How Much is the Average Personal Injury Settlement in Wisconsin?

On behalf of Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.

If you’re asking this question, you are not alone. Asking about your personal injury settlement is one of the top questions you should ask yourself if you think you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence. Many people think, “How Much Should I Sue For Personal Injury?” That’s not entirely how personal injury settlements work. You may reason – Isn’t it up to me?

In part, yes. But the true value of your case can be compared to a growing plant. Just as sunlight, fertilizer, and water levels play a part in the size and health of your plant, the severity of your injuries, type of injury, and insurance available will play a factor in how large your personal injury settlement will be. 

What is the Average Personal Injury Settlement Amount? 

In Wisconsin, the average payout for a personal injury settlement can be anywhere from a couple thousand dollars ($3,000) to over a million. That’s a large range! It isn’t easy to give a definite average, as settlements are not always public. You should consult with an attorney. This varies depending on the type of case and the severity of your injuries. 

We understand that this may be frustrating. Especially when looking at your existing medical bills. Really, there isn’t some “secret code” to unlock. The matter of settlement amounts is a deeply personal number that would be impossible to determine without knowing some facts first. If you’re looking for actual personal injury settlement amount examples, here is a chart outlining the type of case, year, and amount awarded: 

Case TypeInjuriesSettlement
Car AccidentSoft Tissue Injuries to Neck and Back$34,500
Premises LiabilityFall Injuries$25,000
NegligenceBloody nose, facial bruising$45,000
Dog BiteBite Marks, Scarring, PTSD$175,000
Car Accident (Pedestrian)Brain injury, several bone fractures, several soft tissue injuries, facial trauma$300,000
Medical MalpracticeParaplegic $14,490,000 Verdict

It’s important to note that though looking at case precedent, the laws available, and the injuries sustained can give an idea of what each case is worth, there are additional factors. The only accurate way to learn what your case is worth is by consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney. We know – everyone says it. But for a good reason! It is important to do this as soon as possible, as the statute of limitations for bodily injury in Wisconsin is generally three years from the accident date – and although even a life-altering injury can take place in a few seconds, putting together a case to prove it takes time! 

How Are Personal Injury Settlements Determined? 

As our earlier analogy stated, there are several factors that will determine the worth of your case. While a clear answer is desired, unfortunately it can be sort of an equation! Take the common algebraic formula of a + b = c. In determining your personal injury settlement, we can look at that expression quite literally! But what factors can we plug in for “a” and “b” of that equation to get “c” – our settlement amount? 

Severity of Injuries 

The foremost and simplest indicator of case worth is the severity of the injuries you sustained from the accident. Are they life-threatening? Did you permanently lose a bodily function? The State Bar of Wisconsin states that severe injuries that require comprehensive medical treatment, extended time off of work, or physical and mental changes that last forever will demand higher compensation. 

So, how exactly does this affect your case? In addition to the table above, let’s look at other hypothetical case examples. Let’s say you are injured in a dog bite accident. While unfortunate, you only suffered a puncture wound. Was this a life-threatening injury? Did you permanently lose any functions? No. Your damages may include things like medical bills for stitches or PTSD, but since the injury is not severe and does not affect your life ultimately moving forward, the amount you are entitled to may not be as high.

In contrast, let’s say you were a pedestrian hit by a moving car. You broke several bones and have a long road ahead of you to be able to walk and use your extremities again. This type of serious injury would require and demand ample compensation from the at-fault party, as it completely and utterly changes the plaintiff’s life forever. 

Pain and Suffering 

The anguish caused from the defendant to the plaintiff resulting from the accident is also considered. While there are caps to these damages, essentially, the more you suffer mentally and physically, the more the defendant owes you. Why? Seeking damages for pain and suffering actually goes all the way back to the ancient legal systems of Babylon and Greece, but the modern understanding of pain and suffering was created along with the American Tort System. You may have heard of an “eye for an eye” – but in modern society, we use economic compensation. This is a fundamental part of your rights! 

