When someone is injured due to the negligence of someone else, he or she has the right to file a lawsuit in an effort to recover damages for the injuries suffered and the financial and emotional losses incurred. However, many do not completely understand how a judge will instruct a jury to compute the damage award, which may lead to hesitation on the part of many injured parties to begin the process of protecting his or her legal rights.
Below is a brief overview of how the damage award equation works in Wisconsin, but if you’d like an individualized answer to how your damages could be figured, contact a Green Bay personal injury lawyer at Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® today to schedule a free initial consultation.
There are different standards, or mathematical equations used when a jury decides on damages. This system is known as the “modified comparative fault” standard. This is a system that’s used by the majority of jurisdictions, but perhaps the best way to illustrate how it works is by providing a brief hypothetical situation.
For purposes of discussion, let’s assume that Mr. Jones is driving down the highway where the speed limit is 65 mph. Mr. Jones is in his lane and otherwise driving properly, except that he’s traveling at a rate of 80 mph. Let’s also assume that Mr. Smith is driving the other way down the highway, and he’s traveling at a rate of 65 mph.
Mr. Jones is in the left lane going in his direction and completing a pass of another car. Just at that moment, Mr. Smith crosses the median of the highway and collides head-on with Mr. Jones. Amazingly, no one is permanently injured, but Mr. Jones suffers two broken arms, broken ribs and a concussion. He sues for damages in the amount of $100,000.
If the situation goes all the way to trial, the facts above will be entered into the evidentiary record. Before the case goes to the jury, the judge will instruct the jury that if they find Mr. Jones to be 51% at-fault for this accident or more, then he will not recover any damages, which is the norm.
If the jury decides that Mr. Jones is in fact 15% at-fault, then Mr. Jones will recover damages. His award will be $85,000, as the 15% of fault for which Mr. Jones is responsible will be deducted from the total amount of liability.