Car accidents are unpredictable events that can dramatically change the course of victims’ lives. Serious collisions may cause vehicle occupants to suffer injuries that may result in unemployment, significant medical bills and post-accident treatment expenses. At Sigman, Janssen, Sewall, Pitz & Burkham, our team of Appleton car accident lawyers have recovered millions in compensation for our auto accident clients in Wisconsin, including $850,000 for the victim of a car crash that suffered multiple orthopedic and internal injuries, and over $535,000 for a passenger that was injured in a motor vehicle accident where the driver crossed over the center line.
If you have been injured in an Outagamie County car accident, contact our team of auto accident attorneys today for a free, no obligation consultation. There are no upfront fees or costs and we are ready to help you today.
Free consultation - Ph: (877) 888-5201.
Am I Entitled to Compensation?
In Wisconsin, victims of car accidents may be awarded both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the out-of-pocket expenses created as a result of the car accident. These damages have a defined monetary value and may include the following:
- Past and present medical expenses
- Assistive medical equipment, such as wheelchair
- Prescribed medication
- Physical therapy
- Imaging test (x-rays, MRIs, CAT scan)
- Lost wages from inability to work
- Loss of earning capacity
- Cost of long-term care
- Emergency ambulance transportation costs
- Property repair or replacement
Non-economic damages do not have a defined financial value. These damages refer to the mental and physical traumas the accident causes you to suffer. This typically includes:
- Pain and suffering
- Disability or disfigurement
- Mental distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Loss of one’s reputation
Most states place caps or limitations on the amount a victim can receive for non-economic damages. However, for personal injury cases in Wisconsin, the state does not place caps on the amount a victim is eligible to receive. The State claims that a cap on damages is “unconstitutional on its face.” This means that our lawyers can fight to pursue the maximum amount of compensation for your specific case.
If you are the victim of an accident where the other driver was driving under the influence, you may have the right to pursue punitive damages for your injuries. Punitive damages are additional charges the at-fault party has to pay to the victim. This is intended to deter the at-fault party - and others - from engaging in the same type of conduct in the future. However, punitive damages are limited to twice your compensatory damages or $200,000, whichever amount is higher (Wisconsin Statutes 895.043).
If you are unsure if you have a claim, contact a knowledgeable Appleton car accident lawyer from our firm today.
Have a question? Call (877) 888-5201.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
In most Wisconsin auto accident cases, there is a statute of limitations period of three years from the date the accident occurred. This means that the case must be filed within that three-year period - if you attempt to file a case after that time period has passed, it may not be accepted.
However, some cases are required to be filed SOONER than this three-year period, and in the event of a government vehicle being involved in the collision, a notice of claim must be filed within 120 days of the accident.
If the injured person is a minor, the statute of limitations is extended to the minor’s 20th birthday.
NOTE - under the "Discovery Rule", there may be special circumstances that permit a lawsuit to be filed after the three-year period has elapsed however, a licensed auto accident attorney will be able to review the details of your specific claim and determine if it is eligible for this provision.
If you are unsure if you are eligible to file a claim, we encourage you to contact an auto accident attorney at our firm by calling (877) 888-5201. We can review the details of your incident and determine the options that may be available for your specific claim.
How Can The Lawyers at Sigman, Janssen, Sewall, Pitz & Burkham Prove Liability in My Case?
Wisconsin is a “fault” state and follows a modified comparative negligence rule. This means that you can make a claim against anyone who is equally or more at fault than you. If you are more at fault than the person you want to make a claim against, you will not recover damages.
The accident victim has the responsibility of proving that the other driver acted negligently and caused the accident. The Appleton car accident lawyers at Sigman, Janssen, Sewall, Pitz & Burkham will thoroughly investigate the accident and carefully examine the four elements needed to prove fault. These elements include:
- Duty of care: The first step is to examine if the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. This means that the at-fault driver had a duty to operate his or her vehicle in a manner that any reasonable person would in order to ensure the safety of others on the road.
- Breach of duty of care: The next step is to determine whether the at fault party failed to uphold the duty of care to help ensure the safety of others on the road.
- Causation: Our lawyers will need to show that the at fault party’s negligence caused the victim to suffer injury.
