The large size and extreme weight of commercial trucks make them a considerable threat to public safety, especially when trucking companies and drivers act negligently. When victims have been harmed in preventable trucking wrecks, or families lose loved ones due to the negligence of trucking operators and their employees, they have a right to seek compensation for their damages. The Wisconsin truck accident lawyers at Cannon & Dunphy, S.C. have the experience to help you pursue a winning legal case. Our Milwaukee truck accident attorneys have been serving the Wisconsin area for decades, recovering more than one billion dollars in settlements. Trust us to get the best result for your case!
Why Choose the Attorneys at Cannon & Dunphy S.C.?
- Cannon & Dunphy S.C. specializes in personal injury law and has a proven track record of success. Leveraging our deep knowledge and legal expertise, we represent Milwaukee residents in a wide range of claims, including intricate truck accident cases.
- Truck accident claims are high-value and often involve multiple parties, making them particularly complex. Our attorneys have recovered over $1 billion for our clients and will fight for the compensation that you deserve.
- At Cannon & Dunphy S.C., we believe that everyone deserves access to effective legal representation, regardless of cost. We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will not pay any legal fees unless we recover a settlement in your case.
The Dangerous Consequences of a Milwaukee Truck Accident
Trucks, given their vast size and immense weight, are a force to reckon with on the road. When involved in an accident, these colossal vehicles can cause severe injuries, many of which can be life altering. The brunt of the impact from a truck can not only result in immediate injuries but also devastating fatalities. Moreover, victims may suffer from long-term complications that can continue to affect their quality of life for years after the actual collision.
Potential Defendants in a Truck Accident Lawsuit
An accident with a tractor-trailer can lead to severe injuries, fatalities, and significant property damage. Depending on how the accident happened, one or more parties could potentially bear liability for the resulting damages. Hiring an expert Milwaukee truck accident lawyer can help you to sort out the details of your case, and ensure your claim is handled correctly.
- Trucking companies are liable for the actions of their employees and for failures in their hiring practices. If a trucking company failed to properly vet an employee, did not adequately train an employee or failed to enforce safe driving practices with employees, the company could face liability for a truck collision.
- Truck drivers who act outside the scope of their job duties may face individual liability for a truck crash. For example, driving under the influence of alcohol, aggressive driving, and speeding could all lead to serious accidents and these acts fall outside the scope of a driver’s job responsibilities.
- Maintenance personnel who perform routine upkeep on tractor-trailers may bear liability for negligent maintenance, failure to perform necessary safety checks, or allowing dangerous conditions to persist in a tractor-trailer.
- Product manufacturers that produce defective vehicles or parts could face product liability claims if a faulty product causes an accident.
- Parties responsible for loading a tractor-trailer may incur liability for improperly securing cargo or creating an unbalanced load. Even small imbalances can cause accidents, and special cargo types like concrete pipe segments, lumber, and smaller vehicles require specialized safety equipment.
- Third parties can face liability if they contribute to causing accidents with tractor-trailers. For example, an aggressive driver who suddenly cuts in front of a truck driver could cause the driver to swerve and create an accident.
- Government agencies responsible for road maintenance may also face liability if they negligently allow a dangerous road condition to persist that leads to a tractor-trailer accident. However, taking legal action against any government entity is much more difficult than pursuing a claim against a private individual or company.
Do I Need a Milwaukee Truck Accident Lawyer?
If a tractor-trailer accident involves multiple defendants, the jury will assign a percentage of fault to each defendant to determine each defendant’s level of liability for the accident. Some states follow comparative negligence laws that allow plaintiffs to recover damages even if they share some fault for their claimed damages. If a plaintiff somehow contributes to the damages claimed in a truck accident lawsuit, the jury will also assign the plaintiff a fault percentage and reduce his or her compensation by that percentage. However, the plaintiff’s fault cannot exceed the combined fault of the defendants or else the plaintiff cannot recover damages except in states that follow pure comparative negligence statutes.
Hiring a Wisconsin truck accident attorney helps a plaintiff with a truck accident claim to protect his or her rights and maximizes the chances of the plaintiff securing compensation. Attempting to navigate a lawsuit without professional representation could lead to a judge throwing out a case before it even reaches trial due to procedural errors or missed filing deadlines. Hiring an auto accident attorney may come at an expense, but the alternative could mean risking all of the compensation owed to a plaintiff with a valid claim. Our Milwaukee truck accident attorneys will also be able to navigate complex claims involving multiple defendants more easily, connect with relevant expert witnesses, and build a stronger case than a plaintiff could manage without representation.
