Tag Archives: 2009 Wisconsin Act 100

PROPOSED NEW LAW WILL REDUCE SETTLEMENTS FOR INJURED INDIVIDUALS AND BENEFIT PEOPLE WHO CARELESSLY CAUSE INJURIES

A proposed law introduced in the Wisconsin legislature could significantly lower the amount of money people can recover in claims involving serious injury due to someone else’s negligence.

Based on current law, the recoverable damages for injuries include the total amount of medical bills that accumulated as a result of an accident. In December, Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (New Berlin) and Sen. Chris Kapenga (Delafield) introduced a bill, AB-539/SB-405 that substantively changes the current law. This bill could lower the value of claims to the amount paid by your health insurer.

If this change in the law is approved by the Legislature, the potential value of personal injury claims for medical expenses could be substantially reduced.

Because people work and spend their hard-earned money paying for medical insurance, they deserve the benefit of the coverage they buy. In return for their money and hard work, health insurers often negotiate with healthcare providers to pay less than the billed amount. What results is a discount they paid for and that they earned. The proposed legislation now under consideration will allow the person who caused the injury and his or her insurance company to now benefit from these discounts.

This legislation benefits the person who caused the injuries to the detriment of the injured party, and to the detriment of that injured party’s health insurance carrier. If enacted, this new law will take the health insurance benefits that people have worked hard to pay for and shift those benefits to the person who caused their injuries. The only way we can avoid this attack on your rights is to defeat this bill.

Below is a link that you can use to identify your state legislators (just insert your address in the box on the right side of the page). We encourage you to write, email or call your legislators in the Assembly and Senate and urge them to oppose this legislation. We have provided the suggested text below, which you can feel free to copy and include in your communication with your legislator. Also, this Bill might come up for a vote as early as February 9, so it is important for you to reach out to your legislators as soon as possible.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

http://legis.wisconsin.gov/

SUGGESTED TEXT:

I have recently become aware of a proposed new law (AB 539/SB 405 /“Collateral Source” Legislation) that could have a significant impact on the damages recoverable in Wisconsin by individuals injured by the carelessness of others.

I strongly urge you to oppose this change in Wisconsin law. The current law allows the recovery of the value of the medical bills incurred as a result of the accident. The proposed change in the law unfairly allows the wrongdoer who caused the injury to escape responsibility for these costs by introducing evidence of what the health insurer paid for medical treatment. Those reductions in payment were negotiated on behalf of the injured party and are a result of hard work and a choice by the injured party to be responsible and carry health insurance. The person who caused the injury should not be allowed to benefit from these discounts.

The proposed legislation benefits the person who caused an injury to the detriment of the injured party and to the detriment of the injured party’s health insurer. In this day of rising health care costs, this is bad public policy. I urge you to oppose this unfair legislation.

Wisconsin Gets Tough on Drunk Driving

According to a 2009 study by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Wisconsin leads the nation in drunk driving incidents.  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation, reported that there were more than 44,000 drunk driving convictions in Wisconsin just last year.

2009 Wisconsin Act 100 , which took effect on July 1, 2010, is the Wisconsin Legislature’s latest attempt to eliminate drunk driving in Wisconsin.  The new law targets repeat offenders, and provides for more opportunities for treatment of alcohol abuse.

The new law also includes the following provisions:

  1. Ignition Interlocks will be required for all repeat offenders and first time offenders who have had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over 0.15.  These devices make it impossible for cars to start if a person has any alcohol in their breath content.
  2. 4th time repeat offenses will now be treated as felonies if they are within 5 years of the previous offense.
  3. The new law allows judges to offer less jail time to offenders who choose and succeed in alcohol rehabilitation, thereby making treatment of alcoholism more accessible to Wisconsin’s long term drunk driving issues.
  4. 1st Offense DUIs will now be categorized as misdemeanors if a child under 16 years of age is present in the vehicle.
  5. Increased criminal charges and license reinstatement charges.

For more information on the problem of drunk driving in Wisconsin, check out the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s special report called Wasted in Wisconsin.  For additional information on the new OWI law, visit the State Bar’s Wisconsin Lawyer article by Andrew Mishlove & Lauren Stuckert.