After a car accident leaves a person injured in Wisconsin, the general response is to seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. However, when the driver that caused the accident is uninsured or underinsured, the situation can get more complicated.
You can still pursue a lawsuit against the other driver, but if they cannot pay out of pocket, you may not get all of the compensation you are owed. You may be able to look to your own insurer in these cases if your policy contains uninsured motorist accident injury coverage.
To discuss your case and recovery further with a seasoned Milwaukee car accident attorney, call Wruck Paupore today at (219) 322-1166 for a free initial case assessment.
In the immediate aftermath of a collision, you should make sure that you and everyone else are out of any immediate danger. The next step once you are safe is to call 911. This is particularly true in cases where at least one of the other parties involved in the accident may not be insured. Police officers who respond to the scene will take down the identities, license numbers, and insurance policy numbers. These details, as well as a summary of the accident and how it occurred, are then submitted into an official police report, which is a critical piece of documentation to have when dealing with insurance companies.
You should always call the police to report an accident, even if the other party tries to convince you that you can handle it amongst yourselves. This is because there is a chance that an uninsured or underinsured driver could try to flee the scene without providing their identity or insurance information. Under Wisconsin law, this is a hit-and-run, a felony offense that could result in prison time. However, the potential penalties do not stop this unfortunate scenario from playing out where the at-fault driver is concerned about the consequences or in such a panic that their instinct to run takes over.
Call 911 at the scene and describe the location, the other parties, and their vehicles to the emergency dispatcher to prevent this from happening. If they do try to run, the dispatcher will provide your details to police units in the surrounding area that can canvas the area and apprehend the fleeing party.
In Wisconsin, car accident compensation operates on an at-fault basis. This means that the party that was negligently responsible for causing the accident is the one that is responsible for paying for the harms that the other party or parties suffered. In most cases, the payment comes from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. However, this may be complicated if the at-fault driver does not have insurance coverage or if their coverage does not provide for the entirety of the damages.
In these cases, you still have the ability to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and recover compensation from them directly. However, you may find that many drivers who don’t have insurance also lack the financial ability to compensate you for your medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering as a result of your accident. Still, it is always worth talking through this option with a knowledgable Fort Wayne car accident attorney.
If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver who cannot afford to compensate you for your harms, you are not necessarily out of options. Even though Wisconsin operates on an at-fault car insurance basis, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company.
Every auto insurance policy in Wisconsin is required to have uninsured motorist coverage that can pay you if an uninsured driver negligently causes you injury. However, these plans may be clouded in fine print and confusing language. Our Hammond car accident lawyers have been dealing with interpreting auto insurance policy language for years and can help you understand your coverage and rights.
This is particularly important in these cases, as your car insurance company will not always approve your claim for uninsured motorist coverage. Many car insurance claims are denied every year. Some denials are issued for valid reasons, but some are made in error. Further, the insurance representative (also known as a “claims adjuster”) may issue a frivolous denial of a claim in hopes that the claimant will simply get discouraged and go away.
Suppose your insurance company issues a denial of your claim in bad faith. In that case, you could bring a lawsuit against the company to recover not just what you were originally owed in your claim but also additional punitive damages for the insurance company’s unfair behavior.
If you suspect that your uninsured accident claim may have been denied unfairly, it is important that you reach out to your Wisconsin car insurance attorney as soon as possible so that you avoid missing any deadlines that may apply to your denial appeals process.
Alternatively, your auto insurance company may not deny your claim outright, but it may offer you less than what you are entitled to on your claim. Particularly in cases of bodily injury, the amount of compensation that is owed is subjective, and the car insurance company wants to pay as little as possible. It is unlikely that a car accident victim has the background and experience to know the full value of their injury claim, and many insurer’s try to take advantage of this.
For this reason, it is important that an injury victim gets experienced legal advice so they can understand the full value of what their uninsured or underinsured motorist claim is worth.
If you have questions about recovering compensation after suffering car accident injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, call Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166 to get a free case assessment.
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Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.
More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.
In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.
Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.
For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.
Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.
Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.