La Crosse, Wisconsin, is a major transportation and manufacturing hub located on the Mississippi River. As such, a large number of trucks transporting goods across the country travel through the city each day. With these trucks comes the risk of other individuals on the road sustaining injuries in a truck accident. Due to the large size and heavy weight of these trucks, such injuries could prove severe.If you sustained an injury in a La Crosse truck accident, contact our La Cross truck accident lawyers to determine whether you qualify to pursue compensation for your injuries. The legal team at Nicolet Law Office has decades of combined experience, and we focus our practice on representing individuals injured in accidents, including La Cross truck accidents.
At Nicolet Law Office, we have experience successfully recovering compensation for individuals who have sustained injuries in all types of accidents, including La Crosse truck accidents. Oftentimes, simply retaining legal counsel to handle your truck accident claim will result in the at-fault insurance company immediately increasing its settlement offer.One of our former truck accident clients was initially offered $75,000 by the insurance company, but we successfully increased the final settlement amount to $700,000. While we cannot guarantee a favorable result in your case, we can promise to use our experience and resources to help recover maximum compensation based on the specific circumstances of your accident and injuries.If you were injured or have lost a loved one in a truck accident in La Crosse, you may pursue compensation for the expenses and impacts to your quality of life that your injury has caused. Read on for more information.
The Most Dangerous Intersections in La Crosse
Certain intersections pose more dangers than others, whether due to the roadway’s design, the amount of traffic, or another reason, and those intersections unsurprisingly experience the highest amount of traffic accidents.The most dangerous intersections in the La Crosse area include:
Highway 16 and North Kinney Coulee Road (Highway OS)
Highway 16 and Highway 157
La Crosse Street (Highway 16) and West Avenue (Highway 35)
Highway 16 and Gillette Street (Highway B)
Interstate 90 and Highway 157
West Avenue (Highway 35) and State Road (Highway 33)
Highway 16 and Conoco Road
Highway 16 and South Kinney Coulee Road (Pralle Center Drive)
Highway 16 and Theatre Road
Highway PH and Highway 157
What Makes Commercial Trucks so Dangerous?
The economy in our country depends greatly on the trucking industry. In fact, nearly every product in your home was transported on a commercial truck at some point. According to data from the American Trucking Associations, the trucking industry transports nearly 12 billion tons of freight each year, accounting for $791.7 billion in gross weight revenues.Unfortunately, for all of its importance, the trucking industry also leads to hazards for motorists and others who use the country’s roadways—and La Crosse is no exception.Each year in the U.S., approximately 5,000 people die and more than 100,000 people are injured in truck accidents. Much of the danger that arises when there are commercial trucks on the roadway is related to the size of the vehicles. The average length of an 18-wheeler is between 70 to 80 feet, the vehicle has a standard height of 13’6”, anda fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, making it many times larger than most other traffic on the roadway.This causes:
Significant blind spots. A blind spot is an area around the vehicle that the driver cannot see in the vehicle’s side or rearview mirrors, and must observe by looking over his or her shoulder. All vehicles have a blind spot. However, trucks have blind spots on all four sides and no rearview mirror. This presents a danger to vehicles who are traveling in the truck’s blind spots when the truck’s driver decides to change lanes or turn.
A high center of gravity. Commercial trucks are tall vehicles with a high center of gravity that makes them prone to overturning in certain circumstances such as taking a sharp curve or corner at speed or emergency driving maneuvers such as swerving to avoid an accident. This is particularly true if
High ground clearance. Trucks sit higher off the ground than other vehicles do. Unfortunately, the space beneath them is large enough that smaller cars can be trapped underneath the truck. This often deadly occurrence is known as an underride.
Difficulty stopping. It takes time and distance for any vehicle to come to a complete stop. The heavier the vehicle is, the more distance is needed. Trucks require 40 percent more distance to come to a safe stop than an average-sized passenger car.
Wide turns. Commercial trucks are required to swing out into other travel lanes when turning simply to get the truck’s massive body around the corner. This is dangerous to other drivers who might also be turning and be struck by the truck or become trapped between the truck and the curb during the turn.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in La Crosse
Many things can cause a La Crosse truck accident, most of which relate to human error. Here are some of the most common causes of truck accidents:
Driver fatigue: Approximately13 percent of truck drivers involved in fatal crashes reported feeling fatigued at the time of the accident. While the federal government has attempted to reduce the number of truck accidents resulting from driver fatigue through Hours-of-Service regulations that control the amount of time a driver can be on duty before taking a break, fatigue is still a major cause of truck accidents, as drivers often work during the nighttime hours when the body instinctively sleeps, and a breathing condition known as sleep apnea is common among truck drivers. This condition causes a temporary pause in a person’s breathing during sleep and can happen hundreds of times a night, leaving a person feeling unrested even after several hours of sleep.
Alcohol or drug impairment: Truck drivers are routinely tested for intoxicating substances including alcohol and drugs. However, some drivers are tempted to bend the rules about using alcohol or drugs while driving, and others are unaware that the prescription or over-the-counter medication could also result in impairment. Alcohol and drugs create deficits in the skills needed for safe driving.
Distracted driving: Distractions are an increasing problem for any driver of any type of vehicle. Truck drivers face not only the same potential distractions as other drivers—such as texting or other cell phone use, eating or drinking, visiting with passengers, or external distractions such as the scenes of previous accidents, work zones, and other people or cars—but also additional distractions related to the GPS, electronic monitoring log, and other instruments used for their jobs.
Speeding: Truck drivers are expected to transport loads on time and many face tight deadlines to increase the number of paid loads. Meeting deadlines and keeping up with company expectations has become more difficult since the government began controlling and monitoring the number of hours a driver can work without taking an extended off-duty break. Because of this, some drivers are tempted to speed to make up time. Speeding reduces the amount of time the driver has to see and respond to a hazard, increases the amount of time he or she needs to bring the vehicle to a safe stop, and increases the severity of the crash.
Improper maintenance: Commercial trucks travel far more miles each year than the average passenger car and must be regularly maintained to prevent accidents caused by tire blowouts, brake failures, and other issues related to maintenance.
Following too closely: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that around 5 percent of truck crashes occurred when a commercial truck was following a lead vehicle too closely. Tailgating is a dangerous practice in any vehicle, as it often does not allow enough time to respond if the lead vehicle suddenly brakes. This is particularly true in a truck that will take a longer amount of time and distance to come to a safe stop.
Inclement weather: As trucks already lack the maneuverability of other cars due to their massive size. They become even harder to control in inclement weather such as wet or slippery roads.
Frequently Asked Questions About La Crosse Truck Accident Cases
The scene of a truck accident is often a chaotic place to be. After the accident ends and you begin recovering from your injuries, it is not unusual for that chaos to turn to confusion and frustration when attempting to navigate the truck accident claims process. Here are the answers to some of the questions our clients most frequently ask about obtaining compensation after a truck accident.
Who is liable for a truck accident in La Crosse?
When a truck accident occurs, the liable parties may include:
The truck driver. Commercial truck drivers owe a higher duty of care than other motorists due to the hazards involved in the operation of a massive vehicle on the roadway. This increased duty of care is shown in federal requirements, including those that control how many hours the driver can work before being required to take a break, ensuring the truck is properly maintained and free from any visible safety hazards before each trip, and regular drug and alcohol screening.
The company that employs the truck driver. Employers can be held liable for the actions of their employees if the action was taken during the normal scope of employment. Additionally, trucking companies are federally required to properly vet their prospective drivers through a background check and driving history, and to ensure that the trucks are regularly maintained and the drivers are properly trained to operate them.
The shipper who contracted with the trucking company for transport services. Shippers not only must properly load the truck’s trailer but also must ensure that the trucking company and driver are properly licensed and insured to provide the transport service.
Other drivers. Many accidents aren’t even caused by the drivers who are ultimately involved in the accident, but by the reckless or careless actions of another driver.
The manufacturer or distributor of defective truck parts, if the accident resulted from a defective product. All parties in the manufacturing and supply chain can be found liable if the product does not work safely when used according to the labeling instructions.
What can I receive compensation for after a La Crosse truck accident?
After a truck accident, you can pursue the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages. The word “damage” in the legal realm refers to a payment to compensate for harm.Economic damages refer to a payment made for financial harm.Expenses in an economic damage claim often include:
Loss of future earning capacity if you can no longer work after your accident or earn in the same capacity as you did before.
The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle that was damaged in the truck accident.
Non-economic damages are a payment made for the quality-of-life impacts that the claimant experienced as a result of the injury.Common impacts included in non-economic damage claims include:
Physical pain and suffering.
Loss of the enjoyment of life.
If I file a truck accident injury claim for my La Crosse truck accident, will I have to go to court?
Not necessarily, though you should be aware that it is a possibility. The vast majority of truck accident cases are resolved outside of the courtroom. Your attorney will work tirelessly in an attempt to negotiate a fair settlement offer on your behalf. The settlement process requires patience as it often takes some time to reach a figure that both sides can agree to. Insurance companies will often avoid making their best settlement offer until just before the trial begins or even after the trial has begun but before a judge or jury renders a verdict.
Are La Crosse truck accident settlements taxable?
For the most part, no. According to the Internal Revenue Service, compensation for La Crosse truck accidents isnot income or taxable. There is an exception, however, when it comes to punitive damages. Punitive damages are a payment ordered not for the sake of compensating the victim for the expenses and impacts of the injury he or she suffered, but as a way to punish the defendant for particularly egregious behavior. Because this portion of the damages does not reimburse someone for injuries, the IRS considers it income and subjects it to tax.On the subject of taxes, if you claimed a deduction for your medical expenses and then later received a settlement or award that included payment for medical expenses, you will need to return the amount of that deduction to the IRS.
Why do I need an attorney for my La Crosse truck accident case?
Truck accident cases can be difficult. The injuries incurred in this type of accident are often catastrophic and result in a need for lifetime care. There is a lot to the investigation that requires quick action to retrieve records from the trucking company while those records can still be accessed.There is the task of holding all liable parties responsible while dealing with the high-powered corporate attorneys often hired by trucking companies and the insurance providers who issue their policies.There is the potential for violations of federal regulations, and—through it all—the court formalities and the requirements built into the state’s civil tort laws. These are all issues that would tend to be overwhelming for an individual who has not been specifically trained in this area of the law.Let the dedicated truck accident attorneys from Nicolet Law Office bring their collective experience to the table in your La Crosse truck accident case. For answers to your legal questions and guidance in the options for pursuing compensation,contact us online or call us at 608-527-0876 for your free case evaluation.
La Crosse Office 205 5th Avenue S, Suite 209, La Crosse, WI 54601 Phone: 608-527-0876
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