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Wisconsin Law Blog

What are my rights and responsibilities as an injured worker in Wisconsin?

For some workers who are injured on the job, whether in a motor vehicle accident or some other way, it may come as a surprise to learn that their employer isn’t necessarily going to be their ally. In some cases, employers are too concerned about minimizing the costs of workplace injury to truly be a good resource for injured workers regarding the workers’ compensation process.

There are two suggestions for workers in this situation. First of all, it is important for workers to do their research and become aware of their rights and responsibilities under the law. To begin with, workers’ compensation is not a handout, but an entitlement. It isn’t up to the employer or the insurance company to decide whether they will cover a valid workers’ compensation claim. If it is a valid claim and the worker is following the process, the claim must be covered. 

Cargo securement issues can factor into trucking accidents, trucker liability, P.2

Last time, we began looking generally at cargo securement rules both at the state and federal level. As we noted, federal and state rules establish very specific requirements which must be followed by truckers and their employers. These rules are in place to help ensure that heavily loaded commercial vehicles don’t cause undue risk of harm to others on the roadway.

Failure to abide by cargo securement rules, even in small ways, puts other motorists at risk. Accidents caused by failure to follow cargo securement rules—or any safety regulation—are tragic because they are entirely preventable when truckers and their employers exercise their duties correctly. 

A brief look at federal and state cargo securement rules

In our last post, we began looking at the issue of cargo securement and the role it can play in truck accidents and truck accident litigation. As we noted, cargo securement is regulated at both the federal and state levels, and commercial vehicle operators and their employers have the duty to abide by these rules.

The purpose of the federal cargo securement rules, of course, is to ensure that securement systems are capable of holding up to threshold acceleration and deceleration forces. The federal rules, administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, govern a wide variety of issues related to cargo securement. The general rule for cargo securement is that cargo has to be “firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle,” but this rule is fleshed out with specific directives.

Cargo securement issues can factor into trucking accidents, trucker liability

A recent truck accident involving a Wisconsin-based trucking company is a reminder how cargo issues can play a part in truck accidents. The accident, which occurred out in Wyoming, involved a trucker who had reportedly fallen asleep at the wheel. When his vehicle veered off the road, the truck landed on its passenger side and toppled numerous beehives full of honey bees which were placed in the truck’s flatbed trailer.

Fortunately, neither the trucker nor anybody else was hurt in the accident, though those who assisted the trucker did take some stings. According to reports, the honey bees are estimated to have been swarming hundreds of feet in every direction from the truck after the crash. Things could have turned out differently if other vehicles were nearby or if the agitated bees were released in a crowded area. Certain individuals, of course, are severely—even fatally—reactive to bee stings. 

Federal trucking safety rules shelved for now

Through this blog, we have written a number of posts on how rules have been (and continue to be) developed on trucking safety. After all, semi-trucks are the largest and most dangerous vehicles on the road, so it is imperative that they be carefully regulated.

Indeed, trucking safety regulations become popular after an accident; especially if the crash involves dangerous and emotionally charged vices, such as drowsy driving, texting while driving or driving while under the influence of alcohol. With that federal regulators have initiated a number of rules to curb these practices and save lives. 

The re-learning process for motorcycle riders and drivers Part II

A month ago, a few days of warm weather had us convinced that winter was over and that spring had sprung. Then we faced the reality that in our region, winter weather typically lasts until April (even though the official start of spring was March 22nd.

With the calendar turning to April, we can be certain that winter is officially over. The warm weather will also bring out motorcycle riders, and drivers must have their annual reintroduction to them. Essentially, drivers must get used to seeing motorcycles again. While drivers have a duty to look out for riders, they may not always do so. As such, motorcycle riders must adhere to the following tips.

By the numbers, distracted driving is still a problem

What a difference a few days makes. Last week we saw snow and ice and cars sliding off roads as a result. This week, we are seeing the picture perfect weather that we expect out of spring. With that, it is expected that more drivers will be on the road, which may increase the likelihood of car accidents.

The warmer weather also increases the possibility that distracted drivers may be involved in traffic accidents. This post will highlight some of the important numbers behind an unresolved epidemic. 

Winter weather isn't over just yet...unfortunately

April is supposed to be the gateway to spring. After all, the weather is getting warmer and the remnants of winter are nearly gone. However, in this region we are not immune from the occasional spring snow that drives us crazy.

In fact, a recent weather event brought snow and ice to several counties in our region last week. I 43 and I-41 were closed because cars were sliding into ditches on Friday in Brown County. Authorities found that drivers were not slowing down and were losing control of their vehicles when they attempted to stop or avoid other accidents.  

Volvo recalls semi-trucks due to possible steering defect

Imagine a mammoth semi truck thundering down the highway at 65 miles per hour. Normally that would not inspire fear in most drivers because they believe that the truck is not a significant danger. However, if the driver loses control because he is unable no longer able to steer the truck, it becomes a significant hazard for all drivers.

Indeed, this is a nightmare scenario, but it ostensibly could become a reality for drivers of Volvo trucks. According to recent media reports, Volvo of North America has recalled nearly 16,000 semi-trucks because the steering mechanism may fail. 

Why parents should promote safe driving habits

In our last post, we highlighted how the old adage “hope springs eternal “ applies to the change in weather conditions. The saying can also apply to the optimism that comes with teens who have become newly minted drivers.

The optimism comes with the new found freedom that having a license brings. Gone are the days where a ride to the mall becomes necessary. However, this freedom comes with an expectation of responsibility. Given the propensity for new drivers to drive aggressively and make mistakes that can lead to disaster