- Damages: The final element our lawyers will need to prove is that the injury caused the claimant to suffer financial losses such as medical expenses and property repair or replacement costs.
Our legal professionals understand what it takes to prove fault for a Wisconsin car accident. We are available to discuss your case during a free consultation. Do not hesitate to call us right away to get started.
Call us today at (877) 888-5201.
Can I Do Anything To Make My Case Stronger?
While the team at Sigman, Janssen, Sewall, Pitz & Burkham handle all of the information-gathering tasks that are relevant to each case we handle - if circumstances permit, there can be certain things you can do right after a collision to protect yourself and your potential car accident claim.
Ensure Your Safety
If the accident is minor, move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic and off the side of the road to avoid a multiple vehicle accident. Shift your vehicle to park, turn off your engine and switch your hazard lights on to warn other vehicles. However, if you are severely injured, stay put until help arrives on the scene.
Immediately Call the Police
Dial 9-1-1 right away to inform the police. The police will then connect to the other assisting departments that will arrive at the accident scene. Even if the accident seems minor, it is important to have the police involved as they will file a report that can be crucial to your claim.
Wisconsin law requires all accident victims to contact the police and remain at the scene of the accident until police arrive if the accident involves any of the following:
- Injuries or death
- Damage to government property of $200 or more
- Damage to individual property up to $1,000 or more
- If a vehicle needs to be towed
- If a deer or other animal was injured or killed
Gather Witness Information
Witnesses can provide important details about the crash. These details may come in handy when you file a claim. Be sure to write down the names and numbers of all witnesses - or store them in your cellphone. With permission, ask if you can record their account of the accident.
Document the Crash
If your injuries allow, try to document the crash by taking photos and/or a video of the scene including all involved vehicles, any property damage and skid marks or debris that may be on the road. Photos and video can be an important piece of evidence during the litigation process.
Seek Medical Treatment
Sometimes injuries can be hidden in plain sight. This is why it is important to have a medical professional tend to minor wounds in case the condition worsens. Medical documentation is also an important form of evidence that will connect your injuries to the accident. Be sure to inform your doctor that you were in an accident and describe everything you are feeling, including headaches, pain and lightheadedness.
Be Wary of Insurance Adjusters
While most car accident cases are resolved through insurance claims, it is important to remember that insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind. They may prolong your claim long enough that you get desperate to cover the expenses incurred because of the accident and accept a lowball settlement. This is why it is generally a wise decision to reach out to our lawyers before filing a claim. We can take care of filing any and all insurance claims on your behalf.
It is also important that you do not provide too much information about the accident. The details you share with insurance companies may be used against you. You also do NOT have to provide a recorded statement to the insurance company - even if they ask you to do so. It is generally a wise decision to discuss your claim with an experienced auto accident attorney, who can determine if and when you should provide this kind of statement, and what should be contained in it.
Hire an Experienced Lawyer
Having a trusted lawyer with a history of results on your side can be extremely valuable for your car accident claim. Our Appleton car accident lawyers have a detailed understanding of the automotive accident laws in Wisconsin, what deadlines are relevant for your specific case, and how to handle insurance companies that may be involved in your damages claim.
Auto Insurance Requirements in Wisconsin
Wisconsin requires that all drivers have an insurance policy that provides the following coverage, at minimum:
- $10,000 liability coverage for property damage caused by the driver/owner of the vehicle
- $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury or death of one person
- $50,000 liability coverage for bodily injury or death of at least two people in an accident caused by the driver/owner of the vehicle
Liability coverage takes care of the injured individual’s medical bills, property damage costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering injured parties may incur. However, liability coverage does not cover your own injuries or property damage.
Injured individuals or those who suffer property damage have three options for taking action against the at-fault driver:
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver in civil court
- Filing a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Filing a claim through their own insurance company, which will then pursue compensation from the other driver’s policy
In addition to liability coverage, uninsured motorist coverage is also required in Wisconsin. You must have at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. This is a statutorily required minimum.
Is Compensation Available For Accidents Involving Uninsured Drivers?
