Not at-fault but insurance company still raising my rates?

by Diane
(Racine, Wisconsin)

I was stopped at a red light and was rear ended by an uninsured motorist. My insurance company sent a check to cover the vehicle damage but is now going to raise my premium 10-20%.

Is that fair? The accident wasn't my fault. They are not pursuing the other driver anymore - not sure how hard they tried - to pay for my damages and a doctor visit. I don't necessarily want a 'loan' from them. Should I just return the check and not get the vehicle repaired (under $700)? What can I do? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Not at-fault but insurance company still raising my rates?":

Diane (Racine, Wisconsin):

The State of Wisconsin is a third party "tort" state. It is not a no-fault state. This means you have every right to pursue the negligent driver for your property damage, medical bills, and out-of-pocket expense related to the accident and your injuries/doctor visit.

Unfortunately, it is within your insurance company's discretion whether or not to pursue the other driver and whether or not to raise your rates. There may be several reasons for not pursuing the other driver, including the driver’s lack of assets, questions about liability, or availability.

Because the driver was uninsured doesn't mean you can't still pursue him in Small Claims Court. At $10,000, Wisconsin has one of the highest small claims monetary (or "jurisdictional") limits in the country.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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