Vehicle accidents happen—often just minutes from home. Whether you are on the I-94 corridor with large trucks or on the rural roads hours or just minutes from home, there is always a risk of getting into an accident. No matter how careful you are, you can't control the actions of others. You could recover compensation for your injuries if the at-fault driver was negligent. However, vehicle accident cases are complex, especially if more than one defendant shares responsibility for your injuries and losses.
Contact a Wisconsin motor vehicle accident attorney at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers at any of our Wisconsin offices for a free, no-obligation case evaluation if you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident.
Why Choose Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers
After a motor vehicle accident, Wisconsin residents and those traveling through the state should retain a motor vehicle accident lawyer. However, you shouldn’t retain just any attorney. Look for a firm with experienced personal injury attorneys and the means to cover your case.
After an accident, you most likely won’t have the money to pay an attorney. Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers in Wisconsin always offers free, no-obligation case evaluations and does not charge for services unless you win your case. You also need an attorney with a legal team to get started on your case immediately, including investigating the accident scene, reviewing medical bills, and interviewing or deposing witnesses.
When you have the right lawyer working on your claim, you have a better chance of recovering the compensation you deserve—not what the insurance company thinks you should receive.
Working with Insurance Companies
Some accident victims believe that they will receive more money if they don't have to share it with an attorney. However, that is almost always false. Insurance companies are in business to make a profit. Paying out even minor claims reduces profits.
Insurance companies will always look for ways to deny a claim. Barring that, they pay as little as possible—often, not enough to cover your medical expenses. One of the tricks insurance companies use is to get you to talk about the accident and twist what you say to place the blame for the accident at your feet.
Another trick is to admit their client was in the wrong but give you a number and tell you that is the most they can pay. That is often untrue.
When you retain an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer in Wisconsin, the insurance companies know you are serious about recovering the compensation you deserve. They are more likely to offer a fair and reasonable amount since they know an attorney will take the case to court in the blink of an eye—and going to court is often much more expensive for the insurance company than settling.
The experienced motor vehicle accident attorneys at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers in Wisconsin also work with medical and other professionals to investigate the accident scene and come up with a fair compensation amount, especially if the accident injuries you sustained will cause long-term or permanent disabilities.
Vehicle Accident Injuries
The injuries you sustain in a Wisconsin motor vehicle accident depend on several factors, including the size and speed of the vehicles, how the at-fault driver hits you, and other factors. Even your health factors into the severity of accident injuries.
Motor vehicle accident injuries include:
- Bumps, bruises, cuts, scratches, and scrapes.
- Strains and sprains.
- Pulled and torn muscles and other soft tissue injuries.
- Simple and compound fractures.
- Face and eye injuries.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Ear injuries, including deafness, if the accident caused an explosion.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Internal injuries.
- Chemical and thermal burns.
- Road rash.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
- Amputation of a digit or limb.
You could also suffer from secondary injuries, such as open wounds from the accident or surgery to repair an accident injury becoming infected. In some cases, accident victims with pre-existing conditions could suffer additional medical expenses and pain and suffering because of accident injuries.
The at-fault driver is responsible for your expenses and non-economic losses for these injuries, as you would not have suffered if not for the at-fault driver's negligence.
Recovering Damages After a Wisconsin Vehicle Accident
You could recover monetary damages after an accident to cover injuries and losses—not just medical expenses. Wisconsin allows you to recover compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Types of Damages
The law provides for compensatory damages in an attempt to make you whole again. The law divides this category into economic damages and non-economic damages. On the other hand, the court only orders an at-fault driver to pay punitive damages if the court finds that the defendant intentionally disregards the safety or rights of others. The court orders punitive damages as a punishment for the defendant's actions or inactions rather than making you whole again.
Sometimes referred to as special damages, economic damages have a specific monetary value and include:
- Medical expenses: Doctors' appointments, surgeries, follow-up appointments, physical therapy, cognitive therapy, psychological therapy, occupational therapy, hand controls for vehicles, ambulatory aids, prescriptions and prescribed over-the-counter medications, and updates to your home, including but not limited to wheelchair ramps, grab bars, handrails and widened doorways.
- Income: You could recover compensation for the time you missed from work because of accident injuries. However, if your injuries cause long-term or permanent disabilities, you could also recover compensation for the time you are out of work through the time you would typically retire. If you can work part-time or full-time at a lower-paying job because your injuries prevent you from working in the same occupation, you could also recover partial loss of future earning capacity.
- Personal property: You could recover compensation to repair or replace your vehicle and anything of value in the vehicle that was damaged or destroyed, such as computers, cell phones, school books, or dry cleaning.
- Death-related expenses: Surviving family members can recover funeral and burial expenses, cremation expenses, certain probate court expenses, and probate attorney’s fees and costs.
Sometimes referred to as general damages, non-economic damages have a subjective monetary value and include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Loss of quality of life if you have to make life-long changes such as taking prescriptions or using ambulatory aides.
- Loss of companionship if you can no longer enjoy activities and events with your family.
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer have a physical relationship with your spouse.
- Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do the chores you usually do, including but not limited to grocery shopping, house cleaning, lawn maintenance, and home repair and maintenance.
- Loss of use of a body part, such as an arm or foot.
- Loss of use of a bodily function, such as your eyesight, hearing, or bladder.
- Amputation of a digit or limb.
- Excessive scarring or disfigurement.
After a car accident, many laws apply to your claim for compensation. You must file your claim within the legal time limit and prove the at-fault party's negligence. Every Wisconsin motor vehicle accident attorney at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers is well-versed in the local and state laws they must abide by in an accident settlement and trial.
Your attorney will ensure that you meet all time requirements and obtain necessary evidence in your case. They will also enter settlement negotiations with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or file a lawsuit against the insurance company, the at-fault driver, or other parties who might share liability for your injuries and losses.
Statute of Limitations
Wisconsin limits your time to file a claim against the at-fault driver or their insurance company. The statute of limitations for motor vehicle accident lawsuits in Wisconsin is three years. However, if you lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is just two years.
While this may seem like a long time, it's quite short considering the effort needed to prepare a claim or lawsuit. Thus, you should contact a Wisconsin motor vehicle accident attorney at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers as soon as possible after an accident. In most cases, we must investigate the accident, review medical records, consult expert witnesses, and more.
To recover damages after a Wisconsin motor vehicle accident, you must prove that the at-fault driver or another person was negligent. Determining negligence is a complex legal exercise. Your legal team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers will review all the evidence to determine whether they can prove negligence on behalf of one or more defendants responsible for your injuries and losses.
To prove negligence, you must show:
- Duty of care: Show that the defendants had a duty of care. The defendant has a duty of care to drive within the laws and regulations of Wisconsin's traffic laws and not to injure or harm others.
- Breach of the duty of care: The defendants breached that duty through action or inaction. The driver is sometimes not the only person who breaches the duty of care.
- Causation: The defendant’s action or inaction caused an accident that injured you.
- Damages: The injuries caused you losses or damages.
The driver is not always at fault for your injuries and losses—or at least entirely at fault.
In some cases, others who might share liability include:
- The driver’s employer.
- A vehicle manufacturer.
- A parts manufacturer.
- An inspector, usually for big rigs.
- A dispatcher.
- A municipality that did not properly maintain the roads.
- A vehicle owner that did not drive the vehicle that caused the accident.
Because so many people or entities might play a hand in the cause of the wreck, it is better to retain a Wisconsin motor vehicle accident attorney to investigate the case, especially if your doctors expect your injuries to cause long-term or permanent injuries or you lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident.
Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Accident FAQs
+ How Do I Pay for Medical Expenses Until I Receive My Settlement?
You can use your auto and medical insurance to pay for medical expenses. Once you receive your settlement, we will reimburse your insurance companies. We could also request that your medical professionals who treated you hold off on collections until you receive your settlement.
+ How Do I Pay for a Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney?
Our initial case evaluations are always free and without obligation. Additionally, you don't pay our fees unless we win your case. We work on a contingency contract, which you will have a chance to review before you retain us. Contingency means you pay nothing upfront and only pay attorney's fees as a percentage of the compensation you recover.
+ What Do I Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident?
If you can move around without causing further injury, you can help collect evidence from a fresh accident scene. Take photos of the accident. Obtain contact information from the driver and witnesses. Also, obtain the driver’s license, insurance, and registration information. Never claim that you are not hurt or that the accident was your fault. Some injuries manifest hours or even days later. Always seek medical attention after an accident, even if you believe your injuries are minor.
+ What Shouldn’t I Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident?
Do not post about the accident on social media. In fact, don't post anything about your personal life on social media following the accident. Insurance companies prowl social media accounts and could use something as innocent as going out to dinner with your spouse to show that your injuries are not as bad as you allege.
Contact a Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a Wisconsin motor vehicle accident, contact us at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers by calling (715) 377-2141 and get your free case evaluation from our car accident lawyers.