Every year in Wisconsin, more than 40,000 people are injured in car accidents. If you were one of them, you know how devastating it can be. You may be accumulating medical bills at the same time you are losing wages due to time off of work. You may need help with things you could do before. Pain makes it hard to do anything, and makes you miserable.
If your accident was caused by another driver’s negligence, you have a right to make a compensation claim. You may think you can handle your compensation claim yourself. This may be true in cases where no one was injured and there was only slight property damage, or if you have experience in the insurance industry. But, when you, or someone in your vehicle are hurt or killed, you generally need an attorney on your side who will work zealously to be sure you receive all the compensation to which you are legally entitled.
How a Personal Injury Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Wisconsin personal injury attorneys know how to evaluate the extent of your damages and how to place an appropriate dollar value on your claim. They consider your past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, possible need for rehabilitation, pain and suffering and many other factors. They know there is more to a settlement than just covering your current expenses.
The insurance company may make you a settlement offer shortly after you are injured. This is a time when you are vulnerable, and may be tempted to accept whatever amount is offered. Keep in mind, insurance adjusters work for the insurance company. Their goal is to save the company money. Personal injury attorneys work for you. They know what your case is really worth. They are skilled negotiators who also know when to call in experts, when to settle, and when to take your case to trial.
Attorneys also can make sure you don’t lose your right to make a claim. Wisconsin law requires you to file your personal injury lawsuit within three years after the date of the car accident, and there may be other deadlines you have to meet. If you miss these deadlines, you will lose forever your right to collect for your damages no matter how seriously you were injured. Do not let that happen.
Questions to Ask at Your Free Consultation
Almost all personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation. This is time for them to review the facts of your case, but also a time for you to ask some important questions. You want to discover if the particular attorney has the qualifications you’re looking for.
A few questions you may want to ask include:
- What are your fees? Personal injury attorneys generally work on a contingency basis so there are no fees unless they win your case. Then, the fees are a percentage of your award.
- Do you have experience with situations like mine? Each case is unique, but you want an attorney who has experience in representing car accident victims and who has a track record of success.
- What do you see as the strengths of my case? Ask for a few reasons why the attorney wants to take your case.
- Do you see any weaknesses in my case? Sometimes there are areas of concern. Better to have these explained to you now than to be hit with them later.
- What do you think my case is worth? The attorney, at the first consultation, may be unable to give an estimate, but may be able to tell you the types of damages available to you.
- How many of your cases are you able to settle? You want an attorney who has good negotiation skills, but one who will also be ready to go to trial if necessary.
- What kind of trial experience do you have? Although a fair and just settlement can often be reached, you want an attorney with trial experience to be on your team.
- Who will handle my case? You? Another lawyer? Will my primary contact be an assistant or paralegal? Depending on the complexity of your case, there may be more than one attorney who will be working with you. These attorneys will be supported by paralegals and legal assistants. All of them will be able to give you information on your case. You want to know the contact person who can best keep you up to date on the status of your case.
- What will the timeline of my case look like? The attorney may be able to give you an estimated amount of time, but it depends on how long the negotiation process takes and on the court calendar if your case proceeds to trial.
- How do I handle medical bills while my case is pending? Check your own car insurance policy to see if you opted to have medical payments coverage (Med Pay). This often pays for your bills first. You also may want to submit your bills to your health insurance company. Your attorney may know of additional solutions.
If you were injured in a car accident, contact our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys at Gingras, Cates & Wachs for a free consultation. Our firm has been handling car accident cases for more than 30 years. We have a reputation with insurers of being diligent in seeking the best possible outcome for all of our clients.