How does Wisconsin law affect my truck accident settlement?
Wisconsin law requires trucking companies to carry a $750,000 minimum coverage for trucks over 10,000 lbs. carrying non-hazardous materials. Trucks transporting hazardous materials must carry $1 million - $5 million in coverage. If you are found to be 51% or more at fault, you are not entitled to compensation. Personal injury claims relating to trucking accidents must be filed within 3 years according to Wisconsin’s Statute of Limitations.
Liability for Trucking Claims
The truck driver
The trucking company
The manufacturer of the truck
The manufacturer of a defective part on the truck
The company that loaded the truck
Brokers, shippers & receivers
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, especially one that is fatal, you need a Milwaukee truck accident lawyer who will fight for YOU. Warshafsky attorneys build a strong case in court and get you the compensation you deserve. We don’t sign and settle and there’s no fee unless we win. Warshafsky Law is one of the only Wisconsin personal injury law firms with a nationally certified legal investigator on staff to analyze your truck accident scene from all angles.
1. Statute of Limitations
2. Comparative Fault
3. Weight Limits
4. Insurance Requirements
1. You have 3 years to file a trucking accident lawsuit in Wisconsin
If you were injured in a truck accident in Wisconsin, it is important to act fast. Under Wisconsin law, you have a limited window of 3 years from the date of injury to file a truck accident lawsuit seeking damages. This statute of limitations gives victims aged 18 or over just 3 years to get an attorney, investigate the fault, build a claim and formally file their complaint in civil court. For minors, any minor involved in an accident has up to two years following their 18th birthday to bring a claim for injuries or damage sustained as a result of an accident.
Failing to take legal action within 3 years results in the statute of limitations expiring, which permanently bars any chance of compensation. The clock starts ticking from the accident date, so contacting a qualified truck accident attorney early maximizes the time to construct an effective case before time runs out. An experienced lawyer knows what information to gather within the 3-year deadline and determines if any exceptions apply. Don’t risk losing your right to recovery - understand Wisconsin's 3-year limit and contact trusted truck accident counsel immediately after an incident.
Statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit
The Wisconsin Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations is found in Section 893.54 of Wisconsin state statutes. You have 2 years to file a wrongful death case if the death was caused by a motor vehicle accident. The statute of limitations for car accident wrongful death cases was reduced to two years in February 2016. You have 3 years to file a wrongful death case if the death was caused by negligence or other wrongful acts not involving a motor vehicle.
You don't pay a penny until you receive compensation.
Krista & Victor Challenged a 60-Year-Old Settlement Cap and WON!
Krista LaFave and Victor Harding made a recovery for almost nine times more than is allowed by law! My husband was killed in an auto accident because a municipality failed to erect warning signs alerting drivers of a road closure ahead. Early on, I was told that a municipality is protected by a $5...
Krista LaFave and Victor Harding made a recovery for almost nine times more than is allowed by law! My husband was killed in an auto accident because a municipality failed to erect warning signs alerting drivers of a road closure ahead. Early on, I was told that a municipality is protected by a $50,000 cap and that was the most that could be recovered for his wrongful death. A statutory $50,000 cap enacted 35 years ago is meaningless in today’s dollars. It provides no accountability or consequences for a municipality’s gross negligence. Krista and Victor discovered a statute that rendered the $50,000 cap inapplicable in certain situations. The statute written 60 years ago had never before been tested. Through their perseverance in applying this law, I was able to recover far more than the cap. I can only pray that this result causes the municipality to change its ways.You can’t find better representation out there than can be provided by Warshafsky.
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.
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.