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Personal Injury FAQs

How long after my accident can I file a lawsuit?

The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Wisconsin is three years. After this period has expired, you can no longer take legal action.

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Do I need an attorney to file a claim?

Filing a claim without a lawyer can be difficult. An experienced attorney can help you fill out the necessary forms and see that they are promptly delivered to the court. In addition, he or she can provide you with sound advice at every stage of your lawsuit.

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Will I have to endure a long court battle during my bus accident case?

Most injury victims settle out of court; however, every case is different. Your case may or may not require a trial, and the duration can vary.

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What type of compensation can one receive as a result of personal injury case?

Generally, one can expect to be compensated for their medical bills, lost income from work, and any other financial losses one has sustained as a direct result of their injury case. A person who is injured as a result of an accident is also entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering. In certain limited cases, a claim can also be made for loss of society and companionship as well as compensation for emotional damages.

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Can I sue for a car accident in Wisconsin?

Maybe. It depends on your injuries and whether the auto accident was your fault or the fault of the other driver. An experienced lawyer can provide you with additional information.

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What is pain and suffering?

Ordinarily, the most “valuable” element of your bodily injury claim is the right to compensation for physical pain and mental anguish you have suffered and will endure in the future because of your injury. These general damages are in addition to and may be far more than the amount of your lost earnings and medical expenses. Pain and suffering is designed to compensate you for the injury that you have suffered. For the lay person, it is difficult to understand or quantify from a monetary standpoint, the value of the injury; that is why hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer is vitally important as the attorney has experience in having knowledge as to the value of your case.

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Am I entitled to medical expense reimbursement?

The cost of all reasonable and necessary medical expenses and that are reasonably certain to be incurred in the future because of your injury , are recoverable. These expenses include past (already incurred) medical expenses, including prescriptions, and also future medical expenses, which may be the product of the original injury or that result from a need for future surgery. All forms of care and treatment, whether hospital, medical, chiropractic, physical therapy, nursing, diagnostic testing, surgery, physical rehabilitation or pain management are included. You are entitled to claim the full value of your medical expenses from the responsible party even if your health insurer or carrier has paid all or part of the bills. Your own insurance company will likely seek reimbursement for bills it has paid. This is called subrogation.

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Am I entitled to loss of earnings after an accident?

You are entitled to recover the loss of earnings suffered from your injuries. Thus, wages, commissions, bonuses and all other benefits are recoverable.

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I may not be able to work in the future. Are future loss of earnings part of my case?

If you injuries permanently limit your ability to earn, you can recover, with reasonable probability, the value of the future reduction in earning capacity. These damages compensate you for your lost earning power over the remainder of your working years.

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Will I be compensated if I have disfigurement from the accident?

If the injury cases scarring or other unsightly marks, you are entitled to recover for the disfigurement and humiliation or embarrassment associated with such disfigurement.

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If my marital relationship suffers, how does such damage affect my case?

Serious injuries to one spouse may cause damage to the martial relationship. If this occurs, you are entitled to recover for the loss of society, affection, assistance, conjugal fellowship and the loss or impairment of sexual relations that may occur.

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Am I entitled to be compensated for the damage to my vehicle or other personal property?

You are entitled to be made whole for any damage to your personal property. If they can repair your vehicle, you are entitled to recover the reasonable cost of restoring the vehicle to its condition before the collision. In addition, you may recover the cost of substitute transportation necessarily incurred while they are repairing your vehicle. If the cost of repair is more than the value of your vehicle (“a total loss”), you are entitled to recover the full value of your vehicle before it was damaged.

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How long after my accident does a person have to file a lawsuit for injury in Wisconsin?

The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Wisconsin is three (3) years. After this period has expired, if you fail to file a lawsuit, you can no longer take legal action.

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Who can file a personal injury lawsuit?

Any adult person who has been injured in an accident has the right to pursue starting a lawsuit to be compensated for their injury. In the case of a minor child, the lawsuit is usually brought by a guardian ad litem, a person specially pointed by the court to pursue the case in behalf of a minor child. In a wrongful death case, the statute dictates who has legal standing to bring a lawsuit, usually immediate family member or a personal representative of the estate that is appointed by the probate court to pursue the case in behalf of a decedent.

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Do you need an attorney to file a lawsuit?

Filing a claim without a lawyer can be difficult. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you fill out the necessary forms and see that they are promptly delivered to the court. In addition, he or she can provide you with sound advice at every stage of your lawsuit. The attorney will also be present with you at every court appearance.

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Will there be a long drawn out court battle for my accident case?

Most injury claims are settled out of court, without litigation. Where litigation is required, under current rules, most cases are resolved within the space of a year to eighteen months. Every case is different. The courts order alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in every civil lawsuit, and most cases settle over time through the assistance of mediation (ADR). Every case is different, and there are certainly cases that ultimately require going to trial to resolve the lawsuit.

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Can you sue for a car accident in Wisconsin?

If the accident was the other driver’s fault and you were injured, you can certainly make a claim for injury against the adverse driver and their insured company. In the event that the case cannot be successfully settled , a lawsuit can be commenced and taken to trial if necessary to secure the best financial outcome of your case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help a claimant in that regard.

