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When Can a Trucking Company Be Liable for a Truck Accident?

Posted on in Truck Accidents

Milwaukee, WI truck accident lawyer trucking company liabilityBy Attorney Chris Strohbehn

Accidents involving large trucks claim the lives of nearly 70 Wisconsinites each year and leave more than 2,000 injured, many of whom are the occupants of other vehicles. The dangers of truck accidents are clear, due to the large size of the vehicles and their heavy cargo. What is not always so clear is who is at fault. If you have been injured in a collision with a semi-trailer truck, you may assume that the truck driver is your only option for pursuing compensation, but in many cases, the trucking company that employs the driver may also be liable.

Trucking Company Negligence in Wisconsin Crashes

Usually, when a trucking company is at fault for an accident, it is because it failed to take the necessary measures to ensure the truck’s safe operation. Often, this means that a company violated regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Some of the most common violations include:

  • Hours of service: Truck drivers are only allowed to be on the road for a certain number of hours each day and each week, and their time behind the wheel must be interspersed with breaks and off-duty periods. Drivers must also keep detailed records of their hours of service. If an accident occurs because the driver was fatigued, the trucking company can be liable for failing to enforce the hours of service regulations or for encouraging the driver to falsify records.
  • Maintenance: Trucks must also be inspected carefully before operation, and they should be regularly maintained, with records kept of all maintenance performed. Improper maintenance or lax record-keeping may mean that the company is negligent for an accident resulting from equipment failure.
  • Cargo loading: Truck cargo must be loaded properly and secured to prevent shifting in transit, as unsecured cargo can fall onto the roadway or contribute to a rollover accident. In accidents involving improperly loaded trucks, the driver and loading crew can be liable, as can the companies that employ them.
  • Drug testing: Trucking companies are required to drug test drivers before hiring, upon reasonable suspicion, after certain kinds of accidents, and randomly throughout the year. Insufficient testing can lead to trucking company liability if a drunk or impaired driver causes a crash.

Contact a Milwaukee Truck Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a truck accident, hiring an attorney as soon as possible can help you obtain the evidence you need to identify all potentially liable parties and build your case for compensation. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our Milwaukee, WI personal injury lawyers have the knowledge and experience to stand up to trucking companies and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at 414-271-1440.

Sources:

https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/about-wisdot/newsroom/statistics/final.aspx

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations

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