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Truck Injury Lawyer in South Dakota

LEGAL HELP FOR SOUTH DAKOTA TRUCKING ACCIDENT INJURY VICTIMS

South Dakota’s economy has diversified in recent years, expanding into retail, finance, and healthcare sectors. However, the state’s agricultural sector is still a crucial part in the economy. South Dakota produces cattle, wheat, and corn among other products. In addition, South Dakota is one of the top national producers of ethanol. National and state parks are at the forefront of the tourism sector, which brings in billions of dollars to the state’s economy. Tourists flock to see Mount Rushmore in the state’s Black Hills each year.

Two major interstates cross through South Dakota, including I-29 and Interstate 90. Commercial motor vehicles often traverse the state on the interstate system. Unfortunately, the interstate can be a dangerous roadway when driving alongside tractor-trailers. Thousands of trucking accidents occur each year on U.S. roadways, and South Dakota is not an exception. In 2014, South Dakota experienced 21 fatalities in crashes involving semi-trucks. Oftentimes, the actions of truck drivers or trucking companies lead to these serious accidents.

We understand how difficult life can be after sustaining an injury in a truck accident. Injuries can leave you with pain or a disability that keeps you from returning to work. Victims of trucking accidents are put in a financial bind as medical bills and vehicle-related expenses pile up. That’s why at Thomas J. Henry we can advance your court costs and litigation expenses. In addition, we can also advance you money for living and medical expenses (interest free). You spend nothing and pay no attorney’s fees unless we win your case. We do this because we have confidence in our experienced trucking accident attorneys, who have helped clients achieve significant compensation for their injuries in a multitude of trucking injury cases.

LEGAL RESOURCES NEEDED TO WIN YOUR SOUTH DAKOTA TRUCK ACCIDENT CASE

Thomas J. Henry has the experience and resources to aggressively represent any client, no matter the size of the defendant. When the unthinkable happens, you need a trucking injury law firm that has the resources to develop your case properly and explore every avenue possible to give you the best opportunity to win. At Thomas J. Henry, we ensure your case is handled with care, from the scene of the accident to the resolution of your case.

  • Technology
    • It is our goal to give our clients the most efficient and effective legal representation possible. To do this, we implement state-of-the-art case management, client interaction, and information security technologies. From the first time we meet (or visit you in South Dakota), your case profile will be created and active in our modern computer system. Our experienced injury attorneys will be able to access your files from anywhere in the country at any time. The ability to expedite case files to clients and legal professionals at the click of a mouse helps us keep you informed and comfortable as the legal process is ongoing.
  • Mobility
    • Dynamic client representation means that our clients should be able to contact us at any time with questions, concerns, or updates regarding their case. At Thomas J. Henry, we provide our team of trucking accident lawyers with jet services, satellite technology, and cutting-edge mobile technologies, allowing them to work on your case from anywhere in the world. In addition, they are accessible to clients 24/7, nights and weekends. If you cannot make it to our office, we will visit you wherever you reside in South Dakota.
  • Experts
    • Our firm employs a vast array of trucking experts to serve as witnesses in commercial trucking accident cases. It is absolutely vital to find the right expert and the best expert witnesses for your case. Thomas J. Henry has spent years thoroughly examining and questioning experts from across the nation, selecting only the best experts to bring their expertise to a trucking accident case. South Dakota trucking accident experts may include:
      • Commercial motor vehicle compliance consultants
      • Forensic scientists
      • Transportation safety experts
      • Accident reconstruction experts
      • Doctors, physicians, psychiatrists, physical therapists, and other medical professionals

WHAT DO I DO AFTER A TRUCKING ACCIDENT?

Trucking accidents can be catastrophic and frightening, especially if you or another passenger was injured in the crash. After ensuring your safety, there are things you can do to preserve your rights as a victim of a trucking accident in South Dakota. In complex cases like trucking accidents, it is important to keep a record of facts and collect and protect evidence as soon as you possible. At Thomas J. Henry, we know how large trucking companies operate, and we can assist you with ensuring evidence is collected in a swift manner.

