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Green Bay car accident attorney for passenger injuriesWhen a car accident occurs, the fault usually lies with one or more of the drivers involved, but passengers often suffer some of the most serious injuries. If you have been injured in a crash in which you were a passenger, you should know that you do have the ability to pursue compensation for your damages, but it is important to determine who is responsible so that you have the best chance of recovering the greatest amount possible.

Passenger Injuries in Different Kinds of Accidents

An injured passenger’s options for pursuing compensation usually depend on the other parties involved in the accident. Often, one of the following situations applies:

  • The accident involved only the vehicle in which the passenger was traveling. When a passenger is injured in a single-vehicle accident, the driver of the vehicle is usually fully liable for the passenger’s damages. However, many people are reluctant to bring a claim against a friend or family member who may have caused the accident. Wisconsin has a “direct action” statute, which allows the injured person to recover all his or her damages from just the insurance company, thus avoiding the need to sue a friend or family member and as a result, helping to maintain those important relationships. If the liability coverage for the responsible driver is insufficient, and the passenger is covered on another automobile liability policy with sufficient underinsured motorist coverage, then additional damages may be covered under that policy. Although in most circumstances it is best to use government or private health insurance for medical bills, passengers in the vehicle may also benefit from the medical payments coverage on the auto insurance policy on the vehicle for bills not covered by health insurance. If the passenger is covered on another auto insurance policy, they may also be able to use the medical payment coverage on that policy to cover medical bills not covered by health insurance.
  • The accident involved at least one other vehicle, and the other driver was fully at fault. In this case, the best option is for the passenger to file a claim or a lawsuit against the other driver. However, if other people were injured in the accident, the negligent driver’s liability insurance limits may be less than the passenger’s damages. In these cases, another auto insurance policy with underinsured motorist coverage may provide coverage for the passenger’s damages.
  • The accident involved multiple at-fault parties. In some cases, the driver of the car in which the passenger was traveling may share responsibility for the accident with another driver. In such a situation, Wisconsin’s comparative negligence law applies. This means that each of the negligent parties is responsible for a portion of the passenger’s damages based on their percentage of fault in causing the crash. While a passenger can make a claim for 100% of their damages against the parties who are 51% or more at fault, they also have the option of bringing claims against the insurance companies for both drivers, particularly if the driver with the most fault does not have adequate insurance limits. In some cases, this results in a larger settlement or verdict in the passenger’s favor, because there are other means of recovering compensation even after one driver’s liability insurance limit has been reached.

Contact an Appleton Personal Injury Attorney

Regardless of who is at fault, it is important for injured passengers to work with an attorney who can help them build a case supported by evidence of the drivers’ negligence, including photos and videos, police reports, and testimony from witnesses to the collision. The Green Bay car accident lawyers at Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. will thoroughly investigate your case and advocate for your needs in pursuit of a fair result. Contact us at 920-739-7366 to schedule a free consultation.

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Appleton, WI car accident lawyerIf you have been injured in a car crash, your immediate injuries may be just the beginning of the challenges you will face. A car accident can affect your life in many different ways, and as you prepare to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, it is important to consider the full impact so that you can work with your attorney to determine a fair amount of compensation that accounts for all of the ways in which you may be struggling.

Major Life Impacts of Car Crash

The following are just a few of the many ways that a car accident can affect your life:

  1. Physical limitations - Injuries ranging from broken bones, to burns and lacerations, to spinal cord damage can result in temporary or permanent disabilities that prevent you from performing basic living tasks in the way that you did before the accident. In some cases, you may require in-home care or assistance to help you throughout the day.

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Green Bay, WI car accident whiplash injury attorneyWhiplash is one of the most common car crash injuries, especially in rear-end collisions, but it can also be one of the most difficult injuries to detect. What may manifest itself as soreness in the immediate aftermath of a crash can lead to more serious complications in the future. For this reason, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident and hire an attorney who can help you pursue compensation from the at-fault driver.

How to Recognize Whiplash

Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused by a sudden movement that forces the neck beyond it’s normal position, causing injury to one or more of the following: muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs, nerves, facet joints, bones, or even the spinal cord.. This sort of movement is common in a rear-end crash, when a person may be sitting in a stopped or slowing vehicle while impacted forcefully by a vehicle traveling at a higher speed. Whiplash often has no visible signs, so it is important to look out for other symptoms, including stiffness and pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back; decreased range of motion; numbness; and blurry vision.

