Godfrey, Leibsle, Blackbourn & Howarth, S.C.
Godfrey, Leibsle, Blackbourn & Howarth, S.C.

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Elkhorn, WI

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How to legally protect oneself after an accident

Car accidents are scary and stressful experiences. The shock of the collision can disorient even the most veteran driver and cause them to make mistakes.

Wisconsin law requires that accident reporting follow a specific protocol based on the seriousness of the crash. Understanding how to respond can make a huge difference to anyone suffering injuries and potential lawsuits.

5 steps to take following a traffic collision

Wisconsin drivers can follow these steps to process a car accident safely, responsibly and with as much legal protection as possible:

  1. Stay at the scene of the accident: Drivers should not leave the scene of the accident until instructed by authorities or in agreement with other drivers. Leaving early without properly assessing the accident may result in a hit and run charge.
  2. Check drivers and passengers for injuries: Right after a crash, drivers must check themselves and the occupants of their car for injury. Drivers must report any crashes involving injury to the authorities. If possible, individuals can help the injured until an ambulance arrives.
  3. Collect information from other drivers: To report the accident to the authorities and insurance companies, drivers must exchange their names, driver’s license numbers, vehicle identification numbers (VIN), contact information, and insurance policy information.
  4. Record all relevant information: Thanks to cellphones, most people can take pictures and videos of the accident. Insurance adjusters and investigators alike can use this information to help assess damages and determine fault.
  5. Contact insurance company: Most insurance policies require that drivers report all accidents. Make sure to report all pertinent information so an insurance adjuster can begin their investigation immediately.

Wisconsin law requires drivers to report accidents that result in:

  • Injury
  • Death
  • $200 or more in damage to government property
  • $1,000 or more in damage to an individual’s property
  • A towed car
  • The death of wildlife

A lawyer can help

Drivers involved in a car accident have found success with a local attorney familiar with Wisconsin’s car accident laws. A lawyer can help work with authorities, navigate dense insurance paperwork and work out a settlement.

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