The truth is, it doesn’t matter how good of a driver you might be – you can’t control how others behave on the road. Almost all of us will be involved in at least one car accident in our lifetime, and we can only hope that it’s one that results in minimal damage.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
At Mahony Law, we help hundreds of victims of Wisconsin car accidents every year seek compensation for crashes that should have been prevented. If you’ve been involved in a vehicle collision, and others were to blame, you deserve to know your legal options.
In this guide, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about car accidents in Wisconsin, including the process of seeking reparations and holding at-fault parties accountable for negligent behavior.
Wisconsin Car Accidents Statistics Causes of Car Accidents in Wisconsin Consequences of Car Accidents in Wisconsin Laws Related to Car Accidents in Wisconsin Compensation for Car Accidents in Wisconsin How to Hire a Car Accident Attorney in Wisconsin How to Build a Strong Car Accident Case in Wisconsin
Let’s dive in!
In this guide, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about car accidents in Wisconsin, including the process of seeking reparations and holding at-fault parties accountable for negligent behavior.
Let’s dive in!
Before we dive into things, we want to give you a bit of an overview of the state’s car accidents with statistics provided by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
Like many American states, Wisconsin continuously sees high rates of car crashes – even as vehicles are built to be safer. As U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, “We continue to face a national crisis of traffic deaths on our roadways, and everyone has a role to play in reversing the rise that we experienced in recent years.”Our state does not fall within the top states with the most fatal car crashes – but we still see our fair share of terrible Wisconsin car accidents, and nearly a third involve large SUVs or pickup trucks.
In our years of experience, our legal team has seen many different causes of car accidents in Wisconsin. In most cases, the worst accidents tend to boil down to one of the following common instigators:
This remains one of the leading causes of car accidents in the country, as well as in Wisconsin.
With the proliferation of smartphones and in-car technology, drivers often find themselves tempted to engage in activities like texting, browsing social media, or fiddling with navigation systems while behind the wheel.
Even the slightest break in attention can have disastrous consequences on the road. To combat this issue, Wisconsin has issued many public service announcements discouraging distracted driving, including the widespread phrase, “Leave your phone alone until you get home.”
The state has also issued a state law banning texting while driving. Law enforcement officers are legally allowed and encouraged to stop any motorists they suspect may be composing or sending an electronic text message or mail message while driving.
Reckless driving is another significant contributor to car accidents in Wisconsin – especially speeding. In fact, the state DoT reports that excessive speed is among the most common causes of traffic crashes every year.
Speeding dramatically reduces the amount of time drivers have to react to unexpected events, which in turn increases the risk of collisions. This is particularly evident on Wisconsin’s highways and rural roads, where speeding drivers are a common concern.
Drunk driving accidents continue to be a pervasive issue in Wisconsin, as they are across the United States. Despite strict laws and education campaigns, many drivers still irresponsibly choose to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Impaired driving significantly impairs reaction times, coordination, and judgment, greatly increasing the likelihood of accidents. As a result, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated can lead to license revocation, fines, and up to six years of imprisonment. More severe penalties may be applied if the driver is involved in another person’s injury or death.
As we stated earlier, you can’t necessarily prevent or control the negligent behaviors of others on the road – but you can try to avoid the most common causes of car accidents through smart habits.
For starters, you can educate yourself on the recommended defensive driving techniques, such as maintaining a safe following distance, obeying Wisconsin traffic laws, and refraining from distractions while driving.
You can also try to stay off the road during particularly risky times, such as in bad weather. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 1.2 million annual motor vehicle accidents (21%) are caused by hazardous weather conditions. Furthermore, you can’t trust other drivers on the road to always behave responsibly during rain or a snowstorm.Lastly, you can take extra road safety measures by never driving when you feel fatigued, ill, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This will significantly reduce your risk of accidents, but it will also protect other innocent lives on the road.
Car accidents in Wisconsin can lead to a range of serious consequences, especially for the individuals involved. These effects can be physical, emotional, financial, and/or legal in nature.
The most common injuries in car accidents range in severity and can include:
Recovery from injuries such as these can be lengthy, painful, and may require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and therapy.
