You’ve been hurt, you believe that your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, and you want to pursue a legal recovery. However, before you file any papers in court and before you speak with an insurance adjuster it is important to know more about your rights and about how a personal injury lawsuit works in Wisconsin.
Five Questions to Answer Before You Take Any Action
At the outset, it is important to know:
- If you have a case. In order to have a case and recover damages, you must have a legal cause of action. In many cases, you have a cause of action if you can prove that the defendant was negligent as that term is defined by law.
- If you need a lawyer. If you were seriously hurt, if the accident that led to your injury was complicated, or if you are having trouble with the insurance company, then it is important to hire an attorney to help you protect your rights.
- What to do after you are injured. After you are hurt, it is important to get prompt medical attention, to notify the police or property owner, and to preserve evidence.
- Mistakes to avoid after you are injured. Apologizing for the accident, failing to follow through with medical advice, and other mistakes can impact your legal recovery.
- What your case may be worth. You may be entitled to compensation for all of your injuries and damages. However, there may be subrogated claims that need to be paid back from your recovery.
If you believe that you may have a case, then it is important to know what may come next.
The Legal Process for Recovering From a Personal Injury in Wisconsin
You have legal options if you are injured by someone else’s negligence. You may do nothing (and, therefore, recover nothing), or you may pursue legal action. If you choose to pursue a settlement with the insurance company or to file a lawsuit, then you need to know:
- That your time to file a case is limited by law. The Wisconsin statute of limitations provides you a time by which you must file your case. The deadline is typically three years in a Wisconsin personal injury case, but it may be shortened or lengthened in specific situations.
- Whether you have standing to file a case in court. If you were hurt and you are 18 years old or older, then you may have the right to file your case in court. You may also have the right to file a case if you are the parent or guardian of someone else or the personal representative of the estate of someone who died.
- How to file a case in court. Your case formally begins when you file a complaint in state court according to the rules of the court. This must be done before the statute of limitation expires.
- How to deal with insurance adjusters. Settlement negotiations can be complicated and the insurance adjuster is looking out for insurance company’s best interests—not yours. Accordingly, it is important to be cautious and to have your attorney negotiate with the insurance adjuster on your behalf.
- Whether you will need witnesses. Eyewitnesses and expert witnesses may be important to your case. However, not every case needs every type of witness.
- What happens if you were partly at fault for the accident. You may still recover damages if someone else was primarily responsible for the accident. However, your damages may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to you.
- Whether you have to go to court. Most cases settle before trial. However, court is not something that you should be afraid of, and your attorney will make sure that you are prepared if your case does go to court.
It is also important to know that you don’t have to do this alone.
Learn More About Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer Before You Take Action
You have the right to hire an experienced lawyer to represent you in settlement negotiations and in court. Before you hire a lawyer, however, it is important to know:
- How to pick a lawyer. Experience, client satisfaction, the lawyer’s philosophy, and your own personal feelings when you meet with a lawyer are important things to consider when choosing a personal injury lawyer to represent you.
- What a lawyer will do for you. A personal injury lawyer can answer your questions, investigate your claim, and advocate for your full and fair recovery.
- How much it costs to hire a lawyer. Our attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis. That means that you do not have to pay us an hourly fee and instead we are compensated with a percentage of your recovery.
You have a big decision to make. However, the decision to call a lawyer and to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation doesn’t have to be a stressful one. You have nothing to lose and much to potentially gain by meeting with us. Please contact us online or call us directly at 800.800.5678.