Passengers in Car Accidents: Injury Settlement Law in Wisconsin
Who Pays What, Who Sues Whom?
Generally speaking, the insurance company of the driver found to be at fault for the accident pays the claim filed by any passenger(s) injured in the wreck. The passengers file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. A driver may be held partially or completely responsible for the crash, while a passenger generally cannot be at fault. Passengers can sue one or both drivers to recover full compensation for their injuries, or as much as the insurance policies allow.
If you were injured in a car accident, call Warshafsky for a free case assessment. An experienced Milwaukee auto accident lawyer and accident investigator can uncover hidden sources of liability to make sure insurance companies pay the full value of your case. You pay nothing until you win AND receive compensation.
A claim filed by a passenger is known as a “third party” claim – because it is being filed with an insurance policy other than your own. A third party claim can be filed against the insurance policy held by the driver (or owner) of the car you were in at the time of the accident OR the policy held by the driver (or owner) of another vehicle involved in the accident
If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger or driver, call Warshafsky for a free case assessment. An experienced lawyer and accident investigator can uncover hidden sources of liability to make sure insurance companies pay the full value of your case. You will pay nothing until you win AND receive compensation.
Filing a Claim Against The Policies of Two At-Fault Drivers
Although one driver is usually found to be at fault, there are situations where a second driver can also be found at fault—or at least partially at fault—and a claim can be filed against this driver’s policy, too. You cannot, however, file a claim against both drivers’ policies for the full amount of your expenses. The claim you make against the second driver’s policy can only be in the amount needed to cover what the first driver’s policy didn’t.
INJURED? It IS About The Money.®
The Warshafsky Difference: Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys and a Certified Legal Investigator
When Warshafsky Law takes on a case, we view the police report as a starting point—not the final judgment. We also look beyond the obvious sources of compensation for your injuries, often finding other parties who can be also be found responsible, and held accountable, for your injuries.
As part of our commitment to our clients, Warshafsky Law is the only personal injury law firm in Milwaukee with a nationally certified Legal Investigator on staff. Experienced in evidence collection and preservation, as well as evidentiary reporting, our investigator leaves no stone unturned in pursuit of the truth. Armed with his findings, our personal injury attorneys build cases that win big for our clients—both at court and in settlement negotiations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do injured passengers need an attorney to file an injury claim?
If the injuries you sustained are minor, it’s possible to handle the claim without the involvement of an attorney. Serious injury accidents are another matter altogether. You absolutely need an attorney, particularly one with experience in personal injury cases.
How much can money can a passenger in a car accident expect to get?
In Wisconsin, you can file a claim to recover the medical expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident, as well as income you weren’t able to earn because of the accident. These are known as “economic damages.” They are documentable expenses you’ve had. You cannot sue for more than what your actual expenses are.
You can also sue for pain and suffering, which are considered “non-economic damages.” These can include mental anguish or distress, trepidation, reduction in the quality of life, and loss of consortium with a spouse. Wisconsin has laws capping awards for such damages, however. If the at-fault driver’s insurance doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for these additional damages, it’s much more difficult to collect anything from them.
What if more than one passenger is injured?
In situations where more than one passenger in a car has suffered injuries, they would all file claims with the insurance policy of the negligent driver. As you can imagine, the total costs of their injuries can easily exceed what the negligent driver’s policy can pay. This often results in the injured passengers having to determine how much each should be reimbursed-- a bad situation which is often only resolved through the passengers filing suit.
Can an injured passenger sue a not-at-fault driver?
This question often comes up when a driver who was not at fault is sued by a passenger on the advice of an attorney. Usually, it is recommended by an attorney only as a way of exploring whether there is some additional coverage on the not-at-fault driver’s policy which may be available to cover the passenger’s injuries.
There are situations, though, where a passenger may try to sue a not-at-fault driver out of belief the driver was at least partially responsible for the accident. The injured passenger would have to prove to a court that the driver had some role in causing the accident. The police report, even though it may have identified another driver as the one at fault, can be called into question in court.
Could an injured passenger's claim be denied?
There are circumstances when passengers’ claims may be denied. For instance, if you know your friend has been drinking but you get into the car and let them drive anyway, the insurance company may say you took on the risk of injury. Whatever your situation, you need experienced car accident attorneys on your side to make sure you get the maximum possible compensation.
Free Initial Consultation and No Payments Until You Have Been Compensated
Warshafsky Law offers a free initial consultation with an experienced Milwaukee personal injury attorney. There is no obligation on your part to retain us. If you do, though, you pay nothing until your case has been resolved and you have been compensated.