What Are Wisconsin’s Hit-and-Run Laws?
In a typical car accident case, all parties involved must remain at the scene, share contact details, contact the police, and obtain the information necessary to file a claim against the at-fault party. However, if the at-fault party flees the scene before you can identify them, it becomes a hit-and-run case.
Learn everything you need to know about hit-and-run cases in Wisconsin, and find out what you can do to win compensation if you sustained injuries or property damage in a hit-and-run accident, by reading on.
The legal definition of a hit-and-run varies from state to state. In most jurisdictions, all drivers have a legal requirement to stop the vehicle after an accident; failure to do so is a crime, commonly referred to as a hit-and-run.
In Wisconsin, the statutes governing driver duties following an accident are Wisconsin Statutes 346.66 through 346.69.
According to Wisconsin Statute 346.67(1), all drivers involved in an accident must stop their vehicles as soon as it’s safe and possible. They should remain at the scene to fulfill a number of obligations:
- Personal details (name and address at the minimum)
- Vehicle registration number
- Reasonable aid and assistance to any injured parties (transportation to a local physician), including fatally injured parties (as per State v. Swatek)
Per Statute 346.70, if the total damage caused in an accident appears to exceed $1,000, all parties involved must call 911 or contact local law enforcement as soon as possible.
If you sustained injuries in an accident and the responsible party has fled the scene, you can still take action, even if you can’t identify the driver. Here are three critical things you should do as soon as possible.
- Notify law enforcement ASAP: Call 911 and wait for them to arrive. Once the responding officers are on the scene, provide them with as much information as possible. Police may investigate the scene, examine the extent of the damage to your car, collect eyewitness reports and any other information relevant to the case. They can also help you ensure you receive medical attention.
- Contact your insurance company: After notifying local law enforcement, you must report the accident to your insurance company. Automobile insurance is a legal requirement for all drivers in Wisconsin. State law requires all car insurance policies to include uninsured motorist (UM) coverage with a minimum limit of $25,000 per person for bodily injury. UM coverage applies if the at-fault party is uninsured or impossible to identify, such as in hit-and-run cases. However, the legal minimums for UM policies won’t cover property damage to your vehicle. If you need more comprehensive coverage in case of a hit-and-run accident, it is recommended to change or update your insurance policy.
- Call a car accident attorney: Once you have notified local authorities and your insurance company, you should contact an experienced Green Bay hit-and-run injury lawyer. We have the knowledge to help you obtain the personal and financial compensation you need, even if the at-fault party fled the scene following the accident. The role of a hit-and-run injury lawyer is to represent you in front of an insurance company and, if necessary, a court of law. Insurers are less likely to go to trial and more amenable to offering fair compensation if a skilled lawyer represents you.
Once you have fulfilled your obligations at the scene of an accident, you should be free to leave. However, here are a few additional tips you should consider doing before you go to ensure the success of your lawsuit.
- Get medical help: Seek medical treatment for your injuries as soon as possible, no matter how minor they might seem. Not only can seemingly minor symptoms such as shoulder pain hide potentially severe injuries, but you will be able to demand compensation for your medical expenses if you can prove you received medical attention immediately after the accident.
- Document the scene: Take pictures or videos and document the extent of your car’s damage, your injuries, and the accident site. If possible, obtain contact information from eyewitnesses and request surveillance footage from local businesses.
- Avoid oversharing: Do not share information about the case on social media, and avoid posting public updates on your profile. The opposing party’s insurers may be looking at your social media pages, and they may use your posts as evidence that your pain and injuries aren’t as severe as you claim.
If you or a loved one were injured in a hit-and-run car accident, you can bank on Brian! Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers is a team of experienced personal injury lawyers based in the Appleton and Green Bay areas. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case review.