Some of the most devastating traffic accidents involve collisions between semi trucks (also called 18-wheelers, big rigs, and tractor trailers) and other vehicles. Due to the massive size and weight of large trucks, serious injuries and fatalities are common outcomes when an accident occurs.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. Trucking accident claims are very different from other types of vehicle collision cases, and a qualified attorney can provide the knowledge and guidance you need in this difficult time.
Please call Studinski Law, LLC at (715) 343-2850 today for a free consultation. Our truck accident lawyers serve clients in Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, Plover, Marshfield, and throughout Wisconsin.
Wisconsin has many small and moderate-sized cities that are located miles apart. Thus, trucks must travel great distances between cities to deliver goods. Additionally, trucks often must travel on rural roads that can be dangerous.
Truck accidents can occur anywhere, and they may involve anyone. However, common truck types that are involved in accidents in Wisconsin include the following:
Different laws and regulations may apply to different types of trucks. It is crucial to work with an experienced attorney who knows the rules and procedures in these cases.
Since the trucking industry is vital to the economy of Wisconsin and the United States as a whole, there are an abundance of large commercial trucks on the roads and highways of our state. In order to protect the public, state and federal governments regulate the trucking industry. Trucking professionals are required to carefully follow these regulations while using public roads. Federal and Wisconsin trucking regulations can be complicated, but they are important to understand if you have been in an accident with a truck.
Wisconsin issues commercial driver’s licenses to truckers, sets speed limits for large trucks within the state, and establishes rules for trucks that travel solely within the state’s borders. Any trucker driving in Wisconsin must follow these rules.
State law also establishes the procedure for reporting an accident. In Wisconsin, you must report a vehicle accident to the police if:
Most truck accidents meet some if not all of these criteria. So, it is always best to call the police after any collision involving an 18-wheeler or other type of truck.
If law enforcement officers arrive on the scene of your accident, they will typically file a report. However, if they do not file a report, you may be required to file one with the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation. This is called the Wisconsin Driver Report of Crash DT4002, and your truck accident lawyers can help you complete and file it. After this report is filed, people are sometimes contacted by the Department of Transportation for more information. If this occurs, you are required to respond to their inquiries.
Your crash report will be a valuable piece of evidence that your lawyer will use to identify potential witnesses, piece together what happened, and determine who was is at fault. It is important to give a full, complete, and accurate report to law enforcement.
Generally, regulations limit the number of hours that a truck driver can be on the job to reduce the likelihood of accidents caused by driver fatigue. Generally, Wisconsin has adopted the federal hours of service regulations for most commercial truck drivers. A driver may not drive:
Truck drivers often work many hours a week, and driver fatigue is a leading cause of accidents involving trucks. While Wisconsin has, in part adopted federal regulations concerning hour limits imposed by the federal government for interstate trucking, they do vary for certain vehicles and loads. Your truck accident attorney will investigate the trucker’s work and driver’s logs to determine if they were in compliance with state and federal hours of service requirements.
Wisconsin truck weight limits are important to be aware of and fully understand in order to ensure safety on the road. Commercial trucks are large in size and weigh many tons. This can cause devastation if they crash into another vehicle. If you were hit by a truck that was overloaded or too heavy, the truck operator was likely negligent in driving a vehicle that violated state regulations. Additionally, the person or company who loaded the truck may also share in the responsibility for your injuries.
Generally, the limits for a truck’s weight, and axle weight limits include:
These weights are subject to exceptions for trucks staying within the state transporting certain forestry products, and trucks performing certain limited hauls with dairy products. Your truck injury lawyer must understand these technical details, and know how to review the truck evidence that comes from loading records and accident reconstruction data.
Wisconsin law differs in some respects from federal regulations when it comes to required records. In Wisconsin, drivers are required to maintain a paper or electronic Record of Status and carry a log documenting the preceding 7 days of their haul. Drivers and trucking companies must keep copies of their log book record for at least six months. Drivers who operate within a 150 air-mile radius and return to their work reporting location within 12 hours of beginning to drive are generally exempt from the log book requirement.
Federal record requirements involve trucks that cross state lines, and while very similar to Wisconsin record requirements, they do vary in certain regards. For instance, federal regulations have pushed for companies to install electronic logging devices (ELDs) to keep accurate records of hours and miles driven. ELDs reduce the need for truckers to maintain their own records of hauls.
Both Wisconsin law and federal regulations require trucking companies to carry the following minimum insurance coverage:
The minimum insurance coverage for commercial trucks is much higher than what regular drivers are required to carry. This is because the vehicles are larger, their cargo may be heavy or hazardous, and accidents involving semi trucks often cause more destruction than crashes involving only private cars.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is part of the Department of Transportation and regulates the trucking industry in the United States. This administration provides rules that truckers are required to follow when working.
Sometimes the details of a truck accident can be confusing since truck drivers are regulated by both the FMCSA and the state government. If you have been in an accident with a truck, FMCSA regulations will likely play a large part in your case.
FMCSA provides many regulations for the trucking industry. Your truck accident lawyer must not only be familiar with DOT regulations for truck drivers, but must also know how the court, and the opposing lawyers, may interpret the regulations as they apply them to your case. Some of the things FMCSA regulations govern include:
Your lawyer will have to navigate the many technical facts and processes of a lawsuit that involves state and federal regulations. We have helped many clients achieve successful results in their truck accidents claims. Contact the experienced lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC in order to begin seeking compensation for you injuries.
Anyone can be overwhelmed with the aftermath of a serious accident. The first thing that you must do is to make sure that you and your loved ones receive any needed emergency medical help. Your truck accident lawyer will help you prove your claim in the process going forward, but some things that you should remember to do include:
Of course, your injuries in the truck accident might make it impossible for you to perform these steps. It is crucial to contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible to gather evidence on your behalf and determine who may be liable for the crash.
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a truck accident, timely investigation is crucial. The insurance company will send investigators to the scene of the accident as soon as possible to take custody of the semi truck, remove debris, and more.
Gathering sufficient evidence to prove your truck accident claim is not easy. There are many potential parties involved. Some people may be happy to share evidence regarding your accident, but sometimes a person or company may be uncooperative if they feel that they may share some liability for your damages. Your attorney must know what evidence to seek and how to demand that other parties comply with your right to investigate your accident as we seek damages.
Studinski Law, LLC has years of experience in reviewing truck accidents and requesting the required evidence from the parties involved. Not only have our attorneys worked with witnesses and law enforcement, but we know how to negotiate with parties who may be fighting against your claim, including truck companies and their insurance providers. It is important to contact your truck accident lawyer as soon as possible in order to collect and preserve the evidence needed to prove your claim.
Time is of the essence after a truck accident. The insurance company will immediately start limiting the evidence that can be collected at the scene, which in turn reduces your ability to pursue full compensation for your injuries.
The attorney you hire should get to work immediately on building your claim. Studinski Law, LLC will perform the following steps as part of your truck accident investigation:
Our lawyers and staff will also speak with you in-depth about what you remember from the accident, the injuries you have suffered, your financial and other losses, and more. Ultimately, our goal is to get a complete picture of how the truck accident has impacted your life, then take steps to recover the maximum compensation you deserve.
One of the complexities in truck accident litigation is the number of people and parties that may be liable for the crash. Comprehensive investigation is crucial to ensure that all of the individuals and companies that contributed to the accident are held accountable in your claim.
Liable parties in your truck accident claim may include:
Depending upon the facts and circumstances of your case, you can seek compensation from multiple potentially liable parties. When our lawyers pursue your truck accident claim, we will identify and take action against all of the parties that are at fault for your injuries.
Given the number of different parties that may be at fault for a truck accident, a variety of factors can cause big rig collisions such as:
Some of the most common causes of these and other truck accidents we see include:
Safely driving an 18-wheeler or another large commercial truck takes a great deal of training and experience. It requires not only knowing the best way to operate the vehicle but also putting that knowledge and sound judgment into action at all times. To maintain a high standard of safety, truckers need to be prepared and engaged at all times. Unfortunately, truckers can become careless or reckless behind the wheel, resulting in truck driver error and ultimately causing an accident.
Common driver errors that result in truck accidents include:
Carelessness on the part of a trucker can have devastating consequences. However, many truck accidents involve the fault of the driver and one or more additional parties.
The companies that hire truck drivers and own and operate big rigs are ultimately responsible for the actions of their employees and the safety of their vehicles. If you are injured in a truck accident, Studinski Law, LLC will investigate the role of the trucking company in the crash.
Errors on the part of the company that can cause a trucking accident include:
Trucking companies and other parties may also be at fault for accidents involving negligent maintenance. Equipment malfunctions usually occur because the trucker and trucking company did not properly train, inspect, report, and fix problematic equipment.
However, one of the difficulties associated with a truck equipment malfunction is that when it causes an accident, you may not realize it right away. When a system or piece of equipment fails and leads to a crash, it is not always apparent to the untrained eye. It often takes an in-depth investigation to discover what really went wrong, and this information is vital to moving forward with your truck accident claim.
Tractor trailers are complex machines with a lot of parts. Most semis are built using parts that are designed, manufactured, and assembled by a host of different manufacturers and other companies.
When a part on a truck fails and an accident occurs, our lawyers make it a priority to examine every inch of the rig to determine if a defective vehicle component was a factor in the crash. If we determine that a defect in the semi truck and/or a crucial part played a role in the accident, we will take action against the liable company or companies on your behalf.
