The Wisconsin Department of Transportation estimates more than 6,700 large truck crashes occurred in 2016 on Wisconsin’s roads and highways, resulting in 71 fatalities and more than 2,000 injuries. Accidents with trucks often devastate victims and their families because of their sheer size and weight. Semi-trucks weigh at least 20 to 30 times more than the average passenger vehicle depending on the size of their load. A car accident with a truck in Milwaukee may leave victims with long-term medical needs while they aren’t able to work or perform daily activities because of their injury. When families lose loved ones due to a trucking accident, they often have to shoulder a large financial burden in addition to coping with the emotional trauma of loss.
If you were injured in a trucking accident or a family member lost their life as a result of a truck accident in Wisconsin, hire an experienced truck accident injury lawyer in Milwaukee to determine the best course of action for you and your family. Contact Groth Law Firm at (414) 455-6981 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.
Types of Trucking Accidents
Truck accidents lead to some of the most severe accidents on Wisconsin roads. With their massive size and weight, trucks cause large amounts of property damage and inflict serious injuries on many victims. Some of the most common types of truck accidents include:
- Jackknife. When a truck driver applies brakes too heavily and too quickly, the trailer skids and creates a 90-degree angle with the truck’s cab. Motorists that share the road might get in the way of the skid or find themselves unable to stop and crash into the truck or trailer.
- Rollover. When a driver loses control of a truck, it might skid and roll onto its side causing collisions with nearby vehicles.
- Underride collision. This refers to a small vehicle getting lodged under the truck’s trailer from the rear or the side depending on the circumstances. These accidents, which occur when a truck stops quickly, often result in fatality or catastrophic injuries.
- Rear-end collision. The weight of trucks requires a longer stopping distance and reaction time for hazards. When a truck rear-ends another motor vehicle, especially at high speeds, victims are unlikely to walk away from the accident.
- Head on collision. Fatigued, distracted, and reckless truck drivers might swerve into oncoming traffic causing a head on collision that might result in catastrophic injury or fatality.
- Wide turn collision. When a semi-truck turns right, they often have to swing left to make the turn. On occasion, these wide turns lead to the truck colliding with other vehicles to the right or causing an accident by forcing them off of the road.
- T-bone/broadside collision. These types of collisions often occur at an intersection; if a truck driver runs a red light or a stop sign, they might hit the side of a motor vehicle traveling through the intersection.
- Tire blowout. Whether a result of defective tires or poor maintenance, big rigs often have tire blowouts. In many cases, this causes the driver to lose control of the truck, putting nearby motorists at risk. Tire blowouts remain one of the most common causes for truck rollovers.
- Load spillage. When freight isn’t loaded or secured correctly or the truck is overloaded, a driver risks losing some or all of his freight on the road. Not only is this dangerous for those nearby, but load spillage often leads to multi-car accidents.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?
Semi-trucks in Wisconsin must abide by state and federal regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) creates and enforces safety standards for the trucking industry that address issues such as the number of hours a truck driver can work and regulations concerning ongoing maintenance for a truck. Failure to comply with state and federal law leaves several parties potentially liable for damages after an accident. Responsible parties might include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The owner of the truck if not the driver or the trucking company
- The truck manufacturer
- Companies who manufacture truck parts such as tires, brakes, and others
- The shipper
- The person or people who load the freight
- The party responsible for truck maintenance
What Causes Truck Accidents?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has found that truck driver error is the most common reason for truck accidents- even more so than weather conditions, road conditions, or vehicle performance. Driver error can include speeding, reckless driving, driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, distractions, and unfamiliarity with the road. However, the most common reasons for driver error are driver fatigue, often a result of sleep deprivation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports the following factors as contributing to driver fatigue:
- Untreated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia
- Untreated medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure
- Prescription medication
- Shift work that includes driving at odd hours for long periods of time
- Shortage of truck parking forcing drivers to travel further to stop and rest
The second most common cause of trucking accidents is equipment failure. While this can include defective products and design flaws, the most common incidence of equipment failure is due to failure to properly maintain the equipment. Examples of poor maintenance can include:
- Removing or depowering front brakes
- Brake failure due to inadequate adjustments
- Improper load distribution, leading to rollover accidents
- Improper load securing, leading to falling objects
- Defective steering
- Improper trailer attachment
- Transmission failure
- Defective side or rear lighting
Common Types of Injuries in Trucking Accidents
Those who are involved in a car accident with a truck in Milwaukee or elsewhere in Wisconsin often suffer more severe injuries than they would in a typical motor vehicle crash. When truck accidents are not fatal, common injuries include:
- One or more fractures or broken bones
- Neck and spinal cord injuries that might cause paralysis
- Head traumas that cause traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Back injuries including cracked and herniated vertebrae
- Internal bleeding and organ damage as a result of airbag deployment, seat belts, broken ribs, and impact
- Burns from fires and explosions, often requiring one or more corrective surgeries
- Deep lacerations that leave scars
What Damages Might I Recover After a Trucking Accident?
If you sustained an injury in a truck accident, Wisconsin law entitles you to seek compensation for losses related to your injury in civil court. It may be in your best interest to hire a big rig accident attorney in Milwaukee to represent you to pursue full and fair compensation; you might be able to recover the following damages:
- Medical costs including ambulance and emergency services, hospitalization, surgery, radiology, prescriptions and more
- Future medical costs for injuries that require multiple surgeries, long recovery time, or lifelong care because of a permanent disability
- Rehabilitative services such as physical therapy, or any specialist services that help a victim regain specific functions
- Assistive devices and technology such as canes, walkers, prosthetic limbs, and special computer programs
- Lost wages and benefits when injury and hospitalization causes a victim to miss work
- Lost future wages, often referred to as lost earning capacity, when a permanent disability prevents a victim from returning to their job
- Home modification costs when a permanent disability requires a victim to make his home accessible by adding ramps, handrails, etc.
- Replacement service costs when the victim cannot perform daily activities such as lawn care, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc.
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium with spouse
- Other non-economic costs that might apply to a particular case
- Funeral and burial expenses for surviving family members who lost a loved one in a trucking accident
How Much Do I Have to Pay for an 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney in Milwaukee?
Personal injury law firms, including those who deal with truck accident injuries, offer free consultations that give victims the opportunity to share details about their case with a qualified lawyer who can determine a victim’s eligibility for compensation. When the firm and the client agree to move forward with representation, the client does not typically pay attorney fees out-of-pocket. Personal injury cases are typically handled on contingency, which means the firm collects attorney fees only from any settlement or verdict they secure for their client.
Contact a Milwaukee Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Our compassionate legal team at Groth Law Firm understands the difficulties that you and your family might be facing in the aftermath of a truck accident. When you choose us to represent you, we can work to investigate your accident, handle communication with insurance companies who actively try to devalue your claim, and manage the details of your case so you can focus on recovery and rehabilitation.
After an accident with a big rig, it is important to seek a skilled and dedicated truck accident attorney. Don’t fail to get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries before Wisconsin’s three-year statute of limitations runs out. Contact Groth Law Firm online or call our Milwaukee office at (414) 240-0707 to learn how we may be able to help you recover damages for injuries suffered after a trucking accident.