Wisconsin Crashes

Although our practice is based in Minnesota, we have experienced trial attorneys who are also licensed in Wisconsin that can help you. Many of the basic aspects of personal injury or Wrongful Death claims, arising out of Auto Accidents, Medical Malpractice, or from Defective Products are the same in Minnesota and Wisconsin. However, there are a few differences in law, which are highlighted below.

If you, or a loved one, have been injured in a Wisconsin accident, then please contact one of our experienced attorneys.

Auto Insurance

In Wisconsin, auto insurance is not mandatory, like it is in many other states, including Minnesota. For that reason, many Wisconsin residents do not carry auto insurance. However, if you are involved in a collision in Wisconsin and you do not carry insurance on your car, you can lose your right to register and license your car. Therefore, we strongly encourage everyone to buy auto insurance in Wisconsin. Here’s how the system works:

If you are uninsured and are involved in a crash in Wisconsin, the State of Wisconsin will require that you pay to the State a money bond equal to the amount of damages claimed by the other person(s) involved. For example, a person can claim damages for car repairs, medical bills, wage loss, and pain and suffering. This could easily add up to tens of thousands of dollars or more.

If you can post bond for the claimed amount, the State will hold your money until issues of liability ad amount of damages are resolved at trial. Once the trial is over, the State would then pay the injured party any awarded to them out of the money bond you posted, if any. If the injured party were not awarded any damages at trial, the money bond you posted with the State would be returned to you.

Unfortunately, most people cannot afford to pay the necessary money bond to the State. If you cannot post a money bond equal to the amount of damages claimed by the other party, you will lose your right to register and license your car. Therefore, we strongly recommend to everyone in Wisconsin to buy auto insurance for your protection.

No-Fault Insurance

Wisconsin is not a no-fault state. Therefore, if you live in Wisconsin, have Wisconsin auto insurance, and are injured in a crash in Wisconsin, your own insurance will not pay your medical bills and wage loss up front, like in a no-fault state such as Minnesota. Instead you must wait to collect for your medical bills and wage loss from the at-fault driver when you reach a settlement or from a verdict after a jury trial. Because most personal injury cases take between 1-3 years to resolve, this can present a significant financial burden on the injured party.

For that reason, when buying auto insurance in Wisconsin, make sure that it includes med-pay coverage to pay your medical bills if you are hurt in an accident. Ask your insurance agent how much coverage is included in your policy and how much you can buy. Buy as much coverage as you can reasonably afford.

Direct Action

In Wisconsin, an injured party may include as a named defendant in a lawsuit, the insurance company for the person who caused the accident. In addition, the jury can be told what amount of insurance coverage the defendant carries. This rule allows a jury to better understand who really pays the damages they award at trial.

This differs from the rule in many other states, including Minnesota, where a jury is not informed of any insurance that may be available to pay the award. We believe the Wisconsin rule is the better rule of law because it does not hide the truth about insurance from the jury.

Dram Shop/Liquor Liability

In many states, including Minnesota, it is illegal to sell alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person. Wisconsin does not have a “dram shop” law. A “dram shop” law holds a bar or liquor store that sells alcohol to a person who is obviously intoxicated, and who then causes an accident, partially responsible to an innocent victim. It does not, however, relieve the drunk driver of their responsibility for causing the accident.

Wisconsin is one of the few states without a dram shop law. As a result, liquor vendors, including bars and liquor stores, cannot be held liable for damages to an innocent victim struck by a drunk driver. This puts Wisconsin residents in more danger on their roads. A “dram shop” law discourages bars from over-serving customers and, therefore, reduces the number of intoxicated drivers on the roads.

Another consequence of having no “dram shop” law is it leaves many seriously injured persons uncompensated for their injuries. This is because many times the drunk driver has little or no insurance and, therefore, is unable to fully compensate the innocent victim for their injuries.

In contrast, in states with a dram shop law, innocent victims, seriously injured or killed by drunk drivers, are more likely to be fully compensated. In those cases where the drunk driver was illegally served alcohol by a bar, the innocent victim can be fully compensated for their injuries.

Contact Us

For more information on Wisconsin crashes and a free consultation with our experienced and professional staff, call Walker Law Office, P.A. at (612) 821-0094, (214) 550-3333 or email walker@walkerjustice.com.