How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

Every personal injury case is different and involves a variety of facts and circumstances. Therefore, it is hard to make a generalized statement about how much a particular case is worth. A number of different factors impact the value of a personal injury claim. These factors include the following:

  • The severity of the injuries from the accident
  • The age and health of the injury victim prior to the accident
  • The degree to which the injured individual was at fault
  • The extent to which another party is responsible for the accident
  • The amount of medical bills related to injuries from the accident
  • The amount of future medical expenses
  • The amount of wages that the victim lost due to his or her injuries
  • The injury victim’s work history and future ability to work
  • Whether the injured individual suffered permanent disability or scarring

In addition to these types of damages, which generally are referred as to compensatory damages, an accident victim also may have personal injuries that result in damages. These injuries include things like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. Again, the nature and duration of your injuries will determine the amount of personal damages to which you are entitled. A permanent disability clearly will merit a higher damages amount than a temporary injury or inability to work.

Settlement amounts in a personal injury claim also may decrease if there is problem with the evidence or legalities in the case, which makes the case likely to be less successful if it would proceed to trial. Furthermore, if the injured victim is at fault to any degree for the accident that led to his or her own injuries, then his or her damages award will be reduced accordingly.

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 motorcycle, semi-truck, or a passenger vehicle. 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.

 

 


Long-Term Effects of Childhood Head Injuries

The Los Angeles Times recently reported on a new study of childhood head injuries that had sobering results. The study tracked more than a million Swedes, some of whom had sustained a brain injury, including a concussion, prior to the age of 25, and some who had sustained no injuries. The findings of the study indicated that those individuals who had suffered any type of head injury in their early years were more likely to have a shorter and more difficult life than those who did not.

More specifically, young people who were treated in hospital for a single traumatic brain injury before the age of 25 were nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized for mental or psychiatric illness by the time that they reached their mid-thirties. These same individuals were 72% more likely to be unable to work and draw disability benefits. They also were 72% more likely to die before reaching the age of 36. Not only did the study compare data from these individuals, but they compared the data to that of both individuals in general and siblings who did not sustain a brain injury prior to the age of 25. Even as compared to the individual’s siblings, the individual who had one such brain injury was 57% more likely to have an in-patient psychiatric hospitalization, 49% more likely to draw disability benefits due to an inability to work, and 40% more likely to die by his or her mid-30s. Additionally, even after taking family circumstances into account, these individuals were more likely to fail to complete high school and/or receive welfare payments.

The study followed over 100,000 Swedes who were diagnosed and suffered a brain injury prior to age 25, as well as a total of over one million individuals. About 77% of these injuries were categorized as mild traumatic brain injuries, or concussions. The results of this study are particularly alarming in light of the fact that in 2009, almost a quarter-million U.S. children under the age of 19 were diagnosed with and treated in hospitals for head injuries related to sports and recreational activities. These figures represent a 57% increase over an eight-year period.

As this post indicates, head injuries can have a significant impact on an accident victim’s life for years to come. Therefore, you must take steps to ensure that your head injury is properly documented and that you receive all of the compensation to which you are entitled when you have suffered a head injury due to another’s negligence. For more information about how to properly handle your personal injury claim, contact the Wisconsin personal injury lawyers of Boller & Vaughan today.

 


Common Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries

Some studies estimate that as many as one million individuals visit emergency rooms each year as a result of slip and fall accidents. While these types of accidents may result in minor injuries, such as cuts and bruises, they also can result in more severe injuries, such as broken bones, concussions, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. As a result, everyone should be aware of the most common causes of slip and fall injuries in order to avoid them to the extent possible.

More than half of all slip and fall accidents result from dangerous surfaces. These walking areas may be wet, cluttered, dirty, or have other materials on them. Loose tiles, holes, snags, or rippling in carpeting, and loose floorboards also can contribute to falls. Potholes in parking lots, cracked or otherwise damaged or uneven sidewalks, or rickety staircases are other conditions that may lead to slip and fall accidents.

