Eisenberg Law Offices | Law Firms in Madison WI

Eisenberg Law Offices | Law Firms in Madison WI

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Wisconsin Search and Seizure Laws – Warrantless Hidden Video Surveillance

Hidden Video Surveillance - special search and seizure laws in Wisconsin

Under both the United States Constitution and the Wisconsin Constitution, citizens have a right to protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Generally, police cannot use evidence they obtain through illegal means. In the case of hidden surveillance cameras, though, your rights are a little more complicated. You will need to work with an experienced attorney to make sure your rights are protected.
The Fourth Amendment
The Fourth Amendment protects citizens' "persons, houses, papers, and effects" against "unreasonable searches and seizures," and requires probable cause before a warrant can be issued. For information collected by a hidden surveillance camera, this leaves questions open as to what constitutes personal "effects," and whether viewing information collected by a camera legally constitutes an unreasonable search.
The Mendoza Case
In United States v. Mendoza, a federal court in Wisconsin held that surveillance cameras installed to observe marijuana plants on private property did not violate the Fourth Amendment, even though they were installed without a warrant. This relied on the Supreme Court's "open fields doctrine," which holds that an open field not immediately connected to a house is not part of someone's effects, and is therefore not included in the Fourth Amendment protections.
This decision has some important limitations. If the field had been a fenced-in yard or otherwise adjacent to a house, surveillance cameras might not be allowed without a warrant. If you have personal items where a camera is on display, or if the camera aims inside the house or your vehicle, the Fourth Amendment protects you from a camera installed without a warrant.
Interpreting the Constitution requires working through difficult, arcane language that courts still argue about more than 200 years after it was first written. If you are arrested based on footage collected on a surveillance camera, you need experienced, expert legal representation. At Eisenberg Law Offices, we are here to help.
This post was originally published at https://www.eisenberglaw.org/wisconsin-search-seizure-laws-warrantless-hidden-video-surveillance/

4 Ways a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You

Know how a Madison WI Personal Injury Attorney can help with your case?

Hiring a personal injury attorney often seems like an obvious step to take if you've been in an accident. It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney instead of assuming you won't need one. Here are 4 ways in which a personal injury attorney can help you with your injury claim.
Take Over Much of the Communication
After an accident, you need to concentrate on getting better and getting your car fixed, not on arguing with insurance companies. If any problematic issues arise regarding communication, leave those to the attorney.
Spot Attempts to Limit Your Claim
Good insurance companies want cases to be settled fairly, even if their clients were to blame. However, some agents try to limit what you can get by pressuring you into not taking legal action. Your attorney can spot these tactics quickly.
Determine Suitable Financial Offers
Whether you want to negotiate a larger settlement or you're just trying to get enough to pay your medical bills, the attorney can determine how much you should get at a minimum. He or she can also advise you on whether you should settle or go to trial.
Gather Evidence
If you do go to court, you'll need evidence and may need testimony from qualified expert witnesses. The attorney should be the one to gather the evidence and hire the experts to ensure you the best possible outcome.
If you've suffered an injury, contact Eisenberg Law Offices to discuss your case. Ensure you're getting the compensation you need to heal and move on.
This post was originally published at https://www.eisenberglaw.org/4-ways-personal-injury-lawyer-can-help/

Do I Have to Hire an Attorney in the City Where I Live?

Madison Wisconsin Attorney explains if you need to find an attorney where you live

Hiring an attorney if you live in a reasonably sized city is usually a simple matter, but for those in smaller communities, the supply of attorneys may be so limited that residents need to look elsewhere. This can create a dilemma because there is a persistent idea that people need to hire attorneys who live in the same city, or at least in an adjacent community. This is not the case, however, because an attorney who is licensed to practice in a state can practice anywhere in that state.
Transportation Issues
It's certainly easier to work with an attorney who lives in the same city or an adjacent one because the travel time will be shorter. However, a lot of business with an attorney can be done via telephone and email. While clients would be best off meeting with an attorney in person at least a few times, many appointments do not need to be face to face.
When looking for an attorney, potential clients should concentrate on skill, experience, and cooperation, rather than proximity. It does a client no good to have an attorney who is down the street but who has little experience with the type of case in which the client is involved.
If you're in need of an attorney in Madison Wisconsin, contact Eisenberg Law Offices. Our attorneys have extensive experience with personal injury, criminal defense, and family law and can help you no matter where you live in the state.
This post was originally published at https://www.eisenberglaw.org/hire-attorney-city-live/

Friday, September 1, 2017

What Is Lifeguard Negligence?