What Are Common Types of Truck Accidents?
Due to the size and weight of tractor-trailers compared to other passenger vehicles, accidents involving large trucks often lead to more severe injuries and damages than other accidents and have a higher chance of causing fatalities. Common types of truck crashes include: rollover accidents, tip-over accidents, rear-end accidents, jackknife, and multi-vehicle collisions.
- Rollover accidents can occur when a truck driver takes a sharp turn too fast or has an improperly balanced load. Trucks have higher centers of gravity than smaller vehicles and are therefore more vulnerable to forces acting on the sides of the truck and the trailer. Empty trailers are especially vulnerable to rollovers.
- Tip-over accidents happen when a tractor-trailer tips over and crash down on one side without rolling. These accidents can also occur from taking corners too fast or poorly balanced cargo.
- Jackknife accidents happen when a semi’s trailer swings out to one side, creating a “V” shape along multiple lanes of traffic. It is sometimes possible for a driver to control a jackknife at moderate speeds, but the presence of other vehicles means accidents are very likely.
- Rear-end accidents are extremely dangerous. If a tractor-trailer hits a smaller vehicle from behind at even moderate speeds it can cause a catastrophic accident, and a smaller vehicle that hits a tractor-trailer from behind will likely suffer severe damage.
- Multi-vehicle collisions are likely with tractor-trailers because of their size. An accident with one vehicle can easily cause a chain reaction, and drivers behind the initial crash may be unable to stop in time.
What Factors Contribute to Truck Accidents?
A myriad of factors can converge to cause a truck accident. Some of these are tied to the truck driver, while others stem from the trucking company’s practices. Our Milwaukee truck accident lawyers can conduct a full investigation into the incident and determine whose actions led to the collision.
Some of the most common factors include:
- Driver Fatigue: Many truck drivers operate for extended hours without sufficient rest. This can lead to fatigue, affecting their response times and decision-making capabilities on the road. Despite federal regulations, trucking companies often require drivers to adhere to tight and unrealistic schedules, heightening the risk of drowsy driving.
- Distracted Driving: Just like any other driver, a truck driver can be distracted by phone calls, texting, or other in-cab activities. Such distractions can easily lead to accidents given the size and momentum of trucks.
- Inadequate Training: Trucking companies may sometimes fail to provide comprehensive training to their drivers. Inexperienced or inadequately trained drivers are more prone to making errors on the road.
- Poor Vehicle Maintenance: Trucking companies have a responsibility to maintain their fleet. A failure in essential systems like brakes or lights due to lack of maintenance can result in serious accidents.
- Overloading: Trucks carrying loads beyond their permissible limit are harder to control and can cause significant damage during a collision. Improper cargo loading techniques may also lead to items falling out of the vehicle.
Possible Damages in a Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawsuit
The damages in any truck accident case can be significant. A plaintiff can recover all damages resulting from the negligence of another party.
- Plaintiffs can claim compensation for their immediate and future medical bills. This compensation can cover hospital bills, emergency ambulance or airlift fees, rehabilitation costs, and any other costs for ongoing care.
- A plaintiff in a truck wreck case may miss work while he or she recovers from his or her injuries. The plaintiff can claim this lost income as damages in the lawsuit. If injuries prevent working in the future, the plaintiff’s attorney may call on an expert witness to explain the scope of the plaintiff’s lost future earning capacity to the court.
- Property damage is common in truck crash as smaller passenger vehicles will usually sustain severe damage. A plaintiff can claim the cost of repairing or replacing a vehicle and other personal property as damages in a truck accident lawsuit.
- The physical pain, psychological distress, and emotional anguish a plaintiff experiences because of a truck collision and the associated damages are compensable as non-economic damages. The jury hearing the case will listen to expert testimony and review the facts concerning the plaintiff’s economic damages to determine an appropriate amount of pain and suffering compensation.
- Punitive damages may be available if a defendant’s behavior qualifies as grossly negligent or intentionally harmful. The amount a plaintiff receives in punitive damages relates directly to the defendant’s personal finances, so an affluent defendant will pay much more in punitive damages.
What Is the Average Truck Accident Settlement?
