Auto Accident FAQ

Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorneys

After a motor vehicle accident, you may be overwhelmed, injured and scared. At McCormick Law Office, we provide personalized and zealous personal injury representation to clients that have been injured in an auto accident, other motor vehicle accident or other type of personal injury situation.

To learn more, please review the information below or contact an attorney at our firm to schedule a free initial consultation.

Contact the Authorities

Call the police, especially if anyone is injured. A police report is important to document what happened. A police report will help your insurance company and your lawyer in sorting out the responsibility for damages.

If you get a ticket, it does not necessarily mean you are responsible for the accident. You should not just send in the fine or plead guilty, as this may hurt your right to fair compensation for damages down the road. It is best to consult with an attorney and your own insurance agent before sending in a fine or pleading guilty.

Exchange Information

When exchanging information with the other driver or drivers, you should try to get:

  • Driver's name, address, telephone number, drivers license number, insurance company and policy number;
  • Other vehicle's owner, license plate number, make and model;
  • Names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses;
  • Names, addresses and telephone numbers of any passengers; and
  • Make some notes of the weather, street conditions, traffic signals, skid marks and position of the vehicles before and after the collision.

Do Not Admit Fault

Do not admit fault to the police, the other drivers, or anyone. Often times, the facts are not as simple as they may seem in the heat of the moment, and it is best to use discretion and just stick to the facts. You should tell the truth about the facts that you know, but do not get into speculation about what you think may have happened or why.

Tow the Car

Make sure to get the name, address and telephone number of the driver and tow truck company. Ask the driver how much it will cost and tell him where to tow the car.

Seek Medical Attention

Seeing a doctor or hospital is something anyone should do if they think they were injured in an accident. A doctor may recognize symptoms or injuries that are not apparent. If you are injured, you should never settle with the responsible insurance company until the full extent of the injuries is known. This often takes months after an accident so you should not be talked or pressured into a quick settlement.

Get in Touch with Your Insurance Agent

Notifying your insurance agent as soon as possible after a car accident is important, as this is required by most insurance policies and you do not want to give your company any reason to deny coverage. The agent or the claims adjuster assigned to the case will advise you as to what they will want. If you are at fault, your own insurance company will probably defend you as required by the policy language. If the other driver was at fault but does not have insurance, your own insurance may cover your personal injury damages under the uninsured and medical pay coverage.

Contact Us

For more information after a car accident, to discuss your back injury or to schedule your free initial consultation, contact a lawyer at McCormick Law Office today. We are available after-hours by appointment and provide home and hospital visits to individuals whose injuries have left them disabled or prevent them from traveling to our office. Our lawyers can help you understand your rights to pursue compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages or medical expenses.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED A LAWYER?

Calling an experienced personal injury lawyer is prudent if there will be any significant negotiations with an insurance company. Beware of anyone, especially an insurance adjuster you are negotiating with, if he or she says you do not need a lawyer. The fact is, when you are negotiating a personal injury or property damage claim with an insurance company, the company is on the other side and does not have the same interest as you. It is an adversarial relationship, in that the injured person wants as much as he/she fairly has coming, and the insurance company has a fiduciary duty to its shareholders or mutual policy holders to pay as little as possible. That is why the insurance company employs specialists with years of training and experience (adjusters) to deal with injured people. They don't let you just submit a claim to your agent and then they send out a check. If its not enough that you have to deal with an adjuster who does this for a living, behind the adjuster are investigators, computer programs and defense attorneys all there just to help the adjuster handle the injured person. An injured person should not feel funny about getting help to deal with the insurance company on a level playing field. Anyone who suggests otherwise is trying to pull something.

HOW DO I SELECT AN EXPERIENCED PERSONAL ATTORNEY?

Selecting an experienced personal injury lawyer, is an important decision. An experienced personal injury lawyer (also called a 'trial lawyer' or a 'plaintiff's lawyer') is an attorney who generally represents people injured or damaged by another person or company. Some attorneys limit their practice to the representation of injured persons. A good way to select a personal injury lawyer is to ask family members, friends or co-workers that you trust. Also, people that deal in this area of law, such as claims adjusters from a different company than the one dealing with the case, or a medical professional, can be other solid sources of recommendation.

HOW DO I PAY FOR A LAWYER?

The personal injury lawyer usually gets paid a contingency fee, meaning he or she receives a percentage of the total amount recovered from the negligent party or the insurance company. If there is no recovery, there is no fee. The customary attorney fee is 1/3 or 33 1/3%, plus the costs of prosecuting the claim. The percentage could be higher if the type of case is more complicated or risky. Many experienced trial lawyers will advance the costs and get paid back at the end of the case. The contingency fee arrangement allows people who could not otherwise afford legal representation to hire an experienced lawyer to deal with the other side on equal footing.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RESOLVE A CLAIM?

The time it takes to settle a personal injury claim depends in large part upon the extent and nature of the injuries involved. In Wisconsin, the weather is different with each season and our activities so varied, that it is often best to go through a year to determine the impact the injuries have on one's life-style. More severe injuries often take longer as a person may treat for a year or more. The lawyer's office handles the preparation of the case with as little involvement of the client as is necessary. This is usually best for the recovery of the person; not to dwell on or worry about the claim. That's the lawyer's job. The injured person should try to get back to normal as best he or she can. In the long run, this will actually benefit the case as well as the person. A summary of the process a case takes is found at Case Handling.

IF THE INSURANCE COMPANY WON'T SETTLE, HOW IS THE CASE RESOLVED?

Juries are asked to resolve a dispute when the parties cannot settle it themselves. Well over 95% of negligence cases settle without going to trial. Most cases settle between the plaintiff's attorney and the insurance adjuster; some cases settle through mediation or arbitration. See Case Handling. For the few that do not settle, the jury trial is the bedrock of the American justice system and since colonial days has been the protection of the individual from the arbitrariness of the government and the avarice of his fellow men, even the most powerful of corporations. Jury duty is a solemn obligation, not to be taken lightly, and must be free from prejudice or bias. Each case should be decided upon its own merits, according to the law as explained by the judge, and free from political purpose.

McCormick Law Office
Auto Accident and Workers' Compensation Attorneys

829 N. Marshall Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202-3910
877-412-7409 (Milwaukee)
262-375-2550 (Statewide)

Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, McCormick Law Office serves clients in the cities of Milwaukee, Waukesha, Kenosha, Racine, West Bend, Franklin, Greenfield, Wauwatosa, West Allis, Port Washington, Mequon, Grafton, New Berlin, Menomonee Falls, Saukville, Cedarburg, Germantown, Brookfield, Mukwonago, Cudahy, South Milwaukee, Sheboygan, and Manitowoc; as well as the counties of Milwaukee County, Waukesha County, Kenosha County, Racine County, Ozaukee County, and Washington County, Wisconsin.