The Wisconsin Car Accident Guide was created by Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg, LLP to help residents who have been injured in a car accident obtain maximum compensation for their claim.
Wisconsin Car Accident Guide
Motor vehicle crashes are among the most common injury-causing events. Statistics show that over 6 million car crashes occur in our nation each year. Doug Keberle, Dan Patrykus and Mike Laufenberg are experienced Washington County car accident lawyers who represent clients injured in car crashes throughout the state of Wisconsin. They know that people injured in car crashes are suddenly forced to deal with health care providers, medical bills, surgeries, lost wages and job insecurity — usually due to no fault of their own. Those injured in car crashes know better than anyone that their injuries could have been avoided if simple common sense and caution had been used by the other driver.
Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg believes that the at-fault driver’s insurance company must be held accountable. Insurance companies too often look for excuses not to pay what is fair. We fight insurance companies for car crash victims.
Common Causes of Car Crashes
A driver’s failure to operate his car with common sense is called negligence. Some of the more common causes of car crashes are:
• Distracted driving – With the onset of technology, drivers are doing more and more in the car instead of exercising caution and watching the road. Reading text messages, composing emails, taking phone calls, setting radio stations or being distracted with music can all be directly related to the cause of a crash and can be negligence for which an insurance company is responsible.
• Driving Under the Influence – Despite all of the efforts to educate everyone about the dangers of drunk driving, it is remarkable how often that these crashes still occur. Operation of a 1500 lb motor vehicle at 65 mph is dangerous enough without adding impaired judgment and slowed reaction time into the mix. An intoxicated driver can take the life of an innocent operator or passenger in an instant.
• Reckless Driving – Drinking and distractions are not always needed to lose control of a car. Sometimes deliberately reckless behavior of operators is enough. Driving at speeds in excess of reasonable speed limits can cause catastrophic injuries. The driver who carelessly changes lanes without warning, or attempts to make turns at too fast a speed, or even drives after inadequate sleep endangers the lives of everyone else on the road.
Avoid Talking to the Insurance Company for the Liable Party
If you seek compensation from the liable party in your car accident, then you are going to have to deal with their insurance company. It is likely that you are going to get a phone call or a visit from the liable party’s insurance company right away after the accident. They will be looking to get a recorded statement from you about the accident.
You should never give the insurance company a statement of any kind before you talk to a skilled Washington County car accident lawyer. We urge you to let your lawyer take over this communication so that you can be protected from the insurance company; if you say something wrong, you could have your compensation reduced or even eliminated.
Washington County Car Accident Statute of Limitations
When you have a Washington County car accident lawyer on your side, it can be very helpful to your case. You should not wait to talk to a lawyer. In Wisconsin, your statute of limitations, or the time in which you are permitted to pursue compensation, is three years from the date of the accident. If you wait until the week before this time runs out, we may not be able to help you. If you wait past the three years, you are no longer eligible for compensation. The best choice you can make is to call right away to get help from a lawyer.
Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk Drivers Cause Serious Injuries to Innocent People.
Although citizens of Wisconsin often hear that the state is cracking down on drunk drivers the reality for those who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents is a life changing experience. Innocent families and operators who take the utmost in precaution cannot get out of harm’s way. No matter how safe a driver you are the accident and often a devastating accident has occurred.
Attorney Keberle, Patrykus and Laufenberghave represented innocent victims and families for over 25 years against driver’s charged with OWI and their auto insurers. We have participated in the civil and criminal processes that are in place to obtain restitution, retribution and ultimately just compensation for our clients. We have worked closely with MADD (our states Mothers against drunk drivers) to remove drunk drivers from the road and to obtain maximum compensation for the victims of these accidents. Drinking and driving intoxicated and causing serious injury we believe is wilful, wanton and punitive conduct. Wisconsin’s law dictates that driving with a BAC of .08 or more is illegal. We will investigate these accidents and perform a thorough asset investigation. We are experienced and are here to help you.
Contact Our Washington County Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
Drunk drivers injure the innocent every day. Often drunk drivers are uninsured and we can find insurance coverage for you. We have been involved in drunk driving cases in literally all parts of the state. At Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg our experience in handling injury cases and working with law enforcement in our state’s communities can help protect your rights and maximize your recovery if you have been injured by a drunk driver. Proper charging and analysis of evidence can be critical. Responsible insurance companies cannot be trusted to protect your rights and will protect only their interests.
