Defining Negligence Under Wisconsin Law

According to the Wisconsin Civil Jury Instructions, a person is negligent when he or she fails to exercise ordinary care, which is the care that a reasonable person would exercise in similar circumstances. When a person is negligent, he or she does something, or fails to do something, that a reasonable person would consider to be an unreasonable risk of injury or damage to a person or property. The person performs the negligent act does not have the intention to cause the other person injury; rather, the act is one of sheer carelessness.

A good example of negligence is a traffic violation. Suppose a driver fails to stop at a stop sign or a red light at a busy intersection. The driver’s failure to stop then causes an accident with another vehicle whose driver is injured. Since any reasonable driver would stop at a stop sign or red light, it is likely that the driver who committed the traffic violation was negligent in causing the accident that led to the other driver’s injuries.

Wisconsin law also defines its version of comparative negligence, which is the legal doctrine that allows more than one person to be liable for injuries from an accident, each based on his or her level of negligence. A contributory negligence theory compares the level of negligence of the person accused of causing the accident with the level of negligence of the person who was injured in the accident, if any. Using the example above, then, if the driver who ran the red light was 80% negligent in causing the accident and the driver who was injured was 20% negligent because she was speeding through the intersection, then the injured driver only can collect 80% of the damages awarded in a personal injury claim.

When any type of vehicle accident occurs as a result of a driver’s negligence, and causes injury to you or your loved one, you may have a claim for damages under Wisconsin law. However, there are strict time limits on 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.