6 Car Accident Laws with a HUGE Impact on Your Claim
Hurt in a Crash? Our Guide to Wisconsin Car Accident Laws Explains What Victims Need to Know
Understanding how Wisconsin law affects car accident victims and personal injury settlements improves your chances of a successful case. Learn what to do after a crash, how long you have to file a claim, types of compensation you can receive, and what other state laws affect Wisconsin drivers. Warshafsky Law’s aggressive legal team includes private investigators, medical doctors, and experienced trial attorneys fighting for maximum recoverable damages for injured Milwaukee car crash victims.
1. First Steps after a Crash: Acting Responsibly in Accordance with Wisconsin Law
Your Responsibilities after a Car Accident under State Law
Under Wisconsin law, drivers involved in an accident have certain duties and responsibilities. Any driver involved in the accident is required to:
- Stop at (or as close as possible to) the scene of the accident
- Render reasonable assistance to anyone injured in the accident, including arrangements for transportation to a hospital if necessary
- Call the police and report the accident
- Remain at the accident scene and give their name, address, vehicle registration (and upon request show driver’s license) to the other driver and passengers involved
If a law enforcement officer completes a Wisconsin motor vehicle accident report, you do NOT need to file a driver report of accident with the Department of Transportation.
If the at-fault driver fails to stop after a car accident they can be charged with hit-and-run, and you may be able to pursue punitive damages in your personal injury lawsuit.
Get more information on reporting a hit and run accident now.
How to Protect Your Case after a Car Crash
Failure to preserve evidence after being injured in a car accident can hurt your claim.
You can help your car accident claim by doing the following (if your injuries allow it):
- Take pictures of the accident scene (including signage & road conditions) and vehicle damage
- Contact your insurance company, notify them of the accident, and request claim form
- Never admit fault when speaking to anyone at the scene or on the phone
- Obtain contact information from any witnesses or bystanders
- Record the name and badge number of the police officer to obtain the crash report
- Consult a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer to discuss your case and your legal rights.
Getting injured in a car accident can be extremely stressful, but it’s important to stay calm. Your words, your actions, and the evidence you collect are critical and can have a big impact on your car accident lawsuit.
Know When to Call a Lawyer
In the aftermath of a car accident calling a lawyer can mean the difference between walking away unscathed and being left on the side of the road. Call a lawyer right away if:
- Your injuries require surgery after a car accident.
- You were injured by a drunk driver.
- You were struck by a distracted driver.
- You are the victim of a hit and run.
- You were struck by a car while on your bike.
- You were in a car accident while pregnant.
- You were involved in a motorcycle accident.
Warshafsky Law employs a full legal investigation team to make sure no detail of your car accident is overlooked. Our car crash investigators will examine your case from every angle to determine total liability. Warshafsky car accident investigators have turned a $750,000 settlment into a $3.9 Mil victory. Warshafsky Law will review your case for free, and there is never any fee until you receive compensation for your injuries. Don’t delay—the longer you wait, the greater the odds of crucial evidence fading!
2. Statute of Limitations for Wisconsin Car Accident Lawsuits
Whether you have a personal injury claim, a vehicle damage claim, or both, Wisconsin law sets a time limit of three years on your right to file a lawsuit. Time is measured from the date of the accident or the discovery of the injury.
If someone caused a car accident resulting in the death of your loved one, you have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit, but in this case the time is measured from the date of death.
Understanding how the statute of limitations applies to your Wisconsin car accident lawsuit is crucial. If the deadline has passed, your case will likely be dismissed. Even if you believe your auto wreck claim will be resolved with an insurance settlement, you should talk to an experienced personal injury attorney about your case.
Knowing the true value of your claim and keeping your option to file a lawsuit open, with plenty of time to do so, will provide more leverage to settlement negotiations. The best way to make sure your rights are protected is with a free consultation with a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer at Warshafsky Law. Insurance companies know we prepare every case to win at trial, and our reputation for winning record judgements means higher cash settlements for our clients.
