What if a Friend or Family Member Caused My Accident?
Car accidents are stressful. Involved parties can be left with significant property damage, medical bills, and other losses. Moreover, impacted parties may seek compensation by filing a legal claim for personal injury against the individual responsible for the accident. Yet the situation following a car accident can become significantly more complicated when the accident is caused by a family member, friend or neighbor. If this happens, you may be reluctant to file a lawsuit due to the potential damage it may cause to your relationship or neighborhood politics. Too many people fail to consult with an attorney—or ever try to recover for their losses—when accidents involve family or friends. However, it is important to note that Wisconsin does have a law which provides a solution for injured parties in these scenarios.
Wisconsin's Direct Action Statute
In many states, you must sue the responsible party in order to recover for your losses. The “direct action” statute in Wisconsin, however, allows injured parties to file a legal claim directly against the insurance company of the responsible party without even naming the individual as a party to the lawsuit. Hence, you do not have to sue a family, friend, or neighbor in order to obtain the compensation you deserve.
The direct action statute even works for spouses. For example, if your spouse was following you and crashed into the back of your vehicle, you may quickly amass extensive medical bills for your necessary treatment and may have costly vehicle repair expenses. Individuals may believe that they are out of luck in receiving any compensation because the liable party was their spouse. The direct action statute allows you to file a claim against your insurance company without having to sue your spouse.
Even if you are involved in an accident caused by a stranger, a direct action may be filed in addition to a claim against the negligent party themselves. This can be an effective tool for making sure you are able to fully recover for all of your losses. An experienced Wisconsin attorney who has a thorough understanding of all applicable personal injury laws in our state can evaluate your situation and advise you on whether or not a direct action claim is an appropriate option for you. Just remember that you should not automatically assume responsibility for all of your losses simply because you felt reservations about filing a lawsuit against the other driver.
Call an Experienced Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
No matter who caused your car accident, you should never hesitate to discuss your situation with an experienced Green Bay personal injury lawyer or Appleton personal injury lawyer who can advise you of your legal rights and best course of action. At Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd., our attorneys understand how to apply Wisconsin law to ensure the best possible outcome in your case. We offer free consultations at our offices in Appleton, New London, Green Bay, and Oshkosh, so please call today at 920-739-7366 for assistance.