Attorneys Serving Victims of Trucking Accidents Throughout Wisconsin

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 Plover, Marshfield, and throughout Wisconsin.

Trucking Accident Attorneys in Wisconsin

Trucks That Frequently Cause Accidents in 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:

  • 18-Wheeler & Semi-Truck Accidents: – Large trucks with many axles can weigh up to 40 tons. When they cause accidents, serious injuries can result.
  • Tanker Truck Accidents: Tanker trucks may be carrying hazardous materials. When they spill, they can cause serious accidents with other drivers and negatively impact the environment.
  • Milk Trucks: These large trucks are often off-balance because of shifting liquid inside the tank. They often have serious accidents when turning, making illegal U-turns, and improperly maneuvering.
  • Dump Trucks: These trucks are shorter than 18-wheelers, but can weigh just as much because they are often hauling heavy materials. In accidents involving dump trucks, spilled loads can damage multiple cars and injure multiple people.
  • Logging Trucks: These large semis are often improperly loaded and can be oversized with no warning to other drivers. You should always be careful when driving near a logging truck.
  • Cement Trucks: These vehicles often travel near construction zones and can block traffic while they maneuver. Cement trucks can tip over and spill their loads, causing serious accidents.
  • Delivery Trucks/Flatbed Trucks: Flatbed delivery trucks are often loaded with unpredictable materials. It can be difficult to drive near these vehicles.

Different laws and regulations may apply to different types of trucks. It is crucial to work with an experienced truck accident attorney who knows the rules and procedures in these cases.

Truck Accident Lawyers

Wisconsin Truck Accident Laws

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.

Accident Reporting Requirements

State law also establishes the procedure for reporting an accident. In Wisconsin, you must report a vehicle accident to the police if:

  • A person is injured
  • There is $1,000 or more damage to any person’s vehicle or property
  • There is $200 or more damage to government-owned property other than a vehicle

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.

Trucking Hours of Service

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:

  • More than 11 cumulative hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty
  • After the 14th hour after having come on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty
  • After having been on duty 60 hours in any period of 7 consecutive days if the carrier does not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week
  • After having been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the motor carrier operates commercial motor vehicles every day of the week

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 lawyer 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.

Weight Limits

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:

  • Maximum gross vehicle weight: 80,000 lbs.
  • Single axle weight limit: 20,000 lbs.
  • Truck tractor steering axle weight limit: 13,000 lbs.

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.

Record Keeping Requirements

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.

Trucking Insurance Coverage Requirements

Both Wisconsin law and federal regulations require trucking companies to carry the following minimum insurance coverage:

  • $750,000 in coverage for vehicles over 10,000 pounds transporting non-hazardous materials
  • $1 million to $5 million in coverage for vehicles transporting hazardous materials (depending on the specific substances being hauled and other particulars)

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.

Examples of Truck Driver Error | Studinski Law, LLC

Federal Trucking Regulations

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 trucking 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:

  • Minimum Insurance Coverage: Trucking companies must maintain a high amount of insurance coverage in order match their higher level of financial responsibility. This higher coverage is required since accidents with large trucks tend to be more destructive and deadly. The actual insurance minimums for a given truck may vary greatly depending on certain factors. For example, a truck may need a very large amount of insurance coverage if it is determined to be hauling hazardous materials.
  • Driver Qualifications: Among other things, the FMCSA requires that drivers be 21 years of age, have a valid commercial driver’s license, and be proficient in English.
  • Safety and “Fitness” Procedures: FMCSA reviews the safety, or fitness, of trucks themselves. After a review a rating is given to the truck, and if deemed safe it is then allowed onto public roads. The FMCSA gives direction to drivers and truck companies to improve any unsatisfactory safety issues.
  • Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance: Frequent inspections and repairs and required to be routinely performed on any truck that goes on the road.
  • Hours of Driving and Record Keeping: Drivers are not allowed to drive more than federal regulations deem is safe given the driver’s long-term schedule and the load being carried. Drivers are also required to keep strict and consistent records of their driving hours.

