Wisconsin legislators and Governor Scott Walker continue to shill for their corporate puppet masters and erode what had been historically a Progressive state. This week Wisconsin reduced the time for filing suit (known as the Statute of Limitations) on Claims Involving Property Damage, Uninsured Motorist, Underinsured Motorist and Wrongful Death Claims.
Under current law, the time limit in Wisconsin for initiating a civil action on a contract or obligation, including an insurance policy, is generally six years after the cause of action accrues.
This bill changes the time limit to three years in cases in which the contract is a motor vehicle insurance policy. Current law also requires a person seeking to recover damages for injuries to initiate a civil action in three years. This bill changes the time limit for initiating that action to two years in cases in which the death is caused by or arising from an accident involving a motor vehicle. The death claims reduction is not disturbing but reducing the time to file contractual injury claims is disturbing.
I don’t know Wisconsin law. I do know the lifetime suffering of many people harmed by the negligence of others. Those injuries may take years to fully manifest and impact a person’s life and economic well being. The Insurance industry knows this. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) knows this.
A cost efficient way to limit exposure is to shorten the time in which to file suit. This forces victims into Court before the injuries may be fully known. If suit is not timely filed, no claim will be paid.
This action only requires convincing politicians too willing to buy this regressive action.
Insurance companies know that jurors are more skeptical of damages that may develop in the future and are more likely to accept those readily known damages. By shortening the time period to file suit, the consumer has less time to identify the life time effect of the negligence.
For instance, frequently the spine is injured in an automobile crash. Since the spine is continually used, a nagging “it should go away” injury often does not and gets worse over time. Not only do these injuries become more painful they frequently lead to continued employment issues.
The easiest way to limit those damages and thus increase corporate profits is regressive, anti-consumer legislation to reduce the time in which a victim must file suit. Fortunately the Wisconsin Association for Justice limited some of the more draconian changes.
There is no valid reason to reduce the time in which to file suit. If anything, the time to file should be expanded. It discriminates against injured consumers. Ohio has an even shorter two year time in which suit normally must be filed.
The legislation is another example of the Insurance industry, with the complicity of politicians and the current Republican Party, being given the legal license to limit responsibility for injuries resulting from negligent acts.