If you become the victim of an uninsured driver, a claim for compensation may be filed. However, we recommend that you contact our legal team first because we know how insurers think and can take care of the filing for you. Additionally, if the at-fault driver has coverage but not enough to cover the losses outlined in the lawsuit, we may also be able to bring an underinsured coverage claim against your insurer. However, there are certain requirements that must be followed in these instances, which can be explained by a lawyer at our firm.
Drivers who operate an uninsured vehicle and get caught run the risk of paying a fine of up to $500 and having their license and vehicle registration suspended.
If you have any questions about your insurance policy and how you may be protected, contact an Appleton car accident attorney at Sigman, Janssen, Sewall, Pitz & Burkham for assistance. We will review the details of your claim, your insurance policy and the insurance policy of the at fault party. We can handle all communication and work proactively to recover the compensation you may be eligible to receive.
Common Types of Car Accidents in Outagamie County
Our Appleton car accident lawyers have experience handling a wide variety of crashes that involve the negligence of another driver. Some common types of collisions our attorneys handle include:
- Distracted-driving accidents – These happen when drivers take their focus off the road to engage in other activities like texting, talking on the phone, changing the radio station, using a GPS system or talking to passengers.
- Head-on collisions – If a driver travels in the wrong direction - which often occurs when the driver is intoxicated - it can cause a head-on collision with a driver who is traveling in the opposite direction. This type of accident can be fatal due to the violent impact of the collision.
- Hit-and-run accidents - When a vehicle crashes into another and the driver flees the scene, this is known as a hit-and-run crash. Even though leaving the scene is illegal, it continues to happen on Wisconsin roads.
- Multi-vehicle pileups – These accidents often occur on interstates or highways and involve multiple vehicles traveling at high speed. There is a high risk of severe injury in these types of accidents as cars can be hit multiple times, causing victims to suffer numerous injuries.
- Parking lot crashes – These types of accidents often involve pedestrians who are hit by cars that are backing out of parking spaces. In many instances, drivers are not checking their mirrors or looking behind them before backing up.
- Rear-end accidents – Rear-end accidents often occur due to distracted driving. For example, a person texting while driving can hit the back of a car that is stopped at a stop light.
- Rollover accidents – When a car flips over onto its side or flips 180 degrees onto the roof, this is known as a rollover accident. This type of accident typically occurs when a car is traveling at high speed.
- Side-impact collisions – These accidents occur when one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. These collisions typically occur in intersections when one car has the right of way but the other car tries to make it through the intersection and ends up hitting the side of the car that has the right of way.
- Sideswipe collisions – These accidents occur when a vehicle in one lane veers into another lane occupied by another vehicle, which can cause that vehicle to veer off the road or crash into another vehicle. These accidents typically occur when motorists do not properly check their blind spots before switching lanes.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form to get started today.
Car Accident Injuries That May Require Medical Treatment
If you have been involved in any type of collision, it is important that you seek medical assistance immediately. Even if the accident seems minor, some injuries may not cause problems for hours or days after the collision. Our law firm takes cases involving a wide range of accidents, and we can help recover the compensation you need to take care of the damages these injuries may cause.
Some common types of car accident injuries include:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Internal bleeding
- Fractured bones
- Head injuries, including concussions
- Soft-tissue damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Burn injuries
- Heavy bruising
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Paralysis that can develop from a spinal cord injury
If you have suffered injuries from a car accident or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle collision, it is important that you have an experienced auto accident lawyer on your side. Our Appleton car accident attorneys have a proven record of success and charge no upfront fees if we take on your case.
Contact an Appleton Car Accident Lawyer for Legal Help Today
Hiring an experienced, licensed auto accident attorney to represent your auto accident claim is an important step in the recovery process.
At the law office of Sigman, Janssen, Sewall, Pitz & Burkham, we have been providing legal counsel to Wisconsin residents for nearly 100 years and have established a track record of success in the process. Your initial consultation with our firm is free. That means there is no cost to call us to discuss your claim. There are no upfront fees or costs for our services. We are only paid if we obtain compensation from a settlement or court victory.
We welcome the opportunity to review the details of your claim and are available to help you today.
For your free consultation, call (877) 888-5201.