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The Madison car accident lawyers at Boller & Vaughan are committed to helping accident victims move forward after a serious crash. We understand the hardships our clients face and we are passionate about helping them recover the compensation they deserve for their physical, financial, and emotional losses.
If you have been injured in a car accident, experienced attorneys Matthew Boller and Michele Vaughan can help.
Drivers in Madison are no strangers to car accidents. From congested city streets to major highways like I-39 and I-94, crashes bring traffic to a standstill every day.
Some of these accidents are relatively minor. Others, however, can turn the victims’ lives upside down.
Car accident victims are often unsure how to proceed after a crash. Two of the biggest points of uncertainty are: (1). Do I need to seek medical attention? and (2). Should I hire an attorney?
Generally, the answer to both of these questions is “Yes.” You should go to the emergency room as soon as possible after the accident – even if paramedics treat and release you at the scene. The importance of timely medical intervention is twofold: First, emergency rooms have the equipment and resources to perform more thorough diagnoses, and doctors in an E.R. setting can provide more comprehensive care. Second, getting medical attention creates a record of your injuries from the accident.
Your health should be your first priority after a car accident. The next important step is protecting your legal rights.
If the accident resulted in minimal damage to your vehicle and you were uninjured or suffered only minor injuries, you probably don’t need to seek legal counsel. However, if you sustained serious personal injury in a car accident, it is in your best interest to talk to the car accident lawyers at Boller & Vaughan ASAP.
Heavy traffic is a daily part of life in Madison. It is impossible to know exactly what the driver of another vehicle is thinking or doing behind the wheel. With this in mind, it is in every driver’s best interest to stay alert, drive defensively, wear a seatbelt, and take other steps to make every trip collision-free.
Unfortunately, your best efforts to stay safe on the road can be undermined by the careless actions of another driver. Some of the most common causes of car accidents we see in and around Madison include:
One of the leading causes of distracted driving is cell phone use, especially texting. However, other activities – such as talking on the phone, eating, drinking, talking to passengers, and playing the radio loud – can also distract drivers and increase the risk of a car accident. Another potential distraction is looking away from the road at an accident site (rubbernecking), which can in turn lead to a separate collision.
Driving faster than the speed limit reduces control of the vehicle and makes it more difficult to stop. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, excess speed is a factor in more than one-quarter of vehicle accident fatalities.
Speeding and distracted driving are not the only careless acts a driver may commit behind the wheel. Reckless driving can take a variety of different forms, from failure to look over the shoulder when changing lanes to ignoring traffic signals, other vehicles, and pedestrians when navigating an intersection.
Also known as road rage, aggressive behavior behind the wheel can end in tragedy. Aggressive drivers may weave in and out of traffic, tailgate other vehicles, or (in the most extreme cases) try to run another driver off the road.
Drowsy or fatigued driving is a commonly overlooked factor in car accidents. Lack of sleep has similar effects to alcohol use. Tired drivers have increased reaction times, poor judgment, and may even fall asleep at the wheel and cause an accident.
Abusing alcohol and drugs before getting behind the wheel is a serious offense. In addition to the criminal charges that can stem from drunk driving, impaired drivers may be liable for damages stemming from accidents they cause.
The cause of some accidents is relatively easy to determine. If you see a vehicle traveling faster than other traffic, and that driver strikes your vehicle, it is fairly easy to say that speeding and carelessness on the other driver’s part caused the crash. Evidence at the scene, such as skid marks if the at-fault driver tried to brake sharply before hitting you, should support this conclusion.
However, not all accidents are so cut-and-dried. Thorough investigation of the crash may show that the negligence or wrongdoing of more than one party was a factor.
For example, in accidents involving commercial trucks, examination of company records may reveal that the driver was unqualified and/or that the truck was improperly maintained. If this is the case, the trucking company and other third parties may be liable.
At Boller & Vaughan, our car accident lawyers carefully collect all relevant evidence and closely examine all of the facts to determine how the crash occurred and who is at fault. Establishing these key aspects of your claim is crucial for recovering full and fair compensation.
Your initial consultation with our lawyers is FREE. During your consultation we will evaluate the merits of your case and give you our honest opinion of whether or not it is worth pursuing.
Even minor fender-benders can cause whiplash and injuries to joints and soft tissues. Serious car or truck accidents can often leave victims with broken bones, burns, brain problems, and other severe injuries. In many cases, insurance claims do not cover all the financial consequences of these injuries. A lawyer can explain your options for pursuing damages through a personal injury lawsuit.
Many car accidents result in brain injuries, specifically traumatic brain injuries (TBI). According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), these injuries can have severe consequences; in 2020, approximately 176 Americans died from a TBI-related injury every day. Additionally, these types of injuries caused over 223,000 hospitalizations in 2019.
The Mayo Clinic states that a TBI is usually caused by a violent jolt or impact to the body or head. A concussion is a mild form of TBI that is often associated with these symptoms:
More severe traumatic brain injuries often include serious symptoms that can affect long-term quality of life:
Symptoms of a TBI, especially a mild one, don’t always present themselves immediately. It’s extremely important to seek medical care after a car accident (even a minor one) to make sure any brain injuries are diagnosed and treated promptly.
Spinal cord injuries are also common in Madison car accidents. Like traumatic brain injuries, they can vary in severity and long-term consequences. Mild spinal cord injuries may heal completely whereas severe injuries may result in partial or complete paralysis.
Spinal cord injuries are often categorized based on the area of the spine they affect. The cervical section of the spine is the area from the bottom of the skull to the lower neck. The thoracic spine is the area from the upper shoulders to the middle of the back. Below that is the lumbar section, and then the sacrum is the section of vertebrae from the lower back to the tailbone. The coccyx is the four vertebrae at the base of the tailbone.
One study of car-accident-related spinal cord injuries showed that most injuries affect the lumbosacral spine (the lower back area). Over 86% of car accident victims who sustained spinal cord injuries were drivers, and the most common cause of spinal fractures was a rollover accident.
The Mayo Clinic lists these possible symptoms of spinal cord injury:
Like head injuries, spinal cord injuries aren’t always apparent. It’s vital to seek medical attention after a car accident.
Whiplash is often misunderstood because the damage it causes to the soft tissues in the neck doesn’t show up on an X-ray and other common medical tests. This type of injury can also lead to a TBI, even if the car accident didn’t include a direct blow to the head.
These are some common signs of whiplash:
Whiplash symptoms may not show up right after an accident; in some cases, it takes months for them to appear. For some patients, whiplash-related pain lasts for years.
There are several types of back injuries that car accident victims can experience:
Many of these injuries can cause chronic pain and reduced mobility. Back injuries can also contribute to further health issues later in life.
As the name implies, a soft tissue injury is related to the “soft” areas of the body, such as the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. For example, a sprained ankle is a soft tissue injury that’s the result of overextending the ligaments of the ankle joint. Muscle and tendon strains are also examples of soft tissue injuries, as are contusions (bruises). Whiplash is another common soft tissue injury.
Many car accidents cause soft tissue injuries that lead to pain, swelling, and stiffness. These are usually caused by the severe forces vehicle occupants experience in an accident, including the force from the seatbelt and/or airbag. X-rays don’t usually show soft tissue injuries, so doctors often use CT scans or MRI tests to diagnose these injuries.
Car accident victims often incur shoulder injuries from the force of the seatbelt and/or the airbags. Additionally, some accidents cause car occupants to strike the window, windshield, or dashboard, and the impact can cause injuries. Common shoulder injuries include fractures in the collarbone, shoulder blades, and upper arms. Car accidents can also cause shoulder dislocations and damage to the rotator cuff.
While many car accident injuries affect the victim’s upper body (e.g. head, neck, chest, arms), knee injuries can also occur. One of the most common injuries that car accident victims experience is damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which happens when the force of the accident causes extreme hyperextension of the knee and leg. These are common symptoms of an ACL injury:
Other common car-accident-related knee injuries are kneecap fractures, dislocation, and damage to the muscles and cartilage around the knee.
The extreme blunt force impacts in a car accident often cause fractures of the hip socket or other parts of the area. Not all hip injuries are fractures, however. Another common issue is bursitis, which is an inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs in the hip area. This type of inflammation can be extremely painful but might not show up right away after the accident. In some severe cases, surgery is necessary to treat bursitis.
A catastrophic car accident may involve a vehicle on fire, which can cause burns to the occupants. However, severe burns can occur even when the car or engine doesn’t catch on fire. Car accident victims can be burned by steam, scalding liquids (such as oil), or the hot metal of the vehicle.
Burns can also be caused by the deployment of a defective airbag or exposure to a live electrical current. Many car accidents cause dangerous chemicals to leak out of their containers within the vehicle, so chemical burns can also occur.
