Spinal Cord Injuries and Auto Accidents

Serious car crashes often result in significant injuries to the drivers and passengers of those vehicles, as well as to pedestrians and bicyclists in some cases. One of the more severe injuries that can result from a vehicle accident is a spinal cord injury. In fact, the number one cause of spinal cord injuries is vehicle crashes; 39% of all spinal cord injuries result from motor vehicle accidents.

Spinal cords run from the neck to the waist and are contained within the spinal columns. There are three levels to the spine: the cervical, the thoracic, and the lumbar. All spinal cord injuries involve damage to one or more of those three levels of the spine. Some individuals with spinal cord injuries are quadriplegic, which means that they are unable to move their arms and legs. Other individuals are paraplegic, which means that they cannot move their legs, but they can move their arms. Obviously, injuries such as these can have a devastating effect on an individual, and are likely to result in ongoing medical bills and treatment costs for duration of his or her life.

Due to the severity of a spinal cord injury, it is essential that you enlist the assistance of a personal injury attorney who has experience in handling these types of serious cases. You want someone who has specialized knowledge of spinal cord injuries and how they affect your everyday life. This will allow you to obtain the maximum amount of compensation available for your losses, which is important, given the fact that both your life and your family’s life are likely to be profoundly changed by your injuries.

The experienced Wisconsin personal injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan are here to help you through the aftermath of a motor vehicle crash, no matter how great the damages or injuries may be. We can look into the circumstances surrounding your accident, assess the situation, and evaluate any claims that you may have for damages. We know how to determine fault in a car accident, and build a strong personal injury claim based on that determination. Contact our office today in order to schedule a free initial consultation about any potential claim that you may have.









How Do I Know if I Have a Good Personal Injury Case or Not?

The only objective way to determine whether you have a strong personal injury case or place an estimated level of compensation on your claim is to discuss the matter with an experienced Madison personal injury attorney. He or she will investigate, evaluate, and give you an opinion on your situation. While no attorney can guarantee you a positive income or a certain amount of damages in your case, a personal injury lawyer who has handled many similar claims over the years is a fairly good judge of how these types of cases are handled and how they are likely to be resolved.

Generally, your claim must demonstrate certain characteristics in order to constitute a valid personal injury claim. For instance, you must have suffered an actual injury that is documented in your medical records. Likewise, the other party must have acted negligently, or without reasonable care, in causing the accident that led to your injuries. If there are doubts about a person’s negligence, then you may have a weaker personal injury claim. Finally, you must prove that the accident resulting from the person’s negligence actually caused your injuries, in that there was not another intervening cause that resulted in your injuries. Without evidence of these basic elements, you are not likely to have a strong personal injury case.

Every personal injury case is completely different, and whether or not the claim is potentially successful depends on a wide variety of different factors. The existing evidence of the other party’s fault, the degree to which you may have contributed to the cause of the accident, preexisting injuries or medical conditions, the severity of your injuries, and the duration of your injuries all can alter the outcome of a personal injury case.

Boller & Vaughan are experienced Madison personal injury lawyers who know Wisconsin law and know how to effectively represent your interests in any personal injury claim that you might have, whether it involves a car crash or another type of incident. Call our office today and learn how our attorneys can help ensure that you receive the compensation in your case to which you are entitled.




If I Win My Wrongful Death Case, Will the Wrongdoer Go to Jail?

Wrongful death claims are civil actions, which generally do not result in incarceration or other criminal penalties. In a wrongful death action, you are restricted to seeking financial compensation for your losses as a result of your loved one’s death. While a person who is found to be responsible or liable for another person’s death due to his or her actions can face extensive financial repercussions, he or she will not face incarcerate, no matter that he or she caused another person’s death.

On the other hand, there are sometimes criminal prosecutions arising out of an accident that resulted in another person’s death. One common example is a drunk driving crash that causes another driver’s death. The drunk driver is likely to be found liable for the death in the context of a wrongful death action. However, it is also likely that the drunk driver will be charged with a crime. The circumstances surrounding the driver’s behavior and the ensuing accident will determine the severity of the crime charged. Assuming that the crime is fairly serious, since it involved another’s death, then he or she may very well face significant amounts of jail or prison time, depending on the sentence that he or she receives from the judge or jury.

