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Is Wisconsin a No-Fault or an At-Fault State for Car Accidents?

If you’ve been hurt in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you may wonder whether you have the right to seek compensation. Under Wisconsin law, you do — when a car accident occurs, the driver who caused the collision can be held liable for any resulting injuries caused to the occupants of the vehicle they hit.

What Is the Difference Between No-Fault and At-Fault States?

In a no-fault state, it doesn’t matter who caused a car accident. All involved drivers must carry personal injury protection insurance and file claims with their own insurance companies to recover compensation for medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident.

Like most states, Wisconsin is an at-fault state. Drivers must carry liability insurance coverage, which protects them in the event they cause an accident and injure someone else. Similarly, if you’re hurt in a car accident someone else caused, you can pursue compensation by filing a third-party claim through their insurer.

Wisconsin drivers do have the option of purchasing personal injury protection coverage, but this is not required. Other first-party benefits may come from uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist policies, which activate in the event that an at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance to cover an accident. The former is a mandatory coverage while the latter is an optional add-on. Be aware that UM/UIM policies do not pay for your property damage, which would instead be covered by collision insurance, another optional addition.

How Do You Secure Compensation if You’re Hurt in a Car Accident?

In Wisconsin, you have two main options for pursuing compensation for car accident injuries.

The first is to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. An experienced car accident attorney should help you through this process to protect your rights. Insurance companies are not motivated by generosity but by profit — they won’t be eager to give you the amount you deserve and will likely make a lowball offer shortly after the accident. They’re counting on you being both underinformed and desperate. Your lawyer can help protect you from tactics like these.

If negotiations between your attorney and the insurance company don’t yield a fair settlement offer, your other option is to file a personal injury lawsuit and take the at-fault driver to court. Your lawyer will prepare for this possibility, but it’s worth noting that most car accident cases don’t end up in court. When faced with a knowledgeable lawyer who has prepared a strong case on their client’s behalf, insurers will likely continue to negotiate in pursuit of a settlement.

Can You Still Receive Compensation if You Were Partially at Fault?

Wisconsin has a comparative negligence law that allows drivers who are partially at fault to pursue compensation, provided they are no more than 50 percent at fault. Any compensation they receive is reduced by their percentage of fault. In other words, if you were 10 percent at fault, you’d be able to recover 90 percent of your compensable losses.

Contact a Wisconsin Car Accident Lawyer Today

At Atterbury, Kammer, & Haag, S.C., our attorneys have decades of experience holding at-fault drivers accountable for the injuries and other losses they cause. If you’ve been hurt in a car collision caused by someone else, you deserve compassionate and knowledgeable representation as you pursue justice. Contact us online today or call us at 608-821-4600 to learn more about your legal rights and options in a free consultation.

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Eric J. Haag

Wisconsin Personal Injury

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Alexander S. Kammer

Wisconsin Personal Injury

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