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.

What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?

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:

  • Cooperate with police and doctors: Make sure that police arrive to the scene of your accident as soon as possible so that they can render assistance to injured parties and investigate the wreck. Their reports will be valuable in proving your claim. Provide law enforcement with your information as requested. Follow doctor’s orders while undergoing treatment for any injuries you sustained. If you do not, the opposing side may argue that your injuries are not as serious as you claim and that you do not deserve compensation.
  • Take photos and preserve physical evidence: If you are able, take photos of the scene of your accident to document evidence. This will assist your lawyer in building the case. Keep your damaged property, such as your vehicle, and do not alter or repair it without first speaking with your lawyer.
  • Preserve evidence of your injuries: Keep copies of all documentation from your doctor, and make notes that describe your injuries and how you feel during the process of your recovery. Take pictures of your physical injuries.
  • Seek witnesses to your accident: Keep the contact information of anyone who may have witnessed your accident or the events leading up to or immediately following the wreck. Also, write down the information of anyone who may have been present immediately before or after the accident.

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.

Investigating a Wisconsin Truck Accident

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.

Collecting Truck Accident Evidence

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:

  • Take accident scene photographs
  • Document aspects of the scene including final resting position of the vehicles, placement of physical debris, skid or gouge marks in road or other property, weather and road conditions, traffic conditions and patterns, traffic control equipment at the scene, etc.
  • Conduct drone flights to record video and data
  • Obtain 3D mapping of the scene
  • Gather witnesses’ information to contact quickly after the accident
  • Obtain video or audio statements of witnesses
  • Request law enforcement documentation and records of the accident
  • Conduct in-depth analysis of trucking company records and trucker log books
  • Investigate the trucking company and driver’s history
  • Hire expert witnesses, such as an accident reconstructionist

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 trucking accident has impacted your life, then take steps to recover the maximum compensation you deserve.

Liability in Truck Accident Claims

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:

  • The truck driver: This is the first person that comes to mind when you are hit by a truck. A driver can be held liable if they were driving recklessly, speeding, under the influence, or distracted when they hit you. A truck driver can also be liable when he or she fails to act in a reasonably safe manner.
  • The trucking company: The trucking company may be held liable because under Wisconsin law, the negligence of the driver is typically imputed to the trucking company. In other words, the trucking company may ultimately be liable for the actions of its employee, the truck driver. The company employing the driver may also share responsibility independently from the driver’s negligence if, for example, it failed to exercise proper care in hiring, training, supervising, or terminating its driver. Some of the evidence that may support such claims may show that a trucking company neglected to perform a thorough and appropriate background check on the driver, failed to keep proper records, , or that the trucking company may have pushed the driver to work unreasonable or illegal hours.
  • The manufacturer of the truck: If the truck was designed, manufactured, or assembled in an incorrect and negligent way, the manufacturer may be the party who is held liable for your accident.
  • The manufacturer of a defective part on the truck: Defective parts, either originally in the truck or added afterwards, can cause an accident even if the truck is properly assembled and maintained.
  • The company that loaded the truck: There are safe and specific ways to load, secure, and transport most materials. If another party loaded the truck improperly, it could make the vehicle unstable and lead to an accident. These individuals, or their employer, could be held liable for damages in your accident.
  • Other outside parties: There are a myriad of other potential responsible parties depending upon the facts of your case. For example, brokers, shippers, and receivers may be liable under certain circumstances. Others may have negligently altered the truck or obstructed the roadway and therefore caused your accident. Our attorneys will review all evidence and witness testimony to determine if this is the case.

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.

