by jury is the most precious and valuable right that we have against the tyranny of the powerful over the weak, against the over-zealous prosecutors and the innocent and is the most valuable right we have. It is what makes our legal system the best in the world.
One of the first traps to avoid is to give the insurance company a written or taped statement. This is when you are most vulnerable. We find that they frequently will not take it down accurately or will spin it against you. With no knowledge of the law you don’t know that what you were encouraged by them to say will damage your case and you will fail to realize that they have actually misquoted you so as to bury the truth. For instance, in a case where you negligently drove your car off a slick road and your wife and children were seriously injured; you have a duty to make sure they get the full benefits of the liability policy. The insurance adjuster however spins the claim against you as a challenge to your personal integrity and suggests that if you admit your carelessness you have let your family down because it was your fault that they now suffer. Of course, the opposite is true, if you are not at fault your family and you will suffer financial disaster because the insurance company will not pay a dime. You will have deprived your family of the financial support they needed when they most needed it. The law recognizes that all of us are careless without meaning harm and that is the basis for the entire insurance industry taking billions of dollars per year from the motoring public. The only legitimate basis for this business model and for the insurance company drain on our budgets, is that the companies should then hold this money “in trust” to pay it back when one of us makes a mistake and harms someone, including our own family.
An example. A young daughter allowed one of the passengers in her father’s car to drive during a trip to a high school football game. Unknown to the daughter the girl, who crashed the car and injured the daughter, did not have a driver’s license. Insurance policies, by statute, must cover everyone who drives the car as long as they have permission of the owner to do so. This is true regardless whether the drvier is licensed or not. In this case the insurance adjuster hired a court reporter and went to the seriously injured daughter’s hospital bed and while she was still in great pain and under medication, got a sworn transcript where she stated that her father had told her not to allow an unlicensed driver to ever operate the car. This statement was untrue but the adjuster got this 16 year old daughter to say this by telling her that if she did not say it, she was guilty of a crime by permitting an unlicensed driver to drive. Refusing to pay the daughters large medical bills, thereby bankrupting the family, the insurance company caused the father to seek the help of the Maeder Team. We proved the lies the adjuster had told this vulnerable and innocent young girl and the jury threw out the sworn statement and found coverage. The case went to the Wisconsin Supreme Court two times before the insurance company finally paid in full. It is this kind of tenacious and unrelenting momentum that the Team has that has won it the admiration of the legal community and courts, they know that our clients get justice.
Another trap is to go on social media and discuss your case or your family’s problems resulting from the accident. The comments you post are accessible and some courts will order you to divulge your password so that these comments can be obtained by the insurance companies. The comments that support your case will not be admissible in court but any demeaning or questionable comments will be spun around by the defense to your detriment.
Another trap is to keep a “diary” of your life. It is amazing to the Team that some well-meaning but totally clueless law firms require their clients to keep track in writing of their daily activities. Such a record can be obtained by the defense, so don’t do it. The good stuff cannot be used to support your case and the information that you don’t want divulged will be divulged. An apparently innocent comment, such as how much you enjoyed playing ball with your children, will be twisted around in court to attack your honest claim that you have a chronic back problem because of injuries sustained in the accident.
Another trap is to trust the insurance company. The adjuster will represent to you that he is your friend and that he will treat you honestly and fairly. An example is a family that had a minor child injured in a crash. The child had very serious head injuries that will impact her life forever. Because of her minor status it was necessary to get a court to approve the settlement for it to be binding. In these cases the insurance company will actually hire an “independent” lawyer for the child to be his/her guardian ad litem (a minor’s legal representative) to review the case and advise the court if it is a “fair and just settlement”. You do the math, what do you think the lawyer will do when he/she reviews the inadequate amount offered, if this lawyer is actually the lawyer who also does all of this insurance company’s defense business and when the amount the insurance company pays this firm per year for its defense work is a large part of its total income? While courts try to carefully screen these cases to determine if the settlement is fair, the stage is set for a bad result. In these cases no lawyer has gone out and obtained another medical opinion to challenge whether the child’s head injury really has permanently damaged her or not, no one has suggested waiting for several years to see if the CHI (closed head injury) has really damaged the child’s “executive functions” that will only be able to be determined later after her brain develops. No one has sent the child to a psychologist to give her the necessary tests to see if, while there is no objective damage on the MRI, there is actual brain damage that will gradually over the years lead to her total or partial disability. In these cases the insurance company had tied the hands of the lawyer they have hired to represent the child by preventing any pro-active efforts on his/her part and the court itself has no power to force the proper medical and legal development of the case. The child and ultimately the parents will suffer the consequences of this failure to understand that while you are taking responsibility for your child’s future, you are not really equipped to do so without the Maeder Team on your side.
This trap is frequently laid by the insurance companies in cases where you are making claim against your own company because of the “uninsured” (UM) and “underinsured” (UIM) coverage that you have paid for. Today many motorists have minimal limits, as low as $25,000 in some states. Regardless of how injured you are that is the total amount you can get because the person driving has no assets and can go through bankruptcy for as little as $1,000 and discharge any debt he/she owes to you. This is why you want to have large UM and UIM coverage on your own vehicle. However, you will find that when you make such a claim your own insurance company will take advantage of you. The adjuster will encourage you to believe that because you are their “valued insured” they will “take care of you”. This is not true, the adjuster and his claims manager all the way to the top executives will take advantage of you even if you have been with the company for decades. These employees are motivated by one principle: to settle the claim for a little as possible.
It is your duty to stop these tricks designed to victimize you. Hire the Maeder Legal Team. You will no longer have to “justify” making a claim against your own insurance company, you will be empowered to know that you paid for this coverage and you are going to get every dime the company owes you. Some people believe that if you make a claim you will not be able to get insurance in the future or that your rates will go up. This is the propaganda spread by the adjusters and is not true. The insurance policy is a contract, you owe the company premiums but it owes you the duty to treat you fairly and honestly. The Team will make sure the company honors its commitment to you and those you love, every time.
A Law Firm You Can Trust
Thousands of Successful Case Results
Honest & Hardworking Professionals
Millions Collected for Our Clients
The Jerome A. Maeder Law Firm is honored to be rated among the nation’s top 5 percent of all personal injury law firms in the Martindale-Hubbell “Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers”, the definitive guide to the most distinguished law firms in the United States.