Your rights include obtaining the best medical treatment possible for your injuries both physical and mental, compensation for past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings and your past and future pain and suffering.
Common Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident Injury
When an accident occurs, there are important things that an injured party must do. The most important thing is to seek the best medical treatment as quickly as possible so you can document the injuries you suffered in an accident. Do not delay. Oftentimes, clients will call up their primary physician, who may not see them for a week or two. This two-week delay before a client went in and started complaining of neck or back pain can affect a case. It is important when a police officer talks to you on the scene to tell that police officer you’re having discomfort or, when you get home later that day and notice discomfort, contact your doctor or go to any type of urgent care to document your injury.
The second thing you should do is avoid giving a statement to the insurance company. It is likely you’re going to be contacted by the insurance company in the weeks following your accident. Speaking with them is not a good thing. Clients want to be contacted quickly thinking it will resolve a case more quickly, but when they are, the insurance company often takes a recorded statement from the injured party or from the driver of a vehicle. The insurance company’s adjuster is actually protecting themselves and not you. Do not speak with them.
Lastly, choose the right law firm. Finding an injury lawyer experienced in injury law is fairly easy to do today. It’s no different than looking for an experienced doctor who handles a specific injury. It is also important, however, that the law firm you choose is a law firm that wants to benefit you not just at the end of your case, but will work with you throughout the process. We are there with you every step of the way here at Keberle, Patrykus and Laufenberg.
Determining the Value of a Car Accident Claim
When any experienced lawyer is asked about the value of a case, that lawyer should tell you that, generally speaking, cases are based on the level of your injury, the amount of treatment that you received and what type of pain, suffering or medical treatment you’re going to need into the future. When we’re asked about the value of a case, it’s going to include:
• all of the medical treatment that you receive, from the date of the accident up until the date that we receive the final opinions of the doctors;
• any future medical treatment that the doctor believes you may need for the rest of your life;
• any time frames that you’re off of work, and;
• if you’re unable to return to the same type of gainful employment, the wages that you’re not earning up until the age of 65.
We also make a claim for your pain and suffering. Pain and suffering can be categorized into the same types of components: past pain and suffering up until the date the doctor may give you your permanency rating and future pain and suffering. We often look at mortality tables. If a person who is 25 years old has to live with neck pain or low back pain for the rest of their life, they’re looking at 50 to 60 years of having to suffer due to somebody’s negligence. Unfortunately, for a case involving someone who is 60 to 70 years old, their mortality dates are also looked at and the time frames may be shorter. In both cases, we value future pain and suffering as highly as we possibly can, and it’s based on your medical doctor’s opinions as well as the medical evidence that’s been generated up until that point in time.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Claim?
A car accident is the most common type of injury from an accident that we handle. People often ask us how long it will take for their case to settle. There are two types of injuries that are suffered in an accident: ones in which an injury occurs and the person is able to heal after a certain period and ones in which the injured person never returns to 100 percent. In the former, the period of time might be one month or it might be six months. In those cases, we encourage our clients to continue to document medically with their doctors, nurses, and physical therapists, the level of their injury, so that when they do resolve their injury, we have medical evidence to present to the insurance company regarding the period of time that it took for them to get back to a hundred percent. It is also very important for a client to have a final evaluation by their doctor to document that they’re at a hundred percent. We hear about preexisting conditions a lot these days, with respect to health insurance coverage; having a final examination indicating that you have recovered a hundred percent may help you down the road, if something else should happen or if that same condition returns.
In the second type of case, a client has exhausted everything medically that can be done and everything that a doctor has prescribed should be done. Eventually, a decision is made that the client is as good as they are probably going to get. In that type of case, an experienced lawyer is going to look at your medical records and make a decision regarding the advocacy of the doctor in your case. Some doctors do not want to get involved in injury cases, and some doctors do a wonderful job on behalf of their patients. We’ll help you make a decision as to what doctor may best provide opinions in your case. Once we do that, we’ll often have a conference with the doctor to confirm what he’s going to say in a final report. This report should include some basic requirements – what injuries were suffered in the accident, what type of treatment you needed to get better, and what level of residual injury you will have for the rest of your life. In that type of case, we may reach that point in one year, or your medical options may not be exhausted for 18 months.
