Wyoming Auto Accident Laws and Resources
What's In This Article
No one ever expects to get in an auto accident, but if it happens, it helps to be prepared. This page highlights important laws about auto accidents and personal injury cases in Wyoming. If you ever are in an accident in Wyoming, you’ll have more information about how to proceed in the aftermath with your insurance company, police, and more. Knowing Wyoming auto accident laws can help if you ever find yourself in the aftermath of a car crash.
If you have any questions about a Wyoming auto accident claim or lawsuit, you can locate an experienced Wyoming auto accident attorney through the attorney finder on Lawsuit Info Center.
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Auto Insurance Requirements in Wyoming
All vehicles driving on public roads in Wyoming must have a liability insurance policy with at least this much coverage:
- $25,000 liability insurance for bodily injury or death per person
- $50,000 liability insurance for bodily injury or death per accident
- $20,000 liability coverage for property damage
Liability insurance is required because it covers the medical costs, property damage, and lost wages for other drivers and passengers if you cause an accident. You should consider carrying more coverage if you have a lot of assets that can be attached in a lawsuit; if you cause an accident that is above the minimum coverage amounts, you could be responsible for the rest of the bill out of your pocket in a lawsuit.
Keep in mind that carrying only liability coverage doesn’t cover your vehicle’s damage; you need to carry comprehensive insurance to have your vehicle repaired.
It is not required to have uninsured or underinsured driver coverage in Wyoming, but it’s recommended. At least 20% of drivers drive without insurance illegally. If they cause an accident and don’t have insurance, you could need your own insurance to cover your losses. That’s why purchasing optional uninsured and underinsured coverage is so important.
This coverage also protects you in a hit and run accident, so it’s not coverage you should decline.
Another optional plan in Wyoming is medical payments coverage, which pays for medical expenses if you are hurt in a car accident, no matter who is at fault. This can be helpful of you don’t have health insurance or don’t want to tap your health insurance policy after a car accident.
Collision and comprehensive coverage is needed to repair your vehicle after an accident, but isn’t required, unless you are financing or leasing the vehicle.
Note that it is illegal to drive without auto insurance in Wyoming. If you are convicted of this misdemeanor, you can be put in jail for up to six months and fined up to $1500.
If you are in an accident with a Wyoming state employee, you can file a lawsuit against them, but the statute of limitations is only one year. Note that there is a damages cap of $250,000 for one person and $500,000 for one accident if the liable party is a government employee who caused the accident during their work.
How Fault Is Determined In Wyoming Auto Accidents
If you are hurt in a car accident in this state, you must prove that the other driver was at least 50% responsible to get a settlement for your damages. This is because Wyoming has a modified comparative negligence standard for determining fault in accidents.
This means each driver is allocated a percentage of fault for the accident, as determined by the insurance companies or the jury. For example, if you have $20,000 of damages and you are 50% responsible for the accident, your settlement or award would be $10,000.
If it is determined that you should receive a settlement or trial award, you can be compensated in Wyoming for:
- Lost wages
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Hospital bills
- Rental car
- Pain and suffering
Also, note that this is a ‘fault’ state, which means that the driver who caused the auto accident will use their auto insurance to pay for the other driver’s damages. In a no-fault state, each driver uses their own insurance to pay for their damages, regardless of who is at fault.
It’s important to understand that Wyoming is a fault state because:
- Auto insurance is usually cheaper in a fault state.
- Drivers can sue the other driver for almost any loss after a car accident, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical bills and lost earnings.
- You can get damage compensation if you are less than 50% responsible for the accident.
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Statute Of Limitations: Wyoming Auto Accident Laws
You have four years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit in Wyoming. However, while you should file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible, there is no time limit on when you should do this in Wyoming.
If your loved one died in an accident, you also have four years from the date of death to file a claim. You could be entitled to compensation for your mental anguish, your loved one’s pain and suffering when they passed away, current and future lost income, and loss of companionship.
It’s vital to have your case reviewed by a skilled Wyoming auto accident attorney as soon as you can; if you wait until a few weeks before the statute of limitations expires, you may find that few attorneys will take your case. Personal injury attorneys only are paid if they win you a settlement or verdict, so most experienced attorneys won’t take a financial risk on a case given to them at the last minute.
What To Do After A Wyoming Auto Accident
Wyoming state law requires drivers involved in an accident involving injury, death, or property damage to provide their contact information to other drivers involved in the accident.
