To pursue a personal injury claim after a commercial truck accident, you need to be able to show that someone other than you was at fault in the accident. There may be multiple parties at fault in a commercial truck accident. You may be able to sue the truck driver, the trucking company, the cargo shipper or other parties involved in a truck accident.
Who has liability for a truck accident is important to understand because Wisconsin law follows the doctrine of modified comparative fault, also known as “shared fault.” In a modified comparative fault system, everyone involved in an injury claim may be found to have some level of liability. Any award of compensation to an injured party in a claim is affected by their degree of fault for the accident.
More simply, in Wisconsin, each party in the accident is eventually assigned a portion of fault as a percentage. If a jury awards compensation to the plaintiff, the award is reduced if the plaintiff was partly responsible for his or her own injuries. If the jury awards $100,000 in damages and decides that the plaintiff is 25 percent liable for the car accident because he or she was speeding, then the $100,000 award is reduced to $75,000.
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.
Therefore, it is crucial to claim to uncover who is at fault for a truck accident and why they are considered to be at fault. It is not unusual for the truck driver, truck owner and others to begin pointing fingers when questions arise. If given the opportunity, lawyers for the truck driver or trucking company will surely try to blame you for causing the accident in which you were injured.
It is important in a truck accident investigation to establish the relationship between the truck driver and trucking company, and ownership of the truck. Motor carriers frequently claim that their drivers are contractors and not company employees, to distance the company from liability for the driver’s actions. In some cases, the trucker may own the truck’s tractor while the trailer is owned by another company.
However, certain records may establish an employer-employee relationship, such as hours worked, payment methods and how much control the trucking company has over the trucker’s schedule and activities. Similarly, Wisconsin state records can establish ownership of the truck and trailer.
It is important to understand that other parties may have contributed to a truck accident. For example, if a cargo shift contributed to the accident, a service vendor that loaded the cargo into the trailer may be liable if its negligence led to the truck’s cargo being improperly loaded and secured.
Once our Milwaukee truck injury attorneys establish how the accident occurred and identify those at fault, we calculate your losses related to the accident and file a claim with the appropriate insurers. To file a claim against the truck driver, trucking company and/or other parties, we would have to have evidence to show fault and liability.
In the first stage of a claim, we negotiate with insurers to try to settle the case. The insurance adjusters assign liability among the parties involved. As your attorneys, we can advocate on your behalf and submit evidence to the insurance adjuster to try to positively influence the trucking accident settlement process. We work to rebut unfounded allegations that put more blame on you and to mitigate the impact of unfavorable evidence. If an insurer refuses to offer a settlement, we file a lawsuit on your behalf and are prepared to seek justice in court.