3. Your Right to Compensation Depends on Proving Fault
Wisconsin tort law allows an injured individual to seek financial compensation for injuries. A tort is a wrongful act resulting in injury to another person. All torts involve:
- Breach of duty: drivers owe a duty to motorists, passengers, and pedestrians to operate their vehicle with care
- Injury: the victim suffered actual injuries or was killed as a result of the actions of the liable party
- Cause: the unreasonable or unsafe action of the liable party directly caused injuries or death of another
When a car accident happens in Wisconsin, an injured person has the right to claim damages from the person who caused the accident. However, determining liability is not always straightforward. The injured person must prove the other person was directly responsible for the injuries.
Shared Fault Law in Wisconsin
Wisconsin operates under modified comparative fault law, also known as shared fault law. This means each person involved in a car accident can be held responsible for part of the liability. If the injured person shares any portion of the liability, their claim value will be reduced by the same percentage.
For example, if the injured person is found to be 25% at fault, the damages recovered will be reduced by 25%.
In order to recover damages for your injuries in a Wisconsin car accident lawsuit, you must prove the other driver is at least 50% at fault.
Investigating the accident, determining the full scope of liability, and figuring out the true value of your claim within the legal timeframe can be daunting. The legal team at Warshafsky includes professional accident investigators who find things others miss. Our aggressive personal injury lawyers prepare each and every case to win at trial, and won’t settle until maximum possible compensation is achieved for your claim.
INJURED? It IS About The Money.®
hen people choose their personal injury lawyer based on the endorsement of a football player or actor, they risk choosing an attorney who has never won more money in a courtroom. Settlement mills forward your paperwork and take a cut of your damages.
Hundreds of times we have prepared cases like yours beyond the brink of trial. Facing unlimited liability AND an expensive jury trial, insurance companies fess up what your case is worth. They HATE when you choose Warshafsky. Insurance companies know: it IS about the money.
4. Damages Available to Wisconsin Car Accident Victims
There are different types of damages victims of Wisconsin car accidents may be eligible to claim in a personal injury lawsuit. Wisconsin drivers can even sue for pain and suffering caused by an accident. Compensatory damages are awarded to the injured in order to help make them whole again and are made up of general and specific damages. Punitive damages apply in cases where intent can be proved.
Specific damages are generally straightforward and include medical expenses, damage to property, rental car costs and lost wages. A lawyer can help you prove the true value of lost earnings or lost earning capacity by working with experts to calculate the present value of future lost income.
General damages refer to suffering such as emotional and physical pain, loss of enjoyment, and disability. An experienced personal injury attorney at Warshafsky law will thoroughly examine your circumstances and determine the maximum amount of general damages you are entitled to.
Punitive damages seek to punish the conduct of an extremely reckless driver and are rarely awarded in Wisconsin. In certain circumstances, however, a jury may find the defendant’s behavior reprehensible and willful enough to merit punitive damages.
Car Accident Injury Cases Warshafsky Law has Tried and Won
Common Car Accident Injuries
Depending on the severity of the accident, you and any injured passengers could be facing expensive treatments, surgeries, and other recovery costs. Medical expenses can rack up at a frightening pace for injuries like:
INJURED? It IS About The Money.®
Unlike settlement-mill law firms who churn through large numbers of cases, Warshafsky personal injury attorneys prepare each case to win at trial from day one.
If you suffered personal injuries in a car accident caused by someone else, a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer can help you hold the responsible person accountable and make sure you receive the total compensation you need and deserve.
Warshafsky Law understands you’re already dealing with physical and financial hardship after a car accident. Every case is no win, no fee, and we fully fund every case until compensation is awarded.
Get more information on reporting a car accident now.
5. Different Rules for Car Accident Claims against Government Entities
Government liability in Wisconsin car accidents has its own set of rules. If your car accident was caused by a government vehicle or employee, different laws apply to your personal injury lawsuit.
Examples of traffic accidents where government liability is a factor:
- The accident involved a bus or truck owned and operated by a government agency
- A government employee acting in an official capacity while driving a government-owned vehicle caused the crash
- Dangerous highway conditions, roadside hazards, or a poorly marked construction zone had a role in the accident
Sovereign immunity is a legal concept which protects government agencies and employees from much liability, but federal and state governments have laws in place to waive such immunity.
Due to the conditions of this waiver, government bodies have strict procedural rules for personal injury lawsuits filed against them. Failure to follow them precisely means you can lose your right to claim damages.
