Semi-truck Accident Lawyer in Montana
LEGAL HELP FOR MONTANA TRUCKING ACCIDENT INJURY VICTIMS
What Montana lacks in population is made up in square mileage and millions of acres of natural beauty. In the west lies the northern reaches of the Rocky Mountain range and the Bitterroot Mountains. To the east lies badlands and expansive prairies, where much of the state’s agricultural production takes place. Tourism has played a larger role in the state’s economy, with millions of people visiting Glacier National Park and parts of Yellowstone National Park each year.
However Montana’s economy is largely buoyed by its agricultural output, which includes various ranching and grain farming. In addition, the mining and lumber industries in Montana bring in significant revenue. The state relies heavily on these industries, and these industries rely heavily on the trucking industry. The extensive state is crisscrossed by several interstate highways, including I-15, I-94, and Interstate 90. Truck traffic is typical on these routes, and unfortunately that means trucking accidents with other motorists.
In 2014, there were 12 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks in Montana. Each year, thousands of people across the United States suffer from severe injuries and life-changing disabilities due to the negligent actions of truck drivers and trucking companies. When these parties choose profit and time over safety, other drivers on the roadways are put at risk for serious accidents. Commercial motor vehicle regulations are in place to keep you and your loved ones safe on the roadway alongside massive semi-trucks.
When you suffer a trucking injury, we understand how difficult it can be. If you are unable to return to work, you may be facing a large financial burden to go along with your physical pain. Thomas J. Henry helps clients during the legal process by advancing court costs and litigation expenses and advancing money for medical and living expenses. We do this because we have the confidence that comes with the experience of achieving real results for our injured clients. In addition, clients spend nothing unless we win your case.
THE LEGAL RESOURCES NECESSARY TO WIN YOUR MONTANA TRUCKING ACCIDENT CASE
Thomas J. Henry employs state-of-the-art technologies and experts in every personal injury case. From the first day we meet with a client until the day the case is resolved, experienced trucking accident attorneys will handle the case efficiently and effectively.
- At Thomas J. Henry, we are constantly applying innovative solutions to case management, client interaction, and information security. We will take every opportunity and explore every avenue to ensure that our clients are receiving the most up-to-date information possible regarding their case. With the click of a mouse, our attorneys can access your case files from anywhere in the country remotely, helping to facilitate a strong client/attorney relationship throughout the process of the case. At the same time, we maintain stringent security standards and ensure your information remains confidential and protected.
- With jet services, satellite technology, and advanced mobile technology, our experienced trucking attorneys are available at a moment’s notice from anywhere in the world. No matter where you live in Montana, you can contact our lawyers at any time. It is this kind of dynamic representation that we believe leads to building a strong case and ultimately achieving the compensation you or your loved one deserves.
- Expert witnesses
- Expert witnesses, or judicial experts, bring specialized knowledge in a particular subject that an average person may not have. Expert opinions can shed light on factors from your trucking accident case, such as any injuries sustained in the crash, how the crash occurred, or even the behavior of the truck driver. Thomas J. Henry has spent years selecting only the best experts from across the nation for clients. Each witness is intensively examined and questioned before every participating in a case. We continuously look for new and inventive ways to use experts in trucking injury cases and will continue to bring in the most qualified experts to assist with your case.
- Examples of Montana trucking accident experts may include:
- Forensic engineers
- General equipment technical experts
- Accident reconstructionists
- Doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, and other medical professionals
- Hazardous materials experts
WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER A TRUCK ACCIDENT?
As a victim of a trucking accident, you have rights that require protection. Following an incident, there are certain steps you can take to help preserve evidence from your case and make sure you are taken care of physically.
- Stop immediately after the crash and assess the situation
- Check yourself and any passengers for injuries. Make sure it is safe to exit your vehicle before doing so.
- Make the accident visible
- Use your vehicle hazard lights, set out reflectors, or use road flares to signal to other motorists that they are approaching a crash scene.
- Notify the police
- Contact the police or call 911 if there is an emergency. Filing a police report is an important step in filing insurance claims. Also, be sure that paramedics arrive on the scene to care for any injuries sustained in the crash.
- Record the facts and take pictures
- Speak with responding officers and be as accurate as possible without speculating about facts surrounding the accident or any injuries you may have incurred. In addition, take pictures of your vehicle, the scene, any injuries you or your passengers suffered, or anything else that may help your case in the future.
- Gather and exchange information
- Collect the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all parties involved in the accident as well as any witnesses to the crash. Obtain the insurance information of all drivers involved in the truck accident.
- Seek medical attention
- Sometimes injuries or pain from the accident won’t become apparent until days after the crash. If you are uncertain if you suffered an injury, err on the side of caution and schedule an appointment with a primary care physician.
- Report the accident to your insurance company
- Contact your insurance company as soon as you can. As your claim is processed, keep a log of any medical expenses or crash-related expenses as well as any changes in health. Avoid speaking with other insurance companies or trucking company claims adjusters.
