Iowa Truck Accident Lawyer
The number of people injured or killed in truck accidents each year is staggering. In semi-truck trailer accidents, the injuries sustained can be catastrophic and life-altering.
These accidents are often caused by one or more negligent parties failing to take proper precautions when operating their vehicles on our roads.
The personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC provide legal representation to injured truck accident victims seeking financial compensation for their damages.
Contact a personal injury lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Truck Accidents: A Serious Concern for Iowa Residents and Travelers
Commercial truck accidents are a serious problem in the United States. They cause enormous damage and result in many deaths every year.
The number of commercial truck accident fatalities is shocking, but unfortunately, it's only part of the story.
Many more people suffer injuries that require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation, and pain management throughout their lives. These individuals often need to miss work while recovering from their injuries or even after returning to work due to chronic pain caused by these accidents.
Their families also experience financial hardship when one person cannot work after such an injury because there aren't two paychecks coming into the household now.
National and Iowa Truck Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,700 fatalities and over 105,000 injuries involved large trucks in 2012. Unfortunately, this number has risen significantly over the past few years, with fatalities increasing 10 percent since 2009.
The National Safety Council data reveals that Iowa is among the states with the highest rate of truck accidents. In 2010, there were 9.5 commercial truck accidents per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in Iowa instead of the national average of 6.5 accidents per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) reports 161 traffic fatalities in Iowa in 2012, of which 27 involved a tractor-trailer. In 2019, Iowa residents and travelers suffered catastrophic injuries and commercial truck accidents at a significant rate, including:
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 2,000 people were killed in large truck crashes in the United States in 2017. That's more than five people per day.
- About 15,000 people were injured in large truck crashes in the United States in 2017.
- The number of people killed in large truck crashes increased by 10 percent from 2009 to 2012
- Tractor-trailers accounted for 3 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2013, resulting in 10 percent of all deaths
- According to the National Safety Council, commercial trucks caused more than 41,000 injuries in 2017
What Caused the Increase in Commercial Truck Accidents?
Many factors can contribute to a commercial truck accident, including driver error, inclement weather, defective equipment, and improper loading. However, the main factor is usually driver fatigue.
Truck drivers are required by law to keep a log of their hours behind the wheel, and they are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours per day or work more than 60 hours a week. However, many drivers routinely violate these rules to make more money.
In addition, many trucking companies are under pressure to meet tight delivery deadlines, leading to dispatchers encouraging drivers to violate federal regulations.
In many commercial truck accident cases, trucking companies also pressure drivers to falsify their logbooks to conceal that they have been driving for too long.
Tractor trailer operators are also more likely to be involved in accidents when driving overweight or overloaded. Inadequate or poorly maintained brakes can also lead to accidents and defective equipment and tires.
Injuries from commercial truck accidents are often severe and life-altering. Victims may require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation, which can be costly.
Commercial Truck Accidents on Iowa Roads
Car accidents involving semi-trailer trucks are often catastrophic and fatal. Of course, most people will never be involved in an accident with a semi-trailer truck, but the serious injuries and fallout can be catastrophic for those who are.
The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety report that approximately five thousand people are killed each year. In addition, another 150,000 are injured due to accidents involving large commercial trucks.
Additionally, the same group reports that approximately one in four-passenger vehicle deaths from multiple vehicle collisions involve a truck.
Were you severely injured, or someone you love was killed by someone driving a commercial vehicle? If so, contact our Des Moines, IA commercial truck accident lawyers today to discuss your rights under Iowa law.
Our legal team has successfully represented clients throughout Iowa, including Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Sioux City & Council Bluffs, on commercial truck cases.
Many of these lawsuits involve serious injury resulting from car accidents caused by negligent drivers operating commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, box vans/box trucks, big rigs, and semi-trucks.
Common Types of Commercial Truck Accidents Throughout the Midwest
According to the NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), several types of truck accidents occur most often throughout the United States, including:
A jackknife accident usually occurs when the tractor-trailer driver tries to make a sudden stop, and the trailer swings out like a door opening, locking the tractor and trailer together in an X-shape. The force of the sudden stop causes the rear of the trailer to swing out, sending the cargo inside crashing into other vehicles on the road.
Slides Off Accidents
A slide-off accident occurs when a truck driver loses control of his vehicle and slides off the road for one reason or another, striking stationary objects or crashing into other vehicles.
