344.14(2)(L) (L) To the operator or owner involved in an accident if, at the time of the accident, the operator was complying with s. 344.62 (1) or s. 344.63 (1) applies.
344.14(2m) (2m) A motor vehicle may not be impounded under sub. (1m) if the vehicle is registered, or is required to be registered, in the name of the lessee of the vehicle.
344.14(4) (4)
344.14(4)(a)(a) Before the impoundment of a motor vehicle under sub. (1m), the department shall conduct a reasonable search for the owner of the motor vehicle and any holder of a security interest, mortgage or other interest and notify the person so identified of the action.
344.14(4)(b) (b) Any person notified under par. (a) before the vehicle is impounded shall be given not less than 10 days to furnish sufficient proof to the secretary that one of the exceptions in sub. (2) applies.
344.15 344.15 Requirements as to policy or bond.
344.15(1) (1) No policy or bond is effective under s. 344.14 unless issued by an insurer authorized to do an automobile liability or surety business in this state, except as provided in sub. (2), or unless the policy or bond is subject, if the accident has resulted in bodily injury or death, to a limit of not less than $25,000 because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident and, subject to that limit for one person, to a limit of not less than $50,000 because of bodily injury to or death of 2 or more persons in any one accident and, if the accident has resulted in injury to or destruction of property, to a limit of not less than $10,000 because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.
344.15(2) (2) A policy or bond with respect to a vehicle which was not registered in this state or was registered elsewhere at the time of the effective date of the policy or bond or the most recent renewal thereof may be effective under s. 344.14 even though not issued by an insurer authorized to do an automobile liability or surety business in this state if the policy or bond either meets the liability limits specified in sub. (1) or meets the liability limits of the equivalent law of the state in which issued and such limits are, in the judgment of the secretary, adequate to cover any damage or injury involved in the accident in question.
344.15(3) (3) Where service of process is made on the secretary, the secretary shall forthwith mail by registered mail a copy of the process papers to the insurer at the address given. In all cases of such service, there shall be served 2 authenticated copies for the secretary and such additional number of authenticated copies as there are defendants so served in the action. One of the secretary's copies shall be retained for the secretary's record of service and the other copy shall be returned with proper certificate of service attached for filing in court as proof of service of the copies by having mailed them by registered mail to the defendants named therein. The service fee shall be $4 for each defendant so served.
344.15(4) (4) After receipt of the report of an accident of the type specified in s. 344.12, the secretary may forward to the insurer named therein, that portion of the report or other notice which pertains to an automobile liability policy or bond. The secretary shall assume that an automobile liability policy or bond as described in this section was in effect and applied to both the owner and operator with respect to the accident unless the insurer notifies the secretary otherwise within 30 days from the mailing to the insurer of that portion of the report or other notice pertaining to the automobile liability policy or bond. Upon receipt of notice from the insurer that an automobile liability policy or bond was in effect as to the owner only, the operator only or was not in effect as to either of them, the secretary shall within the remainder of the 90-day period specified in s. 344.13 (3) require the owner or operator or both, whichever is applicable, to deposit security pursuant to this chapter. As respects permission to operate the vehicle, the insurer may correct the report or other notice only if it files with the secretary within the 30-day period specified in this subsection an affidavit signed by the owner stating that the operator did not have the owner's permission to operate the vehicle. Where the insurer's failure to notify the secretary within 30 days of a correction in that portion of the report or other notice pertaining to an automobile liability policy or bond is caused by fraud, the insurer shall notify the secretary of the correction within 30 days of the time the fraud is discovered.
344.15(5) (5) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to impose any obligation not otherwise assumed by the insurer in its automobile liability policy or bond except that if no correction is made in the report or other notice within 30 days after it is mailed to the insurer, the insurer, except in case of fraud, whenever such fraud may occur, is estopped from using as a defense to its liability the insured's failure to give permission to the operator or a violation of the purposes of use specified in the automobile liability policy or bond or the use of the vehicle beyond agreed geographical limits.
344.15 Annotation The failure to make a correction within the 30-day period under sub. (5) only estops an insurer from asserting one of the defenses listed in that subsection. Holmgren v. Strebig, 54 Wis. 2d 590, 196 N.W.2d 655 (1972).
344.15 Annotation The 30-day notice requirement in subs. (4) and (5) is mandatory. Substantial compliance was inapplicable. Midwest Mutual Insurance Co. v. Nicolazzi, 138 Wis. 2d 192, 405 N.W.2d 732 (Ct. App. 1987).
344.15 Annotation When the insured is also the operator, subs. (4) and (5) do not operate to estop an insurer from raising a "permission" defense. Nelson v. Zeimetz, 150 Wis. 2d 785, 442 N.W.2d 530 (Ct. App. 1989).
344.15 Annotation Coverage of automobile liability insurance is not mandatory in Wisconsin, and a liability policy issued in Oregon with limits of $10,000 per person is not in conflict with this statute. Schanche v. Estate of Alvarez, 368 F. Supp. 543.
344.16 344.16 Requirements as to self-insurers.
344.16(1) (1) Any person in whose name more than 25 motor vehicles are registered may qualify as a self-insurer by obtaining a certificate of self-insurance issued by the secretary as provided in sub. (2).
344.16(2) (2) The secretary may, upon the application of such a person, issue a certificate of self-insurance when satisfied that such person is possessed and will continue to be possessed of ability to pay judgments obtained against such person.
344.16(3) (3) Upon not less than 5 days' notice and a hearing pursuant to such notice, the secretary may upon reasonable grounds cancel a certificate of self-insurance. Failure to pay any judgment within 30 days after such judgment has become final constitutes a reasonable ground for cancellation of a certificate of self-insurance.
344.16 History History: 1977 c. 29 s. 1654 (7) (c); 1977 c. 273.
344.16 Annotation The uninsured motorist coverage requirements of s. 632.32 are inapplicable to self-insured entities under s. 344.16. Classified Insurance Co. v. Budget Rent-A-Car Inc. 186 Wis. 2d 476, 521 N.W.2d 478 (Ct. App. 1994).
344.16 Annotation No statute requires a self-insured entity under s. 344.16 to provide uninsured motorist coverage as part of the optional insurance it offers to its customers. Prophet v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company, Inc. 2000 WI App 171, 238 Wis. 2d 150, 617 N.W.2d 225, 99-0776.
344.16 Annotation A car-rental company issued a certificate of self-insurance under this section and subject to liability limits under ss. 344.01 (2) (d) and 344.51 was not a self-insurer for purposes of an underinsured motorist clause that excluded coverage for a vehicle owned or operated by a "self-insurer." Bethke v. Auto-Owners Insurance Company, 2013 WI 16, 345 Wis. 2d 533, 825 N.W.2d 482, 10-3153.
344.17 344.17 Requirements as to form and amount of security.
344.17(1)(1) The security required under s. 344.14 shall be in such form and in such amount as the secretary may require but in no case in excess of the limits specified in s. 344.15 (1) with reference to the acceptable limits of a policy or bond. The person depositing security shall specify in writing the person or persons on whose behalf the deposit is made and, at any time while such deposit is in the custody of the secretary, the person depositing it may, in writing, amend the specification of the persons on whose behalf the deposit is made to include an additional person or persons, subject to the limitation that a single deposit of security shall be applicable only on behalf of persons required to furnish security because of the same accident.
344.17(2) (2) The secretary may reduce the amount of security ordered in any case if, in the secretary's judgment, from evidence submitted, the amount ordered is excessive or has become excessive by filed release on part of the liability or by adjudication reducing the extent of the liability. In case the security originally ordered had been deposited at the time the reduced amount is ordered, the excess over the reduced amount shall be returned to the depositor or the personal representative forthwith, notwithstanding s. 344.20.
344.17 History History: 1973 c. 189 s. 20; Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 776 (1975); 1975 c. 218, 270, 421, 422; 1977 c. 29 s. 1654 (7) (c); 1977 c. 43, 273.
344.18 344.18 Duration of suspension for failure to deposit security.
344.18(1)(1) Any registration suspended or revoked under s. 344.14 shall remain suspended or revoked and shall not be renewed or reinstated until the person pays the fee required under s. 341.36 (1m), meets one of the requirements under pars. (a) to (d) and satisfies the requirements of sub. (1m). Any operating privilege suspended or revoked under s. 344.14 shall remain suspended or revoked and shall not be reinstated until the person pays the fees required under s. 343.21 (1) (j) and (n), complies with the applicable provisions of s. 343.38 and meets any of the following requirements:
344.18(1)(a) (a) The person whose operating privilege or registration was suspended or revoked deposits the security required under s. 344.14.
344.18(1)(b) (b) There is filed with the secretary evidence satisfactory to the secretary that the person whose operating privilege or registration was suspended or revoked has been released from liability or has been finally adjudicated not to be liable. The secretary may accept a release executed by a parent on behalf of a minor child only as provided under s. 344.14 (2) (h).