Weather conditions also contribute to slip and fall accidents. When places of business fail to remove ice and snow from their sidewalks, reasonably clear parking lots, and generally take steps to ensure customers’ safety, they may be responsible for any slip and fall injuries that occur. Additionally, customers often will track ice and snow into stores, which can cause slippery floors. If store employees fail to consistently and completely keep the floors free from water, slush, and ice, slip and fall accidents tend to occur.

Finally, slip and fall accidents often involve elderly people, who may not be physically stable or have difficulty walking. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities, in particular, are common places for slip and fall accidents. If nursing home staff fails to properly supervise patients or properly assist them with physical movement, liability for resulting slip and fall injuries may be an issue.

When you or a family member suffers serious injuries from a slip and fall or any other type of accident, and another’s negligence caused the accident, you may have a personal injury claim under Wisconsin law. 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.


Study Shows Red-Light Cameras Save Children’s Lives

The American Academy of Pediatrics presented a new study at its annual national conference concerning red light cameras, enforcement of red light camera laws, and traffic fatalities involving children in some states. According to the Traffic Safety Coalition, failing to use existing red light cameras and enforce laws related to red light cameras resulted in a substantial increase in serious motor vehicle crashes. More specifically, weak red light camera enforcement laws correlated to a rise in traffic fatalities involving children. Not surprisingly, the conclusions of the study also indicated that other safety features, such as seatbelt and car seat usage, also reduced the number of child deaths from motor vehicle accidents. Simply increasing usage of these safety features by 10% could result in saving 1,500 children’s lives over a period of five years.

Using data from the U.S. Highway Traffic Safety Administration, researchers analyzed over 18,000 children over a period of four years who were involved in fatal crashes. While the number of child fatalities from motor vehicle accidents differed from one state to the next, about 16% of the total children studied passed away as a result of their injuries. In more rural states, the rates of death to children tended to be higher, largely due to the rural nature of the roads and a higher percentage of unrestrained children in vehicles.

This study only complements the research findings of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Institute’s study found that the number of fatal accidents caused by drivers running red lights increased by about 30% when red light cameras were not in use. As of 2014, the Institute found that using red light cameras in 79 cities across the United States saved the lives of almost 1,300 individuals.

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 motorcycle, semi-truck, or a passenger vehicle. 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.


Is a Community-Based Residential Facility Right for My Parents?

Community-based residential facilities (CBRFs) are homes located in a community in which five or more unrelated people live. The services offered by a CBRF vary to some degree, but typically include room and board, supervision, and support services, and may include up to three hours of nursing care each week. This nursing care, however, should not be more than intermediate level nursing care. A CBRF can be very small, consisting of only five people, or rather large, consisting of as many as 257 people.

Individuals who live in CBRFs may include those with physical conditions related to aging, dementia, developmental disabilities, mental health problems, physical disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, AIDS, substance abuse problems, pregnant women, and/or terminal illnesses. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) licenses and monitors CBRFs and ensures that they meet all state and federal regulations. CBRFs undergo biennial inspections, as well as additional inspections in response to complaints. DHS has the option of penalizing CBRFs that don’t comply with these regulations, including shutting the facility down if operating without a license, terminating employment of persons who previously had a revoked license, submitting and implementing a plan of correction, providing training, suspending, revoking, or removing a license, and appointing a monitor or receiver. All caregivers must have a background check every four years.

While these safeguards are in place to protect residents of CBRFs, there are additional steps that you still need to take in order to ensure that your loved one is safe from abuse or neglect. For instance, you or another trusted relative should visit your parent on a regular basis so that you can look for signs of abuse or neglect. You also should talk to your parent about their stay at the CBRF and take note of any complaints of abuse or neglect.

At Boller & Vaughan, we have investigated countless allegations of CBRF abuse and neglect, no matter what type of circumstances they entail. Allow us to look into the situation surrounding your case, discuss your options, and help you determine the most appropriate course of action for you and your family. Contact the Wisconsin CBRF attorneys of Boller & Vaughan, and learn how we can help.


Crash Avoidance Technology

While driverless cars that could eliminate crashes altogether still only exist as a prototype, advanced crash avoidance technology already exists in many vehicles, to varying degrees. Although this technology is still not foolproof in terms of preventing all crashes, it certainly does help drivers avoid some crashes that might otherwise occur, and it is increasingly a part of newer vehicles as they are manufactured.

Automation in the form of adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping support can assist drivers in avoiding common driving errors, such as failing to maintain one’s lane, which might result in accidents. Other advanced technologies provide warnings or assistance to help avoid crashes. These technologies include automatic braking, front crash prevention, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, park assist, and backover prevention. Advances also are occurring in the area of smart transportation systems, which can allow vehicles to communicate with one another and/or communicate with road infrastructure.

Front crash prevention is one type of vehicle technology that has proven to be instrumental in preventing crashes. Vehicles with front crash prevention technology are less likely to rear-end other vehicles, which helps avoid crashes and injuries. This also results in fewer insurance claims for property damages and personal injuries.

Electronic stability control (ESC), which is an older form of technology that is standard on vehicles made in 2012 and later, is an extension of antilock brake technology. These technologies help drivers keep better control over their vehicles on curves and slippery roads. Studies have shown that ESC can cut the risk of a fatal single-vehicle crash in about half, as well the risk of fatal rollovers by as much as 80%.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, provides an interactive web page on which you can input a vehicle’s year, make, and model, in order to determine its safety features. In looking for a new vehicle or evaluating the safety of an older vehicle, you can use this information to ensure that you choose the safest available options for you and your family.

When an accident causes 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 Boller & Vaughan today and learn how our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys can advocate on your behalf.


When It’s Time to Move Your Parents Into Long-Term Care

There is no one indicator that tells you that your parent is ready for long-term care. It may be noticing that your parent has neglected hygiene issues, failed to buy food or eat on a regular basis, wandered away from home, failed to take medication as ordered, or has fallen and is no longer able to remain in his or her home alone. Whatever the case may be, signs such as these situations may indicate that it is time to consider a safer environment for your parent outside of his or her home. This move may be to your own home, a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or a community-based residential facility. No matter which option you choose, you should take certain precautions in order to ensure that your parent is safe and free from abuse or neglect by caregivers, as well as living in the most appropriate and least restrictive care environment.

First, open a discussion with both your parent and anyone else who should have input into the decision, such as other adult siblings or your parent’s spouse. You will need to consider a number of different factors in making your decision, including available finances, level of support and nursing care needed by your parent, changes in lifestyle, and services that your parent wants or needs.

In considering the type of care necessary, you will have to evaluate whether your parent needs 24-hour skilled nursing care, occasional assistance by a visiting caregiver, help with activities of daily living on a frequent basis, and/or 24-hour supervision. The extent to which your parent needs assistance will help determine what living situation is best and most appropriate for him or her.

The nursing home abuse lawyers of Boller & Vaughan pride themselves on advocating on behalf of clients who suffer injuries at the hands of their caregivers, no matter whether those injuries from result from abuse or neglect in any type of long-term care facility. We can seek compensation for you through the legal claim process, while you and your family can concentrate on healing, recovering from any trauma that you might have experienced, and moving on with your life. Don’t hesitate to call our office today and learn how we can help.


Determining Fault in a Wisconsin Car Accident

The concept of fault is central to any personal injury case arising from a Wisconsin car accident. In order to determine whether you have a valid personal injury claim, you must determine legal liability, or who is fault for the accident in accordance with Wisconsin law.

The first step to determine liability is whether a driver owed a duty to the party injured in the accident. For the most part, a driver owes a duty of reasonable care to other drivers on the road, as well as their passengers. Likewise, a driver owes a duty of care to pedestrians walking on the sidewalk or in a crosswalk. However, if an individual is in a place where he or she should not be, such as in the middle of a busy road, then the driver may not necessarily owe him or her a duty of care.

Next, it is necessary to determine whether the driver violated his or her duty of care. For example, violating a traffic rule, such as failing to stop at a stop sign, running a red light, or failing to yield to oncoming traffic, can be evidence of a violation of that duty of care. Furthermore, if a driver violated the duty of care in the course of his employment, then the employer potentially can be responsible, or liable, for the resulting injuries.

