This orginally appeared as an expert article featured on OnMilwaukee.com.
With the busy holiday season and through the weeks that follow, many people will be traversing the city by foot and bicycle taking in the local events and shopping for loved ones. But with imminent snow banks in our future and reduced visibility on street corners, collisions between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles are a real possibility.
If you are a pedestrian or cyclist struck by a motor vehicle, what do you do?
If you are involved in an accident as a pedestrian or a cyclist as a result of negligence or carelessness on the part of some motorist, you have several claim options and there is one key takeaway you should know.
- A Driver Can Be Responsible. First, if a careless driver stops and gives assistance, as drivers are supposed to do, and that driver has car insurance, then you have a potential claim against the driver and the insurance company.
- A Vehicle Owner Can Be Responsible. If the driver is using someone else’s vehicle, and the driver does not have insurance, the vehicle may have insurance that covers the driver. The police report typically lists the vehicle owner, as well as the driver, so a phone call or letter to the owner should always be done if the accident report lists the driver as having no insurance.
- Revocation Of License and Registration Can Occur. If a driver is not insured, and the vehicle is not insured, the state of Wisconsin can revoke the license of the driver, and also revoke the vehicle registration of the owner. It is in the best interest of the owner to disclose insurance if it is available, as they will not be able to register a vehicle until they settle up on any outstanding accidents.
If you are in a vehicle accident where neither the driver nor the owner has insurance, the Division of Motor Vehicles web site has forms that you can complete to have the license and registration of the involved parties suspended. Visit: http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/license-drvs/rcd-crsh-rpt/srlaw.aspx to learn more. Known as the Wisconsin Safety Responsibility law, this provides consequences to people who do not have insurance, as well as people concerned that their rates will increase if an at-fault accident occurs.
Consider Your Own Uninsured Motorist Insurance or Family Insurance
If the at-fault driver or vehicle owner does not have insurance, you probably have an uninsured motorist claim against your own insurer. This is the case even if you were walking, on a bike, a skateboard, in line skates or even a pogostick — if you were injured by a carelessly driven vehicle you probably have an uninsured motorist claim.
If you do not have car insurance, you may be covered under a family members policy, for uninsured motorists. This gets a bit complicated, but if you live at home, and a relative has car insurance, and you do not own a car, you can typically receive uninsured motorist coverage under that relative’s policy. That would include damages for wage loss, medical expenses, pain and suffering and any disability.
People do not realize the broad scope of uninsured motorist coverage, but it protects you, pretty much at all times and all places, if you are injured by a careless person driving a motor vehicle.
Do you have any questions about a pedestrian or cyclist accident? Let us know in the comments!
At Murphy & Prachthauser we practice personal injury law the way it should be practiced – motivated and equipped to do our best for you. We take pride in being good lawyers who help people.
If you have a car accident case you would like to speak to a lawyer about, please contact us to schedule a free consultation and get an experienced team working on your behalf.