Domnitz & Skemp, S.C.
No Fees Unless We Win
414-289-0909
Experience matters in the game of law Start Your Free Consultation

Milwaukee Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

Drunk drivers may not be the only ones liable for accidents

In Wisconsin and the rest of the United States, it is estimated that injury involving a drunk driver occurs every minute. Those who are injured by drunk drivers may find their lives changed, as they could require long-term care and can find themselves having to pay for expensive medical bills. In such cases, those who are injured could seek compensation from a liable party.

More often than not, the liable party will likely be a driver who is intoxicated during the time of the crash. In certain situations, however, other parties may also be held liable. In some states, like Wisconsin and Illinois, dram shop liability laws are implemented. These laws can hold bars, clubs and individual parties responsible for a drunk-driving accident if it is found that they served alcohol to an individual illegally, such as in the case that the buyer is a minor or already intoxicated.

Understanding dram shop liability in Wisconsin

Residents in Wisconsin may benefit from learning more about the statutes governing dram shop liability in the state. Dram shop is legal terminology used to describe establishments that sell alcoholic beverages such as bars, pubs or taverns. People who dispense, give or sell these beverages to someone under the age of 18 are breaking the law and may be penalized in accordance with the appropriate statutes.

The severity of the penalties may depend on whether the accused knew or should have been aware that the person was under the legal drinking age. The penalties will also depend on if the underage person suffers serious injuries or dies as a result of consuming the alcoholic beverages. When determining whether or not the accused should be held liable for serving the underage person, several factors may come under consideration.

Motorcycle accident statistics

In Wisconsin, hundreds of motorcyclists are injured or killed in motor vehicle collisions each year. The statistics are not limited to the state, however, as thousands of such accidents occur across the nation with alarming frequency.

According to a report released by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, nearly 5,000 motorcyclists were killed nationally in 2012, with more than 100 of those fatalities occurring in Wisconsin. Of those killed that year in Wisconsin, only 24 percent were wearing helmets while 76 percent were not, demonstrating the importance of wearing safety gear when operating a motorcycle.

Some statistics regarding impaired driving

Some Wisconsin drivers might not be aware of the alarming frequency at which fatal DUI accidents occur throughout the nation. The U.S. Department of Transportation states that three people die in drunk-driving highway accidents every two hours. According to data compiled for the year 2010, about 4 million adults admitted to driving drunk at least once, amounting to about 112 million drunk-driving cases. Men were involved in 81 percent of those cases, reportedly. In the same year, 13,365 people died in alcohol-related crashes on highways nationwide, according to the government.

The costs associated with drunk-driving cases are manifold. Besides the fatalities, DUI-related accidents and traffic stops result in an immense loss of manpower. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that more than 1.4 million people were arrested in 2010 for DUI. Furthermore, according to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, accidents involving an impaired driver cost the American public at large some $37 billion per year.

Suspect arrested in fatal Wisconsin hit-and-run

Two people were killed in a hit-and-run accident that occurred on Oct. 11 on Interstate 94 near Elk Mound. The accident reportedly occurred around 2:30 a.m. Authorities who responded to the scene found a van overturned in a ditch, and the deceased had been ejected from the vehicle. The victims were reportedly not wearing seat belts.

Troopers reported that six other passengers in the van, ranging from ages 5 to 55, were treated and released at local hospitals. All were reportedly wearing seat belts.

Wisconsin single-car crash kills 2

Shortly before 3 a.m. on Oct. 5, a 22-year-old driver traveling north on Highway 12 lost control of his car and ran into a ditch just north of Brakke Drive in Hudson before striking a traffic sign and an electric pole. The car broke in half and came to rest in an office building's parking lot.

Neither the driver nor the 22-year-old passenger was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. The St. Croix County Medical Examiner's Office pronounced both men dead at the scene. The St. Croix County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene with assistance from Hudson Fire and Rescue and St. Croix EMS. Officials are currently investigating the cause of the accident.

Trucker charged in Wisconsin I-90 fatal accident

A fiery trucking accident occurred on July 24 on Interstate 90, and a 29-year-old man from La Crescent died as a result. The 36-year-old male driver of a dump truck was recently taken into police custody and charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. It is not clear whether the driver tested positive for drugs or alcohol. He was booked into the La Crosse County Jail to await his first court appearance. The man could be facing up to 25 years in prison if found guilty of the charges.

According to witnesses, when the accident occurred, the dump truck rear-ended the car driven by the now-deceased. Traffic had slowed down but the truck did not, and both vehicles ended up on fire in the median of the roadway. Authorities reported that five more vehicles were effected in this wreck.

1 dead, 1 seriously injured in Wisconsin collision

On Oct. 5, a motor vehicle accident in Sparta left one person dead and another with serious injuries. According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, the wreck happened in the afternoon when the driver of a sedan heading northbound went across the centerline and crashed into a southbound semi-truck.

The 60-year-old semi-truck driver suffered serious injuries, and a medical examiner pronounced the driver of the sedan dead at the scene of the accident. The highway was shut down for several hours as cleanup crews and investigators carried out their duties. At the time of the report, authorities were still investigating the incident. Police did not state whether they believed alcohol, distracted driving or other factors were causes of the collision.

When a car accident causes whiplash

Wisconsin drivers might not be aware that whiplash is a relatively common injury associated with auto accidents. This injury, which damages the neck's soft tissue and bone structure, often results from a rear-end collision, especially when the vehicle that was struck had been in a stationary position. The force of the collision causes the head and neck of the vehicle's occupants to move back and forth in a violent fashion.

Whiplash is generally not a fatal condition though can lead to partial disability in some cases. Common symptoms associated with whiplash include pain or stiffness in the neck, jaw pain, headaches, dizziness, back pain, weakness or pain in the arm, ringing in the ears and fatigue. Many people who suffer whiplash in minor accidents recover soon after the incident and without any prolonged effects, yet it is possible to suffer whiplash with more chronic symptoms.

Semi-truck accident kills 4 women from college softball team

Wisconsin residents may have heard about the collision in Oklahoma that killed four women's softball players on Sept. 26. The accident involved the North Central Texas College team bus and an 18-wheel truck.

The crash reportedly happened when the northbound semi-truck veered into oncoming southbound traffic and crashed into the driver's side of the bus. The softball team's coach was driving the bus, which contained 15 players. Three members of the team died at the crash scene, and another died at the hospital. Two players remained at the hospital one day after the incident, and the remaining nine players and the coach were released from the hospital after receiving treatment.

  • American College or Trial Lawyers
  • The Best Lawyers in America
  • Super Lawyers 2011
  • National Board of Trial Lawyers
  • Wisconsin Association for justice | Formerly the Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • International Society of Barristers