The point is, a case takes as long as it takes either to resolve your injury or to obtain final opinions. Once we obtain the final opinions, we present your case to the insurance company. Because we put everything together appropriately in the early stages of your case, we can present a case to an insurance company quickly once we obtain final opinions. The insurance company then commonly takes 30 to 90 days to get back to us. This is Stage One because, at that stage, we’re going to receive an offer from an insurance company after which point the lawyer on your case should be able to tell you, based on that initial offer, what the range of settlement of that insurance adjuster is. It gives us a good insight as to whether or not we think your case is going to resolve short of a trial.
At the same time, if we file suit too quickly without exhausting that adjuster’s authority on their file, we know we’re going to revisit settlement at a later date, but we haven’t accomplished anything. Usually in an injury claim, we want to speak to the insurance company four, five or six times to make sure that we are moving that adjuster to the highest end of their range. We will then make a decision here in our office with you as to whether or not we think what’s being offered is fair in your case.
Seeking Medical Treatment After a Car Accident
The most common type of phone call that we get is from clients who have been involved in a car accident and cannot decide if they should go to the doctor. Going to a doctor is important — if you do not go to a doctor and medically document your injuries, an insurance company is not going to recognize your claim.
No matter how minor, if you are suffering from an injury you got in an accident, it is something that you have to document. There’s no doubt that most doctors that may see you in today’s medical world are going to say, “Look, take some ibuprofen. If this thing doesn’t get better in three to four weeks, we’ll place you in physical therapy.”
The number one right of an injured party is to get the best medical treatment possible. If you were a professional player on a football team, you’d likely have physical therapy at the end of the game. For the rest of us, we are often told, “Let’s see if it gets better.” If we speak to clients at that part in the process of filing an injury claim, we encourage them and tell them what their rights are, including how important it is to have medically documented what injuries and pain levels they’ve experienced. As soon as you can, get in to see a doctor. It can affect your case for years to come.
Selecting a Car Accident Attorney
Clients often ask us or tell us that they’ve talked to a number of law firms. When they do that, I’m happy to tell them I think that they need to meet with each of the lawyers in each law firm; see what the law firm says, if they want you to meet with one, two or three of the lawyers. Here at Keberle and Patrykus, we’re all happy to meet with you. We round table cases, in terms of the level of injury. We know that in cases in which someone has suffered serious injury, a team of lawyers is of the utmost importance.
When you are injured in an accident, it’s not just important to get the best medical attention you can get; it’s important to have the trust and the confidence in the lawyers that you’ve hired. When you speak to somebody over the telephone, you can kind of gain some understanding as to who they are and how they answer your questions. When you meet with them in person, that understanding might go to the next step. It’s one of the most important decisions you’re going to make if you’ve been seriously injured. That’s why here at Keberle and Patrykus, we encourage people to meet with us. Don’t make any decisions. Go home, think about it, compare us to other law firms, and then, if you are interested in having another conference with us to go over the things that we think are important in your case and for us to make sure that we’re the right fit for you, we’re happy to work with you.
Will My Car Accident Case Settle Before Trial?
Our clients are always hoping that their case may settle without going to a trial. When an injury occurs in an accident, even if it is minor, it may be one that bothers you for a half a year. It could even be permanent. We often have to wait and see how you are healing before a case can be resolved.
Additionally, in any injury claim, there is a chance that your case could go to a trial. I can tell you that after handling thousands of claims, 90% of those claims resolve short of going to trial. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to prepare each and every case that we handle as if we’re going to trial. In fact, that’s the first thing that an insurance company recognizes when we submit our settlement position statement or our settlement demand to them with the value that we’ve placed on your case. They will recognize the opinions that we’ve obtained from your doctor as being solid. They’ll recognize that the evidence that we’re presenting, with respect to both your pain and suffering and what you’ve gone through, is a compelling case. In those types of cases, which are commonly the cases that we do handle, a person’s case does not have to go to trial.
Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg Are Car Crash Attorneys Who Take Each Case Personally
If you have been injured in a car crash due to another’s negligent, drunken or careless conduct it is important that you contact an experienced lawyer who understands that insurance companies are protecting their own interests and not yours. Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg are lawyers who will not allow an insurance company to escape from being responsible for their insured’s negligent acts. Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg clients are confident they have hired dedicated attorneys they can trust who will fight to receive the compensation they deserve.
We look forward to helping you whether your car crash case is large or small. We are known for our passion and dedication to our clients. There is no cost or obligation to meet with us and tell us about your case. If you or a loved one have been injured in any type of car crash, CALL US at (262) 334-1944 or 1-800-529-1110.
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