If someone’s negligence or recklessness causes you harm, injuries, or losses in Racine, Wis., you can sue the person for damages. This is common knowledge and it’s one of the first things personal injury victims consider after an accident.
However, there is more to pursuing a personal injury case than meets the eye. Various laws regulate personal injury claims in Wisconsin and other states to protect you and even the at-fault person. This is to ensure that no one takes advantage of the situation to cheat the other. It is also meant to ensure that personal injury victims get deserving compensation for their losses.
So, before filing for insurance claims or suing for damages after a tragic Racine accident, get to know your chances and what the law says by consulting with a personal injury attorney near you. You can also choose to represent yourself in court. However, chances are that you won’t get the right compensation due to your lack of knowledge of personal injury laws. Here are some things to know and laws regulating personal injury lawsuits in Wisconsin.
Things to consider before filing a lawsuit
Do you have a case?
Before going on with your lawsuit, ask yourself if you have a cause of action. Did the incident really happen, and are you sure it was another party’s fault? To have a cause of action for a personal injury case, you need strong evidence of that effect. You need to prove that whatever happened and injuries sustained were due to the negligence or recklessness of the defendant.
Are there other settlement options?
Going to court should be your last resort in a personal injury case due to the time-wasting and cost involved. Instead, you can explore alternative dispute resolution mechanisms with the defendant for an out-of-court settlement. So, both parties can choose a mediator to oversee the settlement negotiation process.
For cases like a slip and fall, medical malpractice, or workplace accident, you can use internal settlement processes to have compensation. However, if the at-fault person proves to be difficult during negotiations or decides not to pay the compensation, go to court for redress.
Should you hire an attorney?
Once you decide to go to court after a breakdown in settlement negotiations, decide whether you need a lawyer or not. If you are expecting huge compensation from a complicated accident, hiring an attorney is critical. An experienced and competent attorney will advise on the right path to take aside from the usual legal duties. They will investigate your case further to build a strong case, and ensure that your rights are protected.
How much your case may worth
You are suing because you think you deserve compensation for your injuries and losses. Therefore, how much your case is worth is something you should inquire about before going ahead with the lawsuit. Will the compensation merit your time, struggles, and legal cost among others? Do the calculation and cost and benefits before going ahead.
The laws regulating personal injury in Wisconsin
After considering all the above and you still believe you have a case, go ahead with your lawsuit. But before that here are some Wisconsin personal injury laws to be abreast with.
Personal injury lawsuit has an expiring date in Wisconsin. That is, the statute of limitation provides a time frame during which you can sue. For most personal injury cases, the deadline is three years, after which you cannot sue the defendant. For example, the statute of limitations for a car accident claim is three years from the date of the accident. Note: there are special considerations for certain cases and situations.
Be in the right standing to file a lawsuit
Despite being an accident victim, you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit in Wisconsin if you are below 18 years. You will need your parent, guardian, or representative to do that on your behalf. Also, in case the accident victim dies, the parent, guardian, or a representative of the deceased has the right to sue.
Principle of negligence
You need to prove that the defendant’s act of negligence caused the accident and your injuries. With that, you need to provide adequate evidence.
Wisconsin goes by the comparative fault rule. Comparative fault is a legal concept that determines the degree of liability of parties involved in an accident. That is, if the injured party in any form contributed to their injury, their compensation may be reduced according to their contribution. Note: Your contribution to the accident shouldn’t be more than 50%.
No cap on non-economic damages
In Wisconsin, there is no cap on non-economic damages. Non-economic damages cater to physical, emotional, psychological, etc. damages suffered by the victim. These include physical pain and suffering, permanent disability, disfigurement, mental injuries, loss of lifestyle, reduced quality of life, etc.
When suing for non-economic damages, there is no limit on the compensation you can get.
For auto accidents, Wisconsin follows a fault-based system. With this, at-fault driver’s insurance will cover the injured party’s damages. The state requires drivers to carry minimum liability insurance coverage.
Personal injury cases are very complex to deal with personally; hence, the need for a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney to help you. The person you hire should be familiar with laws and regulations in Racine to give you the right guidance. That aside, try to be familiar with your case. Ask your attorney the right questions to know your chances and whether the case is worth your time and spending.