The Best Lawyers in America letter

Honored to share this news, which comes to me for the first time. Very few Wisconsin personal injury lawyers ever attain this honor.


Concussion Baseline Testing

Concussions are a very serious personal injury, especially for children involved in contact sports.  Wisconsin high schools and colleges are becoming more aware of this problem and many are requiring baseline testing of athletes.  However, parents of younger children involved in sports may not be as aware of the problem and the need for baseline testing.  In the Milwaukee area, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin has a Concussion Clinic that will conduct such testing for only $25.  If you have a young athlete in your family, you should seriously consider such testing.  Here's a video from the Concussion Clinic explaining this:

Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney


ExamWorks - IME's are Big Business

Previously, I wrote about Wisconsin IME doctorsmedical defense doctors, and defense ("independent") medical exams and the latter two posts linked to a company formerly known as Verity Medical.  Well, Verity Medical was bought and so you get an idea of how BIG a business it is for insurance companies (and their lawyers) to hire defense medical examination brokers to get them doctors willing to fight legitimate insurance claims - I present ExamWorks

Depending on the day, ExamWorks, publicly traded (NYSE symbol EXAM), has been worth about $225,000,000.00 to $900,000,000.00.  How's that for big business!  And that's only one IME broker.  Here's the list companies purchased by ExamWorks between 7/14/2008 and 2/28/2011:
  • MES Group, Inc., Warren, MI
  • National IME Centres Inc., Thornhill, ON
  • Royal Medical Consultants, Inc., Tampa, FL
  • BMEGateway, Woburn, MA
  • UK Independent Medical Services, Durham, England
  • Health Cost Management, Beaverton, OR
  • Verity Medical, Madison, WI
  • Exigere, Bellevue, WA
  • SOMA Medical Assessments, Toronto, ON
  • Direct IME, Toronto, ON
  • Network Medical Review, Rockford, IL
  • Independent Medical Services, St. Paul, MN
  • 401 Diagnostics, Sacramento, CA
  • Metro Medical Services, East Rockaway, NY
  • American Medical Bill Review, Redding, CA
  • Medical Evaluations, Minneapolis, MN
  • Abeton, Portland, OR
  • Medical Assurance Group, Phoenix, AZ
  • MedNet I.M.S., Atlanta, GA
  • QualMed, Mount Laurel, NJ
  • IME Operations of Physician Practice, Boynton Beach, FL
  • The Evaluation Group, Southfield, MI
  • Benchmark Medical Consultants, Sacramento, CA
  • IME Software Solutions, Farmington Hills, MI
  • Florida Medical Specialists, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Marquis Medical Administrators, Roseland, NJ
  • Ricwel, Dublin, OH
  • CFO Medical Services, Roseland, NJ
  • Crossland Medical Review Services, Syosset, NY
  • Southwest Medical, Dallas, TX
There are still hundreds, if not thousands, of other "independent medical examination" brokers out there selling doctors to fight diagnosis, causation, allege problems are pre-existing, argue treatment was unnecessary, asserting injuries aren't permanent, etc.

FYI, too, though the companies have become savvy at hiding doctors who work for them, here's a list of the doctors in the area who were working for Verity Medical, and likely now ExamWorks:
  • Mark R. Aschliman, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Stephen E. Barron, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • David H. Bartlett, M.D. – Ortho Surgeon – Knees & Shoulders
  • Paul D. Belich, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Paul A. Cederberg, M.D. - Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Steven C. Delheimer, M.D. – Neurosurgeon
  • Steven Donatello, M.D. – Pain Management
  • Anthony A. Ferguson, M.D. – Ortho Surgeon - Foot/Ankle
  • James C. Foster, M.D., MPH – Occupational Medicine
  • Steven P. Friedel, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Dan B. Futch, D.C. – Chiropractor
  • James G. Gmeiner, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon/ Spine Specialist
  • J. Jay Goodman, M.D. – General/Vascular Surgeon                            
  • Thomas W. Grossman, Jr., M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Steven I. Grindel, M.D. – Ortho. Surgeon/Upper Extremity
  • Gary N. Guten, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon – Knee Specialist
  • Timothy S. Hart, M.D. – Orthopedic/Hand Surgeon
  • Scott A. Kale, M.D. – Internal Medicine
  • William B. Kelley, M.D. – General Surgeon
  • William R. Klemme, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Norman Kohn, M.D. – Neurologist
  • Kevin J. Kulwicki, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Paul L. Liebert, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Daniel P. Lochmann, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Thomas A. Lyons, M.D. – Neurosurgeon
  • Hani Matloub, M.D. - Hand Surgery
  • William T. Monacci, M.D. – Neurosurgeon
  • William D. Moore, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • J. Christopher Noonan, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Michael R. Nordstrom, M.D. – Otolaryngology
  • Marc J. Novom, M.D. – Neurologist
  • Gregory Nystrom, D.C. – Chiropractor
  • Ellen O’Brien, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Thomas J. O’Brien, M.D. – Ortho. Surgeon/Spine Specialist
  • Timothy S. O’Brien, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Dan M Olson, D.C. – Chiropractor
  • Michael W. Orth, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Michael C. Reineck, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Francisco Sanchez, M.D. – Neurosurgeon
  • Thomas W. Schueppert, M.D. – Ortho. Foot & Ankle Surgeon
  • James E. Self, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • David A. Solfelt, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Morris M. Soriano, M.D. – Neurosurgeon
  • Sridhar V. Vasudevan, M.D. – Physical Medicine & Rehab
  • Michael A. Weiner, M.D. – Plastic/Hand Surgeon
  • Gilbert Westreich, M.D. – Neurology
  • John M. Williams, Sr., M.D. – Occupational Medicine
  • Michael G. Wirth, D.C. - Chiropractor
  • Randal Wojciehoski, D.O., DPM – Internal/ER Med./Podiatry
  • John S. Xenos, M.D. – Orthopedic Surgeon
Note, according to New York lawyer Eric Turkewitz, Allstate (Allstate's Obstructing Justice, Allstate exposed, Insurance Companies again,  Allstate's issues continue) is getting its stable of IME doctors from ExamWorks.  Surely, that can be no surprise.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyer


Buy your teen the same amount of car insurance you buy yourself

The day has arrived when you drive your teen to the DMV to get his or her learner’s permit and then driver’s license.  Scary.  But the scariest thing for a parent is being asked to sign for your child’s driver’s license as a “sponsor.”

Wisconsin law requires that children under 18, with some exceptions, have an adult sponsor in order to get a learner’s permit and driver’s license.  The sponsor is typically a parent. The sponsorship application for a child’s driver’s license requires that a parent agree to be jointly and severally liable for damages caused by the negligence or willful misconduct of the child.  This means that if an accident were to occur, the parents would be held liable as if they caused the accident.  Note too, one parent’s signature typically puts both parents on the hook even if they are divorced.  As a result of Wisconsin’s “sponsorship statute” it is important to protect your family and your assets by purchasing your teen drivers as much car insurance as you buy for yourself. 

A recent appellate court decision shows why adequate insurance is so important.  In Progressive Northern Ins. Co. v. Jacobson, 2011 WI App 140, a minor child caused an accident killing his two passengers.  He owned his car and carried his own car insurance, but it appears it was minimal.  However, since Wisconsin requires a sponsor for a minor’s driver’s license, his mother was his sponsor.  Due to the severity of the damages, the deceased passengers’ estates looked to the mother since she was equally liable under the sponsorship statute. 

The mother sought coverage with her insurance company, Progressive Insurance.  However Progressive sought to escape responsibility arguing that it had no duty to cover her son’s accident, even though she was her son’s sponsor.  Progressive’s insurance policy, like most auto policies in Wisconsin, had a “relative” exclusion and the Court agreed with Progressive and found that the mother had no insurance coverage for her son’s accident.  As a result of being liable for her son’s negligence, she could now be forced to use her own assets (money, home or other property) to pay a judgment.

As a result of the sponsorship statute, my typical recommendation for families is that all cars in a family’s household be insured with the same car insurance company and that each car has liability, uninsured (UM), and underinsured (UIM) limits of at least $250,000 per person.  In addition, I strongly advise anyone with any assets, like a home, to purchase an umbrella insurance policy with UM and UIM coverage for $1 or $2 million. 

Sometimes people ask why UM and UIM coverage is important.  The answer is that such coverage protects you and your family from irresponsible drivers with little or no insurance or assets.  Added coverage is not nearly as expensive as you might think, and if you are sponsoring one or more teen drivers, you are at risk and must protect yourself and your assets.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyer


Wisconsin Super Lawyers 2011

Pasternak & Zirgibel is again honored in Milwaukee Magazine via Super Lawyers (December 2011).  Both Jeff Zirgibel and I have now appeared in the Top 50 Wisconsin Super Lawyers, which is an incredible award since there are about 14,000 lawyers in Wisconsin.

Super Lawyers tries to identify Wisconsin attorneys in the top 5% of all Wisconsin lawyers and Rising Stars under age 40. Super Lawyers also publishes a Top 50 list discussed below.

For 2011, there are only eight Wisconsin personal injury law firms represented in the Top 50 list:
  • Cannon & Dunphy, Brookfield
  • Domnitz & Skemp, Milwaukee
  • End, Hierseman & Crain, Milwaukee
  • Gingras, Cates & Lubke, Madison
  • Habush Habush & Rottier, Multiple
  • Laufenberg, Stombaugh & Jassak, Multiple
  • Murphy & Prachthauser, Multiple
  • Pasternak & Zirgibel, Brookfield
Wisconsin victims of car accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, premises liability, etc., could do far worse than to start by interviewing these law firms to get help with their personal injury cases.  Mostly in Milwaukee personal injury law firms, they have been recognized by peers as outstanding in their field. 

Hiring lawyers or law firms because they advertise a lot on television or Google, chase ambulances with letters or Wisconsin chiropractors or postings on the web or dabble in personal injury is simply a bad idea. 

If you want a high quality “expert,” look for a personal injury lawyer who shares the traits that these firms do.  This includes injury attorneys who are Peer Review Rated as AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings and active members of The American Association for Justice and Wisconsin Association for Justice.
Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney