In mere seconds, a reckless driver can cause an accident which may result in numerous lost and ruined lives. In Wisconsin, serious car wrecks occur on an almost-daily basis. In many cases, victims of crashes may face months or years of recovery, during which they will accumulate enormous medical bills and lost wages. If this situation sounds familiar, you need the help of a Milwaukee car accident lawyer.
At Urban & Taylor, S.C., our attorneys are equipped to handle your accident injury claim—no matter how serious the wreck was. We believe that no one should ever have to suffer physically, financially, or emotionally because another driver was acting negligently or recklessly while behind the wheel.
All drivers have a legal responsibility to prioritize safety. When a driver gets behind the wheel while drunk or otherwise intoxicated, becomes distracted by an incoming call or text, or otherwise fails to follow the correct traffic safety laws and causes a traffic collision, that driver is neglecting to follow this responsibility. In the world of personal injury law, we say that they are acting “negligently”. When a driver acts negligently and injuries result, this is when a personal injury lawsuit can do the most good.
Personal injury lawsuits are civil lawsuits which can be filed in addition to any other charges which may already be in place. Many claims do not have to see a courtroom at all and can be settled before a trial becomes necessary. A claim can also be filed against an insurance company if you feel that the insurer is acting unfairly or has offered you an unfair accident settlement.
Either type of claim may award you and your family with financial compensation that can go towards medical costs, other associated recovery costs, loss of wage costs, funeral/loss of income costs in the case of a deceased loved one, and other associated burdens such as pain and suffering costs. This compensation will not erase the memory of a painful, tragic accident, but it may make it easier to fully recover.
The Facts About Wisconsin Auto Accidents
According to data from the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation, 28,801 car wrecks in our state resulted in injuries during 2014. 498 of those injuries resulted in fatalities. Many of these accidents were unavoidable, but many others were almost assuredly linked to negligent driving. When a driver gets behind the wheel and is distracted, makes careless decisions, drives too fast, or fails to obey the basic laws of traffic, that driver is potentially one second away from causing a disastrous crash.
Here are some other facts you should be aware of:
U.S. Citizens Have a Legal Right to Fight for Financial Compensation
Insurance settlements do not always provide enough coverage to cover the costs of serious injuries or pay for time spent away from work. Filing a lawsuit lets the injured victim get the medical care and time off they need to get back on their feet again while still providing for their family.
Time is of the Essence When Filing a Lawsuit
In the state of Wisconsin, car crash victims have three years to file a lawsuit after the accident occurs. After three years, a claim cannot be filed. This is what’s commonly referred to as a statute of limitations. It’s important to note that statute laws and other car accident laws can differ significantly depending on what state the accident occurs in.
Establishing Liability Quickly is Important
Getting legal help as soon as possible after a car crash is integral. The most difficult aspect of most accident injury lawsuits is the matter of establishing or proving liability or fault. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help accomplish this by gathering the right types of evidence and contacting key witnesses who can help you prove your case.
Successful Lawsuits Require Thorough Documentation
During the process of filing a lawsuit, you’ll need to document and keep track of any information that may potentially benefit your case. This includes following all suggestions and recommendations offered by your doctors and any hospitals you visit, documenting your medical records as well as the time you’re forced to take off work, and obtaining photographs and witness contacts from the scene of the accident.
Immediately following the aftermath of your crash, be sure to gather as much evidence as possible if you’re considering hiring a lawyer. Use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene as well as your vehicle, any debris on the road which may have contributed to the accident, and the conditions of the road.
You will also want to speak to any nearby witnesses who saw the crash occur. If they’re willing to provide testimony for your case, write down their contact information so your attorney can contact them later. Solid testimony is vital during most injury lawsuits.
Common Types of Car Accidents
Car accidents in Wisconsin happen for a wide variety of reasons, but some collisions are inherently more dangerous than others. Here are some of the most common types of accidents that occur in our state:
- Pedestrian Accidents – Pedestrian accidents are becoming increasingly common because there are more pedestrians and joggers on Milwaukee streets as well as more motorized vehicles. A pedestrian accident can be caused by a driver who is distracted or fails to see a pedestrian or by a pedestrian who steps out into a crosswalk early or fails to see a car.
- Bicycle Accidents – Many Wisconsin residents are taking the healthy route by commuting to work by bicycle. Cyclists and drivers alike need to be cautious. Drivers, especially, need to watch out for bikers who share the road with larger vehicles and can easily be missed.
- Motorcycle Accidents – When a motorcycle and passenger vehicle get into a collision, the motorcyclist almost always suffers from serious injuries. Like bikes, motorcycles can be difficult to see on a busy street. Drivers must be aware of this fact. Motorcyclists also have the same rights as passenger vehicle drivers. Proper right-of-way must be considered at all times.
- Hit-and-Run Accidents – When a vehicle causes any type of crash then leaves the scene of the accident, we call this a hit-and-run accident. Leaving the scene of any type of accident is a federal offense and can lead to criminal charges in addition to any civil charges already in place.
- Head-on Collisions – When a speeding vehicle crashes directly into the front of another car, we call this a head-on collision. Head-on crashes are rare, but can lead to serious injuries or even death.
- Rollover – When a vehicle hits a curb, piece of debris in the road, or another vehicle and flies into the air and rolls over or is turned over from the force of the accident, we call this a rollover accident. These types of accidents can be incredibly dangerous.
- Rear-end Accidents – When a car crashes into the back of a vehicle that’s in front of them, we call this a rear-end accident. These types of crashes are often caused by a driver who is distracted or is driving too fast and unable to stop in time when the traffic in front of them comes to a slow or stop.
- T-bone Accidents – T-bone accidents are common and result when one vehicle crashes into the side of another, forming a “T” shape. These wrecks are often caused when one vehicle fails to stop at an intersection or when one vehicle swerves into another.
Common Implications of Traffic Collisions
A serious car accident can cause a large variety of injuries and resulting conditions that may require extensive medical care. Surgeries, therapy, amputations, medication, extended hospitalizations, and home care all commonly follow a serious collision.
Some of the most common car accident injuries in Wisconsin include the following:
- Lacerations, broken bones, abrasions, and fractures
- Bleeding, including internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Amputated limbs
- Serious electrical burns
- Neck injuries like whiplash
- Head injuries which may lead to traumatic brain injury (TBI) symptoms and permanent brain damage
- Mental and emotional conditions such as anxiety, severe depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Due to the inherent traumatic nature of most serious car wrecks, symptoms of the above injuries/conditions may not even be apparent at the time of the accident. When our bodies undergo a traumatic event like a crash, endorphins are emitted which may create a feeling of adrenaline. Adrenaline may help us ensure our loved ones are safe and take the actions needed to start the recovery process, but it also may mask pain and exhaustion.
For this reason, it’s common for injury victims to not feel pain or exhaustion for hours or even days following a major collision. This is why it’s strongly encouraged to seek medical assistance after an accident– minor or major– regardless of your level of pain. It’s possible that something very serious could be going on inside your body and you may not even realize it.
It’s also a good idea to go to any followup appointments that you have scheduled just to make sure nothing serious is going on. Furthermore, if you’re thinking about filing a lawsuit, delaying care may jeopardize your claim.
The Hidden Dangers of Whiplash
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries resulting from auto accidents– and also one of the most potentially dangerous. As defined, whiplash is caused by the sudden back-and-forth or forward-and-backward motions of the head as it moves on the neck/spine. The neck is extremely fragile and contains many bones, vertebra, muscles, and tendons that give it the wide range of motion it is capable of.
During a car crash where we’re hit from the front, our bodies are generally thrust backwards into the seat then forwards again due to the extreme force. If we’re hit from the back, the opposite happens. In a side accident, our heads may jerk from side to side in a force manner.
