Your accident claim in Wisconsin is for compensatory damages, which is money to compensate an injured party for the injuries sustained and to make good or replace the loss caused by the negligent driver. Compensatory damages are what a jury awards for the losses. Cases settle based on what the defendant insurance company and the injured person’s attorney believe a jury would do under the circumstances.
Compensatory damages are general damages which occur in most similar cases, for example, in a motor vehicle accident, most people have some pain and suffering.
Compensatory special damages are those losses specific to this plaintiff, for example, past and future medical bills and past and future lost wages or impairment of earning capacity.
A defendant is responsible for the compensatory damages his negligence was a substantial factor in bringing about. The term substantial factor means to a reasonable person, the defendant’s conduct caused the losses, using the word cause in the popular sense.
Cause of damage is made up of two determinations: cause in fact and proximate cause. Morgan v. Pennsylvania Gen. Ins. Co.87 Wis. 2d 723 (1979).
Cause in fact is a factual determination of whether the negligence was a substantial factor in producing the injury. Foreseeability, specifically the foreseeability of whether a particular injury would occur to a particular person, is not considered as part of the cause-in-fact determination. Stewart v. Wulf, 85 Wis. 2d 461 (1978). This is the minority view in Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad, 162 N.E. 99 (N.Y. 1928) (Andrews, J., dissenting) and circles back to Wisconsin’s broad concept of duty: in Wisconsin, everyone has an obligation of due care to refrain from any act which will cause foreseeable harm to others even though the nature of that harm and the identity of the harmed person or harmed interest is unknown at the time of the act. A.E. Inv. Corp. v. Link Builders, Inc., 62 Wis. 2d 479 (1974).
There may be more than one substantial factor causing a party’s loss, that is, there may be more than one cause in fact. Morgan, 87 Wis. 2d at 735. The defendant is liable for damages that are a natural consequence of the wrong, even though the plaintiff may inevitably suffer similar injuries from a preexisting condition.
Proximate cause is an assessment of public-policy considerations that are made as a matter of law. The judge may take away a damage award based on lack of proximate cause, a public policy determination. Rockweit, 197 Wis.2d 409, 425 (1995).
McCormick Law Office attorneys get the best settlements in Milwaukee, Wisconsin accident claims when there is legitimate and trustworthy proof of medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering.