When you are involved in a car crash in Wisconsin, you will face a variety of expenses and losses. You may need car repair or replacement and medical treatment. You may also be out of work for several weeks or permanently. This is where auto insurance comes into play.
To cover your expenses and losses, you can turn to the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage. In some cases, you can turn to your own policy. Unfortunately, the process of making these claims is rarely simple. It can be hard to understand how auto insurance works. It can be even more difficult to deal with claims adjusters. They are more concerned about protecting their company’s profits than with your rights. This is why it is important to consult an attorney.
Will Techmeier of Techmeier Law Firm, has years of experience with handling car accident insurance claims in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin. In every case, our goal is to secure a full, fair and timely settlement of our client’s claim – or else we will go to court for them.
If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident, call us today or complete our online form to schedule a free review of the insurance issues in your case by a lawyer from our firm.
To help you get started in understanding your situation, the following is general information about auto insurance coverage in Wisconsin car accident cases.
Required Auto Insurance Coverage
If you operate a motor vehicle in Wisconsin, state law requires that you have an auto insurance policy that provides three types of coverage:
- Bodily injury liability coverage
- Property damage liability coverage
- Uninsured motorist coverage
The first two types – bodily injury and property damage – pay for damages that arise from a car accident that the insurance policyholder causes (or the policyholder’s family members or anyone driving their car with their consent). This is why it is called liability insurance coverage.
So, if you are the victim of an accident that was caused by another driver, Techmeier Law Firm would seek payment for your bodily injury and property losses by filing a claim with that driver’s liability insurance provider.
Wisconsin law requires that drivers carry minimum amounts of this liability coverage. If the driver purchased or renewed the policy on or after November 1, 2011, the minimum limits are:
- $25,000 for the injury or death of one person
- $50,000 for the injury or death of two or more people
- $10,000 for property damage.
This means that the liability coverage will pay up to $25,000 in medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses that are incurred if the injury or death of one person was caused by the accident (or up to $50,000 if two or more people are injured or killed).
It also means that the driver’s insurance will pay up to $10,000 for the repair or replacement of the accident victim’s car. (In cases in which the repairs will be more than what the car is worth, the insurance adjuster will deem the car to be “totaled” and pay for the replacement.)
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is different. This is insurance coverage that you purchase to cover yourself, your family and passengers in your car when you are hit by a driver who has no auto insurance or if you are injured as a motorist or pedestrian in a hit-and-run accident. If a UM claim arises in your case, Techmeier Law Firm would help you by filing a claim with your own auto insurance provider.
This type of insurance covers only bodily injury and does not cover vehicle damage. By law, you are required to carry certain minimum amounts of UM coverage:
- $25,000 for the injury or death of one person
- $50,000 for the injury or death of two or more persons.
At Techmeier Law Firm, we suggest purchasing bodily injury liability, property damage liability and uninsured motorist coverage above the minimum limits if your budget allows you to do so. Keep in mind that liability coverage will protect your assets if you cause an accident, while UM insurance will cover your losses if you are the victim of an uninsured or hit-and-run driver.
Optional Auto Insurance Coverage
Many Wisconsin car accident victims that we have worked with at Techmeier Law Firm have carried types of insurance coverage that are not required by law. These types include:
- Underinsured motorist (UIM) – When your bodily injury damages are greater than what is covered by the at-fault driver’s liability coverage, UIM pays the difference up to the amount of UIM coverage you have purchased. Like UM, this is a claim filed with your own insurance provider.
This type of coverage was once required by law in Wisconsin. Today, your insurer provider must only notify you of the availability of this coverage. You can choose to purchase or reject it.Will Techmeier of Techmeier Law Firm suggests that you purchase it in order to give added protection to you and your loved ones.
- Medical payments – Like UIM, this coverage must be offered by the insurance company, but it can be rejected. If you purchase it, this coverage will pay for medical or funeral expenses for you or anyone who was riding in your car at the time of crash. The current minimum limit that must be offered is $1,000.
- Collision – This is optional coverage that will pay for any damage to your vehicle that is caused by a collision with another car or object.
- Comprehensive – This is another type of optional coverage that will pay for vehicle damage caused by fire, flood, theft, vandalism or hitting an animal such as a deer.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. It helps their bottom line to pay as little as they can in an accident settlement, and to do so as quickly as they can so they can move on to the next case.
This is why you should never accept an insurance settlement or sign anything offered by an insurance carrier after an accident without first consulting with an attorney.
Handling a car accident claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your own insurer is rarely simple. To arrive at a full and fair settlement of a claim requires filing the proper paperwork and documentation of your losses, and it often results only after extensive investigation and negotiations with the insurance company.
Let a Wisconsin Car Accident Lawyer Help with your Insurance Issues
If you have been in a car accident in Milwaukee or elsewhere in Wisconsin, Techmeier Law Firm can help you handle your insurance claim. Our lawyers can:
- Investigate your accident through police records, witness interviews and accident reconstruction to determine what really happened.
- Consult with medical experts about your injuries to determine the full extent of your medical expenses, including continuing expenses and your loss of income if you’ve suffered a long-term injury or disability.
- Show an insurance carrier the true circumstances of the accident and your losses and negotiate a proper settlement. (Insurance companies that are still reluctant will quickly learn that we are ready to present a solid case in court.)
Simply call us today or submit our online form. We can provide a free consultation and get started on your case.