- Contact an experienced truck accident attorney
- Attorneys are responsible for protecting your rights as an accident victim and for making sure insurance companies are acting in your best interest. Our injury attorneys will immediately work to obtain and preserve evidence from the accident, give you legal advice, and ensure you receive ample medical attention. Experienced Montana truck accident lawyers will make sure you are comfortable and informed throughout the entire process and pursue every measure available to obtain the compensation you deserve.
WHO CAN BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR TRUCKING ACCIDENTS?
In the case of a Montana trucking accident, several parties could potentially be negligent, making trucking accident cases more complex than other vehicle accidents. Our experienced team of trucking injury lawyers have the knowledge and expertise to find out who the negligent party is. The negligent party can include:
Understanding how trucking companies operate helps give us an advantage when pursuing actual and punitive damages for our clients. We have consistently demonstrated how trucking companies and drivers have caused not only severe injuries but also deaths that were avoidable and unnecessary.
ECM AND GPS DEVICES: WHY THEY ARE IMPORTANT TO YOUR TRUCKING ACCIDENT CASE
Found on many commercial motor vehicles and Department of Transportation-regulated vehicles, Electronic Control Modules (ECM) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) can prove to be a great asset when pursuing your trucking injury case. These devices are electronic systems designed to track and record the movement of a truck, including the speed it was traveling prior to an impact. This information is vital to determining negligence and fault in a trucking accident.
ECM and GPS devices also can reveal the habits of the truck driver and determine the routes the driver took prior to the crash. The information found on these devices are crucial, and Thomas J. Henry will immediately file a lawsuit and restraining order to not only obtain these devices but also all of the driver’s Federal Motor Carrier documents. Our experienced trucking attorneys understand the importance of acquiring this data and how it can affect the achievement of a positive verdict or settlement.
WHAT CAUSES TRUCK ACCIDENTS TO HAPPEN?
Semi-truck accidents can be caused by several different factors — most of which are preventable. When truck drivers violate traffic laws, severe accidents can occur and leave other motorists with debilitating injuries. Common violations that lead to Montana truck accidents include:
- Improper lane changing
- Improper turns
- Following too closely
- The average stopping distance for a loaded tractor-trailer traveling at 55 mph is 196 feet, compared with 133 feet for an automobile.
- Driving while fatigued
- Improper loading
- When large trucks fail to secure their loads properly, motorists are put at an extreme danger. Contents from these trucks, including hazardous materials, could spill onto the roadways, causing serious accidents.
- Distracted driving
- Commercial vehicle regulations ban drivers from using mobile devices while driving. Doing so is considered a serious traffic violation and could lead to a CDL suspension.
- Failure to maintain vehicle
- Driving while impaired
IMPORTANT FEDERAL COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE REGULATIONS
Federal trucking guidelines and regulations are there to keep other drivers safe on the roadways alongside semi-trucks. Severe trucking accidents and loss of life can occur when truck drivers and trucking companies fail to abide by these laws, putting Montana drivers at risk. Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations contains these commercial motor vehicle regulations.
Commercial motor vehicle operators are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). CDL holders are held to a higher standard and can lose their licensure by committing serious traffic violations.
At Thomas J. Henry, we believe it is important to be informed about the various regulations that are in place to keep us safe. Here are a few of the important federal commercial motor vehicle regulations:
- Drivers must be 21 years of age or older to drive across state lines or operate a vehicle containing hazardous materials.
- Montana CDL holders must be at least 18 years of age to drive within the state.
- To be eligible for a CDL, drivers must have no prior disqualifying criminal offenses.
- Prior to obtaining a CDL, drivers must test for and obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) and hold it for 14 days.
- In order to obtain a commercial learner’s permit, drivers must be cleared by a qualified medical examiner that they are physically able to operate a commercial vehicle.
- For commercial motor vehicle operators, the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is .04, compared to .08 for regular drivers.
- Truck drivers are banned from using handheld mobile phones while driving. Trucking companies are prohibited from allowing or requiring drivers to use handheld devices while driving.
- Drivers are prohibited from holding a CDL issued by more than one state or jurisdiction.
HOURS OF SERVICE REGULATIONS
One of the leading causes of truck accidents is drowsy or fatigued drivers. Insufficient sleep can have the same negative effects on driving as being under the influence of alcohol. The hours of service regulations attempt to prevent drowsy truck drivers from getting behind the wheel.
Property-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers,
- may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
- may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
- Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.
In addition, passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers,
- may drive a maximum of 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty.
- may not drive after having been on duty for 15 hours, following eight consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time is not included in the 15-hour period.
- may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
- Drivers using a sleeper berth provision must take at least eight hours in the sleeper berth, and may split the sleeper-berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED MONTANA TRUCKING ACCIDENT AND INJURY LAWYER
Every year in the United States, more than 100,000 people are injured in trucking accidents. Thomas J. Henry has assisted trucking accident victims from across the country obtain record-breaking verdicts and settlements and bring the largest trucking companies in the world to justice. When truck drivers and trucking companies fail to comply with safety regulations, the lives of you and your loved ones are put in jeopardy. If you were injured in a trucking accident in Montana, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced trucking injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your case.
Disclaimer: Any summary, description, or paraphrase of a regulatory requirement on this site is intended to provide general guidance only. Please consult the text of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for a full account of the applicable requirements.