If you’re a resident of the Milwaukee area, you most likely travel on Interstate 94 (I-94) at least once a week, if not once a day, whether traveling around town, heading to Chicago, or driving to Madison. Many interstates are part of regular trucking routes, but I-94 is especially busy with semi traffic. In addition to being a necessary transportation route for Milwaukee’s large companies, I-94 also serves as a thoroughfare for truck traffic going to and from Chicago, Detroit, and other cities in the Great Lakes region. Unfortunately, this heavy truck traffic makes interstate truck accidents a common occurrence for those who travel in and around Milwaukee.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries as a result of an accident with a semi while traveling on I-94, you are likely going through a difficult time—physically, emotionally, and financially. Truck accidents, especially those that occur at high speeds on the interstate, can devastate victims and their families because of the high likelihood of severe injury and fatality. Victims often need extensive medical treatment and might suffer permanent disability. In either case, going to work is difficult, if not impossible. The financial hardship of medical expenses coupled with lost wages adds additional emotional stress in the aftermath of a truck accident.
If a driver’s or trucking company’s negligence led to the accident that caused your injuries, Wisconsin law entitles you to sue for damages in civil court. Learn about how the skilled interstate truck accident lawyers can assist you after an accident. Contact Groth Law Firm, S.C. at (414) 240-0707 for a free consultation and to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Causes of Interstate Truck Accidents
In their most recent yearly data, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation estimates that over 6,700 large truck crashes, 70 fatalities, and 2,000 injuries occurred on Wisconsin’s roads in 2017. The data does not distinguish between accidents on interstates and on other roads, but while these numbers constitute a decrease from the previous year, they are still alarming. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that truck drivers cause the majority of truck accidents, with driver fatigue as the most frequent cause. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the following factors most often lead to driver fatigue:
- Shift work, especially long hours and working overnight, both common practices among truckers
- Untreated sleep issues, like insomnia and sleep apnea
- Untreated diseases and conditions, especially diabetes and high blood pressure
- Medications that affect driving heavy machinery
- Lack of truck parking in busy areas, which forces truck drivers to travel beyond their hourly limits
Equipment failure is responsible for the next largest portion of truck accidents. This may involve defective trucks or parts, but equipment failure is most often a result of poor maintenance or improper loading of cargo. Some examples include:
- Failure to properly distribute or secure cargo
- Brake, steering, or transmission failure due to a lack of upkeep
- Improper attachment of a trailer to the cab
- Defective or broken taillights or sidelights
Types of Interstate Trucking Accidents
Accidents that involve semi trucks are often some of the most severe among all traffic accidents, but they are even worse when they occur on the interstate. Keep in mind that semi trucks weigh at least twenty times more than the average vehicle, depending on their load, which requires more time for them to maneuver, stop, and react in traffic. Driving on the interstate involves high speeds. When speeds are low, it’s usually a result of heavy traffic, which means that an interstate truck accident during this time may involve multiple vehicles. In winter, Wisconsin’s snowy weather only adds to the danger.
Interstate truck accidents don’t include crashes that are common at intersections, but plenty of other accidents can occur. Some of the most common interstate semi truck accidents include:
- Jackknife. If a trucker applies the brakes too harshly, he or she may cause the truck’s trailer to skid. If the entire semi doesn’t go into the median, other motorists face the risk of crashing into the trailer or cab. This type of accident is especially common on wet, snowy, or icy roads.
- Rollover. Drivers who lose control of their truck because of poorly distributed cargo or excess speed might skid and roll over, resulting in a collision with one or more vehicles.
- Underride collision. This is an extreme version of a rear-end collision, in which a smaller vehicle gets lodged under the rear of a semi. This happens when a truck stops quickly, most often in heavy traffic.
- Tire blowout. Large trucks are called “18-wheelers” because they generally have 18 wheels, which means there are 18 tires that can potentially blow out when traveling at interstate speeds. A defective tire or poor truck maintenance might lead to a blowout, which often results in a loss of control. Rollovers are frequently a result of a blown tire.
- Cargo spillage. When a truck’s load isn’t properly secured, or it contains more cargo than allowed given its maximum weight, some or all of the cargo might spill onto the interstate, which can result in a multi-vehicle accident.
Seeking Compensation After an Interstate Truck Accident
If you’ve sustained an injury in an interstate truck accident, you deserve compensation for losses related to your injury. If you sue for damages with the help of a Milwaukee interstate truck accident lawyer, and the court rules in your favor, the court may award you compensation for the following damages:
- Medical expenses, including ambulance rides, emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgeries, X-rays, and medications
- Future medical expenses for injuries that require extensive recovery or permanent disabilities that require continuous care and treatment
- Rehabilitative expenses, such as physical therapy and other special services meant to help regain specific bodily functions
- Assistive devices and technology costs, such as crutches, wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, and special computer programs
- Lost wages due to missing work from injury, hospitalization, and recovery
- Lost future wages when an injury prevents the injured individual from returning to work
- Home modification costs when a severe injury requires accessible housing, including handrails, ramps, etc.
- Non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, and loss of consortium
Contact Our Milwaukee Interstate Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of an interstate truck accident, you should contact an experienced and committed truck accident attorney to determine your eligibility to seek compensation for your injuries. Call Groth Law Firm, S.C. in Milwaukee at (414) 240-0707, or contact us online, for a free consultation and to determine your best path forward.