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 Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, 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 attorney who knows the rules and procedures in these cases.

Truck Accident Lawyers

Wisconsin Truck Accident Laws

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:

  • 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.

Truck drivers are subject to both federal and state regulations when hauling their loads. These regulations set standards for hours of service, maximum weight, and other factors involving the safe operation of the truck.

Hours of Service

Wisconsin has adopted most of the hours of service regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Generally, these regulations prohibit drivers from operating a rig:

  • 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

State law does include exceptions on hours of service for certain vehicles and loads.

Weight Limits

Trucking laws in Wisconsin concerning maximum weight also tend to match federal regulations, with a maximum gross vehicle weight of 80,000 and a single axle weight limit of 20,000. However, 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.

Record Keeping

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 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 this requirement.

Federal regulations, meanwhile, 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.

Insurance Coverage

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 due to the extensive damages that often occur in truck accidents.

Building Your Wisconsin Truck Accident Claim

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.

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.

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 truck 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
  • The trucking company
  • The manufacturer of the truck
  • The manufacturer of a defective part on the truck
  • The company that loaded the truck
  • Other parties, such as an individual or company that was negligent in maintaining or altering the truck, an outside party that blocked the roadway, etc.

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

Truck drivers are expected to maintain a high standard of safety when handling 18-wheelers. However, in spite of this expectation, the number-one cause of truck accidents is an error on the part of the driver.

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 Blindspots: 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.

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.

Semi Truck Accident Injury Lawyers

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

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
  • Wage loss
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of society and companionship
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

If your loved one was fatally injured or killed in a truck accident, our lawyers can pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of you and your other surviving family members. Compensation that may be recovered through a wrongful death claim for a fatal truck accident includes:

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

Punitive damages may also be recoverable in personal injury and wrongful death claims involving truck accidents. Instead of compensating you for your losses, punitive damages may be awarded in cases where the truck driver and other defendants’ conduct was particularly egregious.

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, including Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, Wausau, 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?

Trucking companies are responsible for the actions of their employees. If the truck driver that caused your accident was an employee of a trucking company, the trucking company is very likely responsible for the truck driver’s conduct. This means that you will likely be submitting a claim to the trucking company’s insurance company. . However, in the unlikely event that the trucker is deemed to be a contractor or self-employed, you may have to make a claim on his or her personal liability insurance. In either case, you should be able to obtain compensation for the losses you’ve incurred.

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

There are many steps you should take if you’re involved in a truck accident. Immediately after a truck accident, you should get medical help for anyone who is hurt. You should also call the police to the scene of the accident so that an official report is completed. Your next steps can be complicated and might involve investigating the accident or negotiating with the insurance company. Contact an experienced Wisconsin truck accident lawyer to help guide you through the legal process.

What Are Common Truck Accident Injuries?

Because trucks are so large, accidents with them can result in catastrophic injuries. If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, you likely need immediate emergency care as well as long-term treatment for rehabilitation. You will incur many medical bills along the way. You deserve to recover compensation so you can pay for medical care as you recuperate.

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

Truck drivers who don’t pay attention or get distracted can fail to slow down when cars in front of them stop. If you were rear ended by an 18-wheeler, you likely have significant property damage and injuries. Our Wisconsin truck accident lawyers can help you prove that the trucker and trucking company caused your accident and recover compensation for your losses.

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