As this post indicates, there are a number of different outcomes that can result from a wrongful death case, some of which carry civil penalties, and some of which carry criminal repercussions. While a civil action is not contingent on a criminal action, or vice versa, they definitely do intersect. For example, a criminal conviction is much more likely if an individual has already admitted to liability in a civil wrongful death case. Likewise, a criminal conviction can provide important evidence and findings that can help support a wrongful death claim. The essential distinction between the two types of claims relates to the potential consequences that an accused individual may suffer.

If your loved one was killed due to the negligence of another driver or another individual, then you and his or her other family members may have a civil cause of action for wrongful death. For more information about how to properly handle your wrongful death claim, contact the Wisconsin wrongful death lawyers of Boller & Vaughan today.









What is the Difference Between a Survival Action and a Wrongful Death Action?

Both survival actions and wrongful death actions are available under Wisconsin law. However, there are significant differences between the two different types of claims. Wrongful death and survival damages are completely separate actions that involve different types of damages.

Survival actions concern the conscious pain and suffering, loss of wages, and medical bills that accrued prior to the victim’s death. A deceased person’s estate brings the action on behalf of the deceased. Damages are limited to those that the deceased to which he or she would have been entitled had he or she survived the accident. The deceased person’s heirs, which are defined by statute or the person’s will, ultimately end up becoming to any award of damages received through a survival action. For example, suppose an individual is severely injured by an accident with a drunk driver, but dies a few months later of completely natural causes. In this case, the estate of the individual can pursue the damages to which the victim would have been entitled, if he or she had lived.

On the other hand, wrongful death claims are based on the injuries or damages that certain family members of the deceased sustain after the victim’s death. These damages might include emotional pain and suffering, loss of future earnings and income, loss of inheritance, and loss of care and companionship. Wrongful death suits, however, sometimes also involve certain survival actions. In the context of a wrongful death action, one category of damages sought might be the medical expenses and pain and suffering of the victim prior to his or her death.

Both wrongful death and survival actions, along with general personal injury actions, are subject to a statute of limitations. This means that you are limited to certain timeframes during which you can file these types of lawsuits. If you fail to meet these timeframes, then you may lose your opportunity to get compensation for your losses.

Depending on the facts of your situation, you may be entitled to compensation from those who negligently caused the accident, either through a personal injury claim, a survival action, or a wrongful death action. Call Boller & Vaughan today at (608) 268-0268, or contact us online at www.bollervaughan.com in order to set up an appointment with one of our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys, and see what we can do for you.




TBI Study Reveals Long-Lasting Sleep Issues

A recent CBS news article details a study of the effects of traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which are common injuries that an individual suffers in motor vehicle accidents. As a result, TBI is often one of the injuries that makes up a personal injury claim. In fact, TBI appears to be increasing worldwide and constitutes about 30% of all deaths from injuries. Given the potential severity of TBI, which can have lifelong implications for the injury victim, it is essential to keep up on the research regarding TBI and how it can impact the victim on a daily and indefinite basis.

The study in question is the longest prospective and most comprehensive research on TBI and its effects to date. It also provides the only objective evidence to date about the sleep aftereffects of TBI. The American Academy of Neurology found through its study that TBI victims typically have no idea just how severely TBI affects their regular sleep patterns. The study results indicate that TBI victims may experience sleep disruption for up to one-and-a-half years following their injuries. About 67% of the TBI victims studied suffered excessive daytime sleepiness, whereas only 19% of non-TBI or healthy individuals experienced the same level of sleepiness. When asked how tired the individuals felt, however, the TBI victims were no more likely to report sleepiness during the day than the health individuals. Additionally, the severity of the TBI appeared to have no effect on sleep disturbance levels. An individual who suffered an extremely severe TBI had no higher levels of sleep disturbance than an individual who suffered only a mild TBI. The study’s authors, however, noted that additional research is necessary before any new recommendations or guidelines regarding sleep disturbances and TBI.

