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2. Wisconsin truck accidents follow the doctrine of modified comparative fault

Establishing liability in truck accidents is vital since Wisconsin follows the doctrine of modified comparative fault, also known as “shared fault.” This means all parties may share some fault percentage. The compensation awarded gets reduced by the plaintiff's allocation of fault. For example, if damages total $150,000 but the plaintiff holds 30% liability for speeding, their payout drops to $105,000 after subtracting their fault portion. However, if the plaintiff is judged to be 51% or more at fault for the accident, Wisconsin law says they are not entitled to compensation.

With comparative negligence, expect trucking companies to shift blame onto other drivers. Their legal teams will capitalize on any distractions or traffic violations to reduce the trucker's fault allocation. An aggressive investigation is needed to prove the true at-fault parties and their proportionate responsibility. Don't assume you'll receive the compensation owed if the truck driver seems clearly negligent at first. Without evidence supporting your limited role in the accident, their lawyers can diminish or erase payouts by alleging shared fault. Succeeding in a truck injury claim requires establishing your minimal liability.

3. Trucks are required to follow weight limit laws

If you were hit by a truck that was overloaded or too heavy, the truck operator was likely negligent in driving a vehicle that violated state regulations. Trucks transporting specific forestry products within the state and those making limited hauls with dairy products are exceptions to the weight restrictions. Your truck injury lawyer must know the technical intricacies of trucking weight limit laws in Wisconsin and should be adept at examining the truck evidence, including loading records and accident reconstruction data.

Axle Weight Limits: Wisconsin imposes varying weight limits based on the number of axles. For single axles, the maximum weight allowed is 20,000 pounds. Tandem axles have weight limits of up to 34,000 pounds, depending on the trailer's length.

Bridge Formula: The state follows the federal bridge formula to determine axle weight limits. This formula considers the distance between axles and the total number of axles.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): Wisconsin sets the maximum allowable GVWR for commercial vehicles at 80,000 pounds. GVWR includes the weight of the vehicle, cargo and any additional equipment or accessories.

Seasonal Weight Restrictions: Wisconsin enforces seasonal weight restrictions on specific highways. These restrictions are put in place to protect the roads during thaw periods.

Special Permits: Oversize or overweight loads that exceed legal weight limits require special permits from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). These permits ensure proper load securement and compliance with safe operating limits.

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4. There may be more than 1 defendant

In cases involving trucking laws in Wisconsin, it's important to recognize that there may be more than one defendant, meaning multiple parties or entities sharing responsibility or liability for an accident or a violation of trucking regulations. This multi-defendant scenario is common in truck accident cases due to the various factors that can contribute to such incidents. Potential defendants include:

  • Truck Driver The driver may be at fault if they were negligent, violated traffic laws or were driving while fatigued, impaired or distracted.
  • Trucking Company The trucking company employing the driver may also be held accountable if they failed to provide proper training, supervision or encourage unsafe practices.
  • Maintenance Contractors Companies responsible for maintaining the truck's mechanical components may be liable for accidents caused by negligence in maintenance or repairs.
  • Cargo Loaders Those loading cargo onto the truck may be responsible if improper loading or securement of the cargo played a role in the accident.
  • Vehicle Manufacturers Manufacturers of the truck or its components may be held responsible in cases where mechanical failures or defects contributed to the accident.
  • Government Entities If road conditions, signage or other factors related to road infrastructure were involved, government entities responsible for road maintenance and design may also be defendants.

Evidence to support your truck accident claim

Following a truck crash, gathering solid evidence establishes liability and supports fair compensation in injury claims. Key documentation and data that truck accident attorneys utilize include:

  • Police Report In accordance with Wisconsin legislation, individuals who are part of an accident must inform law enforcement when the incident leads to injuries, fatalities, harm to government-owned assets or observable property damage exceeding $1,000 in value. Official police reports contain key details on the collision, vehicles, parties, injuries, circumstances and assigned fault that provide legal documentation of the incident. Reports often include witness accounts given on the scene and crash diagrams done by officers.
  • Medical Records Complete medical records diagnosing injuries, document symptoms and outline treatment plans. It’s important to have documented records establishing bodily harm from the truck crash. Records track recovery progress and duration to quantify harm and economic damages.
  • Accident Scene Photographs Detailed photographs of vehicle damage, road conditions, sight lines, skid marks and other physical evidence help reconstruct how the truck crash occurred. Photographs provide visual documentation that supports or refutes claims.
  • Eyewitness Statements First-hand accounts from eyewitnesses who directly saw events leading up to and during the accident provide critical unbiased corroboration. Witness statements add objective narratives of preventable driver actions and conditions.
  • Video & EDR footage Any security camera or dash cam videos capturing the accident help establish liability. Many commercial trucks are equipped with event data recorders (EDRs) that capture crucial information such as speed, braking and engine data leading up to the accident, aiding in the determination of fault.
  • Truck inspection records & logbook Maintenance and inspection logs prove or disprove mechanical defects existed. Logs demonstrate compliance with hours of service regulations prior to the crash.
  • Expert testimony Accident reconstruction or trucking experts analyze evidence and opine on likely at-fault parties.

Wisconsin's toughest trucking accident lawyers protect victims’ rights

While insurance companies may present what appears to be a reasonable settlement offer, remember that their primary objective is to minimize costs for their business. When it comes to trucking accidents, entrusting your case to just any personal injury attorney is not in your best interest. Many lawyers work for settlement-focused firms, prioritizing quick negotiations with insurers to expedite settlements and collect fees promptly. At Warshafsky, our dedicated attorneys take a different approach. We are committed to relentlessly advocating for your trucking accident case until a fair and just settlement is achieved.

Warshafsky's expertise extends beyond trucking accidents; we represent clients who have suffered personal injuries from various incidents, including medical malpractice, slip and falls and even dog bites. If you've been injured due to a dog bite, we provide valuable insights into how Wisconsin's dog bite laws may impact your claim. Don't miss out on the compensation you deserve; reach out to Warshafsky today.

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