Wisconsin law makes it a crime to leave the scene after being involved in a car accident. Anyone who leaves the scene of an accident that resulted in an injury could face jail time, a fine, and a civil personal injury lawsuit.
What Does a Wisconsin Driver Have to Do After a Crash?
According to Wisconsin law, all drivers must:
- Stop their vehicle after a collision
- Provide their name, address, and registration to other drivers involved in the crash and any passengers who ask for it. If someone else involved in the crash requests to see a driver's license, the driver must also show it to the requesting party. If the collision happened with an unattended vehicle or piece of property, then the driver should take steps to find the owner. If the owner can't be located, then the driver should leave a written note with contact information for the property owner.
- Provide reasonable assistance to anyone who is hurt. Reasonable assistance does not necessarily involve direct contact but may involve calling an ambulance.
- Report the accident to the police.
The failure to take these steps could result in hit and run criminal charges.
Wisconsin Hit and Run Criminal Penalties
Drivers are legally required to stop after an accident that causes property damage, personal injury, or both property damage and injuries. Failing to stop could lead to serious criminal consequences, including:
- Misdemeanor charges if the driver leaves the scene of a crash that did not result in any injuries. The potential penalties for a misdemeanor charge include up to six months of jail time and fines ranging from $300 to $1,000.
- Class A misdemeanor charges if the crash caused minor injuries. In these cases, the potential penalties increase to up to nine months in jail and fines of up to $10,000.
- Felony charges if the accident caused anyone to suffer "great bodily harm." If someone was seriously hurt, the driver who left the crash scene could face up to 15 years in jail and a $50,000 fine.
- Felony charges if the crash caused someone's death. After a fatal hit and run, the driver who fled the accident scene could face up to 25 years in jail and a fine of up to $100,000.
These laws may cause people to think twice before leaving the scene of an accident. However, they do not prevent all hit and run accidents, and they do not compensate the victims who are hurt after another driver fails to stop and take responsibility after a crash.
Wisconsin Hit and Run Personal Injury Lawsuits
Your recovery starts at the scene of the crash and continues until you have reached the maximum possible physical and financial recovery. To protect these recoveries, you should:
- Call the police. The police will come to the scene of the crash and investigate what happened. They may be able to find the driver who left the scene of the crash based on any damage that was done to your car, your description of the vehicle, or the descriptions provided by eyewitnesses. Additionally, the police will ensure that you get any necessary emergency medical attention for your accident injuries.
- Call your insurance company. You need to report the accident to your own insurance company. Even if the police can't find the other driver, you may still have the right to make a financial recovery for your injuries. In Wisconsin, uninsured motorist coverage is a mandatory part of car insurance policies. The minimum amount of uninsured motorist coverage that you must have is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury coverage. At the time that you purchased your car insurance policy, you may have elected additional coverage that could provide you with more significant benefits if you are badly hurt in a hit and run crash. When you make an insurance claim pursuant to the uninsured motorist coverage provisions in your car insurance policy, your own insurance company becomes like an adversarial party. All of a sudden, the company that you pay to insure you wants to pay you as little as possible for your recovery.
- Call a Wisconsin car accident attorney. As is the case after any car crash involving an injury, you may benefit from working with an experienced car accident lawyer. Our Wisconsin injury lawyers have recovered more than $1 billion for our clients. Insurance companies know that we mean business and that we are not afraid to go to trial. This makes most insurers more likely to engage in meaningful settlement negotiations to avoid a costly trial. After a hit and run accident injury, our lawyers can represent you before your own insurance company to help you get the full and fair recovery for past and future medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, physical pain, and emotional suffering.
If you are unable to make these calls yourself, then it is important to have a loved one make them for you. Otherwise, you may miss the opportunity to gather necessary evidence, or you may miss important deadlines. Your ability to recover damages from the other driver or an insurance company may be compromised and you may remain responsible for all of your medical bills, lost income, and other expenses. Don't let this happen to you. Instead, make the right phone calls and take steps to protect yourself after someone else leaves you injured.
If you have been injured in a Wisconsin hit and run car accident, contact the experienced car accident lawyers of Hupy and Abraham to schedule a free consultation. We also invite you to download your free copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Auto Accident Victims, today.