Legal Question in Personal Injury in Wisconsin

Driver killed in his corvette rollover and passenger survived, she was wearing seatbelt. Drivers family wondering "to what extent can surviving passenger sue the deceased mans family"? His auto ins. Should cover her 4 day hospital stay, she was listed as fair condition. His paralyzed brother lives at the man's home, can they kick him out if she sues his estate?

Asked on 5/30/13, 8:29 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Michael End End, Hierseman & Crain, LLC

The injured passenger has the right to receive compensation for her injuries. That compensation would come from the driver's liability insurance coverage and, if necessary, from the passenger's underinsured motorist coverage. The insurance coverage may be adequate to pay for the passenger's injuries. After all of the automobile insurance coverage has been paid and if the injured passenger's injuries warrant further payment, she may sue the driver's probate estate, assuming the estate has assets. The injured passenger does not have a claim directly against the driver's famly members. They were not at fault in causing the passenger's injuries.

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Answered on 5/30/13, 8:37 pm
Jeffrey Pitman Pitman, Kyle, Sicula & Dentice, S.C.

If the deceased driver was negligent, the passenger may be able to bring a claim. Hopefully, the driver has insurance. Hopefully, the passenger had car insurance too, especially underinsured motorist coverage. I'd recommend the family and the passenger speak to an attorney to identify and understand their rights.

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Answered on 5/31/13, 6:44 am
Jonathan Safran Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C.

Based upon the facts presented, the passenger would usually be able to make a claim against the driverís insurance company and potentially the driverís estate, assuming that the driver was negligent in causing the vehicleís rollover accident. If there is not enough insurance on the vehicle and driver, then the passenger may be able to make additional claims if the passenger or others in the passengerís household had auto insurance with underinsured motorist coverage. If there is insufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate the passenger, she may be able to pursue a claim against the deceased driverís estate. The driverís family should probably consult with the driverís insurance company to determine insurance coverage limits and the extent of the passengerís injuries. The driverís family should also probably consult with an attorney to discuss how to handle what might need to be done to open and/or protect the driverís estate. The passenger should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss her potential rights and claims. Be aware that in Wisconsin there is a three year statute of limitations requiring the passenger to settle her claim for injuries or damages or commence a lawsuit within three years from the date of the accident.

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Answered on 5/31/13, 2:17 pm

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