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Personal Injury in Wisconsin

When you have been injured by someone else’s carelessness, it is important to take some initial steps toward making sure your injury claim can be settled fairly and as quickly as possible:

Write down everything you can remember about how the injury occurred, including the names, addresses and phone numbers of potential witnesses, police officers, insurance company representatives (or company or workers’ compensation representatives if it was a work injury)

Talk to a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer before making any statements, written or verbal, to insurance company adjusters or representatives

Let anyone you think may be responsible for the injury know right away that you are intending to file a claim against them

Take steps to protect any evidence you may need to prove your injury, such as your totaled car, photographs of an accident or injury scene, clothing you were wearing, damaged personal belongings, and so forth

How Do I Figure Out Who Is At Fault?

In most cases, in order to collect on an injury claim in Wisconsin, you must prove the person who caused the injury was “negligent” – which is a failure to use reasonable care. In Wisconsin, you must prove:

  • The existence of a duty owed to you by the person who caused your injury
  • The other person failed to carry out that duty
  • You suffered damages
  • The other person’s failure caused you to have the injury

Contributory negligence does not bar your recovery in an action to recover damages for an injury, if your negligence was not greater than the negligence of the person against whom recovery is sought, under Wisconsin comparative negligence law. Any damages that are allowed will be reduced in proportion to the amount of negligence that is attributed to you.

Wisconsin uses a modified comparative fault rule, under which a damaged person cannot recover if he or she is 51% or more at fault, but can recover if 50% or less at fault. Your negligence is measured separately against the negligence of each person found to be negligent. The liability of any person that was less than 51% at fault is limited to the percentage of the total negligence attributed to that person. Any person that is 51% or more at fault is jointly and severally liable for damages, which means that each of the other people who are responsible for your injury, are liable for all the damages awarded in a lawsuit if the others cannot pay.

If you have been injured using a consumer product, the seller of the product may be responsible under a “strict liability” legal theory. Under Wisconsin law, you would need to prove that:

  • The product was defective, which made it unreasonably dangerous
  • You used the product the way it was supposed to be used
  • The defect caused your injury
  • You suffered damages

What Is My Claim Worth?

Under Wisconsin law, the person who injured you is responsible for:

  • Past, current and future estimated medical expenses
  • Time lost from work, including time spent going to medical appointments or therapy
  • Any property that was damaged, such as your vehicle
  • The cost of hiring someone to do household chores when you could not do them
  • Any permanent disfigurement or disability
  • Your emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, and any interference with your family relationships
  • A change in your future earning ability due to the injury
  • Any other costs that were a direct result of your injury

A lawyer will know what type of expert witness to hire to best prove your damages.

How Long Do I Have To File A Legal Claim?

In Wisconsin, you only have three years to file a lawsuit against the person who injured you. If your lawyer has not been able to come to an agreement with any involved insurance companies, you will definitely want to file a lawsuit before the three-year statute of limitations runs out.