Investigating Your Truck Accident Claim

Causes of Semi Truck Accidents

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:

Truck Driver Error

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:

  • Truck Driver Fatigue: Drowsy driving can result in slower reaction time, impaired judgment, and even falling asleep at the wheel.
  • Distracted Driving: Operating any kind of vehicle safely demands the driver’s full attention. Cell phone use, eating, smoking, and other activities can result in inattention that causes an accident.
  • Excess Speed: In addition to obeying posted speed limits, truck drivers must adjust their speed for weather and traffic conditions. Failure to do so increases the likelihood of a crash.
  • Turning Errors: Cornering is an essential skill for truck drivers. Making a wide turn can send the semi into another lane, while too tight of a turn can throw the big rig off balance.
  • Braking Errors: Tractor trailers require more time and distance to stop than other vehicles. Braking too quickly or too late can result in a collision.
  • Failure to Check Blind spots: Blind spot accidents may occur when truckers fail to look before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Driving While Intoxicated: It may be hard to believe, but alcohol and drug use are a factor in an alarmingly high number of truck accidents.
  • Reckless Driving: Tailgating, sudden lane changes, road rage, and other errors and misconduct can put the truck driver and other motorists in harm’s way.

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.

Trucking Company Negligence

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:

  • Negligent hiring and employment screening practices
  • Inadequate training of drivers
  • Failure to supervise drivers by conducting safety assessments, drug tests, etc.
  • Pressuring drivers to violate hours of service regulations to meet unreasonable deadlines
  • Failure to keep proper records

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.

Manufacturer Negligence

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:

  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Steering equipment
  • Lights
  • Turn signals
  • Trailer components
  • Cargo restraints
  • Axles

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.

Common Injuries in Truck Crashes

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.

Damages in Truck Accident Cases

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:

  • Medical expenses: After being injured in a crash, you will likely have a significant amount of medical bills waiting to be paid. Your health insurance often will not cover everything. Your medical expenses also consist of more than just the hospital and doctor’s bills. You can seek compensation for your travel expenses related to medical care, in-home care providers, medical supplies and devices, and necessary modifications you must make to your home and vehicle. Most of your costs related to treating and recovering from your injury can be calculated within the medical expenses portion of your requested damages.
  • Wage loss: Trucking accidents often lead to serious and debilitating injuries. Whether or not these injuries result in long-term or permanent disability, you are still likely out of work for weeks or months. While you are off work to recover, you miss out on your normal wages. You may also end up using your paid vacation and sick days. You have the right to ask to be reimbursed for the loss of your income and the use of your paid time off.
  • Loss of earning capacity: In addition to losing income immediately following the accident, a disability that makes it impossible to return to your previous job or obtain a similar position may drastically reduce your overall earning capacity. With a serious physical or mental restriction, you may not be able to work or you may be forced to take on a lesser paying job. You can seek to be reimbursed for the difference between your previous and current earning potential.
  • Property damage: If you were in a truck accident while driving your car, your vehicle was probably totaled. During your personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit, you have the right to ask for the amount of repairing or replacing your car and any other property within the vehicle that was damaged or lost, like an expensive sound system or child car seat.
  • Pain and suffering: When you are hurt in a crash, you may suffer both physical pain and emotional suffering. While these are not economic damages, they are both injuries for which you have the right to seek compensation. The amount of damages you pursue will depend on the extent and duration of the physical pain and emotional suffering you endured and will continue to live with moving forward. Calculating these injuries can be difficult. However, an experienced personal injury attorney will know where to start.
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish: Truck accidents that lead to significant physical injuries can also result in intense psychological injuries that go beyond an ordinary amount of pain, embarrassment, anger, resentment, grief, sadness, and anxiety. If you suffering a great deal due to your injuries, including if you have been diagnosed with a mental illness or have sought mental health care, then you may also want to pursue compensation for mental anguish and emotional distress.
  • Disability: Truck accidents often lead to catastrophic injuries, including severe traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and amputations. These types of injuries often leave you permanently disabled. While you may be able to recover and live a full life with your restrictions, you may need continuous medical care and at-home help. You may not be able to work much or at all. You can seek compensation for the physical, psychological, and financial ramifications of a disability.
  • Disfigurement: Serious accidents can leave unsightly marks and scars on your body. When you must live with significant scaring or other injuries that negatively alter your appearance, you can seek compensation for those damages. The value of your disfigurement will depend on multiple factors including the location and type of disfigurement and how the disfigurement impacts you.
  • Loss of society and companionship: Certain injuries resulting from a truck accident may make it difficult or impossible for you to provide affection, companionship, and sexual relations with your partner. This is a huge blow to your relationship and may be extremely difficult to overcome. It may also be particularly devastating if you lost the ability to have children.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: Some injuries may drastically affect your personal life, including your ability to participate in your hobbies. If you have lost the ability to do what you love, then this is a separate damage you should pursue compensation for. This may be particularly important if a disability makes a long-time passion impossible now.
  • Punitive damages: While every other type of damage is meant to compensate you for an economic or non-economic injury, punitive damages are not compensatory. These are meant to punish the liable party and prevent them from acting recklessly or intentionally harmful in the future. You do not always have the right to seek punitive damages. However, they may be an option if the truck driver’s or company’s actions were particularly egregious.