Burns are categorized by severity:
Severe burns may require time-consuming treatments, such as skin grafts and physical therapy. It’s important to see a doctor even for a minor burn, because you may need antibiotics or a tetanus shot to prevent infection.
The blunt forces and/or unnatural physical positions caused by a car accident often cause fractures in these areas:
Not all fractures are obvious, so it’s important to see a doctor who can use an X-ray to verify any broken bones.
The physical trauma of a car accident can injure internal organs, such as the liver, spleen, and kidneys. Damage to these organs can have long-term health consequences. In many cases, surgery is necessary to repair or remove damaged internal organs.
Internal bleeding can also occur after a car accident. Some potential signs of internal bleeding are fatigue, lightheadedness, abdominal pain, and feelings of cold or thirst.
In some cases, a car accident can sever a finger or even an arm or leg. This is called “traumatic amputation” and can lead to lifelong health issues, even if the amputated limb or digit can be reattached. One study showed that head-on collisions were more likely than rollovers to cause traumatic amputation. Amputation of a digit or limb may also be performed by a doctor after a car accident if the area is so severely injured that recovery isn’t possible.
We live in Friendship, Wisconsin, and Boller & Vaughan came to our doorstep to discuss our mother’s wrongful death claim on a Saturday morning. Not only were we pleased with the large recovery, we were so thankful to have lawyers who were willing to explain to us every twist and turn along the way. It is great to know there is a law firm that will fight for the rights of elderly people all over Wisconsin.
Mr. Boller and Ms. Vaughan were incredible in working on my case and my daughter’s case. I was out of work and in the hospital with a new baby. Mr. Boller and Ms. Vaughan protected our rights and it was a pleasure to work with them. I hope never to be in another motor vehicle accident, however, if I am and I am injured, I will contact Boller & Vaughan immediately.
I was referred to Michelle through a friend. I have never had a better experience. It took a little over a year to get my settlement but the staff there stayed in constant contact and kept me in the loop. Oh, and Michelle actually got me MORE money than we discussed. I will refer anyone to this firm. Words cannot do justice the thanks that I have for Michelle and her staff (Mary especially) thank you guys so much!
After my husband died as a result of a motor vehicle accident, Boller & Vaughan spent countless hours talking with me, meeting with me in person, and making sure that I was okay. The drunk driver who hit us did not have any insurance, and we had to make a claim through our own insurance. Boller & Vaughan was fantastic at explaining the law to me and the handling of our claims.
After my son was injured in a daycare setting, Ms. Vaughan took the time to thoroughly investigate our case and my son’s injuries. Michele was approachable and had answers to our questions. Talking with her helped to relieve many of our anxieties.
Some accident victims need to be taken to the emergency room immediately. If you can stay at the scene, however, you can start gathering information that may be crucial to your car accident claim.
Here are the steps you should take after a car accident:
You will need to take additional steps in the days and weeks to come. In Wisconsin, accidents involving injuries, fatalities, and/or property damage of $1,000 or more must be reported immediately to the police department, the sheriff’s department or the traffic department of the county or municipality in which the accident occurred or to a state traffic patrol officer (see Wisconsin Statute §. 346.70(1). You will also need to notify your insurance company of the accident (check your insurance policy for requirements). In addition, it is important to keep any appointments you have with doctors, specialists, physical therapists, and other healthcare providers to receive care for your injuries.
Finally, you should contact the car accident lawyers at Boller & Vaughan as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can review the facts in your case, examine your insurance coverage, and discuss your options for pursuing compensation for your injuries.
Just as there are steps accident victims can take to help their case, there are also missteps that should be avoided at all costs. Doing or saying the wrong thing can limit your ability to recover the compensation you deserve. In some cases, you may be entirely barred from seeking damages.
Keep the following in mind:
Once you hire an attorney, it is important to stay in regular communication. Be forthcoming about prior accidents and injuries, share details of any bills you receive, and be honest about your condition (i.e., pain you experience, difficulties performing everyday tasks, etc.). Your lawyer should regularly communicate with you as well, updating you on the status of your case and advising you of settlement offers and other developments.
The damages you may be able to recover after a car accident are contingent on the specific losses you incur. Car accident lawyers can assess the evidence to determine how much compensation you may be entitled to in your case.
You may be able to recover compensation for the following losses in a car accident claim:
If your loved one died in an auto accident, you and your family may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death damages may include:
Punitive damages may also be awarded in personal injury and wrongful death claims involving car accidents. These damages do not compensate you directly for your losses. Instead, the court has the discretion to award punitive damages in cases where the defendant’s actions are deemed egregious or malicious.