Defects can impact virtually any part of the truck, including:
The manufacturer may not be the only party responsible for the failure of a part. Negligent maintenance or overloading of the truck may also be a factor.
Victims in truck accidents are at risk of suffering a number of serious injuries. Attorneys at Studinski Law, LLC frequently serve clients in tractor trailer accident claims who sustain:
These and other catastrophic injuries are frequently accompanied by extensive costs, lengthy recovery, and lifelong impairment. If you or a loved one was seriously injured due to the negligence of a truck driver and other parties, you deserve fair compensation for all of the damages you have sustained.
If you were involved in a truck accident, then you may have the right to seek compensation for your physical, psychological, and financial injuries. In general, damages for personal injury cases break down into economic or non-economic categories. Economic injuries are often considered objective and calculated based on the bills and records associated with your case. Non-economic injuries cannot be based on a bill or document and instead, are often considered subjective. Both economic and non-economic damages can be broken down into multiple types of damages described below.
In cases of severe injury resulting from a truck accident, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Attorneys at Studinski Law, LLC will pursue all of the compensation possible for damages such as:
There are two types of legal actions you or your loved one’s estate may be able to pursue following a fatal truck accident: a survival action and a wrongful death action.
A survival action is a legal claim that can be pursued by a decedent’s estate to seek compensation your loved one would have been entitled to had they lived. This action is about recovering compensation for the injuries your loved one suffered between the time of the accident and their death. The estate may be able to obtain compensation for your loved one’s:
A wrongful death action is a legal claim brought by a spouse, parent, child, or potentially others. It is a legal action that seeks compensation for you and your other family members’ losses – not your loved one’s injuries. You may be able to pursue compensation for:
Punitive damages may also be recoverable in wrongful death claims involving truck accidents.
Studinski Law, LLC is a leader in truck accident litigation. Attorneys throughout Wisconsin frequently refer difficult cases to us, and we employ our extensive experience and innovative legal strategies for the benefit of each of our clients.
Preparation is the key to winning cases. Our team digs deep into the truck accident to gather every piece of important evidence, then we develop a detailed plan of approach that strives to resolve your claim quickly while maximizing your compensation.
With offices in Plover and Marshfield, Studinski Law, LLC serves clients throughout Wisconsin, including Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, Wausau, and other communities. Please call (715) 343-2850 today for a free consultation.
Employers are legally responsible for the negligence or misconduct of their employees. Although some truck drivers are independent contractors or sole owners and operators, many of the truckers on the road today are employed by a company.
As a result, you will likely pursue compensation for your injuries from the trucking company’s insurer.
Truck drivers are responsible for what they do behind the wheel, but negligence on the part of the trucking company could also have been a significant factor in your truck accident. Poor pre-employment screening, insufficient training, and pressuring drivers to violate hours of service regulations are just a few ways that trucking companies increase the risk of a crash.
Trucking companies may try to avoid liability through misclassification of employees. The trucking company may argue that the driver who caused the accident was an independent contractor, and thus the company is not liable for the accident.
Your attorney will thoroughly investigate the trucking company to determine its liability. Whatever the case, you may have multiple avenues for compensation, from filing a claim with the employer’s insurance company to pursuing a claim through the driver’s personal liability policy.
Your first priority after a truck accident is to get to safety. If you are able to move and your vehicle is operational, get to the side of the road before exiting your vehicle.
The next step is to assess your injuries and check on any passengers. If you or anyone in the vehicle is seriously injured, call 911. You should also ask for the police to respond regardless of injuries.
Most truck accident victims are severely injured and taken directly from the scene to the hospital. If, however, you are able to remain at the scene, you can start taking steps right away to begin protecting your rights.
You should be sure to include the following actions at the scene of the wreck, if you are able to do so:
After you have completed these steps, it is still important to seek medical attention. Visit your doctor or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
Because trucks are so large, the occupants of smaller vehicles (such as cars, motorcycles, pickups, and even SUVs) frequently sustain catastrophic injuries in a collision.
Some of the most common injuries in trucking accidents include:
Psychological trauma is another common outcome in truck accidents. All injuries – physical and mental – should be accounted for in your claim for compensation.
The most common type of motor vehicle accident is a rear-end collision. Truck drivers who don’t pay attention or get distracted can fail to slow down when cars in front of them stop.
Generally, the driver of the vehicle in the back is at fault for a rear-end accident. However, liability in any trucking accident is complicated. The collision may have been the result of the trucking company’s careless hiring practices, inadequate training and supervision of drivers, negligent maintenance, and/or failure to abide by federal regulations. A mechanical failure or defective part may be to blame as well.
Regardless of the circumstances, it is crucial to contact a truck accident lawyer who can thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident. Multiple parties may be liable for the injuries and damages you sustained.
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