Wisconsin Truck Accident Lawyer

Blind Spots, Trucks, and Injuries

Many people believe that, because a truck driver sits higher than passenger vehicles, the driver can see everything. This common misconception leads to thousands of truck accidents each year. The best way to stay out of a truck’s blind spots is to check the truck’s mirrors. If you cannot see the driver in his or her rearview mirrors, the driver cannot see you, and you are at a higher risk of getting hit by the truck.

Big Blind Spots

A tractor-trailer truck has the largest blind spots or no zones because of the height and length of the trailer. Smaller trucks have similar blind spots, but the blind spots are smaller. Looking for the mirrors on any truck will help keep you out of any truck’s no zone. If you cannot see the truck’s door mirrors—the full mirror—you are in a truck’s blind spot.

The side blind spots are located under each door mirror and extending out. On the left side, the blind spot extends out for at least the width of a lane. On the right side, the no zone extends out at least the width of two lanes. The further away from the truck’s side you are, the deeper the blind spot.

Semis and other trucks also have blind spots in the front and rear. A semi driver has at least 20 feet in front of the truck that is blind and 30 feet behind the trailer that is blind. When you merge in front of a truck and do not give the truck enough space, you risk getting hit since the truck driver cannot see you once you move past the front fender. If you are tailgating, you reduce the truck driver’s options. If the driver knows you are in his or her blind spot, and has to take evasive actions, he or she might choose a different action that could result in less injury if you are seen.

Many vehicles have blind spot monitoring or blind spot warning systems, forward collision mitigation, automatic emergency braking, and other active safety features to help drivers avoid accidents. However, these features have not been implemented on trucks yet.

If trucking manufacturers added at least blind spot monitoring or blind spot warning, it would help truck drivers avoid people who move into their blind spots, especially when a truck is making a wide right turn.

Avoiding a Truck Wreck

As a driver in a passenger vehicle, avoid wrecks with trucks by paying more attention to your surroundings, including the traffic around you. Some things to keep in mind when driving with trucks, whether on the highway or secondary roads, include:

  • Make sure you can see the truck’s door mirrors.
  • Understand that, because of the size and weight of a truck, especially a loaded truck, it cannot make fast evasive maneuvers.
  • Never tailgate or “push” a truck. You are too close, likely sitting in the truck’s rear blind spot. If the driver has to stop fast, the trailer could fishtail and wipe you out.
  • Always signal well in advance of passing a truck. Once you start the passing maneuver, pass as quickly and safely as possible so that you get out of the truck’s blind spot. If you signal ahead of time, you give the truck driver time to notice your turn signal before you get into the truck’s blind spot.
  • Never pass a truck on the right, especially if the driver has his turn signal on. Trucks need to turn wide and often take up a full lane to make a right turn.

In addition to staying out of a truck’s blind spots, you should keep your distance in case the load shifts. Even a box trailer can lose control of its load. If the load is not properly secured, it could slide out of the rear doors and right into your car. Open trailers have the risk of cargo sliding off the side should the load shift or should a cargo strap break.

Types of Truck Wrecks

Truck accidents tend to cause more severe injuries and fatalities because of trucks’ large size and heavy weight. However, trucks are also higher off the ground than many of the compact and subcompact passenger vehicles.

If a truck stops fast while you tailgate it, you could find yourself under the truck. Most trucks have a bar across the back to prevent smaller vehicles from going under the truck. However, that bar could go through the windshield in some subcompact cars or low riders.

Another dangerous place to be is on the side of a semi-trailer. If the trailer sways, or if another vehicle pushes you toward the truck in a smaller car, it could easily get caught under the trailer. Flatbed trailers are also dangerous. While truck drivers and loaders know to strap down a load, that strap could loosen, or the load could shift. If you are next to the truck, the load could fall onto your vehicle.

A truck making a right turn could easily get its trailer stuck on top of you if you pull up to the right, and the driver doesn’t see you before he or she makes the turn.

Another type of accident that is not common to passenger vehicles is a rollover accident. High winds and speed contribute to rollovers. A truck driver could drive at or below the speed limit, but if the wind hits the truck directly from the side, it could push the truck onto its side. If a truck driver is going too fast for a curve, the weight of the truck and trailer could pull it over. These types of accidents are common on highway on- and off-ramps. Though speed is often a factor, the wind could cause a rollover in a curve, even at slow speeds.

If you are injured in a truck accident, schedule a free consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer who can help you understand the next steps in your journey toward recovering compensation.

