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Elkhorn Wisconsin Legal Blog

Parking lot risks rise during the holidays

According to insurers, the number of personal injury insurance claims involving ts peak on the Black Friday shopping day and continue at an above-average rate through the December holiday season. Distracted driving is a major culprit of accidents and injuries. 66% of motorists across the country admitted that they make phone calls while driving in parking lots, according to a National Safety Council public opinion poll.

At least half of those respondents admitted to engaging in other distractions, such as texting and driving, using social media, sending or receiving emails, engaging in personal grooming and taking photographs or watching videos. 63% of respondents program their GPS systems while they drive. Over the holidays, drivers are even more distracted by to-do lists and trying to meet appointments.

What does the EPA expect from an environmental risk assessment?

Part of the due diligence involved in a real estate purchase involves assessing whether any environmental hazards are associated with the property and whether they pose a risk to the ecological systems or humans in the area. Gathering this information requires obtaining an environmental risk assessment.

This document will answer numerous questions about the environmental impact of the property, including those posed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Depending on the results, you may want to make sure your purchase contract includes a contingency to back out of the deal if you feel that complying with EPA regulations would prove too costly.

National foreclosure rates fall, but Wisconsin's rises

Mortgage delinquency is one indicator of economic and development trends. Between August of 2018 and August of 2019, there was a 0.2% drop in overall delinquency rates of all US mortgages, which includes those at least 30 days past due or in foreclosure. But, Wisconsin businesses and developers may deal with additional financial and real estate law issues because there was a small increase in the delinquency rate in this state.

Last year, according to CoreLogic's monthly report, 3.9% of mortgages in this country were in a stage of delinquency. This dropped to 3.7% in 2019. There were also favorable indicators in the foreclosure inventory rate, which measures the number of mortgages in some phase of foreclosure. This dropped 0.1% to 0.4% between August of 2018 and 2019. This was the same as the rate for the previous nine months, which was the lowest since January of 1999.

Protecting consumers making online purchases

Online sellers have radically changed the way consumers buy goods. Every passing year, the need to travel to brick and mortar businesses decreases. But, this technological and commercial revolution has created complications for defective product lawsuits.

Under traditional product liability law, sellers of products assume any risk of loss by defective merchandise instead of consumers. Manufacturers, retailers and all participants in the supply chain may be held liable for a defective product under a product liability lawsuit. However, web purchases have changed the way many products go through the supply chain.

Pedestrian deaths close to 30-year record

Drivers have airbags and seatbelts and many other advanced technologies keeping them safe. The same goes for truck drivers. Even bicyclists and skaters often have helmets and knee pads, but pedestrians on the road have little safety precautions aside from rights of ways and crosswalks.

 

Making a personal injury claim

An accident victim may file a legal action for injuries in Wisconsin if someone else is more responsible for their injury than they are. However, these lawsuits must follow the appropriate procedures, meaning they must target the appropriate party. A business owner has liability for avoidable accidents and unsafe conditions on their property. Renters and homeowners have liability for not maintaining sidewalks or properly securing dangerous pets. These examples make a direct, logical sense.

More complicated cases involve harm involving product liability, ice or snow removal, inadequate professional services and use of firearms. Owners of restaurants and hotels and public transportation operators may be liable for injuries because state law imposes special responsibility for these dangers. Lawsuits for injuries caused by negligent government employees or unsafe conditions are more difficult and must meet strict conditions

Avoiding problems with commercial real estate transactions

It can be an exciting step for a Wisconsin company to buy or lease a new commercial building or storefront. Perhaps the needs of your business have changed, or maybe you're offering new products that require a different type of space. When you find the right place for your company, you may feel tempted to rush ahead and sign the contract, but that's probably not the wisest course of action. 

There are many reasons why you should slow down and walk through this process slowly and thoughtfully. In preparation for signing a lease or closing on a commercial property purchase, you will want to take the time to be thoughtful and to do your due diligence. Rushing the process can leave you with a variety of costly issues. 

Commercial real estate confronting coworking spaces

Commercial real estate matters involve changing economies and trends that also impact other businesses, such as transportation and retailing. Landlords, companies and professionals in real estate law should be prepared to address the growing popularity of coworking spaces.

Coworking gets praise as a more innovative use of office space. It falls between the practice of working from home and working from a fully equipped office for one business. Small businesses and entrepreneurs also consider this a networking location. One example, WeWork, was an early innovator in this field, but its initial public stock offering was criticized.

Wisconsin man's vaping injuries highlight product liability issue

Although vaping has often been touted as a safer alternative to cigarettes, federal officials recently claimed that there were 193 potential lung ailment cases associated with e-cigarettes reported in 22 states. One recent case hit close to home, with a 20-year-old Wisconsin man spending days in the hospital recovering from lung injuries doctors suspect are related to his vaping. The numerous injuries across the country have sparked personal injury lawsuits, particularly involving younger users.

The Journal Sentinel previously reported in July about Wisconsin teenagers who suffered lung injuries after vaping. Its earlier investigation in 2015 indicated that West Virginia and Vermont physicians reported two cases of serious lung injuries that they believed were connected to vaping cinnamon and other e-liquid flavors.

Wrong way driving is rampant in Wisconsin

Traffic accidents involving wrong-way drivers can be catastrophic because these types of accidents involve head-on collisions and high speeds. Yet, wrong way driving is an epidemic throughout Wisconsin, according to the state police, and it is increasing the risk of serious and fatal motor vehicle accidents.

There were over 500 wrong way driving crashes in the state last year. These accidents usually caused death, personal injury or serious property damage. Wrong way driving usually involves an impaired motorist, according to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department. That agency alone stopped 56 wrong-way drivers during the last three years. In these stops, 50 motorists were impaired by alcohol or drugs and the remaining drivers were confused.

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