Two well-known community residents of Columbus, Wisconsin, were critically injured and one of them died as a result of a rear-end accident involving a semi-truck hitting them from behind. Hans Kubik and Mary Larson, both 68 years old, were rushed to UW Hospital in Madison after initially being moved to Beaver Dam Hospital. Mr. Kubik’s transfer was speeded by Flight to Life and the care he received prolonged his life for several days until he died on May 1. The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office was the first to report this fatal truck injury accident.
In a news release this week, Sheriff Dale J. Schmidt said a preliminary investigation by his deputies shows that Hans and Mary were in a 2002 GMC pickup heading south on U.S. Highway 151 in the right/outside traffic lane. Mr. Kubik was driving. Heading in the same direction behind them was a brand new Peterbilt semi-tractor with box trailer. They were all just south of County Highway DE in the Township of Calamus when the crash happened shortly before midnight on April 28, 2017.
“The front of the Peterbilt struck the rear of the GMC pickup, causing the pickup to go off of the roadway into the right/west ditch and overturn,’’ Sheriff Schmidt reported. The truck driver was identified as John Lighthart, 53, of Rockford, Illinois. The crash remains under investigation by the Dodge County Crash Investigation Team, the sheriff said.
When news of the accident spread, friends and family members of Hans and Mary flooded the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page to say they were praying for their recovery. Later, when the news broke of Mr. Kubik’s death, there was another public out-pouring, including motorcycle friends. “RIP Hans. Ride that Harley in the sky,” one of them wrote.
Truck Accident Liability
Commercial truck traffic in the United States is guided and governed by laws administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman at Pritzker Hageman, P.A., have a refined understanding of those laws based on years of active practice. They represent clients who are injured by the fault of truckers and trucking companies. They have won tens of millions of dollars for crash victims.
Rear-end truck accidents are avoidable and excessive speed, drowsiness, drugs, alcohol or distracted driving (texting) must be looked at immediately as potential reasons for a crash. Hitting a passenger vehicle from behind, in itself, is an indication that an 18-wheeler is not under proper control.
But holding truck drivers, commercial carriers, equipment manufacturers and their insurance companies responsible is much more complicated than simply filing an insurance claim through your own insurance agent. Causes of these accidents can be complex and our attorneys start each case with their own investigation — calling on specialists in accident reconstruction when necessary. Every probe by our attorneys starts with scrutiny of the driver and whether safety protocols demanded by U.S. law were followed. Was the driver fatigued by working too many hours? Was he properly recording his travel in the truck’s log book? Was his licensing up to date? Was he obeying traffic laws? Was he looking down when the crash happened? Did his system contain alcohol or drugs?
Your first step as an injury survivor or surviving family member is to contact our attorneys online or by telephone. The toll-free number is 1-888-377-8900. Case consultations are free and if Fred and Eric agree to take your case, you pay nothing unless and until your case is won. People who are injured by the negligence or recklessness of others deserve to be free of financial worries and to receive the best possible medical care in the immediate aftermath of a crash and for years to come when health impacts demand continuing care. Compensation also is due to next of kin when a motorist dies.
At Pritzker Hageman, our attorneys consider long-term consequences as carefully as they deal with the immediate demands of insurance notification, court filings and accident investigation. Their range of experience includes many wrongful death lawsuits. Recently, for instance, Eric Hageman won $2.4 million for a husband whose wife was killed by an 18-wheeler while on a bike. In another recent case won by our firm, a motorist who lost a leg when hit by a semi-trailer received a $5 million outcome.
Before settling any accident lawsuit, attorneys at Pritzker Hageman look deeply into the life circumstances of every client to gauge exactly how much money they should be owed by the parties responsible for the accident. And in commercial trucking cases, that can sometimes include going after the companies that placed freight on the rig. Working on your behalf, our attorneys will be thorough in their recovery of compensation for you and your family.
Truck accidents can involve varying third parties who may share in the responsibility for your injuries. These parties may include repair shops, manufacturers of defective parts, leasing companies, tractor-trailer owners, truck loading companies, and other individuals or companies. By working with some of the country’s best investigation and trucking experts, we are able to not only identify the causes of commercial truck accidents, but also demonstrate clear liability in order to maximize the compensation our clients receive.