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How a Slip and Fall Case Works in Wisconsin

 Legal procedures for a fall injury claim can be complex and confusing

You’ve been hurt because you fell on someone else’s Wisconsin property. The physical pain is yours alone and your doctors are working hard to manage your pain and help with your recovery.

You deserve the same attention for your financial losses and legal compensation. These are not burdens that you must bear alone; instead, an experienced Wisconsin slip and fall lawyer can guide you through the legal process and help you get the recovery that you deserve.

What You Need to Know Before You File a Lawsuit

Before you file a case, it is important to know how a case works. Specifically, you should know…

  • How to identify the potential defendant(s). You will only be able to recover damages from someone who is legally responsible, or liable, for your injuries. Accordingly, it is important to know which party, or parties, may be liable so that you can determine if you have the right to pursue legal damages.
  • How to collect evidence to support your case. You will need evidence to prove your claim. Evidence is different in every case but could include photos, videos, and witness statements.
  • How long you have to file a case. The Wisconsin statute of limitations limits the amount of time that you have to file a slip and fall lawsuit. Generally, you have three years to file a case, but that time may be shortened or lengthened depending on the unique circumstances of your case.
  • How to protect the rights of your child if your child was hurt in a fall. If your child is a minor, then he or she does not have the legal authority to file a lawsuit in Wisconsin. Instead, as your child’s parent you may file a case on behalf of your child to help your him or her recover fair damages for the fall injury.
  • What could happen if you were partially to blame for your fall injury. Some fall accidents occur because of some fault of both the property owner and the person who fell. If you were partially at fault—but less than 51% responsible for the fall—then you may still recover damages, but your recovery may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to you.
  • What witnesses you may need. Important witnesses may include people who saw the accident and who can testify about what happened and expert witnesses who can testify about the cause of your injury or the extent of your injury.
  • Whether you need an attorney. The law does not require you to have an attorney representing you if you file a fall injury case in Wisconsin, but many people who have been hurt benefit from legal representation.
  • How a settlement works. Formal settlement negotiations often begin with a demand letter and continue through negotiations between the injured party and the insurance company. If a settlement is reached and accepted then that settlement is binding and it represents the injured party’s total compensation for the fall.

Additionally, you should know what to expect if you file a lawsuit. Specifically:

  • A case begins when a complaint is filed in court. The complaint is filed by you, or your attorney, and must comply with the rules of the court. The defendant, or his attorney, will file an answer in response to your complaint.
  • The discovery phase of your lawsuit is important. It is during this time that evidence will be gathered. Some common ways to gather evidence include depositions, interrogatories, and requests for production of documents.
  • Motions may be filed. Different motions—such as motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, and others—may be filed during the lawsuit.
  • If the case is not resolved through a motion or settled then it will go to trial. The trial may be a jury trial or a bench trial before a judge.

As the injured party, you have to take the first step to initiate a lawsuit. That first step, however, may not be filing a complaint in court. Instead, it may be to contact an experienced slip and fall lawyer who can review your case, advise you of your legal rights, and help protect the fair discovery that you deserve. To learn more, please start a free live chat with us now.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham