The Wisconsin DOT reports an average of 20 accidents involving large truck each day on Wisconsin roadways. These accidents pose a higher risk of injury than passenger vehicle accidents due to the high weight and momentum that trucks add to a collision. From 2015 to 2020, people who experienced a car crash were 32% more likely to suffer injuries when a large truck was involved in the accident.
If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident involving a truck, it’s important to follow certain steps to help safeguard your ability to pursue fair compensation. Wisconsin personal injury lawyers can help guide you through the process to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Here are several important steps you should consider taking after an accident involving a truck:
Call the Police
The first step that you should take after a truck accident is to contact law enforcement. The responding police officer will assess the scene of the collision, interview vehicle occupants and eyewitnesses, call emergency medical services if required, and maintain the security of the scene and individuals at the scene. The responding officer will complete an accident report which records important information related to the accident such as location, weather, contributing factors, and insurance information for all involved motorists. Often the responding officer will document their opinion as to who is at fault for the accident and issue the at-fault driver citations. The responding officer’s accident report is often a critically important document in the investigation, negotiation and litigation of accident claims.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you think your injuries are minor, it’s essential that you seek medical attention after being in a truck accident. It’s possible that an adrenaline rush is preventing you from feeling pain and your injuries are worse than you think. It is not uncommon for whiplash and other ‘soft tissue’ injuries to manifest and worsen gradually in the days and weeks after a collision. A doctor can thoroughly examine you and determine if you need further medical treatment. Additionally, your doctor will document your injuries and pain complaints as well as how those ailments change over time. These medical records form another critically important element in the investigation, negotiation and litigation of accident claims.
Hire a Skilled Truck Accident Lawyer
After your immediate health and safety needs are met following the above steps, you should contact a personal injury attorney to evaluate your claim and guide you through the claims and litigation process. A common complication that arises in truck accidents relates to who bears the responsibility when a truck driver causes an accident. Trucking employers are generally responsible for their employees’ negligence and for failures stemming from hiring, training, safety or operation practices. Truck drivers are generally personally responsible for actions outside the scope of their employment. Other interested parties, such as material loaders or maintenance technicians, may bear responsibility if their actions or omissions were a substantial factor in causing the accident. An experienced attorney will help guide your claim through these and other hurdles.
An attorney can benefit you in numerous other ways, including:
- Collecting evidence to support your claim, such as taking photographs, gathering witness statements and documenting the scene of the accident
- Negotiating with insurance companies
- Determining legal liability
- Determining the true value of your claim
- Obtaining expert reports for accident reconstruction and/or medical damages
- Filing and prosecuting a lawsuit on your behalf
Negotiation, Mediation and Litigation
Once your personal injury attorney has conducted a thorough investigation of the collision, identified responsible parties and their insurance companies, and you have recovered from your injuries (or your injuries are permanent but your recovery has plateaued), then you may pursue compensation through negotiation, mediation, and/or litigation.
If you are injured in an accident involving a truck you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Past and Future Pain and Suffering
- Past and Future Medical expenses
- Permanent Injury
- Emotional Distress
- Lost Wages and/or Loss of Earning Capacity
- Disability or Disfigurement
If the parties aren’t able to reach a settlement through pre-suit negotiation, you may consider other alternative dispute resolution practices such as mediation. Alternatively, you may proceed directly to filing a personal injury lawsuit. Our team of skilled attorneys at Walden, Neitzke & Kuhary, S.C. will develop the best course of action for your needs and fight to get you fair compensation. Contact Walden, Neitzke & Kuhary, S.C. today to speak with one of our Wisconsin personal injury lawyers.