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Is Wisconsin a No-Fault State?

Originally posted September 3, 2022. Updated February 17, 2023.

Because auto insurance laws are determined by the states and not the federal government, some states operate on a “no-fault” mandate while others follow a tort liability mandate.

Wisconsin is not a no-fault insurance state. Instead, it relies on fault to determine liability and, ultimately, who can receive compensation after a crash.

Why Fault Matters in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is what’s called a “tort state.” That means that in the event of an accident, fault is attributed to one or more parties to determine who is responsible for paying the accident-related costs suffered by everyone involved.

So, if you’re hurt in a car accident and you need compensation to cover the costs of medical bills, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering, you’ll seek payment from the at-fault party.

In most cases, the insurance company of the at-fault driver ends up paying those costs.

Can More Than One Person Be Considered at Fault?

Yes, Wisconsin uses modified comparative negligence laws. Comparative negligence is when fault is attributed on a percentage basis. If two drivers are involved in a crash, both might share some degree of responsibility. Their percentage of fault determines how much they can receive in compensation.

For example, Driver A fails to come to a complete stop at a stop sign and is struck by Driver B as a result. However, responding police officers discover that Driver B was intoxicated, which means Driver B also contributed to the crash.

If Driver A is found to be 30% at fault for the crash, the amount of compensation they would receive is reduced by 30%.

If Driver B is deemed to be more than 50% at fault for the car accident, that driver will not be able to recover any damages, even if they were also injured in the crash.

What Are Wisconsin’s Car Insurance Requirements?

Wisconsin law requires all drivers to have liability insurance coverage, which provides compensation to others for property damage or bodily injury that you might accidentally cause while driving.

Wisconsin’s minimum liability coverage limits, as outlined by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, are as follows:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more people
  • $10,000 for property damage

While these are the minimum requirements, drivers should consider additional coverage for protection in the event of a serious accident.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage, for example, can protect drivers if they’re in an accident with a driver who has insufficient insurance to cover all the resulting damages. Comprehensive and Collision coverage provide compensation for damage to a driver’s own vehicle, regardless of who is at fault. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage provides compensation for medical expenses and lost wages for drivers and their passengers in the event of an accident, also regardless of who is at fault. All these are optional, but smart coverage options to purchase.

By understanding the car insurance requirements and options in Wisconsin and purchasing adequate insurance coverage, you can protect yourself and your assets in the event of an accident.

Building a Strong Injury Claim Is Important in Wisconsin

Because fault plays such an important role in injury and accident claims in Wisconsin, hiring a lawyer is often essential to receiving adequate compensation.

One of the key roles that attorneys play in auto accident cases is helping their clients mitigate the percentage of fault attributed to them. They also endeavor to find evidence that can help prove the other party bears a greater percentage of fault than their client.

The stronger a case the attorney can build, the better their client’s chances of getting the compensation they’ll need to pay accident-related costs.

If You Need Legal Help, Bank on Brian

Brian Hodgkiss has been helping injured Wisconsin residents for decades. He has the experience and legal knowledge to help clients get the payment they’re entitled to by law. If you need to speak to a car accident attorney in Green Bay or Appleton, contact Brian Hodgkiss today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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