Truck Accident Lawyer
The trucking industry moves the goods that we use every day and is vital to our economy. Most trucking companies and their drivers try to do a professional job. However, some cut corners and the result can be permanent injuries or death. The trucking industry is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Their regulations set the minimum standards to guide companies and their drivers. The rules are complicated and it is very important to hire an experienced truck accident attorney who can navigate those issues. Mr. Wimer is a member of the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America and he has that experience.
Common problems in trucking accident cases:
Motor carrier shortcuts: Companies are required to verify the qualifications of their drivers including speeding, accident and drug and alcohol records. In an effort to keep their trucks on the road, they sometimes hire drivers with poor records or only minimal training and experience.
Companies sometimes also push their drivers too hard, requiring excessive hours in order to make the run on schedule. In fact, some trucking companies penalize their drivers for late deliveries. Companies know how long their trucks are operating and they turn a blind eye to overtime driving so long as the deliveries get there on time.
Driver fatigue: Fatigue is implicated in over 20 percent of trucking accidents. A fatigued driver is an impaired driver. His perception and reaction time are reduced. The principle reason for fatigue is lack of sleep or diminished quality of sleep from medical conditions such as sleep apnea.
Driver’s logs: Despite increased emphasis on compliance with hours of service rules, drivers continue to falsify their logs or maintain duplicate sets of logs. On July 1, 2013 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations to reduce driver fatigue became effective. Trucking companies and their drivers were given 18 months to adapt to the regulations, which limit the average work week and mandate rest periods. FMCSA noted that working long hours on a continuous basis is associated with a high risk of crashes and a number of serious health conditions in drivers. The regulations are based on years of scientific research. Some drivers continue to resist these regulations, leading to falsification of their logs.
Distracted drivers: A new cell phone ban came into effect in January 2012. Drivers are prohibited from using a hand-held mobile telephone while driving. This supplements the ban on texting that went into effect previously. Studies have shown that using a phone while driving poses a higher safety risk than other driving distractions such as eating or fiddling with instruments.
Equipment maintenance: Motor carriers are required to keep their equipment in working order. The tendency is to take short cuts, particularly with brakes and tires, so that the big rigs can run longer. Drivers are required to make a pre-trip inspection of the tractor and trailer. To do this inspection properly requires time and drivers often do no inspection or only a cursory one so they can get on the road.
Speed and stopping distance: The tires on a semi have reduced friction capacity compared to the tires on a car. Thus, a semi requires a significantly longer distance to stop than a passenger vehicle. A bobtail (tractor without a trailer) needs almost twice the distance of a car to stop. Speed is a crucial factor when operating a fully loaded (80,000 pound) tractor trailer.
Hazardous conditions: Have you been passed on the road by a big rig is poor weather?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations require drivers to exercise extreme caution when operating a truck in poor conditions such as snow, ice, sleet, fog, rain, dust or other factors that adversely affect visibility or traction.
Call us fast: When an 18 wheeler, flatbed, coal truck or freight carrier is in an accident with a car or pedestrian, the motor carrier will likely have its 24 hour emergency response team of investigators, claims handlers and lawyers on the scene within hours. It is crucial for you or your family to contact experienced tractor trailer accident lawyers while the scene is still fresh.
Pittsburgh Auto Accident Lawyer
Matt Wimer has handled thousands of cases involving injuries from automobile crashes. Some examples include rear end collisions, intersection accidents, crosswalks, left turns, crossovers, excessive speed and failure to observe motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.
Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
The leading causes of traumatic brain injury are motor vehicle accidents, falls and sports injuries. Approximately 5 million Americans have some form of brain injury disability. Traumatic brain injuries can occur from direct trauma, such as when there is a blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head, resulting in an acceleration-deceleration force or rotational force to the brain.
Sometimes the victim has a loss of consciousness, either for a brief or extended period of time. There can be a concussion, which is often accompanied by symptoms of headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sleep disturbance, and disorientation or sensitivity to noise or lights. Many trauma victims have amnesia for the traumatic event and ongoing problems with memory or cognitive functioning.
Traumatic brain injuries are serious. They require complete diagnostic work up that may include special imaging studies and neuropsychological testing. Although the victim may look normal to others, the real picture is one of dysfunction exemplified by personality change, helplessness and an inability to perform occupational and home activities.
Recovery and rehabilitation from brain injuries often requires consultation with specially trained health care providers with the experience to assist with physical and neurocognitive function. TBI can be devastating for the victim and his family. He needs not only specialized medical care but also an attorney who has handled these types of cases in the past. At Wimer Law Offices, we have that experience. Matt Wimer was the course planner and presenter at a continuing legal seminar on brain injuries. He has represented victims of traumatic brain injuries and is prepared to help you navigate the uncertain seas ahead of you.
Medical Malpractice Lawyer
We are blessed in Western Pennsylvania to have some outstanding physicians and hospitals that can provide the highest standard of care. But mistakes are made, and medical errors often cause permanent injury or death.
In May 2016, physicians from Johns Hopkins published an article in The BMJ that concluded that preventable lethal medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US after heart disease and cancer and ahead of respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s. The article also noted that because medical errors do not have a diagnostic code, deaths from such events are not captured on death certificates. The researchers concluded that making errors more visible when they occur would lead to implementing principles to minimize human error.
In September 2013, an article in the Journal of Patient Safety stated that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients who go to the hospital each year suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death. That number is based on the results of four studies of serious adverse events in the hospital setting. Although the conclusion is an extrapolation of data, there is no doubt that serious preventable errors are still commonplace in hospitals.
The National Journal reported in April 2011 that as much as 45 cents out of every dollar spent on U.S. health care is related to a medical mistake and that some type of mistake or adverse event occurs in one-third of all hospital admissions. This situation persists despite efforts to eliminate these errors after the landmark study from the Institute of Medicine in 1999 that found that as many as 98,000 people die annually because of medical errors.
Studies published in the April 2011 issue of Health Affairs reported that about one in three people in the United States will encounter some kind of mistake during a hospital stay and that the annual cost of medical errors that harm patients is $17.1 billion in 2008 dollars.
Malpractice can result from the failure to recognize what is wrong-a failure to diagnose. The doctor may not consider a diagnosis or fail to order appropriate tests. Some malpractice cases involve medication errors-by ordering a drug that is contraindicated, or in a dosage that is too little or too much or by not ordering appropriate tests to determine if the drug may be causing harm to some other system of the body. Malpractice can result from surgical errors or by failing to obtain informed consent from the patient.
Medical malpractice cases are fact driven and complicated. We have the experience to obtain reviews and testimony from top notch medical experts who can assist in determining whether there was a breach of the standard of care and the harm that resulted from the breach.
Pittsburgh Premises Liability Lawyer
Premises liability is a term to describe the legal responsibility of an owner or occupier of land for the injuries that occur on their property. Permanent injuries can result from falls on defective sidewalks, steps and parking lots or from the failure to remove the build up of snow and ice. Stores can be responsible for failing to repair refrigeration units that leak onto the floor. Landlords who don’t provide proper ventilation of gas furnace and water heating systems can be responsible for carbon monoxide poisoning to their tenants.
Pittsburgh Liquor Liability Lawyer
Businesses licensed to serve alcoholic beverages have a responsibility to ensure that the patron is of proper age and that he is not served while visibly intoxicated. If that occurs, the bar can be held responsible for any injuries to third parties caused by the intoxicated person. Bars can also be responsible for injuries to the person whom they served.
Social hosts cannot serve alcohol to persons under the age of 21. If they do, they can be responsible to the minor for injuries he sustains or to injuries to others that the minor causes.
Pittsburgh Dog Bite Lawyer
Owners of dangerous dogs can be held responsible for injuries caused by their animals. The awareness of dangerous propensities places a higher duty of care on the owner. Owners who allow their dogs to leave their property without a leash are similarly liable for the injuries the animals cause.
Defective Products Lawyer
The manufacturer or distributor of a product is responsible for injuries caused by a product that is not safe for its intended use due to a design defect, manufacturing defect or failure to warn. These cases require engineering evaluation to determine how the accident happened and whether the product was defective. We have the experience to evaluate these matters.
Pittsburgh Aquatic Injury Lawyer
Matt Wimer has experience managing commercial swimming pools. He has passed the national examination to be a certified pool operator, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania pesticide examination to add and adjust chemicals in pools and the Allegheny County bathing place manager exam. He understands the obligations of a pool owner to provide for the safety of its patrons.
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides for medical benefits and replacement of lost wage benefits for those who are injured on the job. In some cases, the employer’s insurance carrier will deny benefits. Most of the time, benefits will be started, but the carrier will take steps to limit or stop your benefits. This can come in the form a termination petition based on an examination by a physician specially retained by the carrier. Or, the carrier could file a modification petition based on the alleged availability of other work your employer or another employer. Many workers’ compensation cases can be resolved by lump sum settlements with the consent of both parties and the approval of a workers’ compensation judge. We have the experience to assist you with all of the situations that arise out of a workers’ compensation claim. Contact us early on so that you know how to respond to the steps to limit your benefits that will be taken by the employer and its carrier.