Wisconsin Auto Accident Attorneys

What to Do After a Car Accident That Is Not Your Fault

When you are in a car accident that is not your fault, the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company are responsible for your medical expenses and other costs that you incur because of the accident. Wisconsin is a fault state, which means that you are not required to carry personal injury protection. Instead of your insurance covering your expenses in an accident that is not your fault, the at-fault driver and/or his or her insurance must pay your claim.

At the Scene

If you feel your injuries are bad, don’t try to move. Let the paramedics check you out first. If you move, you could cause more damage. If possible, call 911 instead of relying on someone else to do it. The other person might be unconscious.

If you can walk around, check on other involved individuals, including the other driver. Call 911 while you are doing this. You might be able to let first responders know if more than one ambulance should come to the scene.

Take Pictures

Most people carry a cell phone. If you have your cell or another camera, take pictures of the accident scene. Even if you have a dashcam, you’ll want photos of the accident. Be sure to take photos from all angles at a distance and close-up pictures of the damage. When taking close-up photographs, don’t get so close that it’s hard to tell what you’re looking at. If you left skid marks, be sure the pictures show the skid marks, too.

Get Contact Information

Get the other driver’s license number, registration information, insurance information, year, make and model of the vehicle, address, and phone number. Get the names and phone numbers of witnesses standing around, as well.

Do Not Talk About the Accident

Even if you were not at fault, do not talk about the auto accident. The at-fault driver could twist your words in his account to his insurance company, which could make it look like you were at fault or partially at fault.

When speaking to the police officer and/or investigators, just give them the facts. They will come to their own conclusion about fault. Just because a police report includes assertions of who was at fault in the accident, such information is not dispositive. An accident recreation investigator will go through pictures, videos, and other evidence to help determine fault.

Contact Your Insurance Company

When you contact your insurance company, let the representative know that you were involved in an accident and the location of the accident. Let your car accident lawyer tell the insurance company the details of the accident. You may accidentally say something that the insurance company will use against you. Do not contact the other driver’s insurance company. Let your attorney do that for you, as well.

After the Accident

First responders might give you the option of going to the hospital. Always go to get thoroughly checked out. You can pick up your vehicle later if it drives. If not, police officers will arrange for a tow truck to take your car either to their lot or your choice of garage for repairs. If the police officers insist on taking your vehicle to their lot, they might need to go through it for more evidence for their police report.

If the hospital releases you, get copies of your medical records. Contact the police station for a copy of the police report. Contact your car accident lawyer to set up a consultation once the hospital releases you.

If your loved one is expected to be in the hospital for several days or weeks, you should get medical records and the police report for your loved one. Contact a car accident lawyer regarding the accident. If your loved one can talk but does not expect the hospital to release him or her for several days, we might do a phone consultation or might visit your loved one in the hospital.

Recover and Work With Your Attorney

The most important thing to do after an accident is to recover from your injuries. Never deny treatment because it will cost more money. The at-fault driver’s insurance company and/or the at-fault driver will be responsible for your medical expenses, which also covers physical therapy, cognitive therapy, and psychological therapy. Wisconsin law allows you to recover the following:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Repair or replacement of personal property damaged in the accident, including your vehicle
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship
  • Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do the things you did yourself, including shopping, cleaning, home maintenance, and other tasks
  • Loss of consortium
  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Extra compensation for the loss of use of a limb
  • Punitive damages. The court may order the at-fault driver to pay punitive damages as a punishment for gross negligence or if the other driver’s actions were with the intent to harm you or someone in your vehicle.

You have a limited amount of time to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company, so contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Depending on the insurance company, the time to start a claim may be as little as 30 days after the date of your accident.

Don’t try to negotiate with the insurance company yourself. Insurance companies are in business to make money, which means they will offer the least amount possible. If you have injuries that doctors expect to last longer than a year, you will want enough compensation to pay for future medical expenses.

If the insurance company does not offer you a fair settlement, even though you have retained an attorney, your attorney might advise you to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In many cases, a jury will award a higher amount than the insurance company offers.

Your car accident lawyer can answer your questions and help you decide what to do next.

Wisconsin Car Accident Lawyers

The Consequences of Road Rage

A mom giving her son a driving lesson dies when someone allegedly shoots her in a road rage incident. The person who shot her also hit her vehicle and caused a car accident. The suspect allegedly left the scene but was eventually apprehended. While the mom got medical attention, she did not survive.

In another case, two people allegedly shot a 13-year-old boy in a road rage incident. Those two suspects allegedly ran and remained at large as of this writing.

