The Plain-English Guide to Personal Injury Lawsuits in Wisconsin
If you’ve been hurt in an accident, you need financial help to recover from your injuries. Learn about how to file a personal injury lawsuit, what makes a strong case, and how long it takes to collect the compensation you deserve. Milwaukee personal injury lawyers at Warshafsky Law share advice and information victims need to know about how Wisconsin laws affect personal injury claims.
Who Can File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
A personal injury claim is a demand for financial compensation after you’ve been wrongly injured in an accident. By definition, someone else must be at fault for your injuries (under the law, a business or government body can also be liable).
Requirements for a personal injury claim
If your injuries resulted from an accident caused by someone else, you may have the right to file a personal injury claim and collect damages (money awarded as compensation for injury or loss). In most cases, the compensation will come from the at-fault person’s insurance company.
In order to collect compensation for your injuries, your claim must:
- Prove the at-fault party was negligent (careless). For example, if a drunk driver ran a red light and crashed into your car, the other driver would be considered negligent under Wisconsin law. If the cause of the accident was a manufacturing defect in the brakes, the car manufacturer could be found liable.
- Prove their negligence caused your injury. In the example above, if you suffered a broken arm and whiplash in the car crash, the drunk driver’s negligence is the cause of your injuries. In the instance of defective brakes causing the crash, it’s possible to hold the manufacturer accountable.
- Prove your injuries caused harm. This may sound obvious, but you will need to show how exactly the broken arm and whiplash affected your life. Medical expenses and lost wages are examples of compensatory damages (harm you deserve to be compensated for).
An experienced personal injury attorney will help ensure your claim meets the requirements of Wisconsin tort law and increase your chances of collecting the compensation you deserve.
Proving liability in personal injury and product liability claims can be challenging and complex, and Warshafsky Law liability attorneys use their extensive experience and a professional investigative team to prepare every case to WIN at trial. This commitment shows we mean business and often results in a large settlement offer.
Wisconsin Tort Law
Tort means a wrongful act. A tort is something a person did which hurt someone else badly enough to justify compensation for the injury.
Tort law defines torts as civil acts (not criminal) and gives the injured party the right to recover damages.
Wisconsin tort law:
- Puts a time limit on your right to file a personal injury lawsuit
- Says people involved in an accident can share the blame
- Has different rules for claims against the government
It’s important to understand how Wisconsin statutes (laws) can affect the outcome of your personal injury claim. An experienced personal injury attorney will protect your rights during the claims process and increase your chances of collecting the damages you need.
Time Limits for Making a Personal Injury Claim
The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file a personal injury claim after an accident. In Wisconsin, victims have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. You get one opportunity to recover damages for your injuries, and if you wait too long you can lose your chance to ever collect compensation.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can provide you with important guidance in deciding when is the right time to file a personal injury claim. Settling too quickly or waiting too long can both harm your outcome.
Insurance companies will use delay tactics to run out the clock.
Insurance companies like GEICO use the statute of limitations to their advantage and have many ways to delay the claim process. Your ability to file a personal injury lawsuit is your one bargaining chip during settlement negotiations. If the time limit runs out and you still haven’t agreed on a settlement for your claim, you now have to accept whatever amount the claim adjuster is willing to offer.
INJURED? It IS About The Money.®
How Much Your Personal Injury Claim is Worth
After a devastating accident, you deserve compensation for the total of all the harm you suffered, including the disruption of your daily life and the stress of dealing with the aftermath.
There are varying types of damages available to accident victims, and each case is unique. The total compensation you can expect from your personal injury case depends on the details of your circumstances and whether you have an experienced lawyer on your side.
If you suffered serious injuries in an accident, you may be entitled to claim damages for:
- Medical expenses (including bills, transportation, rehabilitation, and out of pocket expenses)
- Lost earnings (including time spent unable to work and lost future earning potential)
- Pain and suffering (including emotional turmoil, physical pain, and loss)
Financial costs of an accident are easy to calculate. However, determining future medical expenses or lost earning potential requires expert help—not to mention estimating the value of pain and suffering in terms of dollars and cents.
Warshafsky Law has the resources to maximize your personal injury settlement, including doctors, economists, and years of experience working both as insurance company lawyers and personal injury attorneys. We have a reputation for obtaining large sums of money for our injured clients.
Wisconsin’s shared fault law can lower the value of your claim.
If a lawyer representing the at-fault party (or their insurance company) argues you are partly to blame for the accident, this can limit the amount you’re able to recover in damages.
Your chances of collecting the compensation you need are much higher with the help of an experienced attorney. Insurance companies have entire legal departments devoted to minimizing the amount they pay in claim settlements. You need a lawyer who understands how they operate in order to protect your rights and reach a fair settlement.
Don’t settle for settlement mill lawyers.
A lawyer interested in turning your case into a quick payout may give you examples of average settlements and try to talk you into a quick agreement with the insurer. Sign and settle law firms rely on handling claims quickly and can’t be trusted to tell you the true value of your case. At Warshafsky Law, we investigate every claim thoroughly to ensure you get the biggest settlement you’re entitled to.
How Long it Takes to Settle a Personal Injury Claim
If you’re willing to accept less money than you deserve, settling your personal injury claim can go very quickly. But if you’re not willing to take pennies on the dollar for your claim, the process can go slowly due to:
- Difficulty proving liability
- Large sums of money involved
- Still being treated for injuries
Taking a fast and easy settlement offer may be tempting—after all, you’re likely faced with a growing pile of medical expenses and other costs related to the accident, and you may be unable to work due to your injuries.
Warshafsky Law understands your financial difficulties and can help ease the pressure from creditors while we fight for the settlement you need and deserve. We only handle cases on a no win no fee basis, and you won’t pay one cent for our services until you’ve collected compensation.
When a claim becomes a lawsuit
The personal injury claims process could involve a series of negotiations with an insurance company claims adjuster. The goal is to reach a settlement amount both parties are satisfied with. A personal injury claim becomes a personal injury lawsuit when the insurance company doesn’t want to pay the amount you are asking for, and negotiation doesn’t work.
Warshafsky’s aggressive personal injury attorneys are experienced trial lawyers who prepare each and every case to WIN at trial. The last thing an insurance company wants to do is try a case in court against a law firm with a history of winning large settlements.
INJURED? It IS About The Money.®
How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Wisconsin
Wisconsin small claims court can handle personal injury lawsuits seeking $5,000 or less. Claims over the limit must be filed in civil court. The Wisconsin court system and WI State Law Library provide resources including guides on how to file. Pursuing a lawsuit on your own will require investing time and money, which is why many people prefer a negotiated settlement or enlisting the help of a personal injury attorney.
Potential expenses associated with filing a personal injury lawsuit:
Petition filing fees
- Cost of having a sheriff serve your lawsuit
- Taking time off work
- Cost of a court reporter for depositions and transcripts
- Hiring doctors to provide expert medical testimony at depositions and in trial
- Cost of copying police reports, witness statements, medical records, and so on
If the court finds reason to dismiss your case, you’ve not only lost your chance to collect compensation, you’ve wasted additional time and money filing an unsuccessful lawsuit.
Personal injury lawsuit procedures include:
- A complaint is filed and served
- Pre-trial litigation (the discovery process alone can take months or even years)
- Settlement conferences
- Jury selection
- Trial and verdict
Most personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court before the process and trial are complete. When your case is represented by a personal injury law firm with a reputation for winning at trial, the typical response from the defense is a generous settlement offer.
Winning Your Personal Injury Case Without a Lawyer
It’s certainly possible to collect compensation for your injuries without a lawyer. If you have a minor personal injury claim, it may make sense to pursue the matter on your own, especially if it’s obvious the other party is to blame for your injury.
But if you’re seriously injured, or it’s less than crystal clear who’s at fault, it’s worth the cost of hiring an experienced attorney to improve your chances of recovering fair compensation.
Reasons why you owe it to yourself to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer:
Warshafsky personal injury attorneys are experienced negotiators, and understand how insurance companies operate.
Warshafsky Law has a reputation for winning huge settlement amounts at trial—and insurers want to avoid the risk of letting a jury decide how much you deserve.
An insurance adjuster may deny your claim, and an experienced attorney has the resources to file a personal injury lawsuit to protect your rights.
It’s also possible the claims adjuster will disagree with the extent or severity of your injuries, and refuse to pay the total amount of your claim. Your Warshafsky personal injury attorney works with a legal team including an accident investigator, medical doctor, and other experts ready to fight for the true value of your claim.
It takes more than persistence.
You may have experience standing up for yourself in a variety of situations where you persuaded a salesperson, representative, or agent to give you the results you wanted, whether it was returning a toaster without a receipt or talking your way into a free upgrade.
Insurance companies work differently.
With large sums of money at stake, they’ve invested in skyscrapers full of lawyers and playbooks full of tactics all focused on minimizing or denying your claim. You’re not just facing a claims adjuster—you’re facing a powerful organization with resources and experience beyond yours.
When it comes to arriving at a satisfactory settlement amount with an insurance company, it takes more than persistence. It takes a pit bull—an aggressive attorney who will go after the compensation you deserve and never back down.
No Win No Fee Milwaukee Personal Injury Lawyers Get Results
Nothing makes an insurance company change their tune faster than the thought of going to trial against a law firm with a proven record of winning huge settlements in court. Steer clear of law firms boasting about the number of cases they’ve settled—they’re more interested in taking their cut than in winning your case. Choose Warshafsky Law, the Milwaukee personal injury law firm with a history of getting the best possible results for their clients—whatever it takes.