Calumet County, WI — March 14, 2019, two people sustained injuries as the result of an accident where an 18-wheeler allegedly failing to yield caused a pile-up.
According to information given by the Calumet County Sheriff’s Department, the accident happened at around 8:30 a.m. at the intersection of US Highway 10 and CTR D.
Their reports indicated that a tractor-trailer was southbound on CTR D. At the stop sign, the driver allegedly failed to yield the right of way, pulling onto US 10. This caused an initial crash which then involved several other vehicles piling up.
As a result of the collision, two people had to be taken from the scene for treatment of injuries considered non-critical.
Police didn’t specify any charges or citations filed. Their investigations are ongoing.
Map of the Area
While there could be more to this crash, the news certainly suggests that one truck driver’s actions caused this series of events. Even when the facts seem to make that obvious, it’s always challenging holding the responsible party accountable. Sometimes I say that, and people’s reaction is, “Yeah sure, Mike. You’re just being a paranoid personal injury attorney.” Well let’s look in detail as to why accidents like these become so complex.
What most people don’t realize is that the way the law works virtually guarantees that truck accidents will go into litigation before being resolved. In order for trucking companies to be able to protect themselves from false accusations, they have the right to deny responsibility for an accident. The burden then falls to victims and their families to prove otherwise. This basically means trucking companies can come up with whatever explanation they want to defend themselves whether they have supporting evidence or not.
But the court doesn’t just let any half-baked defense get in front of a jury without any evidence. That’s why most of the action in truck accident litigation happens before the case ever gets before a jury. While the trucking company gets to throw pieces of spaghetti against the wall hoping something sticks, the victim’s representation has to convince the judge to strike all those arguments down.
Here’s a real life example of how this works. Let’s say a truck pulls out of a parking lot into the path of a car, resulting in an accident. Most people would read that and assume the truck is at fault. But the trucking company would likely come back and say the victim was speeding. Now, if there’s evidence to suggest that’s true, the jury probably needs to hear that. But many times trucking companies argue that without any evidence because they want to cast doubt on the victim’s actions and shirk responsibility.
Or let’s say a truck runs off-road while it was raining heavily prior to the crash. A trucking company can say that their driver going too fast wasn’t responsible for the crash, it was the road being wet. This calls upon the Act of God Defense which basically says drivers aren’t responsible for accidents caused by natural events beyond their control. But slowing down while it’s raining is perfectly within a truck driver’s control. The trucking company is just hoping the victims don’t have the evidence and legal strategies necessary to counter them.
All this is to say that until the trucking company runs out of excuses, they get to keep them coming until one of them works. Only once they run out of excuses does a trucking company consider taking responsibility for their actions. And that’s not just me being paranoid; that’s me speaking from 30 years of experience arguing against these arguments in court.
–Grossman Law Offices