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18-wheeler Accident Attorney in Pennsylvania

LEGAL HELP FOR PENNSYLVANIA TRUCKING ACCIDENT INJURY VICTIMS

The Keystone State is home to approximately 12.8 million residents, making it the fifth-most populous state in the country. Pennsylvania’s high-powered economy relies heavily on manufacturing and agricultural industries. These industries also rely heavily on the commercial trucking industry to move their products and goods. Millions of tons of freight are moved throughout the state and the entire nation on semi-trucks, traversing billions of miles annually on public roads.

The unfortunate fact is that semi-trucks cause accidents on the roadways. There were 162 deaths in motor vehicle crashes involving large trucks in the state of Pennsylvania in 2014. Many additional semi-truck accidents leave victims with debilitating, disabling, and catastrophic injuries that can last a lifetime. More than 100,000 people sustain injuries in truck accidents each year in the United States.

Trucking accidents are oftentimes avoidable and preventable. In 2014, a total of 3,903 people were killed in a trucking accident, many of whom could still be alive and well today if it weren’t for the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company. Whether the trucking company is small or large, Thomas J. Henry will exhaust every resource possible to bring them to justice, make Pennsylvania roadways a safer place to drive, and obtain the financial compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

THE LEGAL RESOURCES YOU NEED TO WIN YOUR PENNSYLVANIA TRUCKING ACCIDENT CASE

  • Technology
    • Our firm conducts business with state-of-the-art technology in an environment where efficiency and effectiveness are paramount. From the first time a new client visits our office (or we visit you), a complete case profile is active in our modern computer system. We understand the importance of technology to your case, so we employ the leading-edge solutions for case management, client interaction, and information security. Our attorneys can access your files with speed and security from anywhere in the world with a click of a mouse. The ability to expedite your case information to clients and legal professionals helps ensure you receive the most up-to-date information possible.
  • Mobility
    • Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends. Our attorneys are accessible from any part of the world, and because our firm can access your case files remotely, attorneys can hold meetings, draft and review documents, and store or share files at anytime from anywhere. Our Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers have access to jet services, satellite technology, and cutting-edge mobile technologies to provide efficient, dynamic representation for our clients. If you cannot make it to our offices, we can come to you at your home, office, or hospital in Pennsylvania.
  • Experts
    • Trucking experts serve as witnesses in commercial trucking litigation matters, providing experts reports and testimony for judges, attorneys, law firms, and government agencies in Federal and State court trials and arbitration. It is vital to find the right expert and the best expert witnesses for your case. Each expert witness we engage has been thoroughly examined and questioned before ever participating in your case. Our firm has spent a tremendous amount of time selecting only the best experts from across the nation.
    • Expert witnesses in a Pennsylvania trucking accident case may include:
      • Accident investigation experts
      • FMCSA compliance consultants
      • Accident reconstructionist
      • Human factors forensic science experts
      • General equipment technical experts
      • Doctors, surgeons, psychologists, and other medical professionals

WHAT DO I DO AFTER A TRUCKING ACCIDENT?

We know how overwhelming a semi-truck accident can be, especially if you or a loved one have been injured in the crash. There are certain things you can do to protect your rights as a victim of a trucking accident. Following these post-accident tips will ensure you are safe and that evidence of the incident is well preserved for a potential case.

  • After the crash, stop the vehicle and assess your situation.
    • Check yourself and other passengers for injuries. Before exiting the vehicle, make sure it is safe to do so.
  • Make the accident visible.
    • Use hazard lights, reflectors, or road flares to make the scene visible to oncoming drivers. Sometimes the worst accidents occur after the initial wreck.
  • Notify the police.
    • Contact the police or call 911 in case of an emergency. If there are injuries, make sure an ambulance is sent as well. Filing a report with the police is an important step in the insurance claim process.
  • Record the facts of the accident and take pictures.
    • When speaking to the police officer, be as accurate as possible but stop short of speculating about facts regarding the accident or any injuries you or a loved one sustained in the crash. Take pictures of your vehicle, the accident scene, any injuries, and any other factors into the accident that could help your case.
  • Gather and exchange information.
    • Collect names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone involved in the accident, including any witnesses. In addition, be sure to obtain the insurance information of all drivers involved.
  • Seek medical attention.
    • Be aware that although you may not feel any pain or notice injuries immediately following the accident, you may experience them a few days later. If you are uncertain if you have suffered an injury, it is wise to err on the side of caution and seek medical treatment from a physician.
  • Report the accident to your insurance company.
    • As soon as you are able, contact your insurance company. As they process your claim, keep a log of any expenses related to your health or your vehicle as well as any changes in health that you experience. Avoid speaking with other insurance companies or trucking company claims adjusters. If you have retained a personal injury lawyer, advise those companies to speak with them.
  • Contact an experienced Pennsylvania truck accident lawyer.
    • Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys has the resources needed to handle major trucking accidents. We know Pennsylvania, and we know the trucking industry. When hiring a lawyer to handle your case, you need a law firm with experience, tenacity, financial resources, and proven track record of big results. Our attorneys are dedicated to developing your case to the fullest and are available whenever you need them. Experienced Pennsylvania trucking injury lawyers will make sure you are informed and at ease throughout the entire process, from the crash scene to the court room.

