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Attorney Jeff Zarzynski

Jeffrey P. Zarzynski

Personal Injury Division Personal Injury FAQ
  • Thirty Plus Years of Experience
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyer
  • Earned Millions For Wisconsin Accident Victims
  • "Your full recovery is the only thing you need to worry about, we'll take care of everything else."

Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the questions below to expand the answer

Tips to Keep in Mind when Seeking Medical Attention after being involved in an Accident

  • Be honest with your doctor when discussing your injuries.
  • Do not minimize your pain or injuries just because you think you can "handle it", hope it will go away quickly, or don't like to complain.
  • Make sure your doctor understands how you are feeling and takes notes about your injuries and other complaints.
  • Obtain a written work excuse or outline of your physical restrictions if your injuries affect your ability to work.
  • Avoid prolonged gaps in treatment and try not to miss any doctor's appointments.
  • Keep a written journal of how you are feeling and how your injuries are healing.

I've been hurt in an accident and I want to file a claim, What's the first thing I should do?

Well the very first thing you should do, if you wish to bring a claim for injuries, is to take care of yourself. If you have been injured in an accident you will need medical attention. All the other details, such as the insurance company, insurance forms, and even the lawyer: they can all wait until you have gotten proper medical attention and taken care of yourself first.

How do I know if I have a personal injury case?

You will know that you have a personal injury case when a good lawyer tells you; you have a personal injury case. However, if you have been injured because of the negligence of someone else, such as in a motor vehicle accident or walking on an icy driveway, we can reasonably assume that you have a potential claim for injuries. Now whether or not that claim will result in compensation to you, requires a lawyer, and a good one, to help you answer that question.

What should I bring with me for my meeting with a lawyer?

When you meet with your lawyer, bring every piece of paper that might be relevant to your case. If the police officer after an accident gave you a slip of paper with the accident report information, bring that along. Bring along your insurance cards for any car of health insurance. If you went to the hospital and they gave you a document upon discharge, bring along that piece of paper. In short, bring along everything. We will determine what is important. If you have forgotten something, it is okay. We will give you an envelope and you can simply mail it to us later.

What is "negligence"?

What is negligence? That is an important legal question that I will try my best to answer for you easily. Negligence means that someone has done something wrong or not done something that they should have. In other words, we all have a duty to avoid harm. Either I have harmed you or I did not help you enough when I had a duty to do so. Those would be examples of negligence. Negligence is a legal term which allows someone to recover from someone else if they are harmed by their negligence. Now that is a reader\'s digest version and it gets much more complicated than that. See a lawyer, and a good one, to help you answer questions for you.

Can I recover even if the accident was my fault?

Can I recover even if the accident was my fault? No. Wisconsin is a comparative negligence state. That means that in an accident, parties are compared as to whose fault the accident is. If your negligence exceeds that of the other participant you are not allowed to recover at all. However, if parties are equally responsible, or 50/50, you would be allowed to recover 50% of your damages. Comparative negligence is a complicated legal principle that a lawyer can explain to you in the context of your case.

What if I can't prove someone else's negligence caused my injury?

There are other bases for finding legal responsibility other than negligence. So if you cannot prove that someone is negligent, it does not necessarily mean that your claim is barred. However, strict rules would apply, called "strict liability". That is a complicated body of laws that generally involve cases involving defective products. However, seek the advice of a lawyer, even if by telephone, to get a general idea as to whether of not your claim is one of negligence or some other legal principle.

Will I have to go to court?

Will I have to go to court? Well, maybe. The truth be told, statistically speaking: no. The vast majority of claims for negligence do not go to court, but are settled before a lawsuit is filed. That is what is known as negotiation. Even if a law suit is filed on your case, there are many opportunities to settle before it actually goes to trial. However, most of the activities that the lawyers do in their office and outside their office preparing for your case are to prepare for trial. Because, the insurance company will pay you only when you show the ability to make them pay you in a court of law.

How soon after I am injured do I have to file a lawsuit?

This question involves the statute of limitations. The law in Wisconsin requires a lawsuit to be started within three years of an injury if the claim is based upon negligence. That would be the general rule that would apply to most of these cases. However, there are always exceptions, extensions and other limitations that would apply to your case, after you discuss this with a lawyer. For example, for a claim against a governmental agency, the first claim must be filed within 120 days or a lawsuit could never be brought. Some claims have a longer period of time than three years, which would depend upon the facts and the legal theory of your case. I will never know which the case is until you give me a call and we discuss the facts in some more detail.

Where will the money come from to compensate me?

The money to compensate your after an injury, in almost all cases, comes from an insurance company. However, it is not required to come from them. When a person is involved in an automobile accident, most times they have automobile insurance. The other driver\'s insurance would be the responsible party. If they do not have insurance, perhaps your own coverage for "uninsured motorist coverage" or "underinsured motorist coverage" would apply. If there is no insurance to cover the loss then the damages must come from the individual who is found legally liable himself. Again, the likelihood of collection against an individual would depend upon the facts of your case. You would have to discuss that with a lawyer, and a good one, to get a clear answer.

What is my case worth?

What is my case worth? You know, I hear that question a lot, along with "when will my case be settled?" Well no one knows the answer to that question when your case begins. You must understand where the value of your case comes from. In a general claim for negligence, a person is allowed damages based upon three basic groups. First of all, reimbursement for medical expenses. Second, reimbursement for lost income or wages from an inability to perform your job or go to work. Third, an amount of money that compensates the person for pain and suffering, both in the past and in the future if you are going to have it. So, three sources: medical expenses, lost income, and pain & suffering. When you add those damages together that is your general damages claim. Whether you are allowed to collect all of them would depend upon other facts in your case. At the beginning of a claim we would have no idea how many medical expenses you will incur. We will have no idea how much income you will loose. Therefore, we can never measure your pain and suffering because we don\'t know what your suffering is or how long it lasts. So what my case is worth goes hand in hand with how long will it take until my case is concluded. It takes as long as it takes. It takes as long as it takes for you to get better and to either recover fully or recover as fully as you are going to get. Please, and I beg you, do not let anyone, whether they be a lawyer or anyone in the world, tell you that they know the value of your claim until you are well or as well as you are going to be.