When an accident causes a traumatic brain injury or other types of serious injuries to you or a loved one, the impact can be devastating. Although some accidents are just that – accidents – others are caused by the negligence of another, such as an inattentive or distracted driver. If you are in this situation, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Call Bonner & Vaughan today and learn how our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys can advocate on your behalf.



What is Negligence and What Does It Have to Do with My Car Crash?

Negligence is the legal standard that is used to measure liability, or financial responsibility, of a party in a personal injury case. In order to prove that an individual acted negligently in some way so as to cause the accident that led to your injuries, you must prove five different elements: duty, breach of duty, cause in fact, proximate cause, and damages.

First, you must establish that the negligent party had a duty to act in a reasonable manner toward you. Certain individuals have a duty of reasonable care toward other individuals or the public at large. For instance, drivers have a duty to drive in a reasonably safe manner, for the protection of other drivers, passengers, and pedestrian.

Next, you must establish that the other party breached his or her duty to act in a reasonable manner. This means that you must prove that the actions that the party took – or failed to take – were not consistent with the actions that a reasonable individual would take in a similar situation.

Third, you must show that the other party’s actions did, in fact, cause your injuries. In other words, if the other party had not acted as he or she did, then your injuries would not have occurred.

Next, you must prove that the other party’s failure to meet the standard of reasonable care caused your injury, and not some other intervening action or lack of action. This is commonly referred to as proximate cause.

Finally, you must establish that you suffered damages as a result of the accident that caused your injuries. The accident must have actually caused measurable injuries to you for which compensation should be available.

Wisconsin personal injury laws change over time, and you need the lawyers who keep up-to-date on the most recent legal developments that are relevant to your case. We also know how to best apply these laws to your advantage in your case. The Madison personal injury attorneys of Bonner & Vaughan handle personal injury cases on a daily basis, and we know what it takes to get the compensation that you need. Take the first step and call our office today to set up your free consultation with one of our Wisconsin auto accident lawyers.




Do I Have to Go to Court for My Personal Injury Case?

Whether your case proceeds to court is dependent on the nature of your case and your ability to reach a final settlement prior to going to trial. In the vast majority of personal injury cases, the victims will never see the inside of a courtroom. The two sides to the dispute can reach a settlement through informal negotiations or through the more formal process of mediation. In mediation proceedings, both parties and their attorneys meet with a neutral third-party mediator who helps the parties communicate their version of events related to the case and work toward a mutually acceptable resolution of the case.

In some cases, the parties can reach a quick settlement before a lawsuit is ever filed in court. However, even after your attorney has filed your personal injury lawsuit, you still can reach a settlement with the other party before your case goes to court. It is only if you cannot agree that your case must go to trial. Essentially, then, it is totally up to you whether to proceed to trial. If you agree with the settlement amount that the other party’s insurance company has offered you, then you can simply accept the settlement and do not have to go to court. If, however, you do not agree with the settlement offer, then your case must go to trial before you can get any compensation for your losses.

The bottom line is that you should always hire a personal injury attorney to help you in your case, whether you want your case to proceed to trial or not. We are the Wisconsin personal injury lawyers to whom you always can turn if your loved one suffers serious or fatal injuries in a traffic accident. Whether your case goes to trial or settles through negotiations, we are here to represent your interests. No matter how complex or difficult your case may be, the Madison personal injury lawyers of Boller & Vaughan are here to advocate on behalf of your loved one and hold negligent individuals responsible for their role in causing any injuries or death that has occurred.


Five Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Cases

Many people have the same sorts of questions about personal injury cases after they or a family member have been involved in a car crash. We hope that providing the answers to the frequently asked questions below will assist you in learning about personal injury claims in the state of Wisconsin.

  • Should I Hire a Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyer?

Whether to pursue a potential personal injury claim is a personal decision that is dependent upon the facts and circumstances surrounding your injuries, as well as the severity of your injuries. When you are injured in any kind of accident at a result of another individual’s negligence, you are likely to receive a call from his or her insurance company fairly quickly, with an offer to settle your case. However, even if the amount of the offer sounds good to you, you owe it to yourself and your family to ensure that you are getting the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. This is why it is essential that you contact an experienced Wisconsin personal injury as quickly as possible following your accident.

