Stories From An Auto Accident Trial

As I’m sure you can imagine I have lots of little stories from my trial last week.  One thing I wanted to mention is the Hanson case.  Hanson v. American Family Insurance, 294 Wis.2d 149, 716 N.W.2d 866 (2006). 

Hanson is a case decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  In short, it says that an injured victim of a car accident (or the victim of someone elses’s negligence or intentional acts in general) has the right to recover for medical care even if that care was unnecessary.  It’s recoverable so long as the injured person initially went to the doctor in good faith and then followed the doctor’s orders.

In Hanson, the injured party went to the doctor in good faith (i.e. used ordinary care in choosing the doctor).  The doctor then performed a surgery.  The at fault insurance company, American Family Insurance, hired a doctor to say that the surgery was unnecessary.  American Family said they should not be held responsible for unnecessary treatment.  The injured victim argued he simply relied on his doctor.

So, when deciding who should pay for this unnecessary treatment the Wisconsin Supreme Court said it should not be the injured victim.   The insurance company is in a better position to pay for it. They caused the initial harm, they should pay for all damages that flow from that initial harm.

We had a nice long discussion with the Judge about this case at trial.  Interesting stuff.

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in West AllisSheboygan,  Plymouth,  and Germantown.

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