Medical Bills and Lost Wages

These would fall under what we call “compensatory damages.” No doubt, when you suffer any sort of injury, you must go to the doctor. In cases where your injuries require a hospital visit, specialist advice, or extended stays at a healthcare facility, the medical bills can be considerable. It is life-altering for many to be hit with a 100k medical bill, yet another reason why it should not be their job to pay it.

Let’s say you suffer an injury to your leg, making you unable to walk and do your job as an Amazon delivery driver. In this case, the accident took away your main source of income. How will you provide for your family? How many certifications or years did you spend preparing for this job? How much would you have made in the future? Seeking compensation for lost wages can include past and future wages you lost out on as a result of the accident. In that case, depending on other factors, an outcome of hundreds of thousands or millions would not be an unusual result.

Fault 

Things aren’t always black and white! Sometimes, the fault is not all on the defense. Wisconsin State Legislature States: 

895.045 Contributory negligence.

895.045(1)

(1) Comparative negligence. Contributory negligence does not bar recovery in an action by any person or the person’s legal representative to recover damages for negligence resulting in death or in injury to person or property, if that negligence was not greater than the negligence of the person against whom recovery is sought, but any damages allowed shall be diminished in the proportion to the amount of negligence attributed to the person recovering. The negligence of the plaintiff shall be measured separately against the negligence of each person found to be causally negligent. The liability of each person found to be causally negligent whose percentage of causal negligence is less than 51 percent is limited to the percentage of the total causal negligence attributed to that person. A person found to be causally negligent whose percentage of causal negligence is 51 percent or more shall be jointly and severally liable for the damages allowed.

So what does this mean for you? If you are partially at fault for the accident, you can still get compensation – just not as much. You will only be able to recover damages if your fault is less than 50% – This is also called the 51% rule. As an example, let’s say you were in an accident and the total damages owed to you were around $500,000. However, you are found to be 20% at fault for the accident. This means that you would be entitled to 80% of the $500,000. 

What Type of Personal Injury Settlements Pay the Most?

Simply put, serious injuries. It doesn’t matter if it’s a car accident, dog bite, premises liability, medical malpractice, trucking accident, boating accident, or nursing home negligence. If the injuries and loss of enjoyment of life are affected, then a corresponding large payout is usually awarded. It’s important to note that in this discussion, we are shedding light on the “settlement” side of a case. In cases where a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial. This is less predictable, as, at that point, it is up to the judge and jury to decide the case’s fate. Still, a good Wisconsin personal injury attorney will make a big difference. 

Usually, car accidents, trucking, pedestrian, and cyclist accidents usually yield higher compensation than other types of cases. In particular, trucking accidents are some of the most dangerous personal injury accidents. They take thousands of lives per year and seriously injure many more. 

In addition, the type of injury has much to do with the settlement amount. Back and spine injuries and traumatic brain injuries are among the most serious and life-altering injuries as they affect the quality of life and ability to integrate with society normally. In addition, wrongful death cases are the most severe personal injury cases. Though a death occurred at the fault of another, these are treated as civil cases and not criminal. Nevertheless, there are heavy penalties associated. 

How a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

There are several ways that a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer can assist when an injury happens. It can be likened to traveling to a new area that you haven’t been to before. If a local comes up to you and tells you the tips and tricks of the town, the best places for the best views, and the best local stores to go to without the “touristy” prices, you would take them up on it! It would likely completely benefit the outcome of your trip and even save you money. 

Using a personal injury attorney is the same way. They know the “secrets” of the “town” of personal injury law. They know how to speak to opposing counsel, which are often insurance companies, who may try to trick you or lowball you into taking an offer that is not fair. There are huge benefits to using an attorney. 

Contact a Green Bay Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer in the Green Bay or Appleton area, choose Peterson Berk & Cross, P.C. We totally understand that finding a lawyer you can trust after dealing with the most stressful injury of your life can be overwhelming. Our job as your attorney is to take that stress off of you and onto us as we advocate for your rights. We will even speak to you free of charge to make sure we are the right fit for each other. Let us listen to your story! Just contact us online to schedule a consultation. We proudly serve clients all over Wisconsin.