In terms of emotional damages, car accidents can cause significant distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other psychological effects. Survivors of car accidents may experience fear or reluctance to drive again, and witnesses to severe accidents can also be traumatized.
Car accidents may also lead to substantial reparation expenses. Medical bills, property damage costs, vehicle repairs, rehabilitation expenses – everything can add up quickly. Additionally, many car accident victims are forced to take time off work during recovery, resulting in further economic hardships and missed financial opportunities.
In an effort to address these potential consequences, Wisconsin has implemented laws and initiatives to promote safe driving behavior, prevent accidents, and provide support for accident victims.
Wisconsin car accident laws cover various aspects of liability, reporting, and insurance requirements. Most importantly, you need to know that the state follows a “fault” system when determining liability in car accidents. In other words, the at-fault driver’s insurance is generally responsible for covering the damages resulting from the accident.
Additionally, Wisconsin requires all drivers involved in car accidents resulting in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000 to report the accident to law enforcement within 10 days.
The state also requires insurance companies to offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to policyholders. This coverage can help protect you if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who lacks sufficient insurance coverage.
As a licensed state driver, you are legally required to carry liability insurance coverage with minimum limits of $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person, $50,000 for bodily injury or death per accident, and $10,000 for property damage.
To learn more about car accident laws in Wisconsin, reach out to our attorneys. We’ll walk you through the process of assessing fault, understanding what happened, and filing a claim if it’s appropriate.
Keep in mind that the Wisconsin statute of limitations for a claim on a car accident is generally three years from the date of the event. This means that you have three years from the accident date to initiate a lawsuit seeking compensation for injuries or damages caused by the accident.
This is a strict legal deadline, and if you do not file your lawsuit within this time frame, you may lose your right to seek compensation through the court system – unless you fall under certain exceptions.
If someone else’s negligent, reckless, or irresponsible behavior resulted in a car crash that harmed you or a loved one, you have the right to seek compensation for both economic damages and non-economic damages.
At Mahony Law, we have helped victims file personal injury claims for a wide range of car crash damages, including:
Many people are forced to seek medical treatment after car accidents, as well as therapy and other expensive resources. If you or a loved one required hospitalization, surgery, prescription medications, physical therapy, or other care after a car accident, reach out to an attorney to learn about seeking fair compensation for medical expenses.
Was your vehicle damaged by the collision? Were any of your personal belongings harmed or destroyed? If so, you can be compensated for your losses under Wisconsin law.
In many cases, car accident victims are forced to take time off work due to physical or emotional trauma. They deserve compensation for lost wages, as well as any future income that has been impacted by the event.
Not all injuries are visible after a serious car accident. That’s why the state allows victims to seek compensation for their pain and suffering damages, including physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish.
If you lost a loved one in the collision, or it had a serious impact on your personal relationships, Wisconsin car accident compensation laws qualify this as a “loss of consortium.” It may not have a price tag attached, but you still deserve payment for this non-economic damage.
Visible injuries that result in permanent disfigurement or scarring can impact the rest of your life. As such, you are able to file for compensation for the physical, emotional, and mental damages. Compensation may also cover any future medical treatments or surgeries needed to address this permanent consequence.
The most severe car crashes can end in wrongful death. If you unfairly lost a loved one due to someone else’s mistake, you may be eligible for compensation for funeral expenses, loss of financial support, loss of companionship, and your emotional suffering.
In cases of extreme negligence or intentional misconduct by the at-fault party, punitive damages may be awarded in car crash lawsuits. These damages are intended to punish the responsible party and deter similarly irresponsible behavior in the future.
Navigating the complexities of car accident compensation can be challenging. If you’re thinking about seeking compensation, or wondering if you can, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in Wisconsin. They’ll assess your situation, help you understand your rights, and guide you through the legal process.
Calculating the value of a car accident claim can be confusing – especially when non-economic damages are involved. Generally, the calculations will include:
To calculate the total value of your claim, we highly recommend working with an experienced legal team. They’ll walk you through the process of adding up the economic damages and the estimated non-economic damages to determine a fair compensation amount.
