Legal Question in Personal Injury in Wisconsin

I had a car that I had just purchased for my son and his friend was driving the car home from where we purchased it and my son was a passenger. They were involved in an accident because the friend was driving too fast for conditions. They spun out and hit the guard rail on the free way. No other vehicles were involved. I only had liability insurance on the car. My insurance company offered to pay all the medical bills plus are offering $500.00 for my son's inconvenience due to the fact that neither my son or I were driving the car. I'm not sure if this is a fair amount. Am I able to negotiate more?

Asked on 12/20/10, 5:39 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

JAY Nixon nixon law offices

While a driver is always legally responsible for injuries to his passengers due to his negligent driving, the liability scenario becomes more unclear if the driver has no insurance of his own. Since you are apparently negotiating with your own insurance company, my guess is that the driver did not have his own insurance, meaning that this offer may be based upon your uninsured motorist coverage. In Wisconsin, auto liability insurance policies are now required to carry uninsured motorist limits which could be a minimum of $50,000. You therefore would have a right to sue or arbitrate with your insurer if you can prove that your damages were, in reality, more than the $500 which they have offered you. In such a claim, you are entitled to claim pain and suffering in addition to your actual medical bills, lost wages, or future disability due to the accident. Since I know nothing of those damages in your case, I could not even take a guess about whether or not $500 is a fair offer. While you always have the right to "negotiate," the insurer always has the right to say no and require you to sue them, which can be very slow and expensive process. You therefore need to retain the services of an experienced lawyer as soon as possible if you want to pursue more than the $500 (plus medical bills) offer. My comments in this public web forum are intended only for public educational purposes and not as legal advice for you. You therefore should retain your own attorney as soon as possible, since time limits can apply to many different types of legal matter which could damage your case if they expire without receiving proper attention in a timely fashion. However, you are welcome to contact me at my office in Racine if you wish to retain me for a higher level of assistance.

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Answered on 12/25/10, 6:27 am

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