  • How Does a Personal Injury Case Proceed?

After you speak with a personal injury lawyer, he or she will begin gathering all of the necessary facts and evidence about your case. Evidence may include documents such as police reports, photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, medical records, and explanation of benefits from your health insurance and automobile insurance carriers. Your attorney and a representative from the insurance company of the party responsible for the accident may engage in settlement negotiations, and eventually may be able to reach a settlement amount that is acceptable to all parties involved. However, if a fair and just settlement is not possible, we will prepare your case for trial. Whether your trial ends with a jury’s verdict or a judge’s ruling, we will be there to ensure that you are in the best position to get the best monetary award possible.

  • What Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Our law firm handles personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you don’t have to pay anything up front to hire us. Rather, we don’t get paid unless you get a damages award from your lawsuit. If you do receive a monetary award, we will be paid from a percentage of that award. This arrangement gives us the best incentive to obtain the largest monetary award possible in your case.

  • How Much is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

Every personal injury case is different; results differ based on a variety of different factors, such as the severity of the accident, the circumstances that led to the accident, the degree of fault assigned to each party, and the serious and longevity of your injuries. Until we have reviewed all facts and evidence involved in your case, we cannot give you even an estimate about what your case is worth.

  • What Do I Have to Prove to Get Compensation From My Personal Injury Case?

First, your case must involve negligence, or a lack of reasonable care by another person in taking whatever actions that led to the accident at issue. Next, you must prove that the accident was a cause of or a substantial factor in your injuries. Finally, you must prove that you suffered damages as a result of your injuries, which can be in the tangible form of medical bills or lost wages, or in the intangible form of emotional pain and suffering.

If you believe that you may be entitled to compensation following an accident, you owe it yourself and to your family to look into any potential legal claims that you may have. So many different circumstances can lead to accidents that cause injuries and even death. Don’t allow a possible claim for compensation to go uncollected. Boller & Vaughan are the Wisconsin motor vehicle accident lawyers who dedicate their practice to protecting the interests of the injured and their families. Call our office today to set up your free consultation and learn what options are available to you.




Disclosing Accident Reports: Court Rule Requirements

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently ruled that federal law that protects driver’s license information does not permit Wisconsin police departments to withhold information from accident reports. In 1994, Congress enacted the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) after a stalker obtained the home address of a Hollywood actress from motor vehicle records and murdered her. The DPPA provides for statutory damages of $2,500 per violation.

After an Illinois lawsuit concerning a parking ticket containing driver information that a city police officer left on a driver’s car, police in Wisconsin began redacting driver information from all traffic accident reports, no matter how minor. Statewide, many Wisconsin police departments took this action, despite the fact that the former Wisconsin Attorney General stated that the redactions were not required under the DPPA and police departments in Illinois and Indiana did not follow suit.

In 2013, the New Richmond News sued the City of New Richmond over the redaction of accident reports. The trial court ruled in favor of the newspaper, finding that the DPPA was never meant to overrule Wisconsin’s public records law. The court also ruled that complying with the state law was a police function that constituted an exception to the DPPA. The city appealed, and the Court of Appeals passed the case on to the Wisconsin Supreme Court due its public significance. The death of a state supreme court justice resulted in a 3-3 tie, so the case was remanded back to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision, finding that the DPPA does not require police departments to withhold driver information from accident reports. However, the Court left the possibility open that police departments may have to redact driver information, depending on the function the department is serving by releasing the records and the source of the driver information.

When an accident occurs as a result of the driver’s negligence, and causes injury to a passenger, driver of another vehicle, or even a pedestrian, the injured individual may have a claim for damages under Wisconsin law. Accident reports are typically an essential piece of evidence in these types of cases, and one that must be both preserved and disclosed at all costs. However, there are laws that limit the time periods in which you can file personal injury claims in the state of Wisconsin, and you can lose your right to compensation if you do not consult an experienced lawyer in time. Don’t delay in contacting the Madison personal injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan, and set up your free consultation today.






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