Car accidents in Wisconsin are very common. On average, over 136,000 car crashes occur in Wisconsin every year. The outcomes of these accidents can range significantly.
No one expects to be involved in a car accident – and most occur in the blink of an eye.
The actions taken after the car accident (both immediately and in the subsequent weeks) are crucial in how the legal proceedings shake out. More importantly, it impacts the compensation for victims.
It’s important to know the procedure to follow after a collision – it’s even more important to understand the common mistakes that compromise car accident injury cases.
Keep in mind, insurance companies are obligated to minimize their payout after their client gets in an accident, by any means necessary. Even if the evidence clearly proves negligence by the at-fault party, earning fair compensation is not a walk in the park.
In this post, we want to explain seven crucial mistakes that can impact your compensation after a car accident in Wisconsin. Let’s get moving.
Per Wisconsin law, you are required to report a car accident to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation within 10 days. This would apply if the accident resulted in injuries, death, or property damages exceeding $1,000.
You can do this by contacting law enforcement – who will then file an official accident report. If the accident occurs in a municipality, it must be reported to the local police, while in other areas, it needs to be reported to the county sheriff or state patrol.
Failing to report the accident can have a few major implications. For one, you may have your license suspended. Second, it can leave you with little leverage if you choose to file a personal injury case later on. The police report plays a critical role in the legal proceedings after a car accident in Wisconsin.
It’s highly recommended to get a police report filed following the collision – even if it feels like a minor accident.
Admitting fault – in any form – after a car accident in Wisconsin can be detrimental to an injury claim.
It may limit or completely void your ability to receive compensation for damages. Fault – or liability – is the critical factor in insurance claims and car accident cases. If you admit blame, you essentially accept liability for the accident.
If this happens, your ability to win compensation for any injuries will be significantly harder. Under Wisconsin car accident laws, there is comparative negligence in car accidents. This refers to when both parties involved share some of the blame.
For example, let’s say Driver 1 ran a stop sign and t-boned Driver 2. However, Driver 2 was speeding and using their phone. Both drivers may be ruled partially responsible – Driver 1 could be 70% responsible and Driver 2 could be 30% responsible. This means if Driver 2 suffered 10,000 in damages, Driver 1 would likely have to pay $7,000.
Regardless of the circumstances, never admit any sort of fault after the accident. Even apologizing can imply this. We recommend limiting any conversation about the accident to avoid speculation.
When the authorities are called after a car accident in Wisconsin, a police officer, the fire department, and a medical team will arrive on the scene. Get examined by the medical team as soon as possible, regardless of whether or not you feel any pain.
Keep in mind, some injuries can take hours or days to show symptoms – such as spinal injury or brain injury. The medical staff is trained to identify these injuries in the early stages. Ignoring this crucial step in the process can impact your long-term health – and potentially your car accident claim.
The medical team’s assessment will be documented and used as evidence in the car accident lawsuit.
The more evidence you can gather about the car accident, the stronger your case will be.
The evidence from the car accident scene provides an objective record of what happened, helping to attribute liability and the extent of damage/injury.
When you gather evidence, try to capture photos or videos of:
If any witnesses saw the accident, their statements provide valuable third-party perspectives.
Unless you are seriously injured, do your best to gather as much information as you can. This information will be critical in the car accident injury claim – in addition to the police report, medical assessment, and other official records of the accident.
Wisconsin operates under a traditional tort system for car insurance, meaning the driver who causes the accident is responsible for paying the damages. After a car accident in Wisconsin, the parties involved are required to report the incident to their insurance companies as soon as possible.
Now, Wisconsin law doesn’t dictate a specific timeline to report an accident to insurance companies – but it is a condition of most policies. Check for this in your policy after the accident.
A delay in reporting could potentially result in the insurance company denying the car accident claim. Moreover, all reported evidence (including the insurance report) plays a significant role in the payout of a personal injury claim, making timely reporting a key factor.
Insurance companies have no intention of paying out fair settlements following a car accident in Wisconsin. These companies are obligated to protect their bottom line by any means necessary.
Negotiating with insurance companies for fair compensation to cover medical bills, lost income, property damage, etc. is the primary job of car accident injury attorneys – and the process can take years to be fairly resolved.
Insurance companies will commonly offer low settlements to resolve car accident cases quickly. More often than not, these settlements do not adequately compensate victims for car accident injuries – and the damages incurred.
We strongly recommend not accepting anything less than a fair settlement. The last thing you want is to pay for your own medical costs and other expenses incurred due to someone else’s negligence.
Your best move is to hire an experienced car accident injury attorney. They will advise you on the settlement amount you deserve – not a penny less. It’s important to accept that car accident injury lawsuits take time to be resolved. Be patient and wait for a fair settlement.
The importance of hiring a skilled car accident lawyer is THE most important factor in the compensation you receive. Trying to negotiate without one will almost certainly result in a lowball settlement – if anything at all.
Insurance companies have many different tactics to avoid payouts. If you don’t know how the system works, your chances of receiving fair compensation are extremely low. Car accident attorneys are trained to read through all the fine print of insurance policies and counter the negotiation tactics of these companies – and fight for a rightful settlement.
Neglecting to hire legal counsel is the most detrimental mistake you can make after a car accident in Wisconsin.
Keep in mind, injury attorneys usually work on a contingency fee agreement. This means they make their fees in the form of a percentage of the total settlement AFTER they win the case. You pay nothing out of pocket to hire them.
Avoiding mistakes after a car accident in Wisconsin is just as important as following the proper protocol.
Even if you made a mistake in the immediate shock after the collision, there are plenty of things to do in the coming weeks that can either help or hurt your case.
At Mahony Law, we represent victims of car accidents in Wisconsin and help them recover rightful compensation. If you’re facing damages (physical, mental, and/or financial) after an accident, it’s imperative that you speak with a car accident attorney as soon as possible. We offer FREE consultations to understand the nature of your accident, the car accident injuries incurred, and the path to seeking justice. Get in touch with our office today by calling 262-331-3553, sending an email to email@example.com, or filling out an online form to get started.
Abby is the founder of Mahony Law and devotes her time to representing people who have been seriously hurt due to the negligence of others. Abby has handled injury cases of all types, including birth injury, wrongful death, automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and truck accidents.
Copyright © 2023 Regulations. All rights reserved.
Website Designed & Developed by E2M