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Wisconsin Personal Injury FAQs

Personal Injury Lawyers Answer Questions About Seeking Compensation in Milwaukee and Waukesha

Do I have a personal injury case?

You may be eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim if your injury was caused by the negligence of another party. This means if the party owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, and their breach caused your injuries resulting in damages, you might have a claim. For example, in a car accident, a driver can be negligent for failing to drive safely and in compliance with traffic laws. In a slip-and-fall accident, the owner of the premises can be negligent for failing to remove or address hazardous conditions that led to the fall.

What is my case worth?

The value of your case can vary significantly depending on the severity of your injuries and their short- and long-term impact on your life, finances, and physical and mental health. For minor injuries, your case may be worth a few thousand dollars, whereas severe, life-altering injury cases can be worth much more.

What damages can I seek compensation for?

You can seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include your medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages or earning potential resulting from your injury. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment from the inability to engage in your favorite activities, and loss of consortium from the impact of your injuries on personal relationships.

What is the process of filing a personal injury claim?

Consultation with an attorney and medical experts can help you determine how much compensation you should seek to account for all damages incurred. An attorney can also help you gather evidence to prove the negligence of any liable parties, and file a claim with their insurance companies. Your attorney will attempt to negotiate on your behalf with the insurance companies to reach a fair settlement, or file a lawsuit in which a jury would ultimately decide on the liability and damages of your case in a trial.

What are discovery and deposition?

Before a trial, there will be a discovery period during which your attorney and the defendant's attorney will ask questions and exchange documents related to each side's claims and defenses. This period also includes depositions, in which you, the defendant, and all other witnesses will be asked to provide testimony regarding the accident, injuries, and lasting impacts.

Will my case go to trial?

Personal injury attorneys almost always try to reach a settlement through negotiation or mediation before resorting to a trial. Minor injury cases are often more likely to settle out of court, but in severe injury cases where you are seeking large damages, a trial may be more likely, especially if settlement negotiations break down or if the defendant is an insurance company that is attempting to avoid a fair payout amount.

How much proof is required?

Successful personal injury claims require that you present a preponderance of evidence, meaning that the jury finds your account of the accident to be more likely true than not. This is a lower standard than most criminal cases, but it is still important to gather and preserve as much evidence as possible soon after the accident to bolster your claim, including photographs, videos, medical records, and eyewitness and expert testimony.

What if I am partially at fault for the accident?

In Wisconsin, if you are partially responsible for the accident that caused your injury, this is known as contributory negligence. However, this does not necessarily mean that you are ineligible for compensation. You can still receive some amount of compensation as long as your negligence is not greater than that of the other party involved in the accident, although it will be reduced in proportion to the responsibility you bear.

How long does it take to receive compensation for a personal injury claim?

Generally, Wisconsin personal injury cases have a 3-year statute of limitations, but filing a claim as soon as possible after your accident or the noticeable onset of your injuries gives you the best chance at receiving timely compensation. If there was a death involved in an automobile accident, you must file a claim within two years of the accident. If your injuries are minor, you may be able to settle in as little as a few months. For major injuries, you may need to wait several months or more to understand the full extent of the impact before even filing the claim. Cases that go to trial can take much longer than cases that are settled outside of court, in some cases several years. With the impact of COVID-19, it is much more difficult to estimate when a trial could occur.

How do I pay all my bills until my case settles or goes to trial?

Since you will not receive payment until after the settlement or trial on the liability claim aspect of your case, you will need to explore your options for covering medical bills and other expenses in the meantime. If you have health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, it can cover many of your medical expenses, and car insurance can cover damages to your vehicle. Once you receive compensation, you will likely need to reimburse your insurance providers for expenses. You can also purchase medical payment insurance, or "med-pay," with your automobile liability insurance, which can alleviate expenses in the event of an accident. If you do not have insurance coverage, or if it does not cover all expenses, you may be able to negotiate with the hospital or medical provider for a payment plan.

What is Subrogation?

If you have been injured in an accident and you have health insurance, your provider will usually pay for medical expenses included under your coverage. However, they will also usually send you a letter asking for details of the accident including information about any at-fault parties and their insurance providers so they can file a subrogation claim against the liability insurance of the third-party who injured you. Subrogation means that part of the compensation you receive from the negligent party in a personal injury settlement will be used to reimburse your health insurance provider, rather than going to you directly.

Contact a Milwaukee Personal Injury Attorney

For more information on any of these questions, or to get answers about your injury case, contact us at 414-271-1440 for a consultation. We can help you seek the compensation you need in Milwaukee County, Waukesha County, and Brown County.

Attorneys on our Personal Injury Team:

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