An under-ride commercial vehicle accident happens when a smaller vehicle slides underneath a truck, resulting in serious injuries or death to the passengers of the smaller vehicle.
A rear-end collision between two commercial trucks is often catastrophic because of the two vehicles' difference in size and weight. When a smaller vehicle is struck from behind by a much larger truck, the results can be fatal for the smaller vehicle's occupants.
A rollover commercial truck accident can happen when a truck driver makes a turn too fast, loses control of the vehicle, or when the vehicle overturns on a road and crashes.
When two or more large commercial trucks are involved in an accident, the results can be catastrophic. The size and weight of these vehicles can cause massive damage to other vehicles on the road, often leading to fatalities.
Accidents Caused by Speeding
Truck drivers who speed are more likely to lose control of their vehicles, resulting in accidents. When truck drivers travel too fast for the conditions, they are much more likely to rear-end another vehicle, slide off the road, or roll over.
Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving
Driver distractions such as texting while driving, talking on the phone, eating, or drinking can lead to serious accidents when a truck driver is behind the wheel. These distractions can easily lead to loss of control of the vehicle and can be deadly for other drivers and passengers on the road.
Accidents Caused by Fatigued Driving
When someone is tired behind the wheel, they have reduced reaction time and are more likely to drift out of their lane. When a trucker falls asleep at the wheel, it can result in a serious accident that causes injury or even death for those involved.
Contact our Des Moines, IA truck accident attorney today for a free case consultation if you've been injured in an Iowa semi-truck crash. Call (888) 424-5757 to speak with one of our experienced truck accident lawyers from the Law Offices of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC.
Our Iowa truck accident lawyers have successfully fought insurance companies for our clients in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, and throughout Iowa.
Our experienced truck accident lawyers have a comprehensive understanding to fight insurance companies for our client's best interests & help them recover damages for medical costs, lost wages, pain & suffering, mental anguish, and more.
Common Injuries in Commercial Truck Accidents
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that 4,000 people die in large truck crashes each year.
However, a person is more likely to be killed while walking near a highway than in a crash! We have outlined some common injuries that result from these accidents below.
Injuries from whiplash are usually caused by the head snapping back and forward very quickly. Whiplash can result from a rear-end truck crash or when the front seat occupants are pushed forward into their seat belts.
Injuries caused by the head moving quickly backward and forwards in a Des Moines, IA accident include:
- Neck vertebrae fractures
- Discs herniations between the cervical spine discs
- Cartilage injuries to the spinal joints
- Spinal cord compression
- Brain injuries
Injuries to the chest can also occur in a Des Moines truck accident. These may include:
- A collapsed lung
- Ruptured spleen
- Internal bleeding
- Damage to the heart
Leg and ankle injuries are also common in truck accidents. These can include:
- Broken bones
- Sprains and strains
- Ligament tears
Treatment for Truck Accident Injuries
If you have been injured in a truck accident, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you do not think you are injured, a medical professional must be checked out to ensure there's no internal damage.
Below are steps you can take following your Des Moines truck accident:
- See a qualified and licensed physician as soon as possible, even if you do not think your injuries are serious
- Be sure to tell your doctor about all your symptoms, even if they seem unrelated
- Keep a record of all medical expenses and visits
- Contact your auto insurance company after you have medical treatment. Have them issue the claim forms for you
- Take pictures of your injuries, the accident scene, and any damaged property. These will be helpful later in case there is an injury claim
- Do not sign any release of liability before speaking to an attorney. This means you should not sign anything without speaking with a legal professional. If they ask you to sign something, do so only after consulting with an accident lawyer
Contact the experienced attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC today if you have been injured in a truck accident. Our personal injury law firm will help you get the medical treatment you need and guide you through the legal process.
You might be entitled to compensation for your injuries, so do not hesitate to call.
Federal and State Rules Truck Drivers Must Follow
Throughout the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry ensuring public safety.
Every trucking company, trucker, and trucking equipment must comply with the FMCSA's regulations. In addition, the Iowa State Patrol enforces Iowa state law, including commercial driver's license (CDL) rules.
