Wisconsin Community Journal's "Counselor in Your Corner" - An Ounce of Prevention

My law practice is dedicated to helping people who have suffered an injury — through no fault of their own – to themselves, their family, or their property. Negligent and sometimes reckless behavior is to be blamed for most personal injury claims. On occasion, the behavior is even intentional.

Sadly, most personal injury cases could have been prevented using simple common sense. Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” meaning you can save a great deal more in time, effort and cost by paying attention to situations before they become problems.

This column will take a look at how you can protect yourself and your families from harm and potential financial devastation. By taking simple precautionary measures, such as driving carefully, maintaining a safe home and business environment, having the right amount of automobile insurance coverage, you can protect your family from issues. But sometimes, even when you follow the rules, others don’t and you and your family can be put in harm’s way and hurt. When that happens, confusion often sets in.

This column will also review those situations – what happens when an injury occurs. What are your rights, what does Wisconsin law offer in terms of compensation, and what are the potential outcomes. Unfortunately, the law cannot repair or replace an injured back, a permanent disability, a broken bone, or other accident-related injuries. In most cases, monetary compensation is the only form of legal relief for accident victims. In arriving at the proper amount of monetary compensation, an experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to utilize Wisconsin law for the benefit of the client.

Unlike a workers’ compensation claim where damages are set by formula and there is no remedy for pain and suffering, there are no formulas in personal injury cases used to calculate damages for pain and suffering.

If a lawsuit has yet to be filed, the personal injury attorney must convince the insurance adjuster that the injured person deserves compensation for pain and suffering. Likewise, if the case is being argued before a jury, then the lawyer must convince the members of the jury that the plaintiff deserves to be awarded a fair and just amount of damages for pain and suffering. Whether presenting the claim to an insurance adjuster or jury, the personal injury lawyer must have a firm grasp of the client’s medical history, a thorough knowledge of the medical procedures, a familiarity with the impact of pain on the client’s lifestyle, as well as the experience to present the claim effectively to the insurance adjuster or jury.

In my next column, we will review the definition of “injured” and I will share a case study that demonstrates the process involved in the successful resolution of an injury case.