Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyers
Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Wisconsin
When you're injured in an accident, your life is turned upside down in an instant. All of a sudden, through no fault of your own, everything that was going on in your life is disrupted by pain, medical visits, loss of earnings, and your efforts to recover. Your family has been affected. Your relationships with your friends are impacted. You cannot do your normal activities. You need help from people when you didn't need it before. You have medical bills, you need to make sure your lost wages are covered. Your worried if you'll ever get better or if your injuries are permanent -- and if they are permanent, what then?
We can help. We know your case is not just a case. It's your life.
If you are injured by someone else's negligent conduct, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries, including your past and future medical bills, lost wages, past and future pain and suffering, loss of consortium, society and companionship, disfigurement and other damages. The team at Lawton Cates have been representing people injured in accidents throughout Wisconsin for over 60 years. We focus on personal injury cases and have the results to prove it.
If you or someone you love was harmed due to the negligent or wrongful conduct of another, contact us now. You will talk to one of our personal injury attorneys who will consult with you and provide a free evaluation of your case
For a free, confidential consultation, call us at (608) 420-4033 or contact us online using our secure case evaluation form.
When Can You File a Personal Injury Claim in Wisconsin?
In general, you have three years from the date of your injury to file most personal injury lawsuits. However, in some cases, deadlines can be shorter. It is vitally important that if your are injured in an accident and believe you may have a claim that you consult with a qualified lawyer, specializing in personal injury cases, as soon as possible. The sooner you act, the better.
Additionally, to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit in Wisconsin, you must establish that you have grounds for a case. Because most cases are brought on the grounds of negligence, this typically involves proving the following elements:
- Injury: First, to have a personal injury case, you must prove that you were, in fact, injured. Proving your injuries typically also involves proving your damages, which are economic and non-economic losses you endured as a result of your injuries.
- Duty of Care: You will also typically need to establish that the person or party against whom you are bringing the claim (known as the “defendant”) owed you a duty of care. This means they had a responsibility to act reasonable and refrain from conduct that could cause foreseeable harm.
- Breach of the Duty of Care: Next, you must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care or failed to uphold their responsibility to act reasonably or within the confines of the law. Typically, this involves proving the defendant acted negligently or wrongfully.
- Causation: Lastly, you must establish causation. This simply means that you must prove that the defendant’s negligent or wrongful conduct was the direct or proximate cause of your injuries and resulting damages.
As the plaintiff, or the person seeking damages, you have the burden of proof. This means that the responsibility for proving your claim falls on your shoulders. However, when you turn to Lawton Cates, our attorneys will handle legal aspects of your claim. We work with a team of experts to investigate claims, evaluate damages, and develop innovative and individualized legal strategies for our clients.
Damages in Personal Injury Claims
The purpose of filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit is to recover monetary compensation for “damages” suffered by the plaintiff. Damages are losses, both economic and non-economic, that the plaintiff has sustained due to their injuries resulting from the negligent or wrongful conduct of the defendant.
Examples of damages commonly recovered in personal injury litigation include:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical care costs
- Lost income/wages
- Lost future earnings
- Emotional distress and trauma
- In-home assistance and care
- Miscellaneous out-of-pocket expenses
- Compensation for past and future pain, suffering, worry, distress, fear, and disfigurement
- Nursing services, past and future
- Assistive devices such as wheelchairs, ramps, lifts, specialized showers, and other modifications to the home
- Loss of consortium, society, and companionship
- Wrongful death damages
In addition to these compensatory damages, plaintiffs may be entitled to punitive damages. Also known as “exemplary damages,” punitive damages are awarded in cases in which the defendant engaged in egregious conduct or intentional wrongdoing, leading to the plaintiff’s injuries and damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for such behavior and send a message that this type of conduct will not be tolerated.
How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured, one of the most important decisions you will face is who to hire as a lawyer. Your future may depend on the decision you make, and certainly thousands of dollars are at stake. Spending some time researching and choosing an injury lawyer at the outset is time well spent.
There is a big difference between personal injury lawyers, just like any other profession. Yet it seems like too many consumers will choose an attorney near them based on who is on the back of the phone book or on television. The reasoning is that the lawyer must be good if they can afford that kind of advertising, but what if she or he is just good at marketing?
Most attorneys can settle your case. The good ones maximize the value of your case and recovery. The problem is, you will likely never know if you got a bad deal, and if you do find out it will be too late to do much about it. There are a series of strategic decisions an injury attorney makes in cases, and each impacts the outcome.
