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Understanding car accident damage awards in Wisconsin

Wisconsin residents considering filing a lawsuit to recover damages from a car accident often want to know how damages awards work. Understanding what you may expect to recover can help you achieve a realistic view of your prospects and to fend off pushy insurers who try to get you to settle for less.

While knowing the outline of how damages work can help you, every case is different. An experienced attorney can give you more information based on the facts in your individual situation.

First, you must show fault

Before you get to the issue of damages, you will need to prove the other driver caused the accidents by acting negligently. In this context, negligence generally means failing to take normal safety precautions as a reasonable driver should. In some cases, both of you may have acted negligently and contributed to causing the crash.

You can recover even if you were at fault too

If the other driver's share of fault is at least 51 percent, you can still recover. However, courts deduct your fault percentage from your damages award. For instance, if you were 12 percent at fault, you will only receive 88 percent of your damages.

Compensating for harm caused

The bulk of Wisconsin accident damages awards consists of compensatory damages. These damages are there to compensate you for various losses you suffer due to the accident. These often include economic or specific damages which compensate you for financial losses such as medical expenses, lost wages and reduced earning capacity. Plaintiffs may also recover general damages for pain and suffering, psychological harm, and decreased quality of life.

Punishing misconduct

In some rare circumstances, car accident victims may also recover punitive damages. A jury may award these in cases where the defendant acted in an outstandingly reckless and deliberate way. Mere carelessness, even if extreme and leading to devastating consequences, will not rise to this level. As the name implies, punitive damages aim to punish purposeful conduct. Driving while drunk or committing another crime can serve as an example of a case where punitive damages may be more likely.

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We handle most cases on a contingency basis. We will not ask you to pay any fees unless we are successful in getting you compensation. If you have questions or would like to learn more about how we can help you, call us at 608-406-2282, or toll free at 866-821-1345. You can also reach us by completing our online contact form to discuss your case with an experienced La Crosse personal injury attorney.

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