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How Does Comparative Negligence Impact My Personal Injury Claim?

After an accident, one of the most important considerations is the determination of fault and liability. It is essential to determine which party was at fault and was negligent in the crash. Negligence refers to something a driver did, or failed to do, that caused the crash. The driver knew, or should have known, that the action he or she took might cause an accident and injuries. The negligent party should be held responsible for financial compensation after an accident.

Determining Fault in an Accident

The person responsible for causing the accident is generally liable for any damages and injuries that result. In general, the insurance companies or the courts will determine fault in an accident. They will review police reports, witness statements, and other evidence to make a determination of fault. A portion of fault may be ascribed to each party.

For example, if you were hit by a car that was speeding through an intersection the other driver may be mostly responsible for the accident. You may be found partly responsible if you had reasonable time to see the car and did not take action to stop. Both drivers will be found to have a particular percentage of fault in a crash. In this example, the other driver may be 90% responsible for the accident and you might be found to be 10% at fault.

Wisconsin Comparative Fault Laws

Wisconsin State Legislature codes provide for contributory negligence. The law allows you to receive compensation for your damages even if you are partially negligent. However, the law limits your own liability to less than that of the other party. Therefore, you may only get compensation if your negligence is found to be less than 51% in the accident.

Your own compensation will be reduced by any percentage of your fault in the crash. For example, if your medical expenses after the crash were $10,000 and you were found to be 10% at fault, your compensation would be reduced by 10%. In this example, you would be allowed to receive $9,000.

How Comparative Fault Impacts Settlements

It is important to seek legal representation to protect your rights following an accident. The insurance company may try to place a higher percentage of fault on the other driver to reduce their own responsibility. Therefore, you and your attorney will need to provide proof of the negligence of the other driver to show that you were not responsible for the accident. Your attorney will gather documentation and information about the crash to provide proof of how it occurred. Sometimes expert testimony or accident reconstruction is necessary.

If you were hurt in an accident, you need help from an experienced Wisconsin personal injury attorney. Our legal team has the expertise to assist you in obtaining the compensation that you are owed. You may be owed money for your medical bills as well as for lost wages and pain and suffering. Contact Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. to discuss the details of your accident and to learn how we can help.

Published January 2, 2019
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