Patience is crucial as your car accident claim progresses. The complexity of your claim, the willingness of insurance companies to negotiate, and whether or not your case goes to trial can all impact how long it takes to recover compensation.
Generally, hiring experienced car accident lawyers results in a more timely resolution than if you try to handle the case on your own. Your attorney will prepare a strong case and negotiate with the insurance company (or companies, if more than one party is liable) on your behalf.
Even with legal representation, it can take several months to negotiate a fair car accident settlement. It may be tempting to accept a low offer and get money to start paying your bills, but it is also important to think long-term. You shouldn’t have to pay the future costs associated with your injuries if someone else caused the accident.
In the event that the insurance company won’t compensate you fairly, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit and take your case to trial. Depending on the court docket (the schedule of cases before the court), it may take over a year before your case goes to trial.
Going to court is a daunting prospect, but having an experienced attorney who can prepare your case for trial and advocate effectively on your behalf increases the likelihood of a favorable result.
A car accident can have devastating consequences for the victim and their family members. Many car accident injuries have life-long symptoms, including disability and reduced income. At Boller & Vaughan, we take the time to get to you and understand how your injuries have affected your life and your family. We use this information to present a compelling case to the jury so they can make a fair decision about damages.
Madison car accident lawyers Matthew Boller and Michele Vaughan are dedicated to helping injury victims and their families throughout Wisconsin. We can help you figure out how to file a legal claim to pursue damages for physical injuries and emotional pain, and we only charge a fee if we help you recover monetary damages.
See Our Results.If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident, contact the car accident lawyers at Boller & Vaughan to schedule a FREE consultation. You can reach us at (608) 268-0268 or contact us online for a FREE case review.
In Wisconsin, the laws regarding negligence follow a method called “modified comparative negligence” or the “51 percent bar rule” (see Wisconsin Statute 895.045). This implies that if you were partially responsible for a car accident in Madison, you can still receive a portion of the settlement from your claim.
Specifically, the modified comparative negligence rule in Wisconsin states:
Responsibility for a car accident is not assumed automatically. Evidence is required to prove which party or parties were responsible and to what degree. An experienced car accident lawyer can build a case to support your claim and help you pursue the compensation you rightfully deserve.
If you are involved in an accident with a driver who is uninsured or underinsured in Wisconsin, you have some options for recovering damages:
It’s important to note that in Wisconsin, all drivers are required to have liability insurance coverage to help pay for damages they cause in an accident. Having uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can provide added protection in case you are involved in an accident with a driver who is not properly insured.
Typically, the initial step in handling a car accident case is to submit a claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, keep in mind that the insurer’s primary goal is to protect their own interests, not necessarily to compensate you fairly.
Insurance company representatives may attempt to pay you as little as possible or deny your claim altogether. They may also ask you to sign a medical records release or make a recorded statement, both of which may hurt your claim and best interests.
It’s important to note that the insurance company’s settlement offer is likely to be far less than the true value of your case. Accepting the offer means that you will forfeit your right to seek additional compensation in the future.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to consult with a car accident lawyer before accepting a settlement. Your attorney can advise you on the amount of compensation you may be able to receive through a lawsuit.
When negotiating a fair settlement, your lawyer will consider all of the damages you have sustained from the car accident, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
If negotiations are successful, a favorable settlement offer may be reached. However, if the insurance company remains unyielding, your lawyer may have to pursue compensation for you through a trial.
Navigating a car accident claim on your own can be overwhelming. You may be facing serious injuries, persistent pain, and the ongoing effects of physical and emotional trauma, while the insurance company tries to settle your case for a low amount.
Having a skilled car accident lawyer by your side can help ensure that your rights and interests are protected during this challenging time. Your attorney can handle the investigation of the accident, negotiations with the insurance company, and representation in court if necessary. With an attorney’s guidance, you can focus on your recovery while your lawyer fights for the compensation you deserve.
According to Wisconsin law ( see Wisconsin Statute §. 346.70(1)), you must report a car accident to the authorities if it results in any of the following:
It is always best to err on the side of caution and call the police after a car accident, even if you do not think the damage or injuries are severe. Some injuries may not become apparent immediately, and it can be challenging to accurately assess the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property. Additionally, you may not be aware that government property has been damaged in the accident.
There is no penalty for calling the police to the scene of an accident that ultimately does not require a response from them. However, failing to do so may limit your ability to obtain a police report that could be crucial in supporting your accident claim against the at-fault driver.