October 27 , 2021 | Car Accident Lawyers
Today’s trucks and cars are much safer than the ones which roamed Wisconsin highways and byways in the 1990s. Yet even still, there are more than 125,000 reported car accidents every year in the Badger State. That’s largely because today’s trucks and cars are also bigger and faster than the ones which rolled off assembly lines in the 1990s. As outlined below, these wrecks cause more than physical injuries. They also cause emotional and financial injuries which, in many cases, are worse than physical wounds.
Car accident lawyers in Oak Creek do more than obtain compensation for these serious injuries. Attorneys also take care of immediate needs, like vehicle replacement and medical treatment. Usually, these providers charge nothing upfront for these services. So, car accident victims get the attention they need, and not the help an insurance company adjuster is willing to pay for.
Types of Injuries
Even the most advanced safety and restraint systems can only absorb so much force. As a result, some of the physical injuries car crash victims often suffer include:
- Broken Bones: Many times, broken bones aren’t that bad. Collision-related broken bones are different. The aforementioned force of these wrecks usually crushes bones, as opposed to breaking them. Because doctors must use such invasive tactics to set these shattered bones, some loss of function is usually inevitable.
- Head Injuries: The trauma, motion, or noise of a car accident could cause a head injury. These victims often hit their heads on steering wheels and other solid objects. Furthermore, the motion of a wreck causes the brain to slam against the inside of the skull. Finally, loud noises, like vehicle collisions, trigger shock waves which disrupt brain functions.
- Exsanguination: Excessive blood loss, frequently due to internal injuries, is often the official cause of death in these situations. Since internal organs have no protective skin layers, many of these victims lose up to a fifth of their blood by the time doctors can treat them.
Emotionally, these physical injuries often cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Roughly half of car crash victims deal with symptoms like depression, hypervigilance, and nightmares. PTSD is a specific kind of brain injury. Extreme stress causes chemical changes in the brain which result in the aforementioned symptoms.
All these injuries sound expensive to treat, and they are expensive to treat. In fact, the average injury-related medical bill is over $50,000. As mentioned, an Oak Creek car accident lawyer can defer these bills, so victims don’t need to worry about paying them immediately. However, they eventually must be paid, which is why maximum compensation is so important in these cases.
Establishing the Settlement Value
Most car accident claims settle out of court. However, before these negotiations can begin in earnest, medical treatment must be at least substantially complete. Prior to this time, an attorney is unable to calculate the settlement value. Since it’s very difficult to re-open closed cases, the settlement must accurately reflect all possible future medical expenses. If it doesn’t, the victim could be financially responsible for these costs.
In a way, the settlement value is like a new car’s sticker price. Both the sticker price and the settlement value are cost negotiation starting points.
The economic damages portion of the settlement value is rather easy to calculate. However, there could be some complexities. Future medical expenses are sometimes hard to calculate. Furthermore, if the victim was self-employed or had a side hustle, lost wages also include things like lost productivity. Finally, items like the family car often have an emotional value in addition to their financial value.
To calculate noneconomic losses, such as emotional distress, most attorneys multiply the economic losses by two, three, or four, largely depending on the facts of the case. Other factors to consider include possible insurance company defenses and the victim’s sense of urgency, if any, in settling the case.
Your Claim for Damages
After initial evidence collection and medical treatment, most attorneys send demand letters to insurance companies. These letters demand a sum of money in exchange for a liability waiver. If all the issues in the case are clear-cut, the insurance company normally has a duty to tender a reasonable settlement offer within a few weeks.
However, very few cases fit into this category. Comparative fault, a legal doctrine that shifts car accident blame from the tortfeasor or negligent driver to the victim, is perhaps the most common insurance company defense.
Therefore, most attorneys file legal paperwork in court. This maneuver pressures the insurance company to settle the claim and also preserves the victim/plaintiff’s legal rights.
At this point, most insurance company lawyers file procedural motions. These motions are usually based on a lack of evidence. So, as long as attorneys have diligently collected the proof they need, these motions almost always fail. Other motions cite purely procedural errors. These mistakes, if they happened, almost never affect the outcome of the case.
The discovery phase usually comes next. Wisconsin law requires both sides to put all their cards on the table. So, discovery gives an attorney another opportunity to collect valuable evidence in a case.
Slip-and-fall claims are a good example. These victims must prove that the owner knew about the hazard which caused the fall. Smoking guns, like restroom cleaning reports, usually surface during the discovery period.
For cases that remain unresolved at this point, most judges usually order mediation. A third-party mediator, who is normally an unaffiliated Oak Creek car accident lawyer, presides at a settlement conference. These sessions usually last a full day. As the mediator conveys offers and counter-offers back and forth between the two sides, each party has a duty to negotiate in good faith. Basically, this duty means that they must genuinely want to resolve the case and they are willing to make some sacrifices if that’s what it takes to reach an agreement.
Largely because of this good-faith negotiation duty, car accident mediation is normally about 90% successful.
Connect with a Hard-Working Milwaukee County Attorney
If negligence causes an injury, compensation is usually available. For a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer in Oak Creek, contact the Martin Law Office, S.C. at 414-856-4010. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.