344.18(1)(c) (c) There is filed with the secretary evidence satisfactory to the secretary that the person whose operating privilege or registration was suspended or revoked has executed a duly acknowledged written agreement in accordance with s. 344.14 (2) (h) and subject to sub. (3).
344.18(1)(d) (d) One year has elapsed since the effective date of the suspension or revocation order and, during such period, no notice has been filed with the secretary by any claimant that an action was commenced by a party in interest. If the action was commenced in a court of record, the notice required by this paragraph shall include a certified copy of the summons and complaint or counterclaim or cross-complaint and proof of service filed therein. In all cases of service under s. 345.09, an additional notice and service must be made under this chapter to avail oneself of the provisions of this chapter.
344.18(1m) (1m)
344.18(1m)(a)(a) Unless 3 years have elapsed since the date that a requirement under sub. (1) (a), (b), (c), or (d) has been met or unless the person is a nonresident, the person whose operating privilege or registration was suspended or revoked under s. 344.14 shall file with the department and maintain in effect proof of financial responsibility in the amount, form, and manner specified in this chapter.
344.18(1m)(b) (b) This subsection applies as a condition precedent to reinstatement of an operating privilege or registration suspended or revoked under s. 344.14.
344.18(3) (3) If a person defaults in the payment of any installment under a duly acknowledged written agreement, the secretary, upon notice of such default given in no event later than 30 days after the time for final installment, shall immediately suspend the registrations and operating privilege of the defaulting person. A suspension or revocation of registration under this subsection shall remain in effect until the person pays the fee required under s. 341.36 (1m), meets the requirement under par. (a) or (b) and satisfies the requirements of sub. (3m). A suspension or revocation of an operating privilege under this subsection shall remain in effect until the person pays the fees required in s. 343.21 (1) (j) and (n), complies with the applicable provisions of s. 343.38 and meets any of the following requirements:
344.18(3)(a) (a) Such person deposits the security required under s. 344.14.
344.18(3)(b) (b) One year has elapsed since the effective date of the suspension or revocation order and, during such period, no notice has been filed with the secretary by any claimant that an action was commenced by a party in interest. The notice required by this paragraph shall comply with sub. (1) (d).
344.18(3m) (3m)
344.18(3m)(a)(a) Unless 3 years have elapsed since the date that a requirement under sub. (3) (a) or (b) has been met or unless the person is a nonresident, the person whose operating privilege or registration was suspended or revoked under sub. (3) shall file with the department and maintain in effect proof of financial responsibility in the amount, form, and manner specified in this chapter.
344.18(3m)(b) (b) This subsection applies as a condition precedent to reinstatement of an operating privilege or registration suspended or revoked under sub. (3).
344.18(3r) (3r) The secretary shall refuse registration of any vehicle owned by a person whose registration has been suspended or revoked under sub. (3).
344.18(4) (4) The secretary shall not suspend, as required by sub. (3), if the defaulting person has made payments to the extent specified in s. 344.15 (1) with reference to the acceptable limits of a policy or bond.
344.18 History History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 766 (1975); 1975 c. 55, 199; 1977 c. 29 s. 1654 (7) (c); 1977 c. 273; 1979 c. 32, 258; 1981 c. 20; 1985 a. 202 ss. 29, 37; 1987 a. 3; 1991 a. 269, 315; 1997 a. 84; 2007 a. 20; 2009 a. 242, 245.
344.185 344.185 Duration of impoundment of motor vehicle; disposition.
344.185(1)(1) Any motor vehicle impounded under s. 344.14 (1m) may not be returned to the owner unless:
344.185(1)(a) (a) An owner or holder of a security interest, mortgage or other interest who is first notified after the vehicle is impounded furnishes satisfactory proof to the secretary that one of the exceptions in s. 344.14 (2) applies and pays the expenses incurred by the department in impounding the vehicle; or
344.185(1)(b) (b) The owner deposits the security required under s. 344.13 (3) and pays the expenses incurred by the department in impounding the vehicle.
344.185(2) (2)
344.185(2)(a)(a) Any impounded vehicle which is not returned to the owner within 30 days after impoundment shall be sold by the department.
344.185(2)(b) (b) If the owner is making a good faith attempt to redeem the vehicle under sub. (1), the department may grant an extension of up to 30 additional days before selling the vehicle.
