18-wheeler Accident Lawyer in Michigan
LEGAL HELP FOR MICHIGAN TRUCKING ACCIDENT INJURY VICTIMS
The state of Michigan is split into two separate peninsulas, referred to as the Lower and Upper Peninsulas. The Upper Peninsula, or U.P., is heralded as the tourist destination of the state and a great producer of natural resources. Most of the states famed manufacturing, especially of automobiles, takes place in the state’s mitten-shaped Lower Peninsula.
Michigan headquarters several major automobile companies, including Ford, GM, and Chrysler. Much of the products created in the state are shipped via freighters on the Great Lakes, but like many states, the bulk of cargo is transported via commercial trucks. While a vital part of the state’s economy, large trucks are involved in thousands of motor vehicle accidents each year. In 2014, there were an estimated 111,000 people injured in trucking accidents.
In Michigan alone, 98 people were killed in trucking accidents in 2014, ranking 13th in the nation in total trucking-related fatalities that year. Many Michigan trucking accidents occur on the interstate, including I-75, I-96, I-94, and Interstate 69. Approximately one out of every four fatal trucking accidents occur on an interstate highway.
When you or a loved one experiences a trucking injury, you need a law firm that is ready to serve your best interests and develop your case immediately. Our experienced injury attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends — and don’t worry, if you can’t make it to our office, we will come visit you at your home, workplace, or hospital anywhere in the state of Michigan. We understand how difficult a trucking accident can make your life — physically, emotionally, and financially. Thomas J. Henry is dedicated to advocating on your behalf from the first time we meet until the resolution of your case.
LEGAL RESOURCES NECESSARY TO WIN YOUR MICHIGAN TRUCKING ACCIDENT CASE
Your choice matters when deciding on a truck accident attorney to represent your case. In order to take on the biggest trucking companies in the country, you need a firm with the financial resources and experience to do so. Thomas J. Henry will ensure your case is handled with care and developed properly by exercising every option possible on your behalf. The firm’s resources and decades of experience achieving real results for our clients allows us to effectively assist you every step of the process.
- We are dedicated to providing dynamic and efficient representation for our clients. That means employing cutting-edge solutions in case management, client interaction, and information security. When our Michigan truck accident lawyers have access to your case files, remotely, from anywhere in the nation, they can draft and review documents for your case and share files with legal professional with ease. We don’t let accessibility compromise the security of your case information. Your files will remain protected and confidential.
- At every phase in your case, Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys will be there for you. No matter where you reside in Michigan, out lawyers are accessible to you via satellite technology, live streaming, or for face-to-face meetings via jet services. We can visit you at your home, hospital, or place of work. Keeping you informed with the most up-to-date information is important to us, so we made sure you are represented by experienced accident attorneys that are equipped with technology that allows them access to your files from anywhere in the world with the click of a mouse.
- Expert witnesses
- Our firm employs expert witnesses from across the country in every trucking accident case. Trucking experts provide expert reports and testimonies for judges, lawyers, and insurance companies in Federal and State court trials and arbitration. It is crucial to find the right expert and the best expert witnesses for your case. Thomas J. Henry has spent a tremendous amount of time selecting the best experts through rigorous examination and questioning. Each expert is thoroughly vetted before being used in your case, and we are always looking for intuitive and innovative ways to use experts in personal injury cases.
- Expert witnesses for semi-truck accident cases may include:
- FMCSA compliance consultants
- General equipment technical experts
- Doctors, surgeons, psychiatrists, physical therapists, and other medical professionals
- Human factors forensic scientists experts
WHAT DO I DO AFTER A TRUCKING ACCIDENT?
Trucking accidents can be disorienting and frightening, especially if you or a passenger were injured in a crash. There are certain actions you can take that can help preserve your rights as a trucking accident victim in Michigan and potentially help your eventual case. Semi-truck accidents can be complex, so it is important to keep a record of facts and collect and protect evidence as soon as possible. Thomas J. Henry knows how large trucking companies and their drivers operate, and we can assist you with acquiring evidence in a timely manner.
Here are a few things you should do after being involved in a Michigan truck accident:
- Stop immediately after the crash. Assess the situation.
- Check yourself and passenger for injuries, and if you choose to exit the vehicle, be sure the area outside is safe before doing so.
- Make the accident visible to other vehicles.
- If possible, signal to oncoming vehicles that you have been involved in a crash by turning on your vehicle hazard lights, setting out reflectors, or using road flares.
- Notify the police.
- Contact your local police station or call 911 if there is an emergency. Filing a police report is an important step in creating an insurance claim. If anyone was injured in the semi accident, be sure paramedics are sent to the scene.
- Record the facts. Take pictures.
- When the police arrive, talk with the responding officers and be as accurate as possible. However, do not speculate about facts surrounding the incident or about any injuries you may have sustained in the crash. Take pictures of your vehicle, any injuries you or a passenger sustained, the scene of the accident, the semi-truck, and any other factors that may help your future case.