Of course, every case is unique, and insurance companies and courts may use different methods to determine compensation.
There can be many factors affecting car accident settlements, includes:
Each case has its own circumstances, and the specific details surrounding the accident and its aftermath will play a crucial role in determining compensation.
Furthermore, you’ll need to consider whether your actions played a role in the accident. Wisconsin follows a modified comparative negligence system, so any compensation you receive may be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you are found to be 51% or more at fault, you may not be eligible to recover any damages.Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to fully understand how these factors apply to your specific case. You deserve to receive fair, appropriate compensation for your losses, and a skilled legal team will ensure that happens.
If you believe you qualify for compensation, your first step should involve finding and hiring a trusted Wisconsin car accident attorney. The question is, how do you do that?
Finding the right personal injury lawyer can greatly impact the outcome of your case.
Here are some tips to help you find a skilled, experienced attorney who will effectively handle your car accident claim:
You want to know that they have a strong record of handling car accident cases like yours and securing compensation for victims.
You want an attorney who is familiar with the specific laws, regulations, and court procedures in Wisconsin. This localized knowledge can be a valuable asset in navigating the legal system.
Research online reviews, testimonials, and references from past clients to gauge the attorney’s reputation and success rate.
This should include their education, bar association membership, and any awards or recognition in the field of personal injury law.
Although many car crash claims are settled out of court, you still want an attorney with real trial experience in case your claim winds up in court.
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you win your case. Still, you’ll need to confirm this upfront and understand exactly how you’ll pay for their services.
In most cases, you’ll have the opportunity to converse with legal firm representatives in a free initial consultation. This gives you an opportunity to discuss your case, evaluate the team’s communication style, and determine if you feel comfortable turning your claim over to them.
Hiring a car accident attorney is a big decision, so take your time to research and consult with multiple attorneys before making a choice. Don’t be afraid to ask them hard questions – a great personal injury firm won’t back down and will fully answer all of your queries.
Once you’ve scheduled a free consultation with a Wisconsin car accident lawyer, you need to think about what you will ask them. We recommend making a list of questions for the consultation to help assess their qualifications, experience, and suitability for the case.
To get you started, here are some interview questions that will put you on the right track:
Handling a drunk driving case is nothing like handling a slip-and-fall personal injury case. As you evaluate attorneys, make sure you’re asking about their experience with car accident claims. You want to know they’re well-versed in this specific legal sphere.
Ask if the attorney has worked on personal injury lawsuits with similar circumstances or injuries to yours, and how those cases were resolved. If they don’t seem to have experience with your kind of collision or damages, you’ll likely want to find a different lawyer.
Learn about the firm’s strategy for handling cases like yours, including how they plan to gather evidence, communicate with insurance companies, and advocate on your behalf.
Have the attorney outline the steps in their legal process after a car accident, from the initial investigation and negotiation to potential trial proceedings. You should know exactly what to expect from day one.
This is an important question for several reasons. Firstly, no attorney should ever guarantee a specific outcome – especially during a preliminary consultation. Secondly, you’ll want to compare the estimated compensation amounts provided by different attorneys to understand how much money you can realistically expect to secure.
Any worthwhile Wisconsin personal injury attorney will keep you updated on the progress of your case at all times. Ask how often you can expect to receive updates and who will be communicating these messages to you.
At many large personal injury law firms, the top attorneys outsource much of their work to paralegals and lawyers with less experience.
You want to know that’s not the case with your candidate. Ensure that the attorney you are speaking with will be the primary leader handling your case, rather than passing it to a junior associate. You may also want to ask about the attorney’s availability for questions and how you can reach them in case of emergencies.
Personal injury claims for car accidents can take anywhere from a few weeks to several years to finalize, depending on the extent of the damages and the amount of evidence. Ask your attorney for an upfront estimate to gauge their expectations and how much they plan to prioritize your case.
A worthwhile personal injury team can and will provide references from past clients, as well as examples of successful cases. Don’t just glance over these – use them to gain insights into the firm’s reputation and capabilities.