Many people go over the top when they get upset on the road, even if the incident seems to be their fault. Is road rage really worth a life?

What Is Road Rage?

Mirriam Webster defines road rage as “a motorist’s uncontrolled anger that is usually provoked by another motorist’s irritating act and is expressed in aggressive or violent behavior.” Road rage could be something as minor as shouting at someone when they can’t hear you or, as in the news stories above, shooting someone and even taking their life.

Actions that are considered road rage behavior include speeding, running stop signs and stop lights, weaving in and out of traffic, not yielding the right-of-way, and tailgating. Situations that often cause road rage behavior include:

  • Traffic delays and traffic jams;
  • Running late;
  • No regard for others;
  • The behavior is habitual; and
  • The accused has no regard for the law.

As pointed out in the above situations, road rage can cause catastrophic injuries and even death, yet people continue this destructive behavior. Instead of leaving early enough to get somewhere on time, they leave too late and are late to work, an appointment, or even just a fun time shopping or going on a date. Irritation sets in if someone is driving too slowly, someone is not going “fast enough” on the highway (even if that person is going the speed limit), or even because someone slows down to make a turn.

Types of Road Rage Accidents

Speeding and cutting in and out of traffic often cause accidents, and these behaviors are two of the more common road rage behaviors. Roads have posted speed limits because they tested for those safe speeds. If a highway has a 75 mph speed limit that drops to 55 mph in a specific area, it is because the Department of Transportation deemed it dangerous to go faster than 55 mph on that stretch of highway.

Going 85 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone is just as bad, if not worse, than going 65 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone, especially if you are already upset. Not only is it easier to lose control of your vehicle at higher speeds, but your aggression makes you react slower to vehicles and circumstances around you.

Speeding can cause:

  • Rear-end accidents
  • Side-swipe accidents
  • Roll-overs if the speed is too fast for a curve
  • Head-on crashes with other vehicles and stationary objects

Cutting in and out of traffic is also dangerous. People around you don’t know what you are going to do, especially if you are not using your turn signal. Jerky movements on the steering wheel as you dodge in between other vehicles could cause you to wreck by side-swiping someone, hitting another vehicle’s front with your vehicle’s rear if you are merging in too close, or even a roll-over wreck.

Running stop signs and stop lights, and not yielding to traffic, can cause T-bone accidents, roll-overs, and side-swipes.

Road Rage Accident Injuries

Any accident can result in injuries, but road rage accidents usually cause more severe accidents (and thus injuries) because of the aggressive driving involved. The type of vehicle you are driving when someone hits you in a road rage fit also determines the extent of your injuries. If you are driving a large truck and someone in a compact car causes a road-rage wreck, you might suffer minor injuries. However, if you are driving a motorcycle or are walking along a sidewalk and someone hits you in a road rage fit, you could suffer catastrophic injuries or even death.

  • Death: Even an accident that doesn’t look “bad” can cause death if the impact throws your body in such a way that you injure a critical organ or a seemingly minor injury causes internal bleeding that is left alone.
  • Traumatic brain injury: TBI comes in several different forms. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. Whiplash may cause a TBI because, like in a concussion, your brain moves back and forth quickly and hits the skull as it moves. Traumatic brain injuries might happen if a piece of bone from a crushed skull pierces the brain, if something else pierces the brain—such as a piece of metal, wood, or a bullet, or if not enough oxygen gets to the brain for several minutes.
  • Neck, shoulder and back injuries: These types of injuries often require physical therapy or surgery to repair, depending on the extent of the damage. Minor damage to the spine may also cause neurological problems, which may last for months or years.
  • Fractures: A standard fracture is when the bone doesn’t break the skin. A compound fracture is when the broken bone breaks through the skin. Both are very painful and could take up to six to eight weeks to heal. However, a compound fracture has the added complication of infection because of the open wound.
  • Strains, sprains, and soft tissue injuries: While these might not seem serious at first, always have a medical professional check them out. You might think something is a painful strain, but you could suffer from a torn muscle that might require surgery.
  • Minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises: These minor injuries could become serious if cuts and scrapes become infected. Even if you believe that you don’t have more injuries, you should have a medical professional check you out, as serious injuries, including whiplash, often appear hours or even days later.

If someone hit you in a road rage accident, a free consultation with a car accident lawyer can make sure you understand how to proceed.

