What Are the Right-of-Way Laws in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin, like every other state, has right-of-way laws that govern how motor vehicles move through intersections. The purposes of these laws is help prevent accidents at intersections. At a four-way stop, a driver must yield the right-of-way to vehicles that have entered or are approaching the intersection upon the through highway. Likewise, when two vehicles approach or enter an intersection at the same time, the operator of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right. Nonetheless, if a driver operates a vehicle at an unlawful speed, that driver forfeits the right-of-way. In other words, even if another driver pulls out in front of or otherwise hits the speeding driver, it is the speeding driver is responsible for the accident.

A right-of-way infraction carries a penalty ranging from $20 to $1,000. However, if the right-of-way violation results in serious injuries or death, there can be criminal penalties, if the violation is particularly egregious. Furthermore, there may be civil liability for the driver who caused the accident. This means that the injured person or persons, or their surviving family members in the case of a fatal accident, can file a lawsuit against the driver who is responsible for causing the accident.

Drivers also must yield the way to bicyclists and pedestrians in some circumstances. At an intersection with a stoplight, for instance, a car must yield to a bicycle or pedestrian in a crosswalk if he or she has started to cross the street with a green light, or a walk signal. If the bicycle or pedestrian has not yet started to cross the street, however, or is not crossing with a green light or walk signal, then the bicyclist or pedestrian must yield to the vehicle. If an intersection is not controlled by a stoplight, a driver must yield the right-of-way to a bicyclist or pedestrian crossing the street in a marked crosswalk. On other hand if the bicyclist or pedestrian is not crossing the street in a marked crosswalk, then that person must yield the right-of-way to the driver.

Failure to abide by right-of-way laws in the state of Wisconsin can result in major accidents involving both property damage and bodily injury. Boller & Vaughan are experienced Madison personal injury lawyers who know Wisconsin law and know how to effectively represent your interests in any personal injury claim stemming from a traffic accident, whether it involves a motorcycle, semi-truck, or a passenger vehicle, or another type of incident altogether. Contact our office today and learn how our attorneys can help ensure that you receive the compensation in your case to which you are entitled.


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