Category Archives: Personal Injury Law

Wisconsin Semi Accident Lawyer

Causes of Truck Accidents

Why Big Trucks Get Into Accidents

Over 15.5 million trucks transport $671 billion of retail and manufactured goods in the United States each year, accounting for an astonishing 70 percent of all freight transported on American roads. Truck drivers transport an additional $490 billion in goods between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico each year.

Because of the sheer number of trucks on the road, it is unfortunately inevitable that commercial vehicle accidents will occur. Given the size difference between the two, the passenger vehicle often ends up much more severely damaged than the truck, and the drivers and any passengers in the smaller vehicle also wind up more severely injured most of the time.

Common Causes of Trucks Accidents

As one might expect, trucks get into different accidents depending on their size, their weight, and what cargo they are carrying. Of course, all truck accidents are different, but there are some causes seen more frequently than others, including:

Truck Driver Fatigue

The federal government provides guidelines governing how many hours a truck driver can be on the road as well as the downtime that drivers should take between drives. However, the trucking industry is deadline-driven. Unscrupulous companies encourage drivers to work overtime. Furthermore, most drivers are paid per mile driven, and a driver’s personal financial situation may make it hard for him or her to stop driving when the regulations demand.

So why does it matter? Drivers who are not properly rested make critical errors that they otherwise would not make. The effects of drowsiness on drivers are similar to those of alcohol intoxication. Drivers suffer a diminished ability to pay attention to road conditions and surroundings. Drowsiness slows reaction time and impairs judgment. Worst of all, drowsiness can lead to a driver falling asleep at the wheel and losing all control of the vehicle.

Although statistics relating specifically to truck driver fatigue are not available, an estimated 80,000 accidents annually are caused by drivers too tired to operate their vehicles and nearly 6,000 of those crashes result in fatalities.

Poor Vehicle Maintenance

Truckers are required to perform certain maintenance checks before hitting the road. If truckers fail to perform these checks properly, or if they miss certain issues, it can lead to dangerous accidents. The most common type of maintenance issue involves tires. Tire blowouts occur when a truck’s tire pressure is too low or because of insufficient tread. In some blowout situations, the tires come completely off of a truck’s wheels and fly into the air, creating dangerous obstacles for other drivers. Blowouts can also make it difficult for truck drivers to control their vehicles, causing them to behave in unsafe and erratic ways.

Improper maintenance can also result in lost loads. If a truck’s load is not secured properly, it may fall off the truck during sharp turns or sudden stops. Loads that end up in roadways become dangerous for other drivers who may not have time to stop before colliding with the spilled cargo. Other drivers may attempt to swerve to avoid the debris in the road, causing them to crash into vehicles in adjacent lanes or to cross the centerline.

Driving in a Truck’s Blind Spot

All vehicles have blind spots, which are the spaces that a driver cannot see in either side or rearview mirrors. While drivers of passenger vehicles can and should look over their shoulders to check their blind spots before making lane changes or turns, truck drivers do not have that option. Their trailers prevent them from seeing over their shoulders, and they may make lane changes without perceiving the presence of another vehicle. Passenger car drivers should take care to not drive in a truck’s blind spot and exercise caution when passing trucks on either side.

Following Too Closely

Any drivers following the car in from of them too closely can cause a rear-end collision if the front car stops or slows down. This holds true with truck drivers as well, but their negligence can have devastating consequences due to the weight and size of their vehicles. Impact to the back of a passenger vehicle by a truck can cause severe damage to passengers in the back of the car in addition to serious property damage. The impact from a truck may cause a pile-up by pushing the car immediately in front of it into the vehicles in front of the car, multiplying the potential for injury and property damage.

Sudden Stops

When a truck stops suddenly, it creates a situation in which the car following it does not have time to safely stop and avoid a collision. These types of accidents, called underride crashes, are some of the most devastating between passenger vehicles and trucks. Often, the passenger vehicle ends up underneath the back of the trailer connected to the truck. While the occupants in the front of the car are the most likely to sustain injuries, if the speed of the impact is high enough, the entire car may come to a stop under the trailer, injuring those in the back as well. Fatalities are not uncommon in underride accidents, and the passenger vehicle is usually totaled.

