In the blink of an eye, a truck accident can drastically change your life, leaving you with severe injuries, mounting medical bills, and a future filled with uncertainty. It’s possible to demand money for your losses, but going up against the trucking industry and its powerful lawyers is no easy task.

If you got hurt in a Green Bay truck accident, Schwaba Law Firm is here to stand by your side during this challenging time. When you come to Andrew Schwaba for help, he and his dedicated team will listen attentively to your needs, stand up to big corporations on your behalf, and work diligently to secure the compensation you need.

With a strong track record that includes millions of dollars recovered for his clients, you can rest assured that Andrew has the experience to deliver meaningful results. Reach out to a Green Bay truck accident lawyer from Schwaba Law Firm today for a free case review.

What Is Considered a Truck in Wisconsin?

The term “truck” refers to a large, heavy-duty vehicle used primarily for transporting goods and materials. However, the legal definition of a truck under Wisconsin law includes the term “commercial motor vehicle” (CMV). This legal definition is quite detailed, and certain specific criteria apply.

According to Wisconsin law, a CMV has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • The vehicle by itself has a gross weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, or its registered weight or actual gross weight is more than 26,000 pounds.
  • The vehicle, when combined with a towed unit such as a trailer, has a gross combination weight rating, registered weight, or actual gross weight of 26,001 or more pounds, including a towed unit with a GVWR, registered weight, or actual gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds.
  • The vehicle can transport the driver and 15 or more passengers. This provision mainly applies to passenger vehicles like buses but could include larger trucks.
  • The vehicle transports hazardous materials that require placarding under the law.

Why Truck Accidents Are More Complicated Than Other Motor Vehicle Crashes

Truck accident cases often present greater complexity than other motor vehicle accident cases. This intricacy arises from several unique characteristics of trucking operations and regulations, the nature of truck accidents themselves, and specific legal considerations.

Truck accident cases are often more complicated than other accident cases due to:

  • Catastrophic Consequences – A commercial truck’s large size and weight can contribute to significant property damage and devastating injuries in a collision.
  • Multiple Liable Parties – Truck accidents can involve numerous liable parties beyond the truck driver, including the trucking company, cargo loaders, truck manufacturers, and more.
  • Unfamiliar Regulations – Trucking is regulated by state and federal laws covering a range of factors, such as driver qualifications, vehicle maintenance, and hours of service.
  • Complex Insurance Policies – Trucking companies often have large insurance policies to cover potential damages. Dealing with commercial insurance companies and understanding their policies is more complicated than doing so in cases involving only personal auto insurance.
  • Unusual Evidence – Truck accident cases involve unique forms of evidence such as electronic logging devices, truck maintenance records, driver employment history, and more. Trucking companies often possess much of this evidence, adding another layer of difficulty.

What Are the State and Federal Trucking Laws?

Wisconsin has numerous laws and regulations governing the safe operation of a commercial truck, such as an 18-wheeler, semi-truck, or big rig. Many of these laws align with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, but some also include state-specific rules.

Here are some of the state and federal laws that apply to commercial trucks and drivers in Wisconsin:

  • Commercial Driver’s Licensing (CDL) Requirements – Wisconsin follows the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations for commercial driver licensing. Commercial drivers must possess valid CDLs and carry the appropriate endorsements for certain types of cargo.
  • Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations – Wisconsin has also adopted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) HOS regulations for interstate commerce, which dictate how long CDL drivers can operate before taking mandatory rest or off-duty periods.
  • Vehicle Weight and Size Restrictions – Wisconsin limits the size and weight of commercial trucks. The maximum weight depends on a vehicle’s number of axles and the distance between them. There are also maximum width, height, and length limits.
  • Alcohol and Drug Restrictions – Commercial drivers in Wisconsin are subject to stricter blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits than non-commercial drivers. The BAC limit for commercial drivers is 0.04, compared to 0.08 for most drivers. Drivers are also subject to federal regulations regarding drug and alcohol testing.
  • Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance RequirementsFederal law requires commercial vehicles to undergo regular inspections to ensure they remain in safe condition. Drivers must also inspect their trucks before each shift and report any defects or issues.