You might be wondering, “Do I actually need to hire a car accident lawyer?”
The answer is technically no – you aren’t legally required to find an attorney. However, partnering with an experienced car accident lawyer is hands down the best way to maximize your compensation and increase your chances of a successful claim.
An experienced car accident attorney will provide invaluable assistance to ensure your rights are protected. They’ll help you navigate complex legal processes, accurately determine what you are owed, and stand against the fierce negotiators at insurance companies.
You might know your situation the best, but Wisconsin car accident attorneys have a deep understanding of the relevant laws, regulations, and statutes in the state. They’ll provide you with critical legal advice and ensure your actions align with the law.All in all, enlisting the services of an experienced car accident attorney offers you peace of mind, legal expertise, and a higher likelihood of achieving a favorable outcome in your case. If you think you might have a claim on your hands, act sooner rather than later.
Building a strong case starts with the immediate moments after a car crash occurs. If you were involved in a Wisconsin collision, there are some crucial steps to take after a car accident:
First and foremost, check yourself and others involved for injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, immediately call 911 for medical assistance. If you believe you are seriously harmed, try not to move and wait for emergency personnel to respond.
If you are able to do so (safely), move your vehicle off of the road to prevent further accidents and hazards. Turn on hazard lights to alert other drivers. If your vehicle is not drivable, remove yourself from danger and wait for help away from traffic.
Always call the police to report the accident, even if the damage seems minor. Police reports are valuable for both insurance purposes and legal proceedings. You may be in shock and could easily miss important details, so it’s always best to have a professional report you can reference later.
If you did not call the police right after your accident, you can also file an accident report at the police station afterward.
After you’ve alerted the police, you should exchange contact, insurance, and driver’s license information with the other parties involved in the accident. Also, don’t underestimate the role of witnesses in car accident cases – try to gather contact information from any nearby witnesses.
The next step involves documenting damages after a car accident as they stand in the moments right after the event. Take photos of any vehicle damage, skid marks, road conditions, and relevant signs or signals. This visual evidence can be crucial later, should you decide to file a car accident claim.
You don’t need to do this at the scene of the accident, but you should notify your insurance company about the crash as soon as possible. Provide them with accurate and honest information about the incident, even if you believe you were partially to blame.
Even if you feel fine, we highly recommend seeking medical attention after any vehicle accident. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and a medical evaluation will help document any harm you may have sustained.
As you proceed with any necessary medical treatment or repairs, keep records. This documentation will be extremely important for your insurance claim, as well as any legal action you may eventually decide to take.
Once it’s available, request a copy of the police report for your own records. This document will detail the officers’ observations and statements from all parties involved.
If the accident resulted in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000, you are required to report the accident to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) within 10 days. If you have already called law enforcement to report the accident, they will likely complete this report for you.
If you’re dealing with injuries or extensive damages, consider consulting a car accident attorney. They’ll assess your case to determine if you have a claim to file, then walk you through the necessary legal steps to file.
Last, but certainly not least, avoid discussing fault or admitting guilt at the accident scene. Such statements can be used against victims during the trial process for car accident cases.
Car crashes are scary, and in many cases, they can have lasting impacts on your physical, financial, and emotional health. Hopefully, this guide has at least shown you how to proceed and what kind of compensation you may be owed by the at-fault party.
In all Wisconsin car accident claims, the state relies on fault to determine liability and compensation. That’s why it’s so important to contact a reputable attorney before moving forward with any lawsuit.
At Mahony Law, our personal injury lawyers frequently handle civil litigation for car accident cases. We’re dedicated to supporting individuals and families in Wisconsin, and we don’t back down when it comes to securing fair compensation for the victims of negligent driving.
If you believe you have a car accident case, schedule a free consultation. Our personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee arrangement. When you retain our services, you receive a written engagement letter, which makes clear that you owe us nothing – no legal fees or expenses related to your case – unless we win.
Call our Wisconsin personal injury law firm at 262-331-3553, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out an online form to start the process.
Our Wisconsin personal injury law firm has a true passion for helping people. Allow Mahony Law to pursue justice for you and your family after an injury or accident.
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