Crossing the Centerline

Crossing the centerline can result in a front-end collision. Like underride accidents, front-end collisions are serious accidents that can result in death and severe bodily injury. The large size and weight of a truck make front-end collisions especially serious. These accidents usually happen at higher rates of speeds than other types of accidents, and oncoming drivers have little warning that the truck will cross and therefore a small window of time in which to react.

Taking Turns Too Sharply

When a truck makes too sharp of a turn, it can cause it to jackknife, a situation in which the truck cab and trailer end up at a 90 degree angle. These types of accidents may not involve another vehicle, but they do create dangerous obstacles in the road to which other drivers may not have time to react. In addition, trucks may lose their cargo loads, which creates additional dangers on the road.

Running Stop Signs or Stoplights

When trucks run stoplights or stop signs, they can cause a T-bone accident. In these crashes, a car coming from a side direction may not have time to stop before colliding with the truck. As with underride accidents, the passenger car may end up under the trailer, and the damage can be just as severe.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer if You Need More Information

If you or someone you know was injured in a truck accident, you may face a mountain of medical bills and such a change in your physical capabilities that makes it impossible for you to return to life as you once knew it. A truck accident attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve for injuries suffered due to truck driver or trucking company negligence.

Types of Injuries Involved in Personal Injury Cases

Millions of individuals fall victim to personal injury accidents each year. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, roughly thirty million people across the country are injured and require medical treatment every year. Unfortunately, incidents that lead to personal injury are common; vehicle crashes, slip and fall accidents, and even assaults add up to a hefty number of injury claims.

Victims of injury should understand that their cases may take one of many forms as they approach the time for settlement or trial. Most people understand that there is a wide variety of injuries that they may sustain throughout their lives; most are not aware they can seek compensation via the legal system. If you or a loved one has fallen victim to personal injury, you should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your eligibility to file a personal injury claim. Consider the following cases:

  • A car accident case: Vehicle accident cases form a wide umbrella. If you were injured during a vehicle accident, no matter the type of automobile or your own physical position (for example, a driver, passenger, or pedestrian), you should speak with an attorney regarding your eligibility.
  • A slip and fall case: Countless individuals fall victim to slip and fall injuries every year. If you’ve fallen and sustained an injury on private property, you may have a case against the property owner or renter of the property.
  • A medical malpractice case: Injuries may arise during treatment at the hands of a medical professional. If this has occurred to you or your loved one, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
  • A dog bite case: Dog owners are liable for bites caused by their dogs in most cases. Laws of responsibility vary from state to state.
  • An assault, a battery, or another intentional tort case: These cases occur when one party harms another on purpose. If you’ve been attacked in a criminal incident, you may need to speak to an attorney about an assault or battery claim.

Head and Brain Injuries

Types of injuries in personal injury accidentsThe potential outcome of a head or brain injury stands to have a tremendous impact on a victim’s life. While some individuals are fortunate enough to escape these injuries with their mental and cognitive abilities intact, others are not so fortunate. Head and brain injuries are some of the most dangerous, especially because certain symptoms often fail to appear until a condition has already become dangerous (or would have already benefited from treatment).

If you or a loved one sustained a head injury during an accident, you should be on the lookout for:

  • Concussions
    • Sometimes caused by whiplash-type injuries or violent head-shaking.
    • May damage cranial nerves and stretch blood vessels in the brain.
    • The victim may or may not experience a brief loss of consciousness or appear dazed.
  • Hematoma in the brain
    • Hematomas occur when blood clots outside of the blood vessels.
    • If a hematoma occurs in the brain, it may lead to permanent brain damage.
  • Skull fracture

Broken and Fractured Bones

Broken and fractured bones can severely limit an injured victim’s abilities. Tasks that were once easy may become painful, difficult, or even impossible when broken bones are brought into the equation. A severe example would be a spine related injury that resulted in paralysis.  Some bone breaks are obvious; they may be visible under the skin or even break through the skin in more severe cases.

