Unlike Minnesota, Wisconsin is not a no-fault state. Instead, it operates under a tort system, which requires fault to be established after an accident. Insurance companies will use statements from those involved to assert a degree of liability to each party in the accident. Under the tort system, the amount of potential settlement is directly affected by the level of fault each party bears.
Following a motor vehicle accident, representatives from each insurance company involved may try to contact you, both by phone and in writing. Do not provide a statement, whether written or verbal, without consulting an attorney first. Doing so could have an adverse impact on your case and any potential settlement you might receive. When you’ve been injured in an accident, the first thing many people do is contact their insurance company. By nature, and likely due to shaken nerves, people are inclined to offer not only their detailed perspective on what occurred, but through their state of shock, they may also provide details that are not fully accurate.
Instead, stick to the basics. Provide only the when, where, type of accident, vehicles involved and witness information, if any exists. They will likely ask about injuries as well. Again, stick to the basics. Do not go into detail, because the details may change. Often times, certain injuries can take days or weeks to fully present themselves following an accident. In addition, they could be masked by other, more prevalent injuries.
Once you’ve retained an attorney, you are not obligated to speak to the insurers without your attorney present, or without consulting your attorney first. In addition to asking for information about the accident and your injuries, they may try to entice you with a “quick” settlement. These are usually offered at a value far below what your claim might be worth, in order to save the insurer both time and money in the future. We advise against accepting any settlement offers or signing any forms from an insurance company without a full understanding of what you are signing. Once a release of claims is signed, in most cases you are unable to pursue any other sort of settlement, regardless of your injuries.
There are instances where you will be required to comply with the insurance company. Because personal injury cases can be tricky, we recommend consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney, who can help you better understand your rights. At Doar, Drill & Skow, we’ve been representing injured victims for over 130 years! Contact us today at 1-877-362-7529 (877-DOARLAW).