A personal injury lawyer must:
- Decide if an expert is necessary, and whether to file suit
- Advise you on whether a settlement is fair, or whether you should push on to trial
- Use their judgment to help you navigate every legal issue
A long time ago, a young man who was badly hurt in a motorcycle accident was told there was only $50,000 available to pay for his injuries. His attorney accepted the $50,000 settlement offer, took his fee, and left the young man with over a hundred thousand in medical expenses. This young man chose his legal advocate poorly.
What you want to look for in an attorney…
- You want legal representation who is a Board-Certified Trial Specialist. Legal advocates with this distinction have significant experience in the court room, and have passed a test designed to demonstrate their competence.
- You want a personal injury attorney who understands how to deal with outstanding medical bills and insurance companies.
- You want a lawyer who is not afraid to try your case to a jury. In this day and age, there are many injury attorneys who don’t go to court. They settle almost all of their cases. Insurance companies are sophisticated, and they learn which attorneys just want to settle. As a result, the insurance companies offer these lawyers less money.
There are several steps you should take before you choose a personal injury lawyer.
- First, find out if they are a certified trial specialist.
- Second, look them up on CCAP. You can search an attorney’s state bar number and find out how many cases they have filed throughout the state. With a little time, you can also find out how many of these cases went to trial.
- Third, you should ask for references. Talk to people who have worked with this lawyer before.
- Finally, see if the lawyer has any disciplinary action against them.
These steps will help you find a lawyer who is qualified to take your case and who can be trusted with it.
When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you get injured in an accident, it is important to hire a lawyer right away. A lawyer can help you prove that the other person or party was responsible for your injury. They can also help make sure that you get the money you need to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. A lawyer will also fight for your rights so that you have the best chance of getting all the money that you deserve. Do not delay researching who is the right attorney for your case, but it is important for your attorney to get started on your case as soon as possible.
Here are a few more reasons it is important to hire an attorney as soon as you can:
- Collect Timely Witness Testimony: To collect the best evidence to support their case, attorneys must ensure they collect witness testimony as soon as possible after an accident or incident. Witnesses may forget details over time, and it is important to get statements while memories are still fresh and accurate.
- Preserve Evidence: Attorneys need to quickly identify any physical evidence that could help prove liability in a personal injury claim. Such evidence includes photos of the accident scene or medical records documenting the extent of injuries suffered by their client. The attorney needs to be sure that this evidence is properly collected and stored, so that it can be used when needed during trial preparation or settlement negotiations.
- Meet Wisconsin's Statute of Limitations: Personal injury cases have strict deadlines for filing legal claims in court called statutes of limitations. Therefore, attorneys must act quickly to make sure clients file their claims within applicable time frames set out by Wisconsin law. Missing these deadlines could result in making an otherwise valid case ineligible for compensation altogether!
- Protect Client Rights: In addition to protecting their clients from statute-of-limitation pitfalls, attorneys also use their legal knowledge and skill sets to protect their clients’ rights during settlement negotiations and litigation. For example, an attorney may be able to identify the interplay between fault and comparative negligence in a case so that they can effectively argue against attempts by defendants to shift liability onto their client.
How Our Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
Getting back on your feet after a serious accident or injury can be extremely difficult. At Lawton Cates, we know the challenges you are facing, because we've been helping people like you get better for over 60 years. Our Wisconsin personal injury lawyers are here to guide you through the recovery process. We will aggressively fight for you every step of the way.
We represent clients in all types of personal injury litigation, including but not limited to cases involving:
- Car accidents
- Wrongful death
- Dog bites
- Farm injury accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Truck accidents
- Workers’ compensation
Regardless of the severity of your injuries or the complexity of your case, our team is here to help you navigate the legal system and fight for the maximum compensation you are owed. We offer free consultations and contingency fees for personal injury services, meaning you do not owe any legal fees unless we recover a settlement or verdict for you.
Contact us online or call (608) 420-4033 today to request a free case evaluation. Same-day and weekend appointments available by request.
"Terry took the time to comfortably explain all and discuss options and decision-making that could be done along the way with clear pros and cons and asking me how I’d like to proceed."Jim R.
Compassionate, thorough, & made it easy to understand what’s going on.Riley G.
Lawton & Cates has been the most supportive and helpful!Rachel
"Everyone was so very kind to me... We were all made to feel welcome, made to feel supported, and made to feel like we belong there. That was very important to me since I was pretty stressed out a lot of the time."Susie
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