Monthly Archives: July 2015

When Can You Bring a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Small Claims Court?

Guidelines for Suing in Small Claims Court

Suffering an injury at the hands of another individual can lead to serious physical and emotional harm. Unfortunately, these types of injuries can also cause you to incur substantial medical costs, endure pain and suffering, and miss out on work. One way to get compensation for your injuries is to request damages in small claims court. It’s essential to understand what you can and can’t do with a small claims action before you decide how to proceed with your case.

Understanding Small Claims Court in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, personal injury actions can only be brought in small claims court if you’re asking for $5,000 or less in damages. Personal injury cases can be initiated if an injury was the result of either negligent or intentionally harmful actions by another party. Injuries that warrant action in small claims court can include those caused by
•    motor vehicle accidents,
•    unsafe conditions in a commercial or retail setting,
•    poor residential maintenance,
•    pet attacks,
•    intentional acts of violence and
•    other types of accidents.

You must be considered a mentally competent person and must be either 18 or an emancipated minor to bring your action in small claims court. You can represent yourself in court or you can hire an attorney to represent you. If you were injured at work, you likely cannot bring a small claims action. You’ll need to go through the worker’s compensation claim process instead.

Should You File Your Personal Injury Suit in Small Claims Court?

Imagine that you were injured in a car accident with a driver from Indianapolis. The other driver’s insurance policy may cover some of your medical costs or compensate you for damage to your car, but most insurance companies simply won’t offer you what you deserve. You also won’t receive any automatic compensation for suffering or lost wages.

Instead, you’ll need to fight for compensation in court. If you believe that you’re owed $5,000 or less, it makes sense to bring your action in small claims court. If you think that you’re owed more than $5,000 or if you are unsure of how long you’ll need to receive medical treatment for your injuries, you will need to bring a personal injury lawsuit.

An attorney can help you in both situations. While you may be able to argue your personal injury case in small claims court, it’s important to remember that personal injury law is complex. You’ll need to understand the legal definition of negligence and be able to prove that you didn’t cause or contribute to your injury. A law firm with experience in personal injury actions can handle these tasks for you.

Do you need help evaluating your personal injury case? Contact us at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald today to set up a consultation.

What are the Top 5 States for Drunken Driving?

States where the most people drink and drive

Although drunken driving doesn’t occur as often as it did in the past, this activity remains one of the most common criminal offenses. About 290,000 Americans suffered injuries in 2013 auto accidents that involved inebriated motorists, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Every week, almost 200 people die in these crashes. A recent survey revealed that intoxicated driving happens more frequently in the northern states.

Top States

The survey asked 1,000 residents of each state if they had operated vehicles after drinking. North Dakota came in first because only 12 respondents claimed that they hadn’t made this mistake. Delaware ranked second; 843 individuals admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol. Drinking-related accidents killed 427 Delawareans between 2003 and 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Massachusetts, Nebraska and Louisiana also ranked among the top five states.

North Dakota

Residents of the Peace Garden State may disagree with this ranking. It’s possible that they answered the survey more honestly than people in other regions. However, various statistics suggest that North Dakota truly does have the most drunken drivers. The state’s intoxicated motorists cause a higher rate of fatal accidents than drinkers in any other part of the country, according to MarketWatch. North Dakota also ranks first in beer consumption and youth binge drinking.

Our State

Although it no longer appears among the top five states, Wisconsin has also experienced widespread drunken driving. The federal government conducted a national DUI survey in 2009. It identified Wisconsin as the state with the most adults who admitted to operating vehicles while intoxicated. Alcohol triggered more than one out of three deadly accidents during 2012, according to official figures.


Fortunately, Wisconsin has achieved significant progress in recent years. Inebriated motorists caused 163 fewer deaths in 2013 than they did during 2003. Injuries dropped by almost three-fifths, according to Insurance Journal. The total accident count also fell considerably. This news is encouraging, but it’s important to remember that drunken drivers continue to hurt or kill Wisconsinites every day.

If you were recently involved in an alcohol-related crash, HBO Law Firm can help. Our personal injury and criminal defense lawyers handle a wide range of cases. We take the time to conduct thorough research and develop the most effective legal strategies. To protect your rights and ensure a fair judgment or settlement, please contact our Neenah and Appleton, WI law office today.