Wyoming Car Accident Laws – A Complete Guide


Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Anyone sliding behind the wheel in the Cowboy State needs to know Wyoming car accident laws. Wyoming ranks as the fourth most dangerous state for drivers. Rural roads and long mountain passes may factor into this ranking, but Wyoming drivers also drive too fast.

“Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.”

Wyo. Stat. § 31-5-229

41% of auto accident fatalities in Wyoming result from disobeying speed limits. Wyoming also places 2nd for the most alcohol-related deaths, with inebriation factoring into 72% of fatal vehicle crashes.

Harsh road conditions and a fast driving culture all contribute to Wyoming car accidents, so know how to respond if one goes your way. Fortunately, our complete guide covers reporting an accident, determination of fault, statute of limitations, and when you need a Wyoming car accident lawyer.

Free Auto Accident Evaluation

Hurt in a wreck that wasn’t your fault? Don't settle for less! Click here to speak with a nearby attorney for FREE about your claim.

How to Report a Wyoming Car Accident

The first thing to do if you’re in an automobile accident in Wyoming is to stop the car at the scene. Check for injuries and make sure you or any passengers are out of the way of additional harm. Call 911 if anyone appears hurt.

Your next step is to officially report the accident, a requirement for Wyoming drivers per Wyo. Stat. § 31-5-1105. State law says that the driver of any vehicle where there is injury or death must immediately report the collision. This also holds true if there appears to be property damage of $1,000 or more.

The appropriate authorities to contact after an auto accident are either the local police, state highway patrol, or county sheriff. Use the quickest means of reporting available, which is usually a cell phone.

It’s also important to always get law enforcement to the scene so you have an official record of the accident. You may need that down the road if there is any litigation surrounding the crash. It will also help in your settlement proceedings with insurance companies.

To request a proper copy of the report, contact the Highway Safety Department of the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT).

You can make requests for crash reports one of two ways:

  • In person at the WYDOT headquarters in Cheyenne, WY
  • By phone—call Highway Safety at 1-307-777-4450

What to Record At the Scene of the Crash

Even if you call the police to the scene, you should record your own evidence to help with your legal claim.

In the process, make sure to never say anything incriminating or apologize after a car crash. If you do, you may unwittingly reduce your future settlements due to admitting fault for the accident.

Always try to get the following information from any other drivers involved in an accident with you:

  • Contact info (full name, address, phone, email)
  • Driver’s license and license plate number
  • Insurance ID card/policy number
  • Car registration
  • Car make, model and color

If there are witnesses at the scene, ask for their contact information. Also take photos of the vehicles, license plates, damage, surrounding area, traffic signs, and more. This may all be important when determining who’s at-fault for the crash.

Is Wyoming a No-Fault State?

Wyoming is actually an at-fault state, meaning whoever caused the accident will be financially responsible for the resulting damages. This includes payments for physical injuries as well as property damage.

As such, there are several ways to make a claim after a car accident in Wyoming:

  1. By filing a claim on your own insurance policy to cover damages
  2. By filing a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier
  3. By filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver

This is why it’s so important to monitor what you say at the scene of a crash. Your options for recovering damages may be limited if you end up the at-fault driver. But thanks to Wyoming’s comparative negligence laws, you may be awarded some compensation, even when partially at-fault.

Comparative Negligence in Wyoming

Comparative negligence systems, which are the law in most states, divide the blame between drivers involved in an accident. Accordingly, a jury in court can find multiple parties responsible for the collision depending on the case.

Wyoming follows a modified comparative fault model (Wyo. Stat. §1-1-109). To claim damages in Wyoming, you must be less than 50% at-fault for the car accident. Anyone found more than 50% responsible for a collision may not qualify for compensation. The amount an at-fault claimant may receive is lowered by their percentage of fault.

How Compensation Works in Wyoming Car Accident Law

To further illustrate how comparative negligence works in Wyoming car accident laws, consider the following example. If one driver was 55% responsible for an accident with $100,000 in damages, they get nothing.

However, if the other driver was 45% responsible with $100,000 in damages, they may receive $55,000. Their percentage of responsibility minimizes what they may claim by that amount.

In multi-car crashes, the same rules apply. Each vehicle and driver will receive a fault percentage assignment, and that amount will affect their ability to recover damages.

