If you have been injured in a car accident your life has been turned upside down in an instant. You didn't ask for someone to injure you. You didn't have a chance to plan for it. But now you have to deal with all of the consequences on top of everything else that you have happening in your life.
The lawyers at Lawton Cates specialize in helping car and truck accident victims just like you. We are skilled at and dedicated to helping accident you get back on your feet after the accident. We take the legal burdens off of your shoulders, so you can focus on healing and getting your life back in order.
How Lawton Cates Can Help
Above all, we know your case is not just a case. It's your life. If you've been in an accident you have all kinds of questions ranging from how to get your medical bills paid to how will your lost wages be reimbursed, to whether you should talk to the other driver’s insurance company. Know that our lawyers are here for you.
We will also help answer questions that you may not have even thought of yet like whether you have to reimburse your health insurance out of the proceeds of any settlement you receive from the other driver's insurer; how does any settlement you get from the other driver's insurance affect any claim you may have with your underinsured motorist coverage and; how do you prove to the insurance company that you've suffered a permanent injury.
A skilled, experienced Wisconsin car accident lawyer will evaluate your case over the phone and tell you whether we can help you. Reach us online or by phone at (608) 420-4033. Your initial consultation is completely free.
Car Accident Cases We Handle
At Lawton Cates, our Wisconsin car accident lawyers handle all types of motor vehicle accident claims, including cases involving:
- Rear-end collisions
- Drunk drivers
- Distracted drivers
- Large trucks and commercial vehicles
- Head-on collisions
- Multiple vehicles
- Pedestrian accidents
- And more
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Car Accident
Whether you were the driver or a passenger, if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident in Wisconsin, you could be entitled to financial compensation.
Because Wisconsin follows a traditional tort-based system when it comes to car accident claims, you will need to prove that the other motorist (or some other party) was at fault for the accident.
Under the state’s modified comparative negligence rule, you can still file a claim if you were partly to blame, as long as you were less at fault than the other party.
After any accident, there are several things you should do to protect yourself and your rights:
- First, seek immediate medical attention. If necessary, call 911. If several hours or days have passed since the accident and you have not seen a doctor, be sure to do so right away.
- Call the police and file an official accident report. By law, you are required to report any accident resulting in bodily injury, death, or property damage of $500 (or $200+ to government property) or more.
- Gather and preserve any evidence you can, such as the other driver’s contact information, witness statements, pictures of the accident, and damage to your vehicle.
- Refrain from speaking to anyone from the other person’s insurance company and do not make any statements or sign anything without first talking to your lawyer.
- Avoid posting anything about the accident on social media, as insurance adjusters may be able to use this information against you.
- Contact one of our attorneys who will explain your legal rights and options. At Lawton Cates, we are available to assist you with a free, no-obligation consultation.
Our Wisconsin car accident attorneys are well-versed in investigating auto accident claims to determine exactly what happened and, most importantly, who is responsible.
We work with accident reconstructionists, safety experts, life care planners, vocational experts, economists, medical professionals, and other experts to build powerful and persuasive cases for our clients.
How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, you generally only have three years to bring a car accident lawsuit against a liable party. However, certain claims, such as those against governmental bodies have much shorter deadlines within which you must act.
If you fail to file a lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations or meet the any other procedure requirements such as notice of claim deadlines, you may lose the ability to pursue your claim forever.
How to Prove Liability in Your Car Accident Case
One of the most important elements of your car accident case is establishing fault. By identifying the at-fault party (or parties), you can establish liability and seek compensation from the liable party.
Most often, establishing fault involves determining the cause of the accident. Some of the most common causes of car accidents include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving
- Traffic violations
- Failure to obey red lights, stop signs, and other traffic control devices
- Unsafe or unlawful turns
- Illegal passing
- Reckless or aggressive driving and road rage
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Fatigued driving
- Failing to maintain an adequate lookout
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Operating a speed too fast for conditions
- Unsafe, dangerous lane changing
These and other negligent behaviors are extremely dangerous and put everyone on the road at risk. At Lawton Cates, we seek to hold negligent motorists accountable for the harm they cause, and we are ready to fight for as much compensation as possible for you.
Dealing With Car Damages
If you have been in a car accident, one of the issues you have to deal with is your car. Is it totaled, who is going to pay for it to be repaired, and what are you supposed to drive in the meantime? These questions arise commonly, and your insurance company tends to answer these questions in a manner that best suits them. The law provides you with specific rights that protect you and are designed to put you back to where you were financially just before the accident.
Is it a Total Loss or Is It Repairable?
If your car is damaged, the first decision is whether it is a total loss or repairable. The decision to total a car is generally based on a percentage formula. For instance, if it is going to cost $2,500 to repair the car, and it has a value of $2,800, it will generally be considered a total loss. If your car is a total loss, you have a decision to make. Do you want the money for the car, or do you want the car?
There are situations when your car is drivable, but will cost more to fix than it is worth. In those situations, you can get the value of the car less its salvage value. You should be aware that the title will reflect that the car is considered a total loss vehicle.
In situations where your car is totaled the insurance company will want to pay you the wholesale or “bluebook” price for the car. The internet is your greatest tool in getting fair value for your car. There are sites such as https://www.autotrader.com/ and https://www.carmax.com/ that allow you to search for your car and find out how much it is selling for. Generally, I recommend that you do a search for cars within 100 miles of your location. Make sure you put in the correct mileage and designation for your car (EX, LX, etc.). The law requires the insurance company to pay the fair market value of the car. Thus, if you find three cars of the same year, make, model, and mileage as yours and they are all selling for $12,500 that sets the value. Print off the results of your search and give them to the adjuster. The key thing to remember is that you are entitled to the market value of your car.
Compensation for Rental Car Fees
If your car is damaged or totaled you are going to need a car while you shop for a new one or yours is being repaired. The first thing you should check is your policy. Call your agent and see if you have coverage for a rental car. If you do, check the terms ahead of time. Find out how much they cover per day and how many days the policy provides for. Most times, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is not going to provide a rental car for you. They are required to pay you for the loss of use of your car. Loss of use is not dependent on you getting a rental car. If your car is not drivable, you are entitled to get paid for loss of use until it is repaired or until there is an offer to replace it. Of course, you can’t leave your car sitting for six months and collect loss of use damages. You need to get your car repaired or replaced in a reasonable period of time.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation Today
When you call us, you talk to a lawyer. That continues if you hire us. A lawyer you can trust, specializing in personal injury law handles your case from start to finish. We're with you every step of the way. Fighting for you. At Lawton Cates we don't just talk a good game, we have the results to prove it.
We have the experience, resources, and skills to effectively fight for you and get the most money possible for in your case. Unlike the large, corporate firms who practice law on a volume basis, our personal injury attorneys provide your case with the personal attention and high level of service you deserve. We know your case is not just a case. It's your life.
We offer free initial consultations and contingency fees for all personal injury services. This means that you do not pay any upfront or out-of-pocket expenses when you hire our firm. Instead, we only recover attorney fees if we successfully secure a settlement or verdict for you.
"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