Other fractures are often small and difficult to pinpoint. If you believe that you or a loved one may have suffered a bone fracture during an accident, seek diagnosis and care as soon as possible. Even small hairline fractures can impede your abilities for the remainder of your life if you forgo early treatment.

Electrocution, Burns, or Drowning

Some cases present unique conditions that may lead to injuries caused by burns, electrocution, or even drowning. These traumatic events can deeply impact the human body and may lead to critical injuries. The extent of your injuries determines the aggression level of your treatment plan.

If, for example, a victim’s entire body is covered in severe burns, he or she will require long-term hospitalization. The individual may even need skin grafts or other specialized care to heal properly. Many instances of drowning can leave victims coughing up water for days, delaying the recovery process further.

The Effects of Injuries (and an Overview of Compensatory Damages)

Numerous injuries may result in considerable changes to the way that victims live their lives, make money, and engage in society. The United States court system understands that injury victims are often left without a way to continue providing for themselves or their families after their accidents. Not only that, but most jurisdictions are more than happy to offer victims some level of compensation for the emotional pain and suffering brought on by their experiences.

When injury victims elect to begin the claims process for damages, they may pursue compensation to cover:

  • Medical treatment, including all past, current, and future treatment associated with the injury or injuries. This also extends to include emergency transport from the site of the accident, any medications that your doctors may suggest that you take, and more.
  • Lost wages or diminished earning potential if your injuries keep you from working and earning money or render you unable to earn the same wage as you earned before the accident.
  • Pain and suffering damages are also available if a victim’s injuries have caused him or her considerable physical or emotional distress and pain.
  • Loss of enjoyment or consortium, reserved for injuries that keep you from enjoying your day-to-day life or hinder a physical relationship with your spouse.

The Importance of Legal Support

Any victim of personal injury should contact a trustworthy and compassionate personal injury attorney for advice. At the Groth Law Firm we will not only help guide you through the tangled web of processes that make up the legal system, but also assist you in collecting and maintaining records and information that will prove useful if you decide to file a lawsuit.

Who Should Pay for Your Truck Accident Injuries?

Nothing ruins your day more than getting into a car accident. But, at least, you can usually hope to walk away from a collision with another car. Accidents involving commercial trucks are another story.

Wisconsin Truck accident attorney recovering compensation

Because of the sheer size of big rigs, when you’re involved in an accident with one, you’re likely to suffer severe injuries that change your life forever. You could face lifelong physical difficulties that impact your ability to work, earn a living, provide for your family, and live your life the way you did before your accident.

To make sure you get the best medical care possible and to give yourself the best shot of getting all of your bills covered by the person or company who caused your accident, you need the services of a trusted Wisconsin truck accident personal injury lawyer.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

While many things cause commercial truck accidents, several stand out as the most common. These include:

  1. Fatigue – Commercial truck drivers must keep logs of their hours behind the wheel. Not all drivers keep accurate logs. This is why some companies have instituted electronic tracking. But no matter how the driver’s hours are logged, they may suffer fatigue. Maybe they drove too much or they didn’t sleep enough. Whatever the reason, their fatigue could directly contribute to the accident that caused your injuries.
  2. Alcohol or drugs – Just like any driver on the road, truck drivers must not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When they do, their actions could cause an accident in which you suffer injuries.
  3. Truck maintenance – It’s possible that your accident was caused, at least in part, by someone other than the truck driver. The shop where the truck is maintained or the owner of the truck may have not properly inspected and maintained the vehicle. This could result in faulty brakes, tire blowouts, and other hazardous conditions. This is important to know so your personal injury lawyer can hold the right parties accountable for your injuries.
  4. Speeding – Speeding is a contributing factor in many vehicle accidents, including commercial trucks. When a truck violates the posted speed limit, it can cause greater harm to people in other vehicles. Because a truck is larger and heavier than a car, it takes longer to slow down, which can make it difficult for a speeding truck to avoid an accident.
  5. Other distractions – Distracted driving is an epidemic on Wisconsin roads. People are constantly checking their phones, eating food, changing songs, even shaving. Truck drivers are not immune to these distractions and, when they succumb to them, it can cause an accident.

