No one plans on getting into an accident, but if you do, you undoubtedly have many questions and are probably wondering, where do you go from here? Knowing your rights and what you may be entitled to as an injured person can help you navigate these troubling times.
What are You Entitled to as an Injured Person?
In Wisconsin, there are two types of recovery that an injured party may be entitled to. First, you may be entitled to “economic damages” which are quantifiable damages such as medical bills. These types of damages are easier to compute as they often are quantified for you by your treating physicians, or come with receipts. The second type of recovery you may be entitled to is referred to as “non-economic damages” and are much more difficult to quantify. Non-economic damages are meant to try and compensate you for the types of loss that don’t come with a dollar amount, lost time with family and loved ones for example. In short, your pain and suffering. No two injuries are alike, so figuring out if you have a viable claim for pain and suffering can be a daunting task.
There are Steps You Can Take to Ensure You Maximize Your Rights
For starters, there are statutes of limitations to consider. For most personal injury cases, the injured party has three years in which to file a claim. However, if the party responsible for your injury is a state or local government agency, you have only 120 days to provide notice of your claim. So, while your life may have been turned upside down, don’t sleep on your rights. Speaking to an attorney early in the process is an excellent step to take on your road to recovery. It’s also important to understand that pain and suffering are inherently difficult to measure. The law recognizes that you and your experiences are unique. As such, the law is written without providing clear examples of pain and suffering and how it is calculated. That said, there are recognized factors that the court system considers in quantifying your pain and suffering claim. Knowing these factors can provide a road map of what steps to take in order to make your pain and suffering claim easier to pursue. These factors include but are not limited to:
• The nature and extent of your injury. Have you had x-rays, MRI’s or other diagnostic tests performed? If so, these can be instrumental in demonstrating the pain and suffering that you are in.
• Type of treatment. Did you require surgery or other forms of medical intervention? Do you require the use of medical equipment? If so, these are also strong indicators of a viable claim for pain and suffering.
• Change in lifestyle. Are you unable to perform daily tasks that you were accustomed to performing before your accident? Do you require assistance with things you didn’t before? Being dependent on others help you get dressed or perform simple tasks can be demeaning, but documenting the help you need furthers your chances of maximizing your claim.
Claims for pain and suffering are rarely straightforward, even with severe injuries, and having experts on your side can make a major difference in your post-accident life. At Atterbury, Kammer & Haag, our experienced team of personal injury attorneys are here to help, allowing you to focus on your health while we concentrate on getting you the recovery you deserve.