When filing a claim against the state government in Wisconsin, the following rules apply:
- You must send a written notice by certified mail, notifying the attorney general of your claim within 120 days
- The notice must include a detailed description of the facts, circumstances, injuries, and names of the government employee(s) involved, and the total damages you are seeking
- Total damages are limited to $250,000 and punitive damages are not an option
Claims against municipal governments such as the City of Milwaukee have similar rules and a cap of $50,000 on total damages. The government will investigate your claim and decide to pay it or deny it. If denied, you may file a lawsuit in court within three years of the date of denial.
Filing a suit against any government agency is no small feat. A Wisconsin car accident lawyer can help you start the process and jump through the necessary hoops to help you claim damages under these special laws. Warshafsky Law has the experience, resources, and determination to fight for your case, even against a government agency.
6. Wisconsin’s Car Insurance Laws Affect How Claims Are Handled
In Wisconsin, the safety responsibility (SR) law states drivers must have the means to cover costs resulting from a car accident they cause.
Wisconsin’s auto insurance laws require three specific types of coverage: liability, underinsured motorist, and uninsured motorist.
For the at-fault driver in a traffic accident, liability car insurance covers costs from injuries and property damage. Minimum liability coverage under Wisconsin law is:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person
- $50,000 total for injury or death per accident
- $10,000 in property damage
Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage helps pay for damages when you’re injured in a car accident caused by someone who does not have enough car insurance, or none at all.
Minimum underinsured/uninsured driver coverage for Wisconsin car insurance policies is $25,000 for injuries per person, and $50,000 for the total injuries suffered in the accident.
Penalties for Uninsured Motorists
Drivers must be able to show proof of car insurance if they are involved in an accident or pulled over. If you are caught without any insurance you can be fined up to $500, and if you have insurance but can’t provide proof when requested by a law officer you can be fined up to $10.
If an uninsured driver is at fault in a crash, their driving and registration privileges will be suspended until they obtain an SR22 certificate (proving insurance coverage) and pay reinstatement fees.
Wisconsin Laws on Policy Stacking and Reduction Clauses
A driver involved in an accident is permitted by Wisconsin law to stack the coverage limits of multiple insurance policies, as long as the insured owns a maximum of three vehicles. This means you can obtain the full benefit of all insurance coverage when making a claim against the at-fault driver.
Wisconsin law prohibits insurance companies from inserting reduction clauses into policies. This means if you are in an accident caused by someone else, your insurer can’t deduct the at-fault driver’s insurance amount from your underinsured motorist coverage. This is key because it ensures injured policyholders have access to the full amount of insurance they purchased.
Claims against Uninsured Drivers
If you are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, your own uninsured motorist insurance kicks in. You can collect damages for injuries up to the limit of your policy. This coverage also applies in hit-and-run accidents where you are not at fault.
Getting the maximum compensation you deserve after a car accident can be challenging. It’s not in the insurance company’s best interest to make it easy for policy holders to collect the full amount of damages they are entitled to.
Car Insurance Providers Warshafsky Attorneys have Beaten
Warshafsky Law is the personal injury law firm Milwaukee drivers turn to when they need a powerful ally against the tricks and tactics insurance lawyers use to delay or deny a claim. Call now for a FREE consultation and find out how an experienced personal injury attorney can help YOUR bottom line.
Milwaukee’s Toughest Car Accident Lawyers Protect Victims’ Rights
Being injured in a car accident can be a frightening and confusing experience, more so when you realize how many legalities are involved in collecting the damages you need and deserve.
Insurance companies may offer what they tell you is a fair settlement, but never doubt their main concern is saving money for their business. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Warshafsky Law know how insurers operate, and will use every means necessary to secure maximum compensation for your car accident claim.
Don’t trust your case to just any personal injury attorney—many work for settlement mills content to negotiate with insurers in order to settle quickly and collect a fee with minimum delay. Warshafsky’s aggressive lawyers won’t stop fighting for your case until a fair settlement amount is reached—even if it means going the distance and winning in court.
Report a Car Accident in:
- Brown Deer
- Menomonee Falls
- New Berlin
- Oak Creek
- South Milwaukee
- West Allis
- Whitefish Bay
- Milwaukee County
- Waukesha County
- Racine County
- Kenosha County
- Washington County
- Walworth County
- Dodge County
- Ozaukee County
- Jefferson County
INJURED? It IS About The Money.®