What If I Am in an Accident With an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?
All Wisconsin drivers must have proof of auto insurance policy coverage in case they are in an accident while driving or are pulled over for a traffic violation. If you are involved in a car accident, and another driver is at fault, his or her auto insurance should typically pay for any repairs to your car or any medical bills due to injuries suffered in the crash. However, sometimes the at-fault motorist does not have any insurance coverage, which means you would have to pay for those expenses yourself. This could be very costly, depending on the severity of the accident. Fortunately, your own insurance policy may provide you with coverage in these cases, but before accepting a settlement from an insurance policy, you should consult with an attorney.
Auto Insurance Coverage
It is important, before settling, to explore all potential sources of insurance. While a driver may have minimal or no liability insurance coverage, it the driver was operating a vehicle owned and insured by another person, as long as the driver was operating with the appropriate permission, the vehicle owner’s insurance company would cover the driver. If the driver was on the job, his or her employer and the employer’s insurance company would be responsible for the damages caused by the driver. If the driver was working in partnership with others, other members of the partnership, and their respective insurance companies, may also be liable. If, after exploring all possible options, there is no insurance, or the insurance is insufficient to cover all of the injured party’s damages, an injured party can look to his or her own insurance company for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage under your own insurance policy provides you with protection if you are in an accident with a driver who does not carry auto insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage applies when you are in an accident with a driver whose liability insurance coverage will not fully cover your medical expenses or damage to your vehicle.
If you have auto liability coverage as a Wisconsin driver, your policy must include these three things: bodily injury, property damage, and uninsured driver coverage. (The Wisconsin DMV requires all drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage as part of their policy.) This coverage must meet the following minimum requirements:
- Bodily Injury: Up to $25,000 per person injured, or $50,000 when two or more people are injured in a single accident.
- Property Damage: Up to $10,000 for another person’s property damage if you are at fault for an accident.
- Uninsured Motorists Bodily Injury: Up to $25,000 per person injured, or $50,000 if two or more people are injured in a single accident (for you and your passengers, or anyone covered under your policy).
Types of Injuries and Repairs
If you are in an accident, you might be tempted to accept the first settlement offered to you by an insurance company without questioning it. However, even with complete coverage in the event an uninsured driver injures you, insurance companies typically try to avoid paying out the full benefits. Therefore, you could be stuck with paying for a hospital stay or car repairs out of your own pocket.
Injuries from accidents can include everything from sprains and strains to lacerations, broken bones, internal injuries, brain damage, or paralysis. Accident injuries can result in claims for past and future wage loss and medical bills and pain, suffering and disability, both in the past and into the future. An injured party’s spouse may experience a loss of love and companionship because of his or her injured spouse’s injuries and limitations. Accidents resulting in the death of a loved one can include claims for conscious pain and suffering; last medical expenses; funeral and burial expenses; lost economic support; and loss of love, society, and companionship.
Damage to your vehicle may be minor, such as scratches or small dents on the bumpers or doors. However, if damage is so extensive that the car is considered “totaled,” you would need to buy a new vehicle. To ensure that all of the costs related to injuries and vehicle damage are covered by an insurance settlement, it is important to work with an attorney who can help determine the full extent of your damages and negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf.
Contact an Appleton Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are involved in a car accident in Wisconsin, and the other party is uninsured or underinsured, it is important to know your options for seeking compensation. Call 920-739-7366 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Green Bay car accident attorney at Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. Do not settle for less than you deserve from an insurance company.