Additionally, if a condition in the environment, such as an unmarked road hazard or poorly maintained property, contributed to the accident, then the person or entity responsible for the maintenance of the road or property also may be liable for any resulting injuries. On the other hand, if the accident resulted from a defective auto part or manufacturing problem, then the manufacturer or supplier of the vehicle may be liable for any resulting accidents that lead to injuries.

As Wisconsin personal injury laws continually change, you need the lawyers who keep up-to-date on the most recent legal developments in this area of the law and know how to best apply these laws to your advantage in your case. The Madison personal injury attorneys of Boller & 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.


Projections for the Dementia Population

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), in 2015, there were an estimated 115,000 people living in the state with dementia. The dementia may be as a result of Alzheimer’s Disease, which is now the sixth greatest cause of death in the nation, or another medical condition. By 2040, that amount is expected to rise to an estimated 242,000. This is in large part due to the fact that the population of individuals aged 65 and older will increase 72% between 2015 and 2040, adding 640,000 people to the current population. This means that by 2040, 33% of the individuals in 18 Wisconsin counties will be over the age of 65. This aging population increase will be most prevalent in rural areas and the northern half of the state.

As a result of the expected drastic increase in dementia patients over the next few decades, DHS is taking steps to create a plan that will provide better services to people living with dementia in the state of Wisconsin. DHS also has a particular duty to increase the level and quality of services for individuals living with dementia who also qualify for Medicaid, which currently constitutes about 30,000 people. In addition to this redesign of DHS dementia services, Governor Scott also signed three bills into law last year that will benefit those living with dementia. One bill created a county-based dementia crisis unit pilot program. Another bill allocated an additional $1 million to the state’s Alzheimer’s family and caregiver support program, and the final bill created state grants for dementia training for county crisis teams.

Developing dementia is only one of the many situations that can lead to abuse or neglect by caregivers. If you or a loved one is seriously injured as a result of elder abuse, or your family has suffered the loss of a loved one due to negligence by nursing home or assisted living facility staff, you may be entitled to compensation. This inquiry involves determining which party or entity was at fault for the accident, acted negligently, or otherwise caused the incident that led to your injuries or your loved one’s death. At Boller & Vaughan, our Madison assisted living facility and nursing home elder abuse lawyers can help you with these determinations, and support you through any personal injury or wrongful death claims that you may have.


What Types of Damages are Available in a Personal Injury Case?

When you are injured in a traffic accident or another type of incident caused by the negligence of another person, you may be entitled to compensation for any losses related to your injuries. This compensation in the context of a personal injury claim is referred to as damages. There are a number of types of damages that may be available to you under Wisconsin law.

The most common type of damages is compensatory damages. These are damages that compensate you for financial losses that you have a result of your injuries. For example, if you had to be off work for six weeks in order to recover from your injuries, then you may have lost your wages or salary for those six weeks. If this is the case, then you might be entitled to compensatory damages in the amount of your lost wages. Another very common type of compensatory damages is payment for the medical bills that you have incurred as a result of your injuries. Medical bills might include the costs of reasonable and necessary emergency transportation services, hospitalization, emergency room charges, surgery expenses, tests, medication, rehabilitation, and post-surgical care. Compensatory damages are based dollar for dollar on the expenses directly related to your injuries.

Pain and suffering is another common type of damages that an injured person might seek in a personal injury case. Unlike compensatory damages, pain and suffering is not measured in dollar for dollar expenses. Rather, they are based on the degree of pain and suffering that you or a loved one endured as a result of the accident. When you experience trauma as a result of an accident, or a spouse loses your companionship for a period of time due to an accident, you may be entitled to a certain amount of damages.

We are the Wisconsin traffic accident lawyers to whom you always can turn if you or your loved one suffers serious injuries in a traffic accident. No matter how complex or difficult your situation may be, the Madison injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan are here to advocate on behalf of you and your family and hold negligent drivers responsible for any injuries that have occurred.


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