People in Northeast Wisconsin have a reputation for being nice people who are quite forgiving and understanding.

While this is generally a good thing, it can lead to some confusion about a person’s rights and options in the event they get hurt in a car accident. For instance, a victim might assume that because their wreck was just an accident and didn’t involve drunk driving, texting and driving or other flagrantly thoughtless behavior, they should not pursue the other driver for compensation.

The reality, though, is that only a handful of accidents on the road are truly due to unavoidable circumstances and thus, in the narrowest sense of them, are just accidents. The vast majority, almost 95 percent, of wrecks are on account of human error.

On a practical level, then, if someone is involved in a two-car accident that is not their own fault, it is in all likelihood the fault of the other driver in the sense that the other driver could have prevented the wreck. The other driver may have been able to do so by, for example, slowing down or just paying a little better attention to the road.

This is not to say that a driver who causes an accident must have been malicious or even especially careless or thoughtless; it just means they are both in fact and legally speaking responsible for the accident.

The point of pursuing compensation from such people is not to be mean or unforgiving but to make certain that the victim of the accident gets covered for his or her losses. It is only fair that the person who caused the damage, however innocently, pays either to fix it or, at least, to rectify the situation as much as possible.