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What Happens if You’re in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?

February 14, 2019 |

Car accidents are stressful under any circumstances. However, when the driver who hits you has failed to maintain insurance, things suddenly become even more complicated. Will you be responsible for your property damage? What about any medical bills? Is there something you can do to minimize your losses in an uninsured driver situation? Do you need a Wisconsin car accident lawyer?

What Are the Minimum Insurance Requirements in Wisconsin?

Like most states, Wisconsin maintains minimum insurance requirements for drivers within the state. The minimum requirements mandate that every driver hold liability insurance, which covers other motorists, their passengers, their property and passengers within the driver’s car in the event that the driver causes an accident. Insurance covers damages up to the policy limit, often the minimum set by the state.

The state holds that drivers purchase the following minimum liability coverage.

  • $25,000 minimum liability coverage for injury or death of one person
  • $50,000 total minimum liability coverage for injury or death of two or more people
  • $10,000 minimum liability coverage for property damage

If a driver causes an accident resulting in more than the amount of their liability insurance, the driver is responsible for compensating the other parties beyond the limit.

Penalties for failing to purchase auto insurance in Wisconsin result in a fine of up to $500. However, the fines do not protect you if an uninsured motorist causes an accident that leaves you injured or with car repairs.

Uninsured Motorist Insurance

In addition to the minimum liability insurance, Wisconsin also requires that motorists hold uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 for a single person and $50,000 for injuries to two or more people. You can purchase additional coverage but your uninsured motorist coverage typically cannot exceed the amount of your liability insurance.

Uninsured motorist insurance exists to protect you in the event that an uninsured driver causes an accident resulting in injuries or property damages. If the uninsured driver is at fault, your uninsured motorist insurance will kick in to cover your medical bills and property damage. However, if the amount of your damages exceeds the amount of your expenses, a portion of your losses will go uncompensated.

What if My Damages Exceed My Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

If you have chosen to purchase collision coverage for your vehicle, it may cover your property damages, freeing up more uninsured motorist coverage to apply to your medical bills. However, if you have exhausted your insurance coverage, you may need to use your own personal health insurance to cover your medical bills. In this case, it may be best to pursue a personal injury case against the other driver.

Wisconsin is an at-fault, or tort, state, meaning that a driver who the courts determine to be at fault in a car accident must compensate the injured parties for their damages. Typically, the at fault driver may compensate your medical bills, property damage, physical pain and suffering, and lost wages, as well as any emotional pain and suffering as a result of the accident. However, an uninsured motorist does not have the proper insurance to provide compensation easily.

If the driver has sufficient assets and you are able to prove they were at fault, you may be successful in an attempt to sue for damages not covered by your insurance. However, a driver without assets will not be able to compensate you for your losses even if the courts determine them to be at fault.

What Should You Do?

If an uninsured motorist causes an accident that damages your property or leaves you injured, contact your insurance company to find out how your uninsured motorist and any collision insurance apply. Your next step should be to speak with a car accident personal injury lawyer to determine if legal action against the other driver would prove beneficial. Often, personal injury lawyers provide no-cost consultations.

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