Keep in mind that there is no precise formula for assessing fault percentages. As a result, it’s very important to have a skilled auto attorney on your side. That’s because it may come down to convincing a jury, laying down important evidence, and expert knowledge of the law to determine who is more at-fault.

Wyoming Car Insurance Laws

As a Wyoming driver, the state requires you to carry automobile insurance in the following 25/50/20 minimum amounts:

  • $25,000 liability coverage for the bodily injury or death of one person per accident
  • $50,000 liability coverage for total bodily injury or death of all persons per accident 
  • $20,000 liability coverage for property damage per accident

Knowing how fast car accident expenses escalate, these minimums are actually quite low compared to other states like Texas.

Especially since liability coverage pays the medical and property damages for other drivers and passengers involved in the accident. And that coverage only goes up to the limits on your policy. Once claims reach those upper thresholds, you’re personally on the financial hook for any outstanding bills.

Securing a policy with higher insurance limits can help protect your personal assets in the event of a serious crash.

Additional Insurance Coverage Options

The liability coverage minimums above don’t apply to your own injuries or property after a Wyoming car accident. For that reason, it is a good idea to consider adding additional personal coverage to your policy.

For example, collision insurance covers the damage to your own vehicle after an accident. Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage can help cover the cost of your injuries. And an uninsured motorist policy (UM/UIM) provides you with protection against uninsured or underinsured drivers.

Speaking of which, drivers who hit the road without insurance in Wyoming are taking a big risk. Wyoming statute §31-4-103 requires Wyoming drivers to be able to show proof of insurance. Any vehicle owner who drives (or permits someone to drive) an uninsured vehicle may face a misdemeanor conviction.

Types of Damages in Wyoming Car Accident Law

Since Wyoming car accident laws allow for assignment of fault, anyone less at-fault may sue for damages. And there is no limit on the amount of damages a claimant may seek, according to the Wyoming Constitution.

“(a) No law shall be enacted limiting the amount of damages to be recovered for causing the injury or death of any person.”

Wyoming Constitution Art. 10 §4

There are generally two types of damages in personal injury cases like these: economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are quantifiable monetary damages a person experiences because of a car accident. These may include bills or losses such as:

  • Medical treatment (immediate and ongoing)
  • Property damage (vehicular and otherwise)
  • Wage loss (time off work and missing employment opportunities)
  • Assistive devices (like wheelchairs or prosthetics)

Non-Economic Damages

These are damages that are very real in concept, but harder to prove. It’s because they don’t come with measurable “receipts” like bills or lost wages.

Still, a claimant might successfully win awards for losses like:

Wyoming Statute of Limitations

While there are no limits to the compensation you may qualify for in Wyoming car accident cases, there are time limits.

The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury or property damage claim in Wyoming is four years. The clock starts from the date of the accident. If there is a wrongful death claim, then the deadline is two years from the date of the victim’s passing.

Remember that these statutes of limitation are for personal injury cases and not claims you make with insurance. Those generally must be put in much sooner than filings for legal action.

Never Talk to Insurance Companies Without an Auto Accident Lawyer

While you can proceed with insurance claims without a lawyer, consider a consultation before accepting an offer. That’s because insurance companies will always try to lowball you at the outset of the negotiation process. A skilled auto accident attorney can help you determine a fair settlement amount.

We know it’s tempting to just settle a car accident claim with your insurance and go on with your life. However, even though you’re their client, remember that their goal is to get you to accept the lowest payout possible.

How LegalASAP Connects You to an Auto Accident Lawyer

While Wyoming drivers may have a predilection for speed, most claims surrounding accidents take time, energy and attention to detail. Especially since any settlement you ultimately receive depends on the assessment of percentages of fault.

Your best bet after any collision in a comparative negligence state is to consult with an attorney, free of charge.

Let LegalASAP connect you with an auto accident lawyer in your area today. Because getting the compensation you deserve isn’t likely to happen by accident.

Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a multi-published NYC-based magazine and book writer whose work has appeared in a wide variety of publications ranging from Forbes to Cosmopolitan. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland, College of Journalism. For more, visit: www.KDNeumann.com, Instagram @dancerscribe, and Twitter @KimberlyNeumann