- Gather and exchange contact information.
- Collect the names and contact information of all parties involved in the accident and any witnesses. In addition, obtain the insurance information of all parties involved in the accident.
- Seek medical attention.
- If you have been injured, receive medical attention as soon as possible. If you are uncertain you suffered an injury, it is best to err on the side of caution and schedule a check-up with your physician. Be aware that some injuries or pain may not be noticeable until days after the truck accident.
- Report the accident to your insurance company.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as you can. Keep a log of any medical expenses or crash-related expenses you incur as your claim is processes.
- Contact an experienced Michigan trucking accident lawyer.
- Trucking accident attorneys are responsible for helping protect your rights as an accident victim and for making sure insurance companies are acting in your best interest. Thomas J. Henry will immediately work to obtain and preserve evidence from the accident, provide you legal advice, and advocate for you every step of the way. Experienced trucking injury lawyers will make sure you are comfortable and informed from the first day you meet to the resolution of your case.
WHO CAN BE HELD LIABLE FOR MY TRUCKING ACCIDENT INJURIES?
There are several parties that could be held accountable for your trucking accident injury. Negligent parties may include:
- A truck driver
- Trucking company
- Commercial motor vehicle manufacturers
Thomas J. Henry has the knowledge and expertise to make sure your case is handled correctly. Knowing who and where to sue is critical to the success of your case. In addition to knowing who and where to sue, our experienced attorneys make sure every detail of your semi-truck accident has been discovered. That is how we put you in the best possible position to achieve the best possible verdict or settlement.
Michigan 18-wheeler accidents can be extremely complex, but Thomas J. Henry has repeatedly demonstrated how negligent truck drivers and trucking companies have caused catastrophic injuries and even deaths that were preventable and avoidable.
COMMON MICHIGAN TRUCKING VIOLATIONS THAT RESULT IN ACCIDENTS
Injuries sustained in trucking accidents are oftentimes more severe than your average passenger car crash because of the weight differential. In the United States, commercial motor vehicles can carry up to 80,000 lbs., or 40 tons — the average passenger car weighs around two tons. When a truck driver violates a traffic law, the resulting accidents can cause severe injuries and in some cases death. Common violations that lead to Michigan trucking accidents include:
- Impaired driving
- Improper turns
- One of the most common traffic violations, speeding was a contributing factor in at least 30 percent of annual fatal crash totals between 2003 and 2012 in the United States.
- Following too closely
- The average stopping distance for a loaded semi-truck traveling at 55 mph is 196 feet, compared with 133 feet for an automobile. Tailgating can lead to serious accidents.
- Improper loading
- Distracted driving
- Driving while fatigued
- A study conducted by the AAA Foundation found that driving on four or five hours of sleep increased the risk of a crash equivalent to driving with a .12 to .15 blood alcohol content.
- Failure to maintain vehicle
- Improper lane changes
WHAT ARE ECM AND GPS DEVICES?
Electronic Control Modules (ECM) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are found in many commercial motor vehicles and other Department of Transportation-regulated vehicles. These devices can provide vital data and information pertinent to your Michigan trucking accident case. ECM and GPS record and track the movement of trucks, including the speed of the truck prior to an impact. This information and can used to determine fault and negligence. In addition, ECM and GPS devices show the driving habits of the driver and even the routes the driver took before the crash.
Our experienced trucking injury attorneys will immediately file a lawsuit and restraining order to acquire the ECM and GPS data. We will also obtain the truck driver’s Federal Motor Carrier-required documents, which may include more information that could play an important role in achieving the compensation you deserve.
IMPORTANT FEDERAL COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE REGULATIONS
Federal trucking regulations and guidelines exist to keep drivers safe on America’s roadways. When truck drivers and trucking companies fail to abide by these laws, you and your loved ones’ lives are put in jeopardy. Serious trucking accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries and loss of life are oftentimes the result of truck driver negligence. Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations contains all of the rules and regulations pertaining to commercial trucks and those who drive them.
Commercial motor vehicle drivers are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). A CDL holder is held to higher standards and can lose their certification by committing serious traffic violations. These are just a few highlights of the requirements and regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers:
- Drivers must be 21 years of age or older to drive across state lines or operate a vehicle containing hazardous materials.
- Michigan CDL holders must be 18 years of age or older to operate within the state’s borders.
- 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
The hours of service (HOS) regulations are one of the most important for commercial motor vehicle drivers. Many trucking accidents are due to a drowsy driver or a driver falling asleep at the wheel. These regulations ensure that truck drivers have adequate sleep prior to getting behind the wheel of their vehicle. 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 MICHIGAN TRUCKING ACCIDENT AND INJURY ATTORNEY
For decades, Thomas J. Henry has helped injured victims throughout the nation take on the biggest truck companies in the world and obtain record-breaking results. Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys has the experience, the knowledge, and the resources you need to win your case. If you or a loved one were injured in a trucking accident in Michigan, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our truck accident 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.