What to do in Wisconsin if you are in a Car Accident

1. Stay at the accident scene.

Wisconsin law requires the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident which results in death, personal injury or property damage to stay at the scene until investigating authorities give permission to leave.

2. Help injured people.

Make an immediate check for injured people. Call 911 to request emergency help if it appears that someone is seriously injured.

Unless you are trained in providing emergency care, do not attempt to provide medical assistance. It is particularly important not to try to move injured persons, as movement can cause greater injury in some cases. The best help you can provide is to remain calm and make injured persons as comfortable as possible until trained help arrives.

3. Prevent further accidents.

It is important to warn other traffic that there has been an accident. At night, use any available flares, reflectors or flashlights to alert other traffic of the situation.

4. Call the police.

Wisconsin law requires that the local police department, sheriff’s department or highway patrol be immediately notified of any accident which causes personal injury, death or property damage of $1,000 or more. Failure to report an accident can result in the revocation of your drivers license.

It is not always possible to tell whether there have been personal injuries, since they may not show up until later. It is also not always possible to accurately estimate the amount of property damage. To be safe, notify the police for every accident and stay at the scene until they arrive unless emergency medical evaluation or treatment is required.

5. Cooperate with the officer.

Investigating officers are required to obtain identifying information for all persons involved in an auto accident and to investigate the circumstances of the accident. You should cooperate fully with the officer by identifying yourself and others for whom you may be responsible. You should describe what happened, but do not jump to conclusions about who was at fault and do not admit responsibility for the accident.

6. Exchange identifying information.

Wisconsin law requires that persons involved in an auto accident exchange name, address, and license plate number information. You should also ask to see a driver’s license and request the name of any insurance company. It is a good idea to keep a pencil and notepad in your vehicle for this purpose.

7. Get the name, phone number and address of any witness.

Witnesses to the accident may not stay until the police arrive. It is important that you obtain their name, address and phone number as soon as you can. They may provide important information about what happened at a later date.

8. Do not discuss the accident with others.

Although you should exchange identifying and insurance information, do not discuss the circumstances of the accident with anyone other than investigating officers. Statements made under these circumstances can sometimes be misunderstood as admissions of responsibility.

9. Report the accident to your insurance company or your insurance agent.

It is important to report any accident involving personal injury or property damage to your insurance company or your insurance agent. Promptly reporting an accident will insure that you do not lose valuable rights under your policy.

10. Get medical care and follow instructions on follow-up care.

If you have pain or don’t feel well following an accident, get a medical evaluation. For serious problems, get immediate attention at the emergency department of the nearest hospital. Follow the advice of health care providers concerning follow-up evaluations or care. Neglected injuries can be more difficult to treat effectively.

11. Get legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you decide whether and how to present a claim. It is best to consult with an attorney before discussing the accident with an opposing insurance representative. You should also be cautious about signing authorizations which permit an insurance company to get access to medical information, as you may be waiving valuable privileges concerning the confidentiality of health care records.