Wisconsin's motto is "Forward," and that's the direction you head in until a car accident brings you to a halt. A Wisconsin car accident may result in reporting obligations, negotiations with insurance companies, and even a lawsuit. The following article provides an overview of issues relating to the Wisconsin car accident settlement process and timeline to help you get moving again.
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Wisconsin?
In certain circumstances there is a responsibility to report an accident to Wisconsin authorities. Under Wisconsin Statutes, Section 346.70 immediate notice to the police, sheriff, traffic authority, or state traffic patrol must be given when an accident involves:
- the injury or death of a person;
- more than $200 damage to state or government-owned property other than a government-owned vehicle; or
- more than $1,000 damage to privately owned property or a government-owned vehicle
Unless a law enforcement agency has made a report an accident that meets these qualifications must also be reported in writing within ten days of the accident.
Wisconsin Car Insurance Laws
Wisconsin requires that drivers maintain proof of financial responsibility, which is generally demonstrated by showing proof of car insurance carrying a minimum amount of liability coverage. Wisconsin Statutes, Section 344.01 requires policies covering, at minimum:
- $25,000 for the injury or death of a single person in a single accident;
- $50,000 for the injury or death of two or more people in a single accident; and
- $10,000 for the damage or destruction of property in a single accident.
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Wisconsin?
Settlement happens when the parties agree upon a resolution outside of court. In the context of a Wisconsin car accident the process begins when you file a claim with the insurance company. After some investigation of the incident the company may extend a settlement offer. If the offer does not adequately compensate you for your damages you may send a counteroffer along with evidence and statements supporting your figure.
This may result in several rounds of offers and counteroffers. If you are able to come to a mutually agreeable figure you will waive your right to subsequent claims arising from the accident and receive your compensation. If no agreement can be reached you may need to file a case in civil court and pursue your claim through the court system.
What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in Wisconsin?
It would be great to be able to provide an accurate estimate of the amount of the settlement you will claim from your accident, but without details about your injuries, medical treatment, property damage, lost work, and pain and suffering it is almost impossible to guess. Other factors, such as the question of who was at fault and the amount of insurance coverage held by the responsible party can also significantly impact your ability to receive compensation as well as the amount ultimately settled upon. An attorney may be able to give you an individualized analysis of your likelihood of recovery and possible settlement amounts.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Wisconsin?
States require that potential litigants bring their lawsuits before the court within a particular time frame following the incident that created their cause of action. The laws creating these deadlines are referred to as "statutes of limitations." In Wisconsin lawsuits involving the damage or destruction of personal property must be commenced within six years of the accident, pursuant to Wisconsin Statutes, Section 893.52. An action to recover for personal injuries or wrongful death must be commenced within three years, pursuant to Wisconsin Statutes, Section 893.54.
Get Legal Help with the Car Accident Settlement Process in Wisconsin
After a car accident, you'd probably prefer to spend your time restoring your health and property rather than dealing with state agencies, insurers, and courts. To get some help and peace of mind, it's best to speak to a local car accident attorney who can guide you through the process and help ensure that you're fairly compensated for your damages.