It happens to almost everyone eventually. You may have already found yourself motoring along on Interstate 94 when you had an accident. If you're riding in a Ram pickup, it can be hard to see a Prius humming along in your blind spot. For situations like these, you need to know the law as it relates to car accidents (see FindLaw's Car Accidents section for more articles and resources). Below you will find key information on what to do after a car accident in Milwaukee.
The Badger State has a set of laws designed to keep everyone informed and safe in the chaos that may follow a wreck. Here's a quick guide that gives you the basics of what you need to know.
Stop at or Near the Scene
Wisconsin law requires drivers to stop at or near the scene immediately after an accident. You should move your car so that you are blocking traffic only as much as may be necessary. Many attorneys advise to only move your car if it can be driven normally and safely. So if an icy road makes further movement unsafe, stay put. If there's a fire, ditch the vehicle and get away.
After a collision, each driver must provide his or her name, address, vehicle registration number, and insurance information. Give this information to any driver, passenger, or pedestrian that you struck. If any of these people ask to see your driver license, you are required to present it to them. If you happen to strike an unattended vehicle (like when you're trying to squeeze into a parking space at Miller Park), spend a few moments trying to find the owner. If you're unsuccessful, write your information down on a note and leave the note in a place where the owner of the vehicle is likely to find it.
If you were a driver in a collision that resulted in another person's physical injury, you must offer to take the injured person to receive medical attention or arrange for their medical assistance. Usually calling 9-1-1 and waiting with them for an ambulance will be enough.
Notify Law Enforcement
Immediately after a crash, notify your local law enforcement. In the City of Milwaukee, call the Milwaukee Police Department at (414) 933-4444. Otherwise, call the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office at (414) 278-4766 or the Wisconsin State Patrol's Waukesha Post at (262) 785-4700.
You May Have To Write a Report
Ordinarily a police officer will write a report after he/she is notified of an accident. If an officer is unable to write the report within 10 days of the crash, the drivers involved (or the owner) must submit a Driver Report of Accident to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Parents: if your child is unable to write an accident report, you — as owner of the vehicle — would have to submit the report.
Potential Civil Consequences
Wisconsin, like most other states, generally only holds drivers civilly responsible for car accidents when they are at fault. Do not admit fault after an accident; fault is an issue for car insurance companies, lawyers, and courts to resolve. You can recover for at least a portion of your injuries if you were not more at fault than another driver. If you were partially at fault, your potential claim for money damages will be reduced by that amount.
Potential Criminal Consequences
As you are going through the list of things to do after a car accident in Milwaukee, don't forget that some actions on the roadway can lead to criminal charges. The State hands out criminal consequences for some conduct that may lead to a car crash. This means that instead of simply being sued by another driver, you could be charged with a crime. If convicted, you may pay fines and or serve time in jail or on probation. For example, if you cause an injury to someone else in the course of reckless conduct, you may be charged with a felony. Individuals who have been convicted of multiple driving under the influence (DUI) offenses also may be charged for criminal conduct. Visit FindLaw for more information on Milwaukee criminal cases. Keep in mind, if you were in a car accident and you were accused of driving under the influence (DUI), you may be facing additional charges.
Have Specific Questions After Your Car Accident in Milwaukee? Ask a Lawyer
Car accidents can be scary, especially if you or your passenger suffer serious injuries. If you have questions about what to do after a car accident in Milwaukee, it's a good idea to speak with an experienced car accident attorney in Wisconsin.