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Making a personal injury claim

An accident victim may file a legal action for injuries in Wisconsin if someone else is more responsible for their injury than they are. However, these lawsuits must follow the appropriate procedures, meaning they must target the appropriate party. A business owner has liability for avoidable accidents and unsafe conditions on their property. Renters and homeowners have liability for not maintaining sidewalks or properly securing dangerous pets. These examples make a direct, logical sense.

More complicated cases involve harm involving product liability, ice or snow removal, inadequate professional services and use of firearms. Owners of restaurants and hotels and public transportation operators may be liable for injuries because state law imposes special responsibility for these dangers. Lawsuits for injuries caused by negligent government employees or unsafe conditions are more difficult and must meet strict conditions

According to Wisconsin law a person must file a lawsuit within:

  • Three years of a general injury.
  • 120 days for claims against a government or school employee
  • 180 days for actions against state-employed doctors
  • One year for claims involving a fire insurance policy

Claims are valued and settlement based upon a prediction of the jury's determination of fair and reasonable compensation. This involves the injury's severity, the accident's impact on the plaintiff's life and whether the defendant’s liability. Victims may receive compensation for personal injuries, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, medical costs and loss of wages.

When settling a claim, both parties must be aware of the victim's condition before the accident and how it affected their life. The difference in their condition will likely determine the claim's value. For example, a younger and healthy worker who was seriously injured, received extensive medical care, and had their earning capacity significantly curtailed may be able to demand more substantial compensation. Smaller claims, typically those under $10,000 may be resolved in small claims court.

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