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Types of damages in Wisconsin personal injury cases

People who suffered a car crash or other type of accident in Wisconsin often want to know what their case is worth. An outline of the kinds of damages plaintiffs may recover can give you a general idea of how these calculations work.

It is important to understand this issue before speaking with your insurer or with representatives of the at-fault party's insurance company, as its objective is usually to save the company money on payouts, not to compensate you for your losses.

Past and future expenses

Compensatory damages aim to repay tangible financial losses you suffer as a result of the accident. For instance, you sustain an injury in a car accident. You need surgery and a series of rehabilitative treatments. In the meantime, you need to take prescription medication to alleviate your symptoms. You miss several weeks of time from work; after you return, you have to cut your hours because you are physically unable to work full time.

To calculate compensatory damages, one would start by adding up your out-of-pocket expenses and loss of earnings. This includes projected future losses as well. At the time of your case, doctors may predict you may continue to need treatment for several years or even for the rest of your life. Experts can calculate how your lessened earning opportunities will add up over the years and come up with an amount.

Pain and suffering

Pain and suffering damages can be harder to calculate. You do not get a receipt itemizing your physical pain, the discomfort of physical therapy, the difficulties from being out of work and the anxiety that lingers after the trauma of the crash. Nevertheless, these losses affect your life and well-being in a very real way, and the law recognizes that by entitling you to damages.

Punitive damages

In some cases, you may also have the right to ask for punitive damages. These do not depend on the amount of harm you suffered, but rather on the level of the defendant's wrongdoing. Normally, to prevail in an accident case, you need to show the defendant caused the injuries by acting negligently. Punitive damages may apply when the defendant's conduct went beyond negligent and rose to the level of deliberate disregard for your safety. Drunk driving is one example of such conduct.

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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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Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC
123 7th St S
La Crosse, WI 54601

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