These are the most common causes of commercial truck accidents. If you find yourself or a loved one in the unfortunate circumstance of being involved in an accident with a big rig, look for a lawyer who offers compassionate and aggressive legal assistance for people with personal injuries.

Truck Accident Injuries

Some of the more common, severe injuries caused by truck accidents include:

  • Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis
  • Traumatic amputation or crushed limbs
  • Severe orthopedic and soft-tissue injuries
  • Death

Regardless of how severe your injuries are after a truck accident, you deserve to have a lawyer on your side who is going to pursue those at fault for the compensation you deserve. To make a full and complete recovery, it may take you lots of rehabilitation, medical procedures, and time away from work. That can leave you in a difficult financial situation. An attorney can help return you to stability by holding those whose actions harmed you accountable.

Holding Negligent Parties Accountable

No matter how severe your injuries are, you should not be on the hook for any of the costs associated with your truck accident injury. You didn’t cause the accident and you shouldn’t have to pay for your recovery.

A truck accident lawyer can help you recover compensation from negligent parties, so you don’t have to pay for your recovery out of your own pocket. An attorney should meet with you to get a full understanding of the circumstances surrounding your accident, so that he or she can identify everyone who may have legal liability to you for your injuries. In truck accidents, this may include:

  • Truck drivers
  • Truck owners
  • Maintenance companies
  • Truck manufacturers

By understanding your case completely, your lawyer can identify who is at fault for your injuries, and calculate the amount of money you need and deserve to receive to recover from your truck accident injuries. These commonly include:

  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Home accommodation improvements

Because your injuries may be life-altering, you may not be able to work again. When you’re met with this unfortunate situation, you need to make sure you get the full value of your claim. You need to account for your costs for the rest of your life. If you don’t, then you may end up having to pay medical and rehabilitation costs out of pocket. That’s why it’s so important to work with a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer in Wisconsin with the resources you need to help you get fair compensation for your injuries so you can make a complete recovery.

How to Pursue Compensation for Your Injuries

You should not have to face a life of financial ruin because of a truck accident caused by someone else. You deserve better.

Look for a law firm that has helped many clients just like you through some of their most personally challenging situations in life. While most cases settle out of court, you want a truck accident lawyer who will only settle if it’s the right decision for you. Hire someone who is fully prepared to take any case all the way to trial to get you the compensation you need.

Truck Accident Lawyers WI

Truck Accident Cases

After being the victim of an accident, it is hard to know what to do first. The shock and trauma of the impact, in addition to any injuries make it a challenge to remain level-headed. This can be compounded further if you are in an accident involving a semi-truck, or any commercial vehicle.

Truck accidents have the frightening potential to cause much more severe injuries than accidents that involve normal passenger vehicles. The sheer mass of most semi-trucks cause impacts that can compromise even the safest vehicles.

If you or your family is involved in an auto accident caused by a truck, the most important thing is to immediately call emergency services. Even if you initially only feel soreness, it is vital to get checked by medical professionals immediately. Many common symptoms of an accident, like whiplash, often do not have visible symptoms. Additionally, accident related injuries oftentimes develop over time and may not be evident at the scene of the crash. Symptoms can take days to fully manifest and having someone with the proper medical training evaluate you is essential.

As discussed, addressing any potential injuries is the most important first step. If possible, move your vehicle off to the side of the road to avoid any secondary impacts. If your hazard lights are still functioning, activate those as soon as you are able to safely do so.

