Wisconsin Road Defect Immunity Law

The state of Wisconsin is a tough nut to crack when it comes to road defect claims. This is because of the recently passed SB 125, or the so-called “Hazardous Highways” Bill, which absolves Wisconsin municipalities from a general responsibility in properly maintaining roads and other infrastructure. What does this mean for Wisconsin motorists who may sustain injuries in the future because of a road defect resulting from poor highway maintenance? It means that they either get a really good road defect lawyer or just lump it.

A lawyer conversant with the road defect laws of Wisconsin will be able to assess if a particular case will get past the immunity laws of the state, or if filing a personal injury suit is just a waste of time. Even before SB 125, Wisconsin lawyers had to contend with the $50,000 ceiling on road defect-based claims, which is paltry when in some cases the actual medical bills far exceed that sum, not to mention loss of income and other costs related to the sustained injury. With the new law in effect, most road defect victims will not even get that much.

But it is possible to circumvent the law if it can be proven that the municipality had a duty of care to the injured party under another Wisconsin statute. The role of the lawyer is to find the applicable statutes so that a claim for personal injury can be filed. This is why it is important to find a lawyer who is familiar with the state laws for road defect cases.

Most Americans take it for granted that they are safe on the road as long as they drive responsibly and follow the rules of the road. In most states that is a reasonable presumption, but not in Wisconsin under SB 125. When it comes to road defect accidents, there is not much that a motorist can do except to hope for the best and to find a good road defect lawyer.

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