Here are a few tips on what you should do after being involved in a trucking accident:

  • Stop immediately after the crash. Assess the situation.
    • Check yourself and passengers for injuries.
  • Make the accident visible to others, if possible (i.e., vehicle hazard lights, road flares).
  • Call the police. Contact 911 if there is an emergency or any serious injuries. Be sure a paramedic responds as well.
  • Record the facts and be as accurate as possible with the responding police officer. Take pictures of the accident scene, damage to your vehicle, any injuries you or a passenger sustained, and any other factors that could help your case in the future.
  • Collect the names and contact information for all parties involved in the crash and any witnesses to the accident. In addition, obtain the insurance information of all drivers involved in the wreck.
  • Seek medical attention. If you aren’t entirely sure if you’ve been injured or not, play it safe and get a check-up from your primary care physician.
    • Some injuries and pain do not appear until days after the trucking accident.
  • Report the accident to your insurance company. Keep a log of any expenses or changes in health that you experience due to the accident.
    • Avoid speaking with other insurance companies or claims adjusters from the trucking company.
  • Contact an experienced South Dakota truck accident lawyer.
    • Retaining an attorney as soon as possible can be very beneficial to your potential case. At Thomas J. Henry, our experienced team of trucking accident lawyers will immediately go to work, obtaining and preserving evidence from the accident and giving you legal advice along the way. We make sure you are comfortable and that your rights as a semi-truck accident victim are protected. Experienced truck injury lawyers in South Dakota keep you informed throughout the process, and at Thomas J. Henry, we take every measure possible to obtain the compensation you deserve.

WHO CAN BE SUED AFTER A TRUCKING ACCIDENT?

In a South Dakota trucking accident, it is important to know who to sue and where to sue. Several parties could potentially be negligent, making trucking accident cases more complex than other motor vehicle accidents. Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys has the knowledge and expertise to make the right call.

Whether it is the truck driver, trucking company, or commercial vehicle manufacturer that was negligent in your case, our experienced team of injury attorneys understand how the trucking industry works and will determine who is to be held accountable. Our firm has consistently demonstrated — through discovery, depositions, and expert testimony — how truck drivers and trucking companies caused catastrophic injuries and deaths that were completely avoidable.

ECM AND GPS DEVICES: WHY THEY ARE SO IMPORTANT

Many commercial trucks and Department of Transportation-regulated vehicles contain Electronic Control Modules (ECM) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) onboard. Following a trucking accident, these devices can contain vital information and facts about the circumstances of the crash. ECM and GPS track and record the movement of the commercial vehicle, including the habits of a driver and even the routes driven prior to an accident. The acquisition of these devices can be paramount in determining liability in a trucking accident case since they can record how fast a truck was going at the point of impact.

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys achieve successful, record-breaking verdicts and settlements because we know how the trucking industry operates. Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition of these devices could be the determining factor in the case. Your choice of injury attorney matters, and choosing a law firm with the experience, resources, and tenacity to explore every avenue possible in your case gives you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.

WHAT CAUSES TRUCKING ACCIDENTS TO HAPPEN IN SOUTH DAKOTA?

Trucking accidents can cause catastrophic injuries due to their massive size and large loads. Even the most common traffic violations can turn into fatal accidents because of the size differential between commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles. In the United States, large trucks can weigh up to 40 tons, or 20 times heavier than an average car.

Some common trucking violations that cause accidents in South Dakota include:

  • 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.
  • Following too closely
  • Speeding
    • Perhaps the most common traffic violation, speeding was a contributing factor in at least 30 percent of annual fatal crash totals between 2003 and 2012.
  • Parking on the shoulder
    • South Dakota bans stopping and parking on rural highways. In addition, stopping is prohibited on sidewalks, crosswalks, and bridges.
  • Improper lane changing
  • Failure to maintain vehicle

IMPORTANT FEDERAL TRUCKING REGULATIONS AND GUIDELINES

Various regulations have been put in place to keep motorists safe from semi-truck accidents on the highways and roads across the nation. When these laws are broken or ignored by truck drivers and trucking companies, the lives of South Dakota drivers are put in jeopardy. Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations contains all laws pertaining to commercial motor vehicle operation.

All commercial motor vehicle drivers must obtain and hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Drivers with a CDL are held to higher standards and can lose certification by committing serious traffic offenses.

Here are a few important regulations that truck drivers must abide by in the United States:

  • Drivers must be 21 years of age or older to drive across state lines or operate a vehicle containing hazardous materials.
    • For intrastate commerce within South Dakota state lines, drivers must be at least 16 years of age or older.
  • 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 (HOS) REGULATIONS

All commercial motor vehicle operators must comply with hours of service regulations. This important regulation ensures drivers are receiving a sufficient amount of sleep before operating their vehicles. Drowsy and fatigued drivers cause many severe trucking accidents in South Dakota each year.

Both property-carrying and passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers are required to abide by these guidelines.

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.

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 SOUTH DAKOTA TRUCK ACCIDENT AND INJURY ATTORNEY

Thomas J. Henry has advocated for trucking injury victims throughout the nation for decades. When you hire a personal injury firm, you need a firm that has experienced attorneys, financial and technological resources, and the reputation for achieving significant results for clients. We are dedicated to providing dynamic, personal representation for each and every client, ensuring each case is handled efficiently and effectively. If you or a loved one have been injured in a South Dakota trucking accident, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our 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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