What is my car accident worth? In Wisconsin, to successfully recover money damages from another driver who caused a car accident or collision, the injured person must prove four things: duty, negligence or breach of the duty, causation and damages. This post will discuss damages.
An injured person can recover money damages from the negligent driver for those medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering caused by the defendant’s negligent conduct.
If a case goes before a jury, in Wisconsin civil jury instruction 1700 defines the burden of proof for damages as follows:
… the burden of proof rests upon each person claiming damages to satisfy you by the greater weight of the credible evidence, to a reasonable certainty, that the person sustained damages with respect to the element or elements mentioned in the question and the amount of the damages. The greater weight of the credible evidence means that the evidence in favor of an answer has more convincing power than the evidence opposed to it. Credible evidence means evidence you believe in light of reason and common sense. “Reasonable certainty” means that you are persuaded based upon a rational consideration of the evidence. Absolute certainty is not required, but a guess is not enough to meet the burden of proof. The amount inserted by you should reasonably compensate the person for the damages from the accident.
It is common for people injured in auto collisions to have some pre-existing medical condition, such as low back muscle pain or even a bulging disc in the cervical or lumbar spine. If an accident aggravates or makes the condition worse, then the negligent driver is responsible. Wisconsin civil jury instruction 1715 on aggravation states:
The evidence shows that the plaintiff was previously injured when this accident happened. If the injuries of the plaintiff received in the accident aggravated any physical condition resulting from the earlier injury, you should allow fair and reasonable compensation for such aggravation but only to the extent that you find the aggravation to be a natural result of the injuries received in the accident.
In Milwaukee McCormick Law Office attorneys get the best results in car accident cases by carefully understanding the impact the collision injuries have had on their life. We want the client to tell us how the accident injuries affect their ability to do household chores and their work duties; recreational activities; and personal care, hygiene, dressing, dining – either by preventing certain activities or by making them more difficult. We need a description of pain and any range of motion limitations. Also important is how the injuries affect emotional and psychological well-being.