The driver also must render assistance to anyone who is hurt in the accident, such as provide them with arrangements to see a doctor or go to the ER. You also should wait at the accident scene until the police arrive.
If the police do not come to the scene, remember to give the other involved drivers your contact and insurance information. Then, go to the nearest police station or state patrol office to report the accident if the accident involves injury, death or property damage of $1000 or more. . Even if it was a minor accident without injuries, it’s wise to report the accident and get a police report for your records.
If you hit an unattended car in Wyoming, you should stop right away. Try to find the owner of the vehicle, but if you can’t, you should leave a note on the windshield with your name and contact information. Failure to do so can result in your being charged with a misdemeanor.
Wyoming Auto Accident Settlement Taxes
Compensation for car accidents is usually not taxable in Wyoming, but there are several exceptions. It’s a good idea to have your case reviewed by a CPA if you aren’t sure which part of your settlement could be taxable by the state and federal governments.
First, your settlement funds for medical bills are not taxable, unless you deducted medical costs on your previous tax return. In that case, you need to pay taxes on what you deducted.
If you received compensation for lost income, you will probably need to pay state and federal taxes on that amount; the IRS assumes that this is ordinary income.
Also, money that you receive for pain and suffering is usually not taxable, as long as the money is for a physical injury. Money that is paid only for mental anguish is generally taxable.
Occasionally, an accident victim will receive punitive damages in a settlement or verdict award. This money is intended to punish the person at fault for especially reckless behavior. If you receive punitive damages, this money is always taxable at the state and federal levels.
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Additional Wyoming Auto Accident Laws
This state has an open container law that states you are not allowed to have an open alcoholic beverage within reach of the driver while the car is in motion on Wyoming roads.
You can keep an open container in the trunk or in the rear passenger area if the driver does not have access to it while driving, such as in a limousine.
It is illegal to drive while under the influence in this state, which means you have a BAC of .08% or higher. However, note that you still can be arrested for drunk driving with a lower BAC if the police officer believes you are intoxicated.
If you are in an accident with a drunk driver, it’s important to have an experienced attorney on your case; you could be entitled to more compensation because the responsible driver was intoxicated. Most insurance companies will come to a faster, fair settlement if their client was drunk.
If you are convicted of drunk driving, you can be required to pay for an ignition interlock device to be installed on your vehicle. This device requires you to blow into a straw-like attachment to ensure that you are not intoxicated before you drive. On the first offense, you may be required in Wyoming to have an ignition interlock device for at least a year.
If you receive a settlement or award because a Wyoming state employee injured you in a car accident, your award is limited to $250,000 per person or $500,000 per accident.
It’s vital to retain an attorney right away if you think you were injured by a state employee, as you usually only have one year to file a claim.
Wyoming Dram Shop Law
Wyoming has what is known as a modified Dram Shop Law. This means that a social host, bar, or nightclub who gives alcohol to intoxicated patrons can be found liable if those parties cause auto accidents later.
For example, if you have a graduation party in Wyoming at your home and serve alcohol, it’s important to watch for signs of intoxication in your guests. If someone is visibly drunk and you provide alcohol and they get in a car accident, you may be liable for their damages and injuries.
This law also states no one who gives alcohol legally to someone who gets in an accident later is liable for those damages or injuries. This means that if you give alcohol to the person and he or she is not obviously intoxicated, you have liability if they get in a car accident when under the influence.
However, if you give alcohol to a minor who gets in a car accident, you would be liable for any injuries and damages. It is illegal to provide alcohol to anyone in Wyoming who is under 21.
If your case involves the Dram Shop law as either the plaintiff or defendant, you will want to have a car accident attorney representing you. These are complex cases and often involve commercial establishments with large insurance policies and corporate legal departments, so you’ll need to have a skilled attorney at your side.
Get Legal Help With Wyoming Auto Accident Laws
It is understanding that after a car accident you may have a lot of concerns. Having knowledge of your rights and how to proceed with seeking compensation is a good start to have. But you likely have more questions and want to discuss the specifics of your case. Lawsuit Info Center can help.
Once all of the reports are filed, your injuries are tended to, and everyone is safe, reach out to us. After a free, risk free consultation, we can get you in touch with a Wyoming car accident attorney who is ready to discuss your case. Don’t delay in getting the payout you need to cover your expenses.
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