All of these forceful movements can cause severe damage to the neck’s muscles, tendons, and vertebrae. This is known as whiplash. Unlike many injuries, whiplash can appear in a delayed manner after a crash due to the fact that the neck’s muscles and tendons may shift/contract after experiencing trauma. When they return to normal, the damage may become obvious when it may not have even been noticeable before.
There’s also the fact that everyone’s bodies react differently to whiplash. Some crash victims may experience whiplash as minor pain that goes away on its own while others may require extensive therapy, medication, and even potentially experience lifelong pain and limited mobility. Different victims may require different treatment or care plans to minimize the effects of whiplash.
To correctly treat and diagnose whiplash, you’ll need to visit a doctor as soon as possible after being involved in a car accident.
Common Causes of Car Crashes in Milwaukee, WI
Almost an infinite number of situations and circumstances can lead to a possible car accident, but many reasons can be traced back to negligent, reckless, or careless actions or behaviors. Here are some examples of common causes of Wisconsin car accidents:
- Speeding – When a driver controls a vehicle at unsafe speeds, an accident can quickly result when they must slow, turn, or stop. Excessive speeding can also cause a vehicle to spin out of control and cause a collision.
- Distracted Driving – If a driver is distracted by their smartphone, for example, while driving, this may cause an accident. Distractions of all types—from texting and using a smartphone to changing a song on a music playlist, talking to a passenger, eating in the car, or reaching for a dropped object—may cause a driver to lose their sense of focus and become distracted. Distracted driving claimed almost 3,500 lives in the United States in 2015 and is one of the leading causes of car accidents in our nation.
- Drowsy Driving – When a driver gets behind the wheel while drowsy or sleepy, they stand a higher chance of falling asleep while driving or failing to pay attention to their surroundings. Our reaction times slow to a halt when we’re overtired. Statistics state that driving while drowsy is just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol.
- Drunk Driving – Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in the U.S. yet remains one of our nation’s leading causes for car accident fatalities. Every day, 28 people in our country die in an alcohol-related crash. Driving under the influence of drugs is also a major killer.
- Inexperienced Drivers – If a young, inexperienced driver isn’t familiar with the conditions of the road or a driver of any age is new to an area, they are more likely than an experienced driver to cause an accident due to their inexperience. By ensuring teen drivers get the knowledge and experience they need as well as making every effort to drive cautiously when in a new area, we can help avoid accidents caused by inexperience.
- Elderly Drivers – Elderly drivers, unfortunately, are more likely to cause accidents due to their potential slower reaction times and reflexes. Many elderly drivers also have difficulty seeing. Older drivers can help keep others around them safe by ensuring they regularly visit the doctor and take extra precautions when behind the wheel.
- Reckless Drivers – A driver of any age can cause an accident by ignoring the basic laws of traffic, driving recklessly, ignoring traffic signs and/or conditions, or by failing to give other drivers the proper right-of-way.
If you or someone you love was involved in a serious car crash and your feel the accident was caused by one of more factor from the above list, you may be able to file a civil claim against the guilty driver or the insurance company that is offering you an unfair settlement. Doing so may potentially allow your family to receive financial compensation that can go towards recovery costs, loss of wage costs, and more.
Filing a lawsuit against the guilty party also sends a message that can’t be ignored. Driving recklessly or failing to prioritize safety when behind the wheel isn’t acceptable behavior. We must all behave responsibility when controlling a motorized vehicle. Lawsuits send this vital message loud and clear.
Help from a Milwaukee Car Accident Lawyer is Available
If you’re thinking about filing an auto wreck claim in Wisconsin, you deserve to know that you and your family’s needs will be taken care of. Urban & Taylor, S.C. is a legal firm dedicated to helping those who have been injured recover from their losses. Our experienced Milwaukee car accident attorneys will do everything they can to get you the financial compensation you deserve.
When you contact our law office, you can rest assured that you will have a tough advocate on your side who you can trust to fight on your behalf in and out of the courtroom. Give us a call today to learn more or receive a free, zero-obligation case consultation.