Frequently Asked Questions About Auto Accidents in Wisconsin
Experienced Milwaukee accident lawyers provide clear answers
The moments after a car accident can cause confusion and alarm, but if you’re seriously injured, your distress can last much longer. If you are wondering about your legal rights after a crash, Sperling Law Offices LLC offers this short list of frequently asked questions and answers as a starting point:
- What damages can I recover for a car accident?
- What is the statute of limitations on a Wisconsin car accident?
- What factors determine fault for a car accident?
- What is comparative negligence in a car accident case?
- How likely am I to be hit by an uninsured driver in Wisconsin?
Contact a capable and concerned Milwaukee auto accident attorney
If you need personalized assistance, the experienced accident lawyers at Sperling Law Offices LLC are ready to help. From our office in Milwaukee, we represent clients throughout Wisconsin in motor vehicle accident cases. To schedule a free consultation, call 414-273-7777 or contact us online.
Damages are divided into two categories: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages consist of monetary losses you’ve suffered due to the accident, such as your medical bills and lost wages. These damages also include losses you’re likely to incur in the future, if you need additional medical care or you are unable to earn as much as you could if you hadn’t been hurt. Noneconomic damages are real, but intangible, losses that require compensation, such as your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life or loss of quality of life.
The statute of limitations sets the deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit or lose your legal right to sue. In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations for a car accident case is three years from the date of the accident. However, if you need to sue a government entity, the time limit is much shorter.
Fault, or liability for an accident, is a conclusion that requires proof of four factors: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Duty is generally presumed in a car accident case, since drivers on public roads have a duty to operate their vehicles with reasonable care so as not to injure another person or damage property. Breach refers to an act or omission by which a driver violates the duty of care. This violation could be an unsafe maneuver, indulging in distracted behavior, speeding, running a red light, or driving while under the influence. Causation is the most important factor, because it means the driver’s wrongful behavior directly caused an injury event. The final element a plaintiff must prove against a defendant is damages. Drivers are only liable for injuries they cause, not pre-existing physical conditions. So, if a person suffering from back pain gets into an accident, and his back pain worsens, the negligent defendant is liable for the worsening of the injury, but not the sum total of the victim’s disability.
Wisconsin’s comparative negligence law applies to all accident cases. The law holds that victims who share some responsibility for causing the injury event can still recover damages as long as they were not mostly at fault. However, the court will reduce the amount of damages in proportion to their level of negligence.
The Insurance Information Institute estimates that 11.7 percent of drivers in Wisconsin are uninsured. That gives you a one-in-nine chance that a driver who hits you will not be insured. You should also be wary of drivers who carry only the statutory minimum level of insurance, which might not be enough to pay for a serious injury. That should be incentive to carry as much uninsured driver protection as you can afford.