WHO CAN BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR MY TRUCKING ACCIDENT INJURY?

In the case of a Pennsylvania trucking accident, there are several parties that can potentially be negligible. Negligent parties could include:

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • Commercial vehicle manufacturer

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys has decades of experience handling these complex cases and is experienced in determining who is negligent in your case and who can be sued. In some cases, trucking injury victims may have grounds to recover compensation for all expenses, past and future, which have occurred since the accident. Our attorneys make sure no stone is left unturned and that every detail of your case has been researched, maximizing the compensation you deserve.

Experience means understanding how truck drivers are supposed to handle themselves in the operation of commercial motor vehicles. We have consistently demonstrated through expansive discovery, depositions, and massive use of the best experts in the nation how trucking companies and drivers have caused debilitating, life-changing injuries and deaths that were completely unnecessary.

COMMON PENNSYLVANIA TRUCKING VIOLATIONS THAT RESULT IN ACCIDENTS

There are a litany of factors that can lead to a trucking accident in Pennsylvania. Many causes are due to the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company. Violations of common traffic laws can cause serious injury accidents and even death. Because commercial motor vehicles can top off at 40 tons in the United States (the average car is approximately two tons), small mistakes can have giant consequences on the road.

Here are ten common violations that cause semi-truck accidents:

  1. Following too closely
  2. Improper turning
  3. Failure to maintain vehicle
  4. Improper loading
  5. Speeding
    • Speeding was a contributing factor in at least 30 percent of annual fatal crash totals between 2003 and 2012.
  6. Parking on the shoulder
  7. Driving while fatigued
  8. Driving while impaired
  9. Distracted driving
    • Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. In addition, truck drivers are prohibited from using handheld mobile phones while driving.
  10. Improper lane changing

ECM AND GPS DEVICES: WHY THEY ARE IMPORTANT TO YOUR TRUCKING ACCIDENT CASE

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Electronic Control Modules (ECM) are found in many semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles regulated by the Department of Transportation. These devices record and track the movement of the truck, which is valuable data and information when trying to prove fault and negligence in a Pennsylvania trucking accident case. GPS and ECM devices can also determine how fast a truck was traveling prior to the crash, the driving habits of an operator, and what routes were taken before the accident.

At Thomas J. Henry, our experienced accident attorneys will immediately file a lawsuit and restraining order to not only obtain the data found on the ECM and GPS devices from the truck involved but also all of the driver’s required Federal Motor Carrier documents. The acquisition of this information can be paramount in achieving the verdict you or your injured loved one deserves.

FEDERAL COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE REGULATIONS HELP PREVENT TRUCKING ACCIDENTS

Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations contains all of the regulations pertaining to commercial motor vehicles and the people who own and operate them. These regulations are in place to help keep drivers safe on the nation’s roadways. When large trucking companies and truck drivers disobey and skirt these laws, the lives of motorists are put at risk.

Commercial motor vehicle drivers are required to obtain a CDL, or commercial driver’s license. Those who hold a CDL are held to high standards and can potentially face license suspension or revocation by committing serious traffic violations.

Here are a few highlights of 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.
    • Drivers must be at least 18 years of age to operate a commercial motor vehicle within Pennsylvania 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

All commercial motor vehicle operators, both property-carrying and passenger-carrying, must comply with hours of service regulations.

For property-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers,

  • 11-Hour Driving Limit: May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • 14-Hour Limit: 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.
  • 60/70-Hour On-Duty Limit: 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.
  • Sleeper Berth Provision: Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate two consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.

For passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers,

  • 10-Hour Driving Limit: May drive a maximum of 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty.
  • 15-Hour On-Duty Limit: 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.
  • 60/70-Hour On-Duty Limit: May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
  • Sleeper Berth Provision: Drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth, and may split the sleeper-berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.

PENNSYLVANIA STATE TRUCKING REGULATIONS

Trucks transporting explosives and flammable liquids are not permitted in road tunnels in Pennsylvania. This regulation pertains to the Liberty Tunnel, Squirrel Hill Tunnel, and Fort Pitt Tunnel.

CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED PENNSYLVANIA TRUCKING ACCIDENT AND INJURY ATTORNEY

For decades, Thomas J. Henry has helped injured victims throughout the nation stand up against some of the largest trucking companies in the world and obtain record-breaking verdicts. If you were injured in a trucking accident in Pennsylvania, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our Pennsylvania truck accident attorneys 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.

HAVE YOU BEEN INJURED?

Contact Us for a FREE Case Review

877-969-8159 • info@tjhlaw.com

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