344.185(2)(c) (c) The department, upon request, may permit the person who, according to the department's records, holds a security interest in the vehicle to accept and maintain custody of the vehicle after impoundment or to sell the vehicle in a commercially reasonable manner at a public or private sale. The proceeds of the sale under this paragraph shall be transmitted to the department for distribution under par. (e).
344.185(2)(d) (d) If the vehicle is sold, any person who is the holder of a security interest which is perfected under s. 342.19 shall be notified of the sale and any person who holds a security interest, mortgage or other interest in the vehicle and who acquired the security interest, the mortgage or other interest in good faith may file a claim within 30 days after the sale with the department.
344.185(2)(e)1. 1. The money from the sale of a vehicle shall be used first for payment of all proper expenses of impounding, preparing for the sale and selling the vehicle, including expenses for seizure, maintenance of custody and advertising. Any remaining money may be paid to a claimant under par. (d) in the priority provided under s. 342.19.
344.185(2)(e)2. 2. All other proceeds of the sale remaining after the payments under subd. 1. shall be retained by the secretary of transportation and applied as security for payment of judgments and assignments as provided under s. 344.20 (2). Any amounts not used to pay judgments or assignments shall be transmitted to the secretary of administration for deposit in the school fund.
344.185(3) (3) Notwithstanding subch. VI of ch. 409 and ch. 425:
344.185(3)(a) (a) A creditor with a security interest in a vehicle which is ordered sold under this section may accelerate the maturity of the secured indebtedness, is not required to give notice of default and right to cure, may accept custody of the vehicle and may conduct the sale of the vehicle as provided under sub. (2) (c) without sending notification of the sale to the debtor and may receive proceeds from the sale as provided under sub. (2) (e).
344.185(3)(b) (b) The owner of a vehicle which is ordered sold under this section is deemed in default under the instrument securing the indebtedness but has no right to cure the default or redeem the vehicle once the sale has been ordered, may not receive any proceeds from the sale and remains liable to a secured party for any deficiency which remains unsatisfied after the distribution under sub. (2) (e).
344.185(4) (4) When a vehicle is sold by or at the direction of the department under this section, the sale transfers to the purchaser for value all of the owner's rights therein, and discharges all security interests in the vehicle. The purchaser takes free of all such rights and interests even though the sale is not conducted in a commercially reasonable manner or the department fails to give the notifications required under s. 344.14 (4) (a):
344.185(4)(a) (a) In the case of the public sale, if the purchaser has no knowledge of such defects in the sale and does not buy in collusion with the department, other bidders or the person conducting the sale; or
344.185(4)(b) (b) In any other case, if the purchaser acts in good faith.
344.185 History History: 1981 c. 363; 2001 a. 10; 2003 a. 33.
344.19 344.19 Applicability to nonresidents, unlicensed drivers, unregistered motor vehicles and accidents in other states.
344.19(1)(1) If the operator or the owner of a motor vehicle involved in an accident within this state has no license or registration, whether because the operator or owner is a nonresident or because the operator or owner is a resident who has failed or neglected to obtain a license or registration in this state, the operator or owner shall not be allowed a license or registration until the operator or owner has complied with the requirements of this chapter to the same extent as would be necessary if, at the time of the accident, the operator or owner had held a license and registration in this state.
344.19(2) (2) If the operating privilege or registration of a nonresident is suspended under s. 344.14, the secretary shall transmit a certified copy of the record of such action to the administrator of the division of motor vehicles or equivalent official of the state in which that person resides if the law of the state in which that person resides provides for similar action by the administrator or equivalent official of that state in the event that a resident of this state has a nonresident's operating privilege or registration in that state suspended or revoked for failure to comply with the safety responsibility law of that state.
344.19(3) (3) Upon receipt of such certification from another state to the effect that the operating privilege or registration of a resident of this state has been suspended or revoked in such other state under a law providing for its suspension or revocation for failure to deposit security for payment of judgments arising out of a motor vehicle accident, under circumstances which would require the secretary to suspend a nonresident's operating privilege or registration had the accident occurred in this state, the secretary shall suspend the operating privilege of such resident if he or she was the operator and all of his or her registrations if he or she was the owner of a motor vehicle involved in such accident. The department may accept a certification which is in the form of a combined notice of required security and suspension order, but shall not suspend a resident's operating privilege or registration on the basis of such order until at least 30 days have elapsed since the time for depositing security in the other state expired. A suspension or revocation of operating privilege under this section shall continue until such resident furnishes evidence of his or her compliance with the law of the other state relating to the deposit of security, pays the fees required under s. 343.21 (1) (j) and (n) and complies with the applicable provisions of s. 343.38. A suspension or revocation of registration under this section shall continue until such resident furnishes evidence of his or her compliance with the law of the other state relating to the deposit of security, pays the fee required under s. 341.36 (1m) and satisfies the requirements of sub. (3m).