Once you have called emergency services and moved your vehicle to a safe position, collecting evidence may be important to ensuring a successful claim. As long as you are able to safely do so, you should make contact with the other driver and ascertain their 1) Name 2) Contact info 3) License plate number 4) Insurance carrier information 5) Driver’s license number 6) What company or business they were hauling for. Just as importantly, you should speak with any nearby witnesses to ask them what they saw, and for their contact information. In a case where liability is disputed, and independent witness and their testimony can mean the difference between fair compensation for you and your family, or nothing. When police show up, make sure that the law enforcement officers are aware of, and speak to, the witnesses. Having witness statements in an accident report can clear up any ambiguity and lends additional credibility to your case.

In addition to witness statements, pictures are a more objective way to determine what happened to cause a crash. Whether it’s the scene of the accident, or the damage to all the involved vehicles, pictures can help paint a clear picture and can make a huge difference for your case. Photos of nearby traffic signals, stoplights, stop signs, anything potentially blocking views of drivers, should all be documented. Since nearly everyone has a high-quality camera in their pocket, this should be a top priority after ascertaining the safety of all of the victims in an accident.

Truck accidents can have a variety of causes. Although most truck drivers are some of the most experienced drivers on the road, they are just as prone to make the same mistakes as any other driver. Some causes of truck accidents include, 1) Driving while tired 2) Driving for too many hours in a row 3) Speeding 4) Improper lane changes 5) Failing to properly secure their truck load. Certainly mistakes on the road happen. Fortunately, this is why trucking companies carry insurance. In fact, it is a requirement in Wisconsin to drive with auto insurance. Failure to obtain valid insurance could result in a ticket.

It is likely following a truck accident that an insurance company will reach out to you. This could be either your insurance, or the insurance for the trucking company. It is important to contact a lawyer before they call. Increasingly, insurance companies are attempting to rapidly settle cases for less than they are worth. They are doing so, in part, because they know that when injured victims obtain legal counsel this means higher settlement amounts. If the insurance companies are in the business of minimizing their exposure, and minimizing payments, the Groth Law Firm is in the exact opposite business. We will work hand in hand with you to ensure that we are maximizing your compensation.

If you are the victim of a truck driver’s negligence, you are entitled to various forms of compensation that help you get back on your feet. The Groth Law Firm will work to ensure that you are compensated for 1) Medical Bills 2) Wage Loss 3) Pain and Suffering 4) Property Damage and 5) Costs related to future care you may need for your injuries.

Truck accidents have the unfortunate potential for much more severe injuries. As a result, many injuries victims sustain are permanent in nature. When that is the case, we will work with your doctor and other medical professionals to help ensure that you are not stuck with bills in the future. We will not settle your case until we are certain that we have obtained the maximum available compensation. Some law firms will rush you through the case process to receive payment quickly. The Groth Law Firm will continue to work diligently on your case, up to, and through any potential trial if needed.

Experiencing an accident can be one of the most traumatic events in a person’s life. Whether it is the impact, the pain that comes from injuries, or the uncertainty of whether or not you will be able to pay your medical bills, the entire experience can be overwhelming, and life-altering. This disorientation is normal. At the Groth Law Firm, we believe the only thing you should have to worry about is your recovery. It will be our job to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and to ensure that they do not undervalue your case. We will work with any medical providers, and take care of any paperwork associated with your case. If you, your family, or friends were involved in a truck accident case, please call Groth Law Firm for a free consultation.

 

Slip and Fall Attorney WI

Winter Slip and Falls

We at the Groth Law Firm are no strangers to harsh Wisconsin winters. Collectively, our law firm has weathered decades upon decades of snowy Wisconsin weather. Accordingly, we know the dangers of walking around outside in icy, slippery conditions. “Black ice” refers to transparent ice that can be difficulty to see, and easy to slip on. Although most such falls result in little more than embarrassment and inconvenience, some slip and falls can have disastrous, life-altering consequences. While bumps and bruises are one thing, fractures, head injuries, and other trauma should be treated as the serious injuries they are. Since insurance companies are in the business of often denying slip and fall claims, you need skilled legal assistance to help you fight for the compensation and justice that you deserve.

