With so many personal injury attorneys in Wisconsin advertising on TV, billboards, the Internet and in phone books, finding the right attorney can be a challenge.
At Hupy and Abraham, we have been representing clients injured in auto accidents since 1969. Our personal injury lawyers in Wisconsin have over 170 years of combined experience and we are committed to each and every client whom we represent.
We believe that every successful car accident recovery starts with the injured victim having accurate information about the legal process. Accordingly, we’ve provided much of this information for free and we encourage you to read our book, The Ultimate Guide for Automobile Accident Victims, and to browse our website to find out more information about car accidents and car accident recoveries.
Types of Accidents
Common types of Wisconsin car accidents include:
- T-bone crashes: This type of side impact crashes occurs when the front or back of one car collides with the side of another car and forms a “T” shape. T-bone crashes frequently occur when a car fails to stop at an intersection.
- Rear-end wrecks: A driver who is distracted, speeding, drunk, or otherwise negligent may fail to leave himself enough time to prevent hitting the car in front of him. Rear-end accidents are among the most common type of crashes in Wisconsin and around the nation.
- Head-on collisions: A head-on collision occurs when the front ends of two cars collide. Head-on crashes are not as common as other types of accidents, but when they do occur they are more likely to result in serious injuries or death.
- Pedestrian accidents: Walkers and joggers lack the protective metal, airbags, and other safety features of cars. Thus, when a car collides with a pedestrian the result can be catastrophic.
- Bicycle accidents: Cyclists and cars need to share the road, but when they collide it is often the rider who is significantly injured due to a car driver’s negligence.
- Rollover crashes: Some rollover crashes are caused by vehicle defects, but many are caused by drivers who are negligent. Speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving and other negligent behavior can lead to serious injuries from a rollover accident.
Our attorneys have successfully represented clients in these types of crashes and in others.
Causes of Accidents
Many of these crashes are caused by common factors, such as:
- Distracted driving: Common distractions include texting, talking on the phone, using the Internet, eating, and dealing with passengers. However, the list of possible distractions is almost endless and any kind of distraction can result in a dangerous crash.
- Drunk driving: A driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher is considered to be drunk in Wisconsin. Drunk drivers, or drivers under the influence of drugs, can cause catastrophic crashes.
- Speeding: Wisconsin has an absolute speed limit law. Anyone driving just one mile per hour over the posted speed limit is speeding. Speeding may not leave a driver enough time to stop or react to driving conditions.
- Complicated roadways: Road design or road conditions can make driving complicated. Drivers who are distracted, drowsy, drunk, or otherwise negligent may have trouble avoiding a crash on these complicated roads.
- Drowsy or fatigued driving: Drivers may underestimate how dangerous it is to drive while fatigued, but sleepy drivers may be as dangerous as distracted and drunk drivers.
- Teen drivers: Teen drivers are new drivers…and new drivers lack the on-the-road experience of more seasoned drivers. This lack of experience may make it difficult for a teen driver to know what to do in a dangerous situation, and may lead to accidents.
- Elderly drivers: Elderly drivers may be experienced drivers, but their eyesight, reflexes and judgment may be compromised and may result in crashes.
- Aggressive drivers: Aggressive drivers who weave in and out of traffic, tailgate, or make other dangerous moves can lose control or be unable to avoid a serious wreck.
Regardless of the specific cause of the crash, the result may be a serious or catastrophic injury.
Types of Injuries
Our clients have suffered all kinds of injuries, including:
- Brain injuries: Wisconsin car accident brain injuries may include diffuse axonal injuries, shearing or tearing of the white matter, lacerations, blood clots, hematomas, and concussions.
- Spinal cord injuries: Both incomplete spinal cord injuries such as anterior cord syndrome, central cord syndrome, posterior cord syndrome, Brown-Sequard syndrome, cauda equina lesions, and complete spinal cord injuries such as complete paraplegia and complete tetraplegia may occur after a Wisconsin car crash.
- Broken bones: Broken ankles, legs, pelvises, hips, arms, backs, ribs, collarbones, necks, facial bones, skulls and other bones can result in significant pain, time out of work, and long recoveries.
- Burns: Gasoline and combustible engines can result in car fires when vehicles collide. These fires can then result in burns that are extremely painful and that require long term rehabilitation and treatment.
- Amputations: A serious crash can result in the loss of a hand or foot, leg or arm. This can impact a person’s quality of life and ability to earn an income, and may require significant medical and rehabilitation treatments.
- Pregnancy complications: When a pregnant woman is involved in a crash, both the woman and her unborn child can suffer the consequences.
- Death: This is, obviously, the most serious consequence of a Wisconsin car crash. The surviving relatives may have the right to pursue a legal recovery after the tragic loss of their loved one.
Anyone who has suffered one of these injuries because of someone else’s negligence deserves to make a fair recovery.
Car Accident Recoveries in Wisconsin
A fair and just recovery may include:
- Medical damages: Medical costs include your past, current, and future hospital stays, surgeries, doctors’ visits, medications, rehabilitation therapies, assistive devices and other costs directly related to the treatment of your accident injuries.
- Out-of-pocket costs: The out-of-pocket money you have to pay for your property damage, transportation costs, and other accident expenses may be part of your recovery.
- Lost income: If you are unable to work, or unable to work the same hours or for the same wages as you did prior to the accident then you may be able to recover for your past, present and future lost income. If you are self-employed, lost income includes the income you would have earned during your incapacity.
- Pain and suffering: Your physical pain and emotional suffering are compensable, even if they are harder to value then your other damages.
However, in order to recover these damages, you are likely going to have to fight for justice.
What You Need to Know If You’ve Been Hurt
The legal process for recovering damages can be confusing and overwhelming. As you negotiate your recovery, you will need to know about:
- Collecting evidence at the scene of the crash: Important information that can help you later may be available at the scene of your accident.
- What to do if there is a baby or child in your car at the time of the accident: Babies and young children, or children with special needs who can’t accurately report pain or injury, need to get prompt medical attention for injuries that you can’t see.
- How to get a copy of your police report: You can request a copy of your police report from the municipality in which your crash occurred or from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
- What to avoid doing after an accident: Certain mistakes can hurt your chances of a fair recovery. Thus, it is important to know what you should avoid doing so that your recovery is protected.
- How to deal with insurance adjusters: Insurance adjusters are looking to pay you as little as possible for your injuries, so it is important for you to know how to talk with them to protect your recovery.
- The statute of limitations: Generally, you have three years to file a personal injury case in Wisconsin. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If you fail to file on time, then you may not be able to bring a claim or make a fair recovery.
- Standing to sue: If you were the one hurt, or if you had a certain relationship with a victim who died, in the crash then you will have standing to sue for damages in a Wisconsin court.
- Comparative negligence: Wisconsin follows a modified comparative negligence rule that may allow you to recover damages for your accident injuries even if you were partially to blame for the crash; however, your damages may be reduced or denied completely, depending on your degree of negligence.
- Expert witnesses: Expert witnesses may be important in determining how your accident happened and the value of your damages.
- How settlements work: Settlements are complicated and each settlement is unique. However, strong evidence and advocacy may make a fair settlement more likely.
- How to decide whether you need a car accident lawyer: If you were seriously injured or if you lost a loved one in a crash, then you likely need a Wisconsin car accident lawyer to help with your recovery.
Additionally, it is important to know about Wisconsin car seat laws and minimum insurance requirements regardless of whether you have been in an accident.