344.19(3g) (3g) The secretary shall refuse registration of any vehicle owned by a person whose registration has been suspended or revoked under sub. (3).
344.19(3m) (3m)
344.19(3m)(a)(a) Unless 3 years have elapsed since compliance of the resident with the law of the other state relating to the deposit of security, the resident whose operating privilege or registration was suspended or revoked under sub. (3) shall file with the department and maintain in effect proof of financial responsibility in the amount, form and manner specified in this chapter.
344.19(3m)(b) (b) This subsection applies as a condition precedent to reinstatement of an operating privilege or registration suspended or revoked under sub. (3).
344.19 History History: 1977 c. 29 ss. 1464, 1654 (7) (a), (c); 1991 a. 269, 316; 1997 a. 84; 2007 a. 20.
344.20 344.20 Custody, disposition and return of security.
344.20(1)(1) Security shall be deposited with the secretary in compliance with this chapter.
344.20(2) (2) The secretary shall apply the security only to the payment of judgments and assignments and only as provided in this subsection:
344.20(2)(a) (a) The security may be applied to the payment of judgments for damages arising out of the accident in question rendered against either operator or owner for the damages resulting from such accident in an action at law. Any party to such action in favor of whom a judgment was rendered may move to have the court order the secretary to transmit to the court for application to the payment of the judgment the money or securities available for such purpose, and the court may so order. The secretary shall transmit to the clerk of the court the money or securities in the amount authorized by par. (c) or in the amount specified in the court order if less than the amount so authorized. Securities transmitted shall be valued at the same amount as when received by the department. Any excess shall be returned by the court to the secretary to be held by the secretary subject to the provisions of this chapter.
344.20(2)(b) (b) Subject to the restrictions imposed by par. (c), the security may be applied to the payment of a duly acknowledged assignment by the person who made the deposit, provided the assignment is accompanied by releases signed by all parties in interest and releasing the assignor from all liability to such parties on account of damages arising out of the accident in question.
344.20(2)(c) (c) No amount in excess of the portion designated by the secretary as having been deposited on account of damages suffered by the assignee or judgment creditor or person representing either of them shall be paid out on behalf of such person unless the depositor has been released from liability by all other parties in interest. In the latter event, the deposit may be applied to the payment of the judgment or assignment in question without regard to the designations.
344.20(3) (3)
344.20(3)(a)(a) The deposit of security or any balance thereof shall be returned to the depositor or the personal representative under the conditions provided in par. (b) or (c).
344.20(3)(b) (b) The deposit or any balance thereof shall be returned when evidence satisfactory to the secretary has been filed that one of the contingencies specified in s. 344.18 (1) (b), (c) or (d) or (3) (b) has occurred.
344.20(3)(c) (c) If the provisions of s. 344.18 (1) (b), (c) or (d) or (3) (b) are not applicable, the deposit or any balance thereof shall be returned when one year has elapsed from the date the deposit was made and during that period no notice has been filed with the secretary by any claimant that an action was commenced by a party in interest. If the action was commenced in a court of record, the notice required by this paragraph shall include a certified copy of the summons and complaint or counterclaim or cross complaint and proof of service filed therein. In all cases of service under s. 345.09, an additional notice and service must be made under this chapter to avail oneself of the provisions of this chapter.
344.20(4) (4) Security deposited under this section shall be paid into the transportation fund and invested in accordance with s. 25.17 (1) (v).
344.21 344.21 Matters not to be evidence in civil suits. Neither the report required following an accident, the action taken by the department pursuant to this chapter, the findings, if any, upon which such action is based nor the security filed as provided in this chapter shall be referred to in any way or be any evidence of the negligence or due care of either party at the trial of any action at law to recover damages, but this shall not be construed to exclude a notice of insurance filed pursuant to s. 344.14 or 344.15 (4), or both, from being admissible in evidence where it would otherwise be material and admissible under the rules of evidence.
344.21 History History: 1977 c. 29 s. 1654 (7) (e); 1985 a. 29.
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2011-12 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2013 Wis. Act 380 and all Supreme Court Orders entered before Dec. 13, 2014. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after Dec. 13, 2014 are designated by NOTES. (Published 12-13-14)