In some cases, the effects of whiplash can be long-lasting. You may experience chronic neck pain in the months following the accident, as well as restricted movement. Ongoing pain or weakness that extends beyond the neck can sometimes be the sign of a more serious problem with the spine or nerves. In these cases, you may require significant medical care, including medication, physical therapy, and treatments from a massage therapist or chiropractor.

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Appleton workplace car accident lawyerIf driving is a significant part of your work responsibilities (for example, if you are a truck driver, bus driver, or delivery driver), you are at risk of getting injured in a car accident in the course of your work. The same can be true even if you only drive for work occasionally, such as when your employer asks you to run an errand. If you have been injured while driving for work, you may have questions regarding your options for compensation.

Is Workers’ Compensation My Only Option?

You may be aware that in most cases, if you are injured on the job in Wisconsin, your employer should have workers’ compensation coverage in place to provide benefits that cover your reasonable medical expenses, as well as a portion of your lost wages if your work abilities are affected. Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation is no-fault, meaning that you are entitled to benefits for any work-related injuries, regardless of whether or not your employer is responsible for your injuries. If your employer is responsible, such as if improper maintenance of an employer-owned vehicle caused the accident, Wisconsin law will usually prohibit you from filing a personal injury lawsuit against them. However, if someone else is at fault, a personal injury claim may be possible in addition to your workers’ compensation claim.

Third-Party Personal Injury Claims

Many work-related vehicle accidents are caused by the negligence of a third party. This could be another employee, the manufacturer of a defective vehicle part, or often, another driver on the road. If you were struck and injured by a negligent driver while driving for work, you can file a personal injury lawsuit in much the same way that you would if you were injured on your personal time. An attorney can help you gather evidence of negligence, including photos and videos of the crash, police reports, and eyewitness testimony, and this evidence can be used to build your case for compensation from the liable third party.

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Green Bay work zone auto accident lawyerThe Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) reports that over the past five years, there have been almost 2,700 annual car wrecks in work zones, with the spring and summer construction season accounting for a large portion of these accidents. During this time, 50 people have died and 5,200 people have been injured in work zone accidents. The risks of accidents in road construction zones continue to this day, and if you are injured, it is important to understand the steps you can take to obtain compensation.

Why Are Work Zones Dangerous?

There are a number of reasons why car accidents are more likely to occur in road work zones. Some of them include:

  • Narrow roadways: Road work often requires the closing of the shoulder or the restriction of lanes on a multi-lane highway, forcing drivers to share a smaller space. Without the proper safety precautions, this close proximity can lead to collisions.
  • Debris or objects in the road: Cones, barricades, materials, equipment, and other construction debris can enter the roadway, obstructing traffic and possibly contributing to reduced traction or the risk of a punctured tire.
  • Insufficient warning signs: Drivers who are warned of an approaching construction zone have the opportunity to adapt accordingly, but without clearly visible signs, they may not be able to do so.
  • Speeding: Sometimes, drivers fail to reduce their speed in a construction zone, despite warning signs and state laws allowing for harsher penalties for speeding in a work zone.
  • Tailgating: WisDOT notes that tailgating, or following another vehicle too closely, was the most prominent factor in work zone accidents over the past five years, accounting for nearly one-third of all collisions in that time frame.
  • Distracted driving: Out of recognition of the danger that distracted driving poses, Wisconsin has made any kind of handheld mobile phone use illegal in a work zone.

Responding to a Construction Zone Accident

As with any car crash in which you are injured, your priorities after a construction zone accident should be to get medical attention and contact an attorney who can help you further investigate your case. If possible (and safe to accomplish), use your phone to take pictures of how any barricades and barrels are set up--it is never known immediately what contributed or caused an accident, and an experienced attorney may be able to analyze those pictures after-the-fact to determine what role, if any, warnings and barricades played in causing or contribution to an incident. Your attorney can also help gather evidence from the scene of the accident, including pictures of the vehicles involved and the road conditions, and they can follow up with witnesses, law enforcement, and other possible sources of evidence that can help you establish another party’s negligence. Liable parties may include other drivers who failed to drive safely in a work zone or the entity responsible for the construction project if it did not uphold reasonable safety standards.

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