Drownings in Wisconsin - what is the duty of the lifeguard?

Residents and visitors in Wisconsin look forward to swimming every summer. While the lakes and pools in Wisconsin give you an opportunity to cool off and enjoy the sun, they also provide dangers to swimmers. To protect against drownings and other injuries, pool owners are required to have a certain number of lifeguards on duty. But what if the lifeguards fail to help? If a lifeguard performs negligently and you or a loved one is injured, you have a potential claim against the owner.
Duties of Lifeguard and Pool Owner
Wisconsin law requires lifeguards to maintain specific certifications and training to work. This creates a duty for both the lifeguards and the pool owner who employs them; if a lifeguard is not properly trained in CPR, for example, and that leads to a preventable injury or death, the pool owner can be liable for not providing properly trained personnel.
In addition, the lifeguard's job is to observe the pool and look for potential problems. For this reason, Wisconsin requires a minimum number of lifeguards based on the surface area of the pool. If fewer lifeguards are assigned, the owner is negligent. If the lifeguard fails to see or address a problem and that results in an injury, the lifeguard and owner can also be liable.
Your Case for Negligence
Negligence exists when someone fails to fulfill his or her duty to someone else. It leads to liability if that negligence caused an injury to someone else. In the swimming context, many factors play in to accidental drownings or injuries. Still, when a pool owner employs a lifeguard who fails to protect swimmers, liability against the lifeguard and the owner can often follow.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will help you work through the morass of facts and obtain the recovery you deserve. If a lifeguard's negligence led to injuries or worse for you or a loved one, Eisenberg Law Offices can help. Contact us today to learn more.
This post was originally published at https://www.eisenberglaw.org/what-is-lifeguard-negligence/

Can Battery Victims Sue for Money?

In Wisconsin someone who physically assaults another is subject to criminal charges for battery. But an arrest and charges under the criminal statute does not prevent you from filing a civil lawsuit as well. In fact, Wisconsin law provides specifically for a civil action against someone who commits a battery against you.
Conviction Is Not Required
Civil lawsuits bring a different burden of proof than a criminal trial. Specifically, a criminal conviction requires a prosecutor to prove actions beyond a reasonable doubt, while civil liability only requires proof beyond a "preponderance of the credible evidence," meaning a jury need only decide it is more likely than not that the person committed the act. If the person is convicted under the battery statute, this is proof that he or she intentionally caused your injuries or other damages. But the lower standard of proof means that failure to convict on the criminal charges need not mean you cannot prevail in a civil case.
Determining Your Damages
On the other hand, a criminal conviction requires only that the person committed battery. To prevail in your civil case, you must show not only that the person did something wrong, but that he or she caused damage to your person or your property. This means you should be prepared to demonstrate any physical injuries you suffered, and any repair costs or damage assessments to property affected. Your recovery will depend on economic damages you suffered, including any lost wages, medical bills, and the value to your family of anything you are no longer able to do at home.
Your ability to collect money in a civil suit for battery depends on your ability to prove both that the person acted intentionally and that the act created damages. Working with an experienced Madison-area personal injury lawyer is critical to establishing your case. If someone has assaulted you, contact Eisenberg Law Offices to learn how you can get the compensation you deserve.
This post was originally published at https://www.eisenberglaw.org/can-battery-victims-sue-money/

Madison WI Roof Falls and Liability

Homeowner negligence for roof fall

When people work on rooftops, falls and injuries will sometimes occur. In some respects, this represents a hazard of the job. Still, when a homeowner's negligence leads to an injury, the homeowner can be liable for damages related to the fall. The circumstances of the accident will help determine the extent of this liability.
How Negligence Occurs
A staple of personal injury law is that when a hazard is obvious and avoidable, a person who injures himself or herself cannot recover damages for failing to avoid the condition. If you fall off the edge of the roof because of your own carelessness, you likely will not recover. On the other hand, if the roof has slick spots or structural weaknesses that are not apparent, these can represent hazards for which the homeowner is responsible.
A good example comes when there is a soft spot in the roof. This may not be obvious until you step in the wrong place. If the homeowner did not warn you of the structural defect, you can injure yourself, and the homeowner may be liable for the injury.
Insurance and Liability
In many cases, the homeowner's insurance policy covers liability for injuries to workers or to others on the property. You may have an opportunity to settle a claim through that policy. However, insurers function on a model that depends on paying out as little money as possible. Before you accept a settlement offer, you should understand the full extent of your injuries and the damages you have sustained. If you contact Eisenberg Law Offices, we will help you talk through and understand your claim, and make sure the insurer cannot trick you into accepting less than your claim is worth. If you have been injured in a rooftop fall, contact us to get the experienced representation you deserve.
This post was originally published at https://www.eisenberglaw.org/madison-wi-roof-falls-liability/

Monday, August 14, 2017

Personal Injury Settlement Awards And SSI Benefits

How Does A Personal Injury Settlement Affect SSI?

One question that we are asked quite often from our clients and their families is how a personal injury settlement will affect their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  The short answer is "Yes, a personal injury settlement will likely affect your SSI benefits."
Let's take a look at why this is the case and what you can do to protect your benefits.
Defining SSI
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides a monthly stipend to disabled children and adults who have limited income and to people age 65 and older who meet the financial limits. In order to qualify, countable assets must be less than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple.
Click here for a full list of what sorts of income, assets, and changes must be reported under the SSI program.
Because program benefits are "need based" or "resource based", an injury settlement will impact the SSI benefits received. Monetary settlements change the amount of unearned income a person receives. Unearned income is one of the resources the Social Security Administration looks at when determining eligibility for SSI benefits.
If the award pushes your income over the $2,000 or $3,000 threshold, your benefits may be terminated.
SSI, SSDI, And Social Security Income Are Not The Same Thing
It's important to clarify that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is different from Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). SSDI benefits are not dependent on your income and, therefore, are not affected by injury settlements. SSDI benefits are provided when a person have a severe, long-lasting disability that affects his/her ability to work. Since the settlement is not earned income, it should not affect your receipt of SSDI benefits.
SSI is also separate and distinct from Social Security Income, which workers paid through the Social Security Payroll Tax when they were working. Social Security Income is not affected by a personal injury case, because it is not need based. It is based on income you earned and taxes you paid. Social Security Income is also unaffected by personal injury settlements.
Protecting Your SSI Benefits
SSI benefits provide critical income and other income-based qualification benefits for vulnerable individuals. These individuals should not be forced to choose whether or not to accept damages resulting from a personal injury case or risk losing their SSI benefits.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect your SSI benefits and accept settlement awards. One of the best options is to set up a special needs trust. This trust allows injured parties to keep settlement proceeds and keep their SSI benefits. The special needs trust can be used to cover services that are not covered by SSI programs such as transportation, nursing care, or therapies.
Consult Eisenberg Law About Your Personal Injury Settlement Options
If you receive SSI benefits, it's very important to share that information with your personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Together, you and your attorney can discuss your options for protecting your SSI income if you win a settlement. Your attorney should also be able to help you set up a special needs trust to protect your settlement income.
Contact Eisenberg Law Offices in Madison, WI for help navigating SSI and injury settlements. Call 608-256-8356 or reach us online.
This post was originally published at http://www.eisenberglaw.org/firm-overview/articles/personal-injury-settlement-awards-ssi-benefits/