Slip and fall accidents are broadly defined as accidents that occurr when you are walking in an area that has a dangerous condition, like snow or ice, that causes a fall, and then subsequent injuries. Oftentimes, we see these accidents occur in un-shoveled parking lots, inadequately salted sidewalks, and in other places of business where the owners are negligent. State law requires both homeowners, and businessowners alike to keep their premises free from dangerous conditions that may cause such accidents. Although Wisconsin weather is un-predictable, the law still requires people to keep their property safe. A failure to clear snow and icy can give rise to a valid claim against their homeowner, or business insurance. If you are involved in a slip and fall type accident, there are a few facts you should be aware of.

Like the old adage states, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Due to the inherently temporary nature of ice and snow, documentation of hazards conditions can be the difference between having a case, and not having a case. Even though snapping a picture after a bad fall, may be difficult, or in some cases, impossible, try to have a trusted family or friend photograph that hazardous condition as soon after the fall as possible. After reports of a fall, or multiple falls on their premises, many business owners will quickly seek to address the hazardous condition so that it appears as though they were not negligent in the first place. Act quickly and take pictures of unsalted, uncleared walkways and sidewalks immediately when possible. Beyond this, if your fall occurs at a place of business, you should report the incident to management. Many times, when we reach out to negligent business owners due to a fall that occurred on their property, this is their first notice of our client’s injuries. Making a full and complete accounting of your fall to management or staff can help preserve early evidence of your claim.

Slip and fall cases are based on a foundational principal of civil law. The principal is that of negligence. In order to establish negligence, you must prove that a property owner had a duty to exercise reasonable care to you; that this duty of reasonable care was breached; and that the breach of the property owner was a direct and proximate cause of the slip and fall that resulted in your injuries. If you are able to prove the aforementioned, then you have a strong claim against the property owner. Once liability is established through this framework, the Groth Law Firm can fight for you and maximize your compensation. Through a valid claim, you are entitled to various forms of compensation as an injured plaintiff. Typically, an injured person can recover compensation for, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, future care costs, and any other expenses that the injury and your recovery from the injury incur. If the injury you receive from the slip and fall requires care in the future, or is permanent, you will want to consider the cost of that future care as part of your claim. The Groth Law Firm has experience in helping injured people prepare for future care by fighting for additional compensation for you. Experience matters; you want an attorney who litigated complex, multi-layered cases to ensure that you are receiving every dollar you are entitled to.

In addition to maximizing your compensation, Groth Law Firm utilizes a team of investigators throughout the state. This advantage can make a critical difference in your slip and fall case. If you are injured as a result of a slip and fall or other accident, do not hesitate to call the day of the injury. Some evidence needs to be preserved immediately, and we can send someone from our team to the scene of the injury the day of. In addition to preserving evidence, there are often challenges associated with finding the correct defendant in these cases. If you slip and fall in a large parking lot of a mall for instance, who is the responsible party? Is it mall ownership? The store in front of where you fell? Perhaps it’s a snow removal company that you’ve never heard of before. These challenges are common to slip and fall cases in the winter. This challenge is compounded by the possibility that you may have been injured on a public owned or government property. If that is the case, certain notice documents must be filed. Many such notices are extremely time-sensitive, and if you do not file in the required time period, you may be forever barred from receiving any compensation, no matter how negligent the defendant may be. Some entities may be so complex or hidden that you may have to name a “John Doe” defendant in a potential lawsuit. Experience matters in these cases. You want to hire a law firm that is skilled, dedicated, and has a proven track record in slip and fall cases. Your case needs individual and prompt attention. At Groth Law Firm your case is not just another number. You can expect daily access to a full staff of attorneys, paralegals, investigators, and law clerks.

Accidents happen, but negligent accidents can be prevented. If you are involved in a slip and fall accident and do not know where to start, let us help you. The Groth Law Firm staff is available any day of the week and offers a free consultation regarding your potential case.