The Big Three – What You Must Prove To Win Your Wisconsin Car Accident Case
As an experienced Wisconsin personal injury attorney I am often asked by clients what they must prove to win their Wisconsin case. Answers to this seemingly simple question have filled up entire libraries and on-line databases.
The purpose of this article is to give you a simple explanation to this question without getting into legal jargon. There are three major things that you must prove to win any case. They are as follows:
- The other driver was negligent
- This negligence was a substantial factor in causing your injuries
- You sustained an injury or damage
First, a lawyer has to prove the other driver was negligent. This may sound simple, but insurance companies and their lawyers can make this a very difficult and confusing process. In a Wisconsin case, proving the offending driver was negligent means you have to show that the driver failed to exercise ordinary care.
Insurance companies and their lawyers rarely admit negligence, even when it is clear. Here are some examples of cases we have handled where insurance companies have failed to admit negligence:
- In one case, a semi truck driver did not stop at a stop sign and hit our client
- In another case, a drunk driver rear-ended a woman who was legally parked along the street waiting to pick her husband up from work
- We have even had cases where our client was a passenger in a vehicle and the insurance company would not admit negligence
Second, a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer will have to prove that the offending driver’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing your injuries. This means that we have to prove that the car accident was a factor, not the only factor, in causing your injury or damage.
You might be surprised to know that insurance companies and their lawyers often raise many complicated defenses on the subject of causation. Some of the most common defenses I have seen include:
- The forces in the wreck were not sufficient to cause your injuries
- Your injuries were not caused in the accident because you had a pre-existing condition
- Your injuries healed long ago
- You went back to work so you must not be hurt too badly. I recognize these defenses for what they are in many cases – a sham to deny or delay payment of benefits
Third, a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer will have to prove your injury and the damage you sustained were a result of the collision. In a general sense, you may be able to collect the following damages, depending upon the facts or your case:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future wage loss
- Past and future pain, suffering, and disability
- Loss of society and companionship
There may be other damages available to you depending upon the specific facts of your case.
The concepts in this article may appear simple. But, based upon my experience as a Wisconsin attorney, I have seen insurance companies take increasingly unreasonable positions on clear cases.
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