Common Types and Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents in Green Bay

Truck accidents can take many forms based on factors like the types of vehicles involved, the circumstances of the collision, and surrounding road conditions.

Common types of truck accidents include the following:

  • Underride accidents
  • Jackknife accidents
  • Rollover accidents
  • Rear-end crashes
  • Head-on collisions
  • Side-impact collisions

Numerous factors also cause truck accidents, such as:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Inadequate training
  • Poor truck maintenance
  • Improper cargo loading
  • Overloaded cargo
  • Reckless driving
  • Failure to adhere to traffic laws
  • Faulty truck equipment or parts
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Following too closely
  • Failure to yield
  • Lack of safety inspections
  • Poor road conditions
  • Failure to signal
  • Inadequate surveillance

What Injuries Can Someone Sustain in a Truck Accident?

The force of impact in a truck collision can cause a range of physical and psychological injuries, commonly including the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Fractures and dislocations
  • Internal injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Crushing injuries
  • Traumatic amputations
  • Facial and dental injuries
  • Hearing and vision loss
  • Abdominal injuries
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Other emotional injuries
  • Fatal injuries

Who Could Be Liable for a Truck Accident?

Unlike in accident cases involving only personal vehicles, multiple parties could be liable in a truck accident case. In addition to the drivers involved, other entities associated with the operation, maintenance, or ownership of the commercial truck could be liable.

The parties that could be liable in a truck accident injury case include:

  • Truck drivers or owners
  • Other vehicle drivers
  • Other road users
  • Trucking companies
  • Cargo loading companies
  • Truck manufacturers
  • Truck parts manufacturers
  • Other vehicle manufacturers
  • Vehicle maintenance companies
  • Shippers or brokers
  • Government entities

What Compensation Can I Expect to Recover in a Truck Accident Claim?

Victims and their families can seek truck accident compensation for their crash-related losses through insurance claims or a personal injury lawsuit.

Victims could seek compensation for the following types of losses:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical costs
  • In-home care costs
  • Lost income
  • Lost lifetime earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Funeral or burial expenses, in the case of a fatal truck accident
  • Property damage

What If I Am Partly at Fault in a Green Bay Trucking Accident?

In a Green Bay truck accident case, Wisconsin’s comparative negligence law determines who is liable and to what degree. It’s an important law to consider when filing a personal injury case following a truck accident, as it can significantly affect how much money you can recover.

Here are the key provisions of this law:

  • Comparative Negligence – This legal principle assigns fault for an accident proportionally. For each party that is partially at fault, their degree of fault is expressed as a percentage.
  • 51 Percent Bar to Recovery – If you’re partially at fault for an accident, you can still recover money for your losses as long as your share of the fault is not 51 percent or higher.
  • Reduced Compensation for Partial Fault – If you’re partially at fault, the money available to you decreases based on your percentage of fault. The more you are at fault, the less you can recover.

Benefits of Hiring a Green Bay Lawyer for Your Truck Accident Claim

When you hire an experienced lawyer in Green Bay for your truck accident case, they can help you by:

  • Calculating and Seeking Full Compensation for Your Losses – This includes medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and subjective losses like pain and suffering.
  • Handling Paperwork and Legal Documentation – The legal process involves a significant amount of paperwork. An experienced lawyer can complete case documents accurately and on time.
  • Investigating the Accident Thoroughly – An attorney can gather evidence from the crash scene, interview witnesses, review police reports, and hire experts if necessary.
  • Negotiating with Insurance Companies – An attorney can negotiate on your behalf to keep the pressure on the insurance company and demand the fair compensation you are owed.
  • Representing You in Court, if Necessary – While many cases settle out of court, an attorney can represent your interests at trial if the other side won’t agree to a reasonable settlement.

Get in Touch with a Truck Accident Lawyer in Green Bay Today

Seasoned lawyer Andrew Schwaba is ready to fight relentlessly for the recovery you deserve. Get in touch with a Green Bay truck accident attorney from Schwaba Law today for a free consultation.