Negligence is a legal concept that indicates whether a person involved in an accident is at “fault” for the accident. Simply defined, negligence is failing to exercise the care that a reasonable person would use in the same or a similar situation. In terms of motor vehicle accidents, negligence typically involves the violation of a traffic law or the rules of the road. For instance, a driver is probably negligent if he or she fails to stop at a stop sign and causes an accident. Likewise, a driver is most likely negligent if he or she is speeding and causes an accident as a result. The bottom line is that you don’t have to take any intentional action to hurt another person in order to be negligent. Even if you didn’t mean to violate a traffic law, you still can be negligent for violating that law.
Even if one driver is negligent for violating a traffic law and causing an accident, it is possible that another driver, even if he or she is injured, is also at least partially at fault for the accident. This situation is called contributory negligence. If you unreasonably put yourself at risk for harm, you may also be somewhat responsible for the accident that led to your injuries. As a result, although you still can recover compensation for your losses from another negligent party, you will not be able to recover as much compensation as if you were not at fault for the accident.
Under Wisconsin law, if one driver is injured, but both drivers are negligent, the injured driver’s ability to recover compensation for his or her injuries also will be limited. In other words, if a driver is 20% at fault for his own injuries due to his own negligent actions, then that driver can only receive 80% of his or her compensation from the other negligent driver.
While determining whether negligence occurred in a motor vehicle accident may seem relatively straightforward to you, it is not always easy as it might first seem. Proving negligence is often a central part of your personal injury claim. The Madison personal injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan will meet with you at no cost in order to the facts relevant to your situation. Once we have heard all of these facts, we can evaluate your claim and the settlement offer that you have received from the insurance company, if any. We will assess your claim and place a value on it in order to get the maximum payout to which you are entitled from the insurance company. Take the first step and call our office today to set up your free consultation with one of our Wisconsin personal injury lawyers.