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Green Bay truck accident attorney for unsecured cargoWisconsin sees more than 7,000 accidents involving large semi-trucks each year, with many resulting in injuries. In some cases, a crash happens solely because of the negligence of the truck driver, perhaps due to drunk, distracted, or fatigued driving, or simple driver error. However, sometimes the cause of a truck accident is more complicated, including in cases involving loose or unsecured cargo.

Why Is Loose Truck Cargo Dangerous?

Unsecured cargo can cause or contribute to accidents and injuries in a variety of ways, some of which include:

  • Falling onto other vehicles: Semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles often carry tens of thousands of pounds of cargo, and heavy objects that fall off a truck and onto other vehicles can cause serious injuries.
  • Obstructing the roadway: Loose cargo that lands on the road can cause an accident directly if another vehicle collides with it, or indirectly if a vehicle attempts to swerve or stop to avoid it and crashes with another vehicle as a result.
  • Shifting the truck’s balance: Trucks must be carefully balanced to ensure they can be driven safely, and if heavy cargo shifts inside the truck, the vehicle can become more difficult to control and may be at risk of rolling over.

Determining Negligence

As with any car accident resulting in an injury, it is important for you to get medical help and contact an attorney as soon as possible. We can help you gather timely evidence from the scene of the crash, including pictures of the vehicles involved and any cargo obstructing the road, camera footage of the crash, recordings of 911 calls, and witness testimony, all of which can help you establish the facts when making a claim for compensation from the negligent parties. This may be especially important if the truck was not directly involved in the collision.

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Green Bay truck accident lawyer for distracted drivingThe prevalence of smartphones and other mobile devices in the modern world unfortunately means a greater risk of distracted driving accidents, and that risk applies to commercial truck drivers as much as, if not more so than, the drivers of passenger vehicles. Drivers of semi-trucks require more time and distance to react to other vehicles or conditions on the road and slow down or come to a stop. A distraction from a text or phone call can cost valuable seconds. Furthermore, accidents involving trucks are often more severe due to the substantial size and weight of the vehicles. If you have been injured by a distracted truck driver, a personal injury lawsuit can help you obtain the financial relief you need for your damages and medical expenses.

Laws and Regulations for Truck Drivers and Cell Phones

Both the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the State of Wisconsin prohibit commercial truck drivers from handheld use of a cell phone while driving. This means that drivers may not hold a phone in their hands, but they are also prohibited from dialing a phone by pressing more than one button or reaching for the phone in a way that removes them from a normal seated position, except for in an emergency situation. Federal penalties for a violation can include the disqualification of a driver’s commercial license and fines of up to $2,750, with additional state fines of up to $40 for a first offense and up to $100 for a subsequent offense. This is not to mention financial consequences related to liability in a personal injury case.

Personal Injury Lawsuits Against Distracted Truck Drivers

If you have been injured in an accident with a distracted truck driver, the key to recovering full compensation is clearly demonstrating the driver’s negligence. You should hire an attorney as soon as possible so that we can help you obtain vital evidence to support your claim, which in these cases may include photographic evidence of your injuries and the scene of the accident, as well as police reports and sanctions against the driver that specifically mention inappropriate cell phone use.

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Green Bay, WI truck accident attorney for drowsy drivingAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving was responsible for at least 795 fatalities and 50,000 injuries in 2017, the most recent year for which statistics are available. If you are injured in a car accident involving drowsy driving, it can often be challenging to demonstrate the other driver’s fatigue because concrete evidence tends to be lacking. However, if the accident involves a commercial semi-truck, trucking industry regulations may make it possible to collect additional evidence to strengthen your case for compensation.

Truck Drivers Are Susceptible to Drowsy Driving

Driver fatigue is a common issue after long stretches of driving without a break or when driving late at night. Unfortunately, the nature of truck drivers’ work means that they frequently find themselves in both of these situations as they try to complete shipments as quickly and efficiently as possible. When drivers become drowsy, they may be more likely to cause accidents due to slowed reaction times or a tendency to fall asleep at the wheel. Drowsy driving accidents involving trucks can be especially dangerous due to these vehicles’ large size and weight.

Truck Driver Regulations and Accident Liability

To reduce the risk of drowsy driving accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set limits on the number of hours a commercial truck operator can drive. Specifically, drivers are limited to:

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Appleton, WI truck collision attorneyThe injuries sustained during a collision with a semi-truck are often quite serious due to the large size and weight of commercial vehicles. Trucks tend to have increased stopping distances and more blind spots than the typical car. Although many circumstances can contribute to a truck accident, such as distracted driving or poor weather conditions, a lack of truck maintenance can contribute to serious truck accidents. If you have been in a crash involving a truck, it is not uncommon to experience severe physical injuries and emotional pain and suffering, as well as major damage to your vehicle. In these cases, you should speak to a personal injury attorney to determine your options for filing a claim for compensation.

Why Lack of Maintenance Leads to Accidents

Truck drivers, especially those who drive long distances, spend their entire working day driving. This high level of use can lead the many parts of a commercial truck to break down much more quickly than they would in passenger vehicles. Because of this, trucks must have regular inspections to monitor for signs of wear and tear, and routine maintenance should be performed to address these issues before they become a threat to the safety of people on the road.

There are certain truck parts that are more at risk for wear and tear, and problems with these parts can directly lead to a collision on the roads. The truck parts most in need of regular maintenance include:

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Green Bay falling truck cargo injury lawyerWhen another vehicle collides with a commercial truck, the driver or passengers in that vehicle are likely to suffer serious injuries. Truck accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, but unsecured cargo is one particularly dangerous issue that can affect everyone on the road. When a truck’s load is not properly secured, cargo may fall from the truck. This can damage other vehicles and harm drivers or passengers, or it may create debris in the roadway that leads to collisions between other vehicles. Cargo that is not loaded properly may also affect the balance of a truck, resulting in a rollover accident, and cargo that shifts during travel can cause a driver to lose control of their truck and collide with other vehicles.

Responsibility for Properly Securing Cargo

When a truck’s cargo is not secured correctly, and a truck accident occurs as a result, there may be multiple parties who are liable for the injuries and damages suffered by victims. These parties may include:

  • The truck driver - If a driver did not properly inspect their truck to ensure that the cargo was fully secured, this is considered negligence. Drivers should not only inspect cargo after it was loaded, but they should also perform regular inspections throughout the course of a trip.
  • Truck loaders - The person or company who was responsible for loading cargo on a truck must follow the proper loading procedures and ensure that cargo is secured correctly. A company may be liable for injuries which occurred because it failed to meet these requirements or because it did not provide proper training to its employees.
  • The trucking company - If a trucking company did not provide the equipment necessary to safely secure a load, if it did not perform the proper maintenance or replace worn equipment, or if it did not properly train truck drivers on cargo inspection, the company may be liable for injuries suffered because of unsecured cargo.
  • Equipment manufacturers - If the equipment used to secure a load was faulty or defective, the manufacturer of this equipment may be held responsible for damages that occurred as a result.

Contact Our Appleton Unsecured Cargo Accident Lawyers

Unsecured, overloaded, or falling cargo can be incredibly dangerous. If cargo-related issues cause a truck to collide with another car, truck, or motorcycle, or if debris in the road results in a pileup between multiple vehicles, those who were responsible for the accident should be identified, which will allow victims to recover compensation from all liable parties. At Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd., our Green Bay truck accident attorneys will investigate the circumstances of your accident and work to ensure that you are fully compensated for your damages. Contact us today at 920-739-7366 to schedule a free consultation.

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