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What costs are there if you are in an automobile accident?

There are some very basic costs in pursuing an accident case. When a person is simply making a claim for injury against the insurance company and where there is no litigation, one can expect to pay out of pocket costs for such things as obtaining medical records, copy costs, faxes and postage. In a typical accident cases, these costs are nominal. In the event there is litigation, out of pocket costs can increase. This includes such items as filing fees, deposition costs, jury fees, and hiring experts. Personal injury lawyers advance the costs of your case, whether it is pre-litigation or as part of a lawsuit. If you pursue the case and get nothing out of it, you owe the attorney nothing for any of those costs that are advanced. At settlement, any out of pocket costs that were incurred in the pursuit of your case, are simply repaid to the lawyer at the successful conclusion of your case.

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What is gross negligence?

Gross negligence means carelessness or recklessness that amounts to a conscious disregard for the safety of others. Gross negligence involves a higher degree of carelessness than ordinary negligence. For example, dumping toxic waste into your neighbor’s swimming pool would constitute gross negligence. Why is gross negligence significant? In a personal injury action, it may be necessary to prove gross negligence in order to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant rather than to compensate a plaintiff for their injuries. In addition, some laws grant immunity to certain persons (such as government employees) unless they are guilty of gross negligence.

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Who should I talk to about my accident case?

DO NOT TALK TO ANYONE about your case, except your attorneys and the doctors who are giving you medical treatment. If anybody contacts you requesting information about your injury case, including another driver, someone else’s attorney, a private investigator or a representative of an adverse insurance company, refer any such individual to your own lawyer. Do not discuss the details of your accident or your injuries with any such individuals; do not allow anyone to take a recorded statement from you and do not sign anything without the advice of a lawyer.

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How do I work with a doctor in my accident case?

It should be your number one priority to obtain all necessary medical treatment to insure that you make a full and complete recovery from injuries you sustained in your accident. You should return to see your doctor as often as necessary, and should always tell him or her about your complaints, limitation of regular activities, and the affect the injury is having on your life. Do not attempt to minimize your pain when speaking to your doctor; he or she must know the full extent of your problems in order to properly evaluate and treat you. Be prompt for and never miss any of the appointments with your physician; this would be very detrimental to your case. Finally, do not at any time attempt to exaggerate or make up an injury.

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How can a person go about getting their car repaired?

If you have deductible collision coverage on your vehicle, you should have the vehicle repaired through your own insurance company, paying your deductible portion, which is usually $500 to $1,000. Whatever deductible sum you pay, do so by check, and keep a copy of the cancelled check and a copy of your receipt so that this expense can be made part of your claim against the responsible insurance carrier. If you do not have deductible collision coverage on your vehicle, obtain two written repair estimates from well-known, reliable body shops. Visible body damage should be photographed as soon as possible. It is very helpful to have evidence showing the severity of the impact.

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Is it important to have witnesses?

It is very important that you retain the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any and all witnesses to your accident. Often, a statement from a witness can be extremely valuable in settlement negotiations when a dispute exists as to how an accident happened.

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How are medical bills paid from the accident?

If you have your own health insurance coverage, you should submit any and all of your doctor’s and hospital charges to your insurance carrier. This will eliminate the health care providers from demanding payment from you while your case is pending. In most instances, however, your insurance company will be entitled to reimbursement from settlement proceeds for bills paid. This is called “subrogation.”

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Is it important to keep bills and receipts?

You should keep copies of all expenses that you incur as a result of your accident, including such things as hospital bills, doctor bills, prescription receipts, ambulance charges, auto repair estimates, auto rental receipts, and any other out-of-pocket loss that you sustain. All of these are part of your case and will be needed by your lawyer.

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Will the insurance company conduct surveillance?

While it is unlikely, it is conceivable that the insurance company involved in your claim may have an adjuster, or a private investigator, follow you around in an attempt to take photographs or video that will minimize or discredit your injury claim. Thus, you should conduct yourself accordingly, at all times, and if you become aware of any insurance company surveillance, notify your attorney of the same immediately.

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Should I keep records following an accident?

During the course of your injury claim, you should keep accurate and detailed records of such things as lost time and wages from work, hospital, doctor, drug, and other medical expenses, costs of hiring in-house nursing care, child care, cleaning help, or other expenses incurred as a result of your injuries. If it is not possible for you to get a receipt, make sure you pay for any services associated with your injury by check. The check will serve as your receipt, and copies of the canceled checks can be used to verify the expenses.

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Do I need an attorney to help in a wrongful death case?

The answer is certainly yes. If there has been a death as a result of someone else’s negligence, an attorney’s help can be invaluable in securing the best outcome for your case. Certainly the death of a loved one is a very traumatic and emotional time in someone’s life. The wrongful death statutory provisions are complicated and there are rules as to who has proper standing to bring a wrongful death case in the state of Wisconsin. An experienced personal injury attorney can assist in the obtaining the financial compensation in the case of a wrongful death action.

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What is the statute of limitations in a wrongful death case?

In Wisconsin, the time limit is three years, counted from date of death, in most situations.

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