Determining an average settlement for truck accidents is not a straightforward process. Each case is nuanced and involves its unique set of circumstances. While some cases may be worth a few thousand dollars, others could amount to millions, depending on the severity of the damages.
Factors that influence the value of a truck accident settlement may include:
- Severity of Injuries: The more grievous the injury, the higher the potential settlement. Life-altering injuries like spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries often result in higher awards than minor bruises or sprains.
- Medical Expenses: The cost of immediate medical treatment, surgeries, rehabilitation, and future medical care all factor into the settlement amount. The more extensive or complex the medical treatment, the higher the potential award.
- Lost Wages: If you are unable to work, either temporarily or permanently, due to the accident, you may be compensated for the wages you have lost and will lose in the future. Your award value may change based on your working ability.
- Degree of Fault: If the truck driver or trucking company is found wholly or predominantly at fault, the settlement might be higher. However, if you are partially at fault, the settlement amount might be reduced proportionately.
- Insurance Policy Limits: The trucking company’s insurance policy limits can also influence the settlement amount. Some policies might have caps on the amount that can be claimed.
How Do I Win a Wisconsin Truck Accident Lawsuit?
To succeed with a truck accident lawsuit, a plaintiff’s attorney must identify the defendants involved in the case, prove the defendant or defendants were negligent in some way that contributed to the accident, and provide evidence that shows the extent of the plaintiff’s damages.
A truck accident can cause severe injuries like broken bones, spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injury, crushing wounds, and more. The time necessary to recover from such injuries may prevent the plaintiff from working for a long time or ever again, if the plaintiff developed a permanent disability from the accident. A plaintiff’s vehicle may be totally destroyed or incur thousands of dollars’ worth of repair costs, and the jury hearing the case will determine an appropriate amount of compensation for the economic, physical, and psychological toll of these damages.
If possible, a commercial truck crash victim should secure as much information from the accident scene as possible before the police clear potentially crucial evidence. A victim who sustains severe injuries should remain on the scene until an ambulance arrives, but if he or she feels well enough to move, it is a good time to take photos of the accident site and check on other drivers involved. A driver involved in a truck wreck should call the police to report the accident immediately if no one else has already called them.
The police will respond to the accident and investigate the scene, take statements from the drivers involved and any witnesses, and write up a report for the incident that the plaintiff’s attorney can retrieve later. The police report from the accident and the medical report from the plaintiff’s doctor will be two of the most important documents for any trucking accident case and form the foundation of the plaintiff’s evidence.
What Should I Do If I’m Hit by a Truck in Milwaukee?
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being involved in a truck accident in Milwaukee, taking the right steps immediately following the incident is crucial. These steps not only ensure your safety but also protect your rights and potential legal claim:
- Report the Accident to the Police: Call 911 and report the truck accident to the police right away. This ensures that there is a formal record of the collision, which can be vital for insurance and legal purposes later in your claim.
- Seek Emergency Medical Attention: Always prioritize your health and safety after a collision. Even if you feel fine, some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately. Go to the hospital as soon as possible after the accident and save all of your medical records.
- Collect Evidence and Witness Information: If you’re in a position to do so, gather evidence from the accident scene. Photographs, videos, and witness accounts can be invaluable in building a robust case.
- Exchange Information with the Truck Driver: Acquire the truck driver’s name, employer and contact information, insurance details, and other pertinent data. You will need this information when you choose to file your insurance claim or lawsuit.
- Contact a Milwaukee Truck Accident Attorney: When pursuing legal action, engaging with an attorney who is familiar with truck accidents is instrumental. Before speaking with insurance or trucking company representatives, consult with a lawyer to discuss your path forward.
How Long Do I Have to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
In Wisconsin, you have a limited amount of time to pursue a lawsuit after a truck accident. These claims are categorized under personal injury law; for these claims, you must file a lawsuit within three years from the date of the collision. If you miss this deadline, the court can prevent you from filing a claim and recovering a settlement. To protect your right to compensation, contact Cannon & Dunphy S.C. as soon as possible to identify your filing deadline.
Contact our Milwaukee Truck Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, or have lost a loved one, our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys at Cannon & Dunphy S.C. law offices can guide you through the personal injury and wrongful death claim process. Our Wisconsin truck accident attorneys have successfully represented victims of negligence throughout the state, and have recovered over $1 billion in judgments and paid settlements since 1985.
Call (855) 627-2147 for a FREE Consultation!