According to state transportation statistics, there were over 145,288 auto accidents in the Madison, Wisconsin area in 2019. 28,791 of those resulted in injuries, and 511 were fatal.
If you’re injured in an auto accident, it’s important to know how local laws affect your legal options.
Our car accident attorneys are dedicated to protecting your legal rights.
The injury attorneys at Boller & Vaughan answer some of the most frequently asked questions about auto accidents in Madison below.
I was not at-fault for my accident. Why do I need an auto accident attorney?
You must prove that you weren’t responsible for the accident to receive the full compensation amount you’re seeking. Wisconsin is an at-fault state, or “tort” state, which means the person who is found at-fault in an accident is responsible for paying the other person’s damage costs.
Even when you know that you were not at fault, insurance companies and their attorneys have ways of making it appear that you were, so that they do not have to pay for your injuries.
Without an auto accident attorney on your side, an insurance company may try to take advantage of you by denying or underpaying your claim. Our car accident attorneys can protect your legal rights and help you obtain fair compensation for your injuries.
Who can be held responsible for my auto accident injuries?
If the auto accident was not your fault, another driver will typically be held responsible for negligence or intentional misconduct.
In some cases, a thorough investigation may reveal that there was another cause or contributing factor beyond the other driver’s control. This means that someone else will be held responsible in place of or in addition to the other driver.
For instance, if another driver caused your car accident, but the injuries you suffered from a car accident were made worse due to a defective seatbelt, the other driver and the automaker or seatbelt maker may be held responsible.
Responsible parties in auto accident lawsuits can include:
- Other drivers
- Auto manufacturers
- Parts manufacturers
- Repair shops
- Rental companies
- Government entities responsible for roadways
What if I’m partially at fault for the accident?
If you’re partially at fault for the accident, the compensation you’re seeking may be affected. Wisconsin has a modified comparative negligence rule. This means that the compensation you can recover will be reduced by the percentage of the accident determined to be your fault.
For example, if you’re found to be 30 percent at fault for the accident, your compensation amount will be decreased by 30 percent. According to the same law, if you’re 50 percent or more at fault, you cannot receive any compensation.
Determining fault is complicated, so it’s a good idea to contact an auto accident attorney, who can give you advice on your legal options and next steps to take.
I was not wearing my seatbelt during the accident. Do I still have a case?
Yes, you still have a case. Whether you were wearing your seatbelt or not doesn’t always mean you were at fault for the accident. Unfortunately, insurance companies love to cite failure to wear a seatbelt as a cause or contributing factor of the accident.
Seatbelts do reduce the risk of death by 45 percent and cut the risk of serious injury by 50 percent. They also prevent drivers and passengers from being ejected during a crash.
However, seatbelts can also cause significant injuries, particularly where they rest on the shoulder, chest, or abdomen. Injuries to the neck, spine, organs, and skin can occur due to blunt force trauma.
Will my auto accident case go to court?
Many personal injury cases settle out of court before ever going to trial. Going to trial is a lengthy process, and it costs more time and effort for all parties involved. That’s why many insurance companies and attorneys will try to resolve a claim before going to court.
However, the car accident attorneys at Boller & Vaughan are always willing and able to take a case to trial if that is what it takes to obtain rightful compensation for you. We only take cases that have merit and we keep our caseload small so we have the resources and ability to fight for your legal rights.
Whether your case settles out of court or proceeds to trial, we will get to know you personally, learning more than just the cold, hard facts in your case. We’ll learn how your injuries have affected you and your family. Then, if we go to trial, we are able to present your case in a way that is compelling and meaningful to the jury.
How long do I have to file an auto accident lawsuit in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin’s statutes of limitations require you to file a personal injury suit in court before a certain deadline.
For a lawsuit involving the damage or destruction of personal property, like your vehicle, you must file within six years of the accident. For a lawsuit involving personal injuries or wrongful death, you must file within three years.
While the state says these claims need to be filed within a certain deadline, there are plenty of scenarios where there is still time to file.
Your specific situation determines how much time you have to file a claim. The best way to find out if you can still file a car accident or any other injury claim is to contact our Madison office for your free, initial consultation.
What kind of compensation could I receive in a lawsuit?
The damages you may be entitled to depend on the nature of your injuries, destruction of property, the impact of the auto accident on your life and many other factors.
An auto accident attorney can help you determine what kind of monetary compensation you’re eligible for.
Compensation commonly includes payment for:
- Medical expenses that have accrued or will accrue due to your injuries
- Lost wages or reduced income from your inability to work
- Property damage to your vehicle from the accident
- Pain and suffering from your injuries
- Punitive damages in some cases, which mean that the other party acted maliciously or with intent to harm
How can I work with Boller & Vaughan?
Your initial consultation is free of charge and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds.