Vehicle accidents happen—often just minutes from home. Whether you are on the I-94 corridor jockeying for position with large trucks or on a rural road many 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.
If another driver causes an accident and you are injured, you could request compensation for your injuries if the at-fault driver was negligent. Keep in mind that motor vehicle accident cases can be complex, especially if more than one person shares responsibility for your injuries and losses.
Contact the Wisconsin motor vehicle accident lawyers at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers in 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.
Choose Nicolet Law For Your Motor Vehicle Crash Lawyers
After a motor vehicle collision, Wisconsin residents and others involved in the crash should retain a motor vehicle accident lawyer to help protect their rights. However, you shouldn’t retain just any attorney. Look for a firm with experienced Wisconsin personal injury attorneys and the resources necessary to handle your case.
When you have the right accident 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.
Let Us Deal With the Insurance Companies
Some accident victims don't hire a lawyer because they believe they will receive more money if they don't have to share it with an attorney. However, that is almost always incorrect. Insurance companies are in business to make a profit, and paying out even minor claims reduces their profits.
Insurance companies will always look for ways to deny a claim. If they can't deny it, they try to pay as little as possible—often, not enough to cover your current medical expenses. One of the tricks insurance companies use is to get you to talk about the accident and twist what you say to blame you for the accident. If you don't speak directly to the insurance company, they can't use your words against you.
Another trick is to admit their policyholder was in the wrong but give you a quick settlement figure, claiming that is the most they can pay. That is often untrue, and with the help of a skilled personal injury lawyer, you will likely receive a much better offer in time.
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 if their settlement offers are inadequate to cover their client's losses. The insurer also knows that going to court is often much more expensive for the insurance company than reaching a settlement out of court.
The experienced motor vehicle accident attorneys at Nicolet Law also work with medical experts and other professionals to fully understand your medical prognosis and investigate the accident scene to calculate a fair compensation amount, especially if the crash injuries you sustained will cause long-term or permanent disabilities.
Common Injuries Our Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers Handle
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 how your body reacts. Even your overall health will factor into the severity of your unique accident injuries.
Motor vehicle accident injuries often 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 infections in open wounds from the accident or after surgery to repair an injury. In some cases, accident victims with pre-existing conditions could suffer additional medical expenses and pain and suffering because of new accident injuries.
The at-fault driver can be held responsible for your economic expenses and non-economic losses because you would not have suffered these losses if that driver had not been negligent.
Recovering Damages After a Wisconsin Vehicle Accident
Types of Damages You Can Pursue After a Motor Vehicle Crash
State 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. However, the court will only order an at-fault driver to pay punitive damages if the court finds that the driver intentionally disregarded the safety or rights of others. Punitive damages are a punishment for the defendant's actions or inactions rather than compensation to make you whole again.
Examples of Economic Damages
Sometimes referred to as special damages, economic damages have a specific monetary value and can 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, updates to your home, including but not limited to wheelchair ramps, grab bars, handrails, and widened doorways.
- Lost income: You could recover compensation for the time you missed from work because of your 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 damages: 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, or other valuable items.
- 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.
Examples of Non-Economic Damages
Sometimes referred to as general damages, non-economic damages have a subjective monetary value and may 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.
- The cost to have 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.
Wisconsin Laws That Apply to Motor Vehicle Crashes
After a car accident, many laws may apply to your request for compensation. You must file your lawsuit within the legal time limit and prove the at-fault party's negligence. Every Wisconsin motor vehicle accident attorney at Nicolet Law is well-versed in the local and state laws that apply to an accident settlement and trial.
Your attorney will ensure that you meet all time requirements and obtain the necessary evidence in your case. They will also participate in 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.
What is the Statute of Limitations For a Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Accident?
Wisconsin limits your time to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver or their insurance company. The statute of limitations for motor vehicle accident lawsuits in Wisconsin is three years from the date of the accident. However, if you lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is only two years from the accident.
While this may seem like a long time, it's quite short considering the effort needed to prepare a claim or lawsuit. This is why you should contact a Wisconsin motor vehicle accident attorney at Nicolet Law as soon as possible after an accident. In most cases, we must quickly investigate the accident, review medical records, consult expert witnesses, and more in a short amount of time.
How to Determining Negligence in a Motor Vehicle Crash
To recover damages after a Wisconsin motor vehicle accident, you must prove that the at-fault driver or another person was negligent. Proving negligence is a complex legal process. Your legal team at Nicolet Law can review all the evidence to determine whether they can prove negligence by one or more defendants to show who is responsible for your injuries and losses.
To prove negligence, your lawyer must establish:
- A duty of care: The law imposes a duty of care in certain situations. For example, we must show how the defendant had a duty of care to drive within the laws and regulations of Wisconsin's traffic laws and to not injure or harm others.
- A breach of the duty of care: We must then show how the defendants breached their duty through action or failing to act. The driver may not be the only person who breaches the duty of care.
- Causation: The defendant’s action or inaction must be determined to be the cause of the accident that injured you.
- Damages: Finally, we must show how your resulting injuries led to your losses or damages.
Sometimes, one driver is not the only one at fault for your injuries and losses—other parties may share some of the responsibility. Others who might share liability could include:
- The driver’s employer.
- A vehicle manufacturer.
- A parts manufacturer.
- An inspector, usually in accidents involving big rigs.
- A dispatcher.
- A municipality that did not properly maintain the roads.
- A vehicle owner who did not drive the vehicle that caused the accident.
Because so many people or entities might play a role in the cause of your wreck, it is better to retain a Wisconsin motor vehicle accident lawyer 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, you can use it to reimburse your insurance companies. We could also request that the 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?
At Nicolet Law, our initial case evaluations are always free and without obligation. Additionally, you don't pay any fees unless we win your case. We work on a contingency basis, which we will explain 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 without causing further injury, you can help collect evidence from a recent 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 the Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers at Nicolet Law Today
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 for your free case evaluation with our personal injury lawyers today.