Wisconsin Car Accident Attorney

The 5 Types of Car Accidents

Most car accidents occur within 25 miles of a person’s home. That’s not surprising given that most of us stay relatively close to our homes: Driving to work, to school, to a doctor appointment, or running errands in our neighborhoods. However, with familiarity often comes complacency, and with complacency comes carelessness.

An estimated six-million car accidents take place each year in the United States, which result in nearly 33,000 deaths—that’s 90 people per day! Over three-million people are injured each year, and two-million of them experience permanent injury as a result of their accidents.

Different Types of Car Accidents

Although car accidents can happen in a variety of strange ways, some types are more common than others. Consider the following:

Head-On Collisions

Head-on collisions occur when the front ends of two vehicles collide. Because this usually involves one car crossing the center line, these accidents often happen at higher speeds than other types of crashes. Because of the speed of the vehicles and the unexpected nature of seeing an oncoming car barreling at them, drivers do not have much time to react to the oncoming vehicle or avoid the accident.

Even without dangerous road conditions, such as Wisconsin snow and ice—which increase the chances of a head-on collision, head-on collisions are the most deadly types of car crashes and result in the most severe injuries.

Side-Impact Accidents

Also knows as T-bone accidents, side-impact crashes occur when one vehicle impacts the side of another. They most often occur because one driver failed to obey a stop sign or stoplight, and the driver of the approaching vehicle did not have time to stop or otherwise avoid the collision. Passengers in both vehicles can experience serious injuries, but those in the front of the oncoming vehicle may suffer the most.

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions—those caused when one vehicle runs into the back of another—are often caused by inattention. Drivers who are not fully engaged with their driving may not see a car stopped in front of them. Ice, rain, and snow on roads can make it difficult to stop and avoid a rear-end crash, which makes it imperative that drivers exercise special caution when driving in those road conditions.

Multi-Vehicle Crashes

Accidents involving more than one vehicle, including pile-ups, occur most frequently on busy highways and freeways during periods of high traffic. As the name indicates, these types of wrecks involve one car being pushed from behind into the car in front, and so on. Because of the number of vehicles involved, the cars may collide at different and odd angles, making it difficult for occupants to exit the vehicles or for emergency personnel to access those trapped inside. Unfortunately, pile-ups involve the worst of both head-on and rear-end collisions, and the resulting injuries can be serious or fatal and result in severe property damage.

Collisions With Big Trucks

Big rig trucks are common on our roads. They transport the vast majority of goods moved on our roads and between the U.S. and its North American neighbors. Thus it should come as no surprise that passenger vehicles and trucks end up in accidents with each other. Unfortunately for those in cars, the occupants of the car usually fair much worse than the driver of the truck in these collisions. Cars can become lodged underneath the rear or side of the truck’s trailer, resulting in catastrophic injury for the car’s front occupants, and head-on collisions with trucks are often fatal.

After Your Accident

Car accident injuries can leave you with overwhelming medical bills that far exceed the benefits that your insurance will provide and major financial insecurity. Many survivors of car accidents also suffer from mental health issues, like anxiety, depression, fear of being in a car, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Depending on the severity of the injuries that you sustain, you may be unable to work, either for a finite period of time or the remainder of your life, depriving you of wages that you should be earning.

Wisconsin law recognizes the damage inflicted upon you when you are in a car accident due to another person’s negligence. The law allows you to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault individual in your accident and recover a monetary sum intended to compensate you for your losses. However, you generally must file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations. Accordingly, you should contact a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

If you choose to proceed with a lawsuit, the court will expect you to prove your monetary damages for things like medical bills for your initial hospital stay and follow-up care, physical or occupational therapy, rehabilitation, medication, and lost wages. Keep all of the bills that you receive from medical providers and receipts for purchase that you make to treat your injuries. Also, make sure you track all of the time you miss from work and include any tips, commissions, bonuses, or retirement contributions that you miss out on by not working.

The law also allows you to recover for damages to which it’s difficult to attach a dollar amount, such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, disfigurement, or disability. If your case goes to trial, a jury will determine the amount of these damages that your case warrants.

In rare cases, a court may award you punitive damages if the party responsible for your accident acted in a particularly egregious manner. These are intended to punish the negligent party and discourage them from acting that way in the future.

Ask a Wisconsin Car Accident Attorney for More Information

Don’t face the aftermath of a car accident alone. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you recover damages and get your life back on track.

