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.

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.

How You Can Recover Compensation From a Truck Rollover Accident

Truck Rollover Accidents In one recent year, 4,102 people died in crashes with large trucks nationwide. In Wisconsin alone, truck accidents killed an average of 71 people each year between 2011 and 2016, and injured an average of 2,032 more each of those years, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. An astonishing 6,751 truck accidents occurred in our state every year during this period. While these figures indicate that some truck accidents don’t cause either injuries or deaths, they also show that an average of 18 truck accidents occurred every day in Wisconsin, and roughly 30 percent cause death or injury. If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking related accident speaking with an experienced truck accident attorney.

Truck accidents can devastate their victims, mostly because trucks are much larger and heavier than other vehicles, and they are certainly larger and heavier than pedestrians and bicyclists. A collision of any kind with a truck can cause severe, life-threatening injuries and even death. Nationwide, 68 percent of deaths in truck accidents occur to individuals who are in a car, and 14 percent of those killed are pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.

But vehicle occupants, pedestrians, and bicyclists have more than just collisions to worry about. Trucks are also prone to accidents that cause them to roll, to jackknife so that one part is perpendicular to the other, and to spill cargo. Any of these accidents can harm others on the road by causing obstacles, traffic jams, and collisions with the truck’s cargo. Some cargo is flammable and can start a fire in the truck or on the road. Fires pose risks to everyone nearby of burns, asphyxiation, and death.

One of the most common truck accident types is called a rollover. As its name implies, it occurs when the truck rolls over: either partially so that it lands on its side or all the way so that it lands on its roof. Some truck rollovers cause the truck to roll over multiple times.

How Often Do Rollovers Happen?

A study of truck accidents indicated that approximately 9 percent of large truck crashes occurred as a result of a rollover. Tractor-trailers are more likely to roll over because their center of gravity is higher.

While just 22 percent of occupant car accident fatalities are caused by cars rolling over, 48 percent of trucker deaths occur when a truck rolls over. This is far higher than the number in other types of truck accidents, where just 17 percent of people killed are occupants of the truck.

What Causes a Rollover?

Speed

The most common cause of truck rollovers is speed, which is responsible for 45 percent of these accidents. Speed can mean many things; some of these accidents are caused by going over the speed limit or driving too fast for conditions, such as snow or sleet.

But the study was careful to note the complexity of what speed means in the context of a trucking accident. Many of the speed-related accidents didn’t involve speeding in the way that we usually understand the term, such as a car traveling at 45 miles per hour in a 20-mph zone.

Trucks are very complex to operate and often heavily loaded with cargo. They frequently navigate interstate highways, on- and off-ramps, and uphill and downhill terrain. Speed variables, including interstates to ramps, interstates to smaller roads, ramps themselves, loads, and the condition of the trucks, all contribute to trucks going too fast for the conditions.

The highest number of rollover accidents related to speed stemmed from trucks driving too quickly on curves, either because the drivers misjudged the speed for the curve or because he or she simply went too fast. The second-highest number of accidents related to speed stemmed from failing to adjust a truck’s speed to accommodate the stability, height, or weight of the truck. The third-highest number of rollovers related to speed occurred because the drivers didn’t adjust the speed to “known bad brakes.”

Lack of Attention

The second most common cause of rollovers is lack of attention, which the study defined very broadly to include distracted driving, where the driver simply isn’t paying sufficient attention to the road, as well as fatigue and sleep deprivation. Drowsiness or actually falling asleep accounted for more than one-third of rollovers in this category.

Fatigue is a national problem with all drivers, but truck drivers are especially prone to it. Their Federally-mandated limits on hours of service stand at 11 hours, without a break after 10 consecutive hours off. They are required to stop driving after 14 consecutive hours, but it’s possible to become fatigued or drowsy even with these limits. Some drivers and trucking companies, too, may push their drivers to work longer to ensure deliveries over long distances.

Driving Control

The third most common rollover cause is problems in the control of the driving, including issues with steering, overcorrecting, following too closely, downshifting, braking, and other maneuvers.

Who Is Responsible If I’m Hurt in a Truck Rollover?

Usually, the party that causes a vehicle accident is responsible for injuries. If a driver breaks the law, for example, or is driving recklessly, and an accident results from these actions, a court may hold that driver liable for injuries that occur as a result.

This rule applies to truck accidents too, but the causes of truck accidents can be complex. If a truck rolls over because it’s going too fast for worn brakes, for example, is the problem the speed and the driving, the condition of the truck, the maintenance schedule, or the brakes themselves? Frankly, it could be one or all of these, ultimately, that is directly responsible for the truck rolling over.

It’s often necessary to investigate the causes of the accident to ascertain who is responsible for paying. Responsible parties may include:

  • The driver
  • The truck’s owner
  • The trucking company
  • The shippers or loaders
  • The maintenance or repair companies
  • Manufacturers of equipment

I Was Hurt in a Truck Rollover. Shouldn’t Those Responsible Pay My Medical Bills?

If injured plaintiffs can prove liability for their accidents and injuries, they may receive compensation from insurance companies or by bringing a personal injury claim. Compensation for damages in Wisconsin may include economic damages, such as medical bills, lost wages from work, and prospective lost wages, as well as non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

For further information or assistance, contact a licensed truck accident attorney.