Fatal Truck Accidents

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:

  • Medical expenses
  • Wage loss
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Loss of earning capacity

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:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of financial contributions
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of society and companionship

Punitive damages may also be recoverable in wrongful death claims involving truck accidents.

Contact Our Wisconsin Truck Accident Lawyers Today

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 and other communities. Please call (715) 343-2850 today for a free consultation.

Trucking Accident FAQs

Can I Sue a Truck Driver’s Company in an Accident?

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.

What Should I Do at the Scene of a Truck Accident?

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:

  1. Document the crash site: Make notes and take pictures of the vehicles, the road, the area surrounding the accident, debris, and anything else you think might be relevant.
  2. Document your injuries: A picture is worth a thousand words (or more). Take photos of the injuries you have sustained and note how you are feeling.
  3. Exchange information with the driver: Just like you would after a car accident, get the truck driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information, as well as the license plate number on the vehicle. You will also need to know the name of the driver’s employer and their contact information.
  4. Give your statement to the police: In Wisconsin, accidents involving injury, death, or property damage exceeding certain thresholds must be reported to the police. When the police officer who arrives at the scene asks you to make a statement, answer all of his or her questions and provide a clear, factual account of the accident. 
  5. Speak to witnesses: Truck accidents are high-profile events that tend to bring traffic to a standstill. If possible, speak to people who are stopped at the accident scene to find out if they saw what happened. If they did, get their names and contact information.

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.

What Are Common Truck Accident Injuries?

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:

  • Head injuries: Brain injuries in a truck accident can range in seriousness from a concussion to a severe TBI. Accident victims may also suffer lacerations and fractures of bones in the face.
  • Back and neck injuries: Damage to the neck or back can be deceptively subtle. It may take time for whiplash and disc injuries to start exhibiting symptoms. In spite of the delayed onset of symptoms, however, these injuries can be debilitating and get worse over time.
  • Internal injuries: The chest and abdomen can sustain significant trauma in an accident, whether due to the impact of the crash or your seat belt locking. This can cause broken ribs and damage to vital organs.
  • Spinal cord and nervous system injuries: One of the most serious outcomes of an injury to the neck or back is damage to the spinal cord, which can result in diminished mobility and even paralysis. Crush injuries in the accident may also damage nerves, which can impact the function of limbs and other areas of the body.
  • Bone fractures: Fractures can range from routine to complex, depending upon many factors. Orthopedic injuries are common in truck accidents and other serious collisions, impacting not only bones but tendons, ligaments, and other structures.
  • Burn injuries: Fires may start after a truck accident due to leaking fuel. Depending on the contents of the truck, explosions and chemical burns are also possible.

Psychological trauma is another common outcome in truck accidents. All injuries – physical and mental – should be accounted for in your claim for compensation.

What If I Was Rear Ended By an 18-Wheeler?

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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