Wisconsin Reckless Driving Attorney

The Dangers of Reckless Driving

Wisconsin law defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle negligently (even without causing injury to another person), recklessly driving a vehicle on a railroad crossing, or causing bodily harm to another person by negligently operating a vehicle. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reports that in 2016—the most recent year for which data are available—there were over 129,000 automobile crashes on Wisconsin roads. Those accidents led to nearly 600 deaths and 44,000 injured individuals.

Types of Reckless Driving

Under Wisconsin law, a person acts negligently when he or she fails to exercise what is called ordinary care. Ordinary care refers to the care that a reasonable person would employ in similar circumstances. When it comes to driving, there are many behaviors that the law considers negligent and can result in reckless driving, including:

  • Excessive speeding: While there’s not an exact definition of “excessive,” the law assumes that a reasonable person would not speed 20 or more miles per hour over the speed limit. High speed crashes invariably result in more property damages and more serious injuries than crashes that occur at lower speeds. The effects can be devastating and cause injuries that may require extensive medical care to diagnose, treat, and recover from.
  • Racing: Racing, especially on city streets and in areas with pedestrians, often ends badly. Drivers are likely to lose control or crash into each other or innocent bystanders.
  • Joyriding: Stealing cars and then driving fast and dangerously is known as joyriding. Many times, law enforcement gets involved and may embark on high-speed chases that endanger the public.
  • Running stop signs and stop lights: Failing to stop at lights and signs is a common cause of car accidents when cars approaching from a side direction collide with the vehicle that failed to observe the stoplight or stop sign.
  • Blocking traffic flow: Although blocking traffic almost certainly means a vehicle is stopped, it also creates a dangerous environment for others on the road. Drivers may fail to stop in time and those who do may end up being rear-ended by drivers behind them who cannot.
  • Disregarding traffic lanes: Crossing into oncoming traffic poses an extreme risk to drivers in oncoming vehicles. These types of accidents often occur at high speeds, leaving drivers on the other side of the road with little time to react.
  • Aggression and road rage: Driving is frustrating, and everyone gets annoyed with other drivers. Taking it to the extreme by driving aggressively—quick stops in front of another car, tailing too closely, or engaging in shouting with other drivers—can quickly rise to the level of recklessness. Aggressive driving puts not only the two vehicles involved in the incident at risk, but also anyone near the crash.

Injured by a Reckless Driver?

If you’ve been injured by a reckless driver, you may face a pile of mounting medical expenses, property damage to your vehicle, and financial insecurity if you’ve had to miss work. Costs quickly add up and may soon exceed the benefit limits of your car or health insurance policies. You don’t have to face it all alone, though. An experienced Wisconsin reckless driving attorney may help you evaluate your case and determine if filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages from the negligent party is appropriate in your situation.

Types of Damages in Reckless Driving Lawsuits

The amount and types of damages that plaintiffs in reckless driving cases can recover from the at-fault party in your accident will depend heavily on the facts of your case, but commonly-awarded damage types fit into one of four defined categories recognized under Wisconsin law.

  • Economic damages: These damages are intended to provide compensation for those damages that are based on measurable monetary losses. Economic damages include medical costs (both initial, ongoing, therapeutic, and rehabilitative), property damage, and lost wages that you are currently losing as well as those that you expect to lose in the future. You can also seek compensation for services that you previously provided for your family or yourself that you now have to hire someone else to do.
  • Non-economic damages: Non-economic damages seek to repay injured plaintiffs for intangible losses that they’ve suffered at the hands of negligent parties. Compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, or loss of consortium are all non-economic damages that courts can award if the situation merits.
  • Punitive damages: Courts rarely award punitive damages. They are reserved for cases in which the negligent party exhibited especially egregious behavior, and they are intended to punish the at-fault party, rather than compensate the victim. Wisconsin law caps punitive damages at twice the sum of economic and non-economic damages or $200,000, whichever is greater.

If you were injured in a reckless driving accident, document all of the costs that you incur to prove your economic damages. That just means keeping track of your bills and receipts for all costs associated with your injuries.

Contact a Wisconsin Reckless Driving Attorney

Serious car accidents can result in both physical and financial pain that can feel overwhelming and unbearable. Many individuals wind up facing what feels like insurmountable medical debt end up filing bankruptcy; in fact, it is the most common reason that people choose to file bankruptcy. Missing work or being unable to return to the work that you did before your accident due to new physical and mental impairments can leave you feeling hopeless. You may suffer from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, fear of being in a car, or debilitating depression.

The law allows you to hold the person who caused your injuries—financial, physical, and mental—accountable for the damage that he or she caused. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you do just that.