The following rules apply both to interstate and intrastate commerce:
- All commercial drivers must carry a CDL
- Commercial drivers cannot have more than one license
- Truck drivers must be at least 21 years old
- Truckers cannot drive more than 11 hours in a day or drive after working for 60 hours in 8 days
In addition to the FMCSA's rules, Iowa truck drivers must also comply with the following state regulations:
- Commercial vehicles cannot exceed a weight of 80,000 pounds
- Truck drivers must stop at all weigh stations
- Commercial vehicles must use an electronic logging device to record hours of service
If a trucker violates either the FMCSA or Iowa state regulations, they can be cited by federal and state authorities, resulting in costly fines.
Trucking Industry Training
All truck companies must ensure that their truck drivers have received sufficient training.
The FMCSA requires all truckers to receive training in the following areas:
- How to operate a truck or other commercial vehicles
- How to safely load and unload cargo
- How to recognize and respond to hazardous materials emergencies
- How to comply with hours of service regulations
Trucking companies must keep records of their drivers' training.
Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL)
All commercial drivers must possess a CDL to operate their equipment along public roads.
Iowa also requires all truckers who travel through the state to have an Iowa CDL if their vehicle has a gross weight of 16,000 pounds or greater.
In addition, to obtain a commercial driver's license in Iowa, you must be at least 18 years old and pass a written knowledge test and a driving skills test.
The written knowledge test covers the following topics:
- Traffic signs, signals, and markings
- Iowa traffic laws
- How to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle
- How to properly load and unload cargo
To prepare for the written knowledge test, you can study the Iowa Driver's Manual.
The driving skills test is administered by the Iowa State Patrol and includes:
- The pre-trip inspection
- Starting and stopping a commercial vehicle
- Controlling a commercial vehicle on a variety of road surfaces
- Turning a commercial motor vehicle
- Merging and passing other vehicles
To prepare for the driving skills test, you should practice with an experienced trucker or commercial vehicle specifically designed to simulate a truck.
Hours of Service Regulations (HOS)
- Commercial drivers can only operate their equipment for 11 hours on any given day, including driving time
- After completing 11 hours, the trucker must take a break for 10 consecutive hours
- Truckers are also limited to working for 60 hours in 8 days
- During the break, the trucker cannot drive or work
- The 10-hour break and 60-hour workweek apply to both interstate and intrastate commerce
- Truckers cannot restart their workweek once they finish the first (60-hour) duty period and must wait until the next calendar day
- However, they can still take a break after 60 hours
For example, a trucker finishes working for 60 hours on Sunday, February 10th. The trucker cannot start working again until Monday, February 11th, and must take a 10-hour break before beginning the next workweek.
Receiving Fair Compensation by Filing a Truck Accident Claim
Holding the at-fault driver financially accountable for causing the truck accident can be complicated. Many times, personal injury law restricts the amount of time the victim can file a claim.
Under Iowa law, the statute of limitations for a truck accident is two years. This means the injured person has two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. The clock starts ticking on the day when the accident happened, not when the injury is discovered.
If you are injured in a truck accident, it is important to seek medical attention and to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
When Families File Wrongful Death Claims
Surviving family members who lost a loved one in a fatal truck accident have a legal right to file a civil lawsuit citing wrongful death against the trucker, trucking company, and others that might have been involved in the commercial vehicle crash.
Generally, a wrongful death claim can be filed by any qualifying family member that might be a surviving spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, sibling, or other. Typically, fatal injuries in a truck accident leave the surviving family members without the funds they need to pay for damages.
Damages for Wrongful Death Cover the Following
- Funeral expenses
- Medical costs related to the treatment of injuries before death
- Lost earnings potential due to job loss or quitting a job to care for the victim who passed away
- Loss of child or spouse's companionship and benefits that would have been received had they lived
- Pain and suffering of the victim before death
- The cost of legal fees to acquire legal help
- Punitive damages, if appropriate
In most wrongful death truck accident cases, the family reaches a settlement agreement with the negligent parties. However, a jury trial may be necessary in some personal injury cases involving egregious negligence or intentional harm.
No matter what type of truck accident led to your damages, it is important to contact an experienced accident lawyer at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC. Your truck accident lawyer will discuss receiving full and fair compensation during a free consultation.
Hiring an Iowa Truck Accident Lawyer to Hold Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies Accountable
An Iowa truck accident lawyer could help you get compensation for your damages and losses if you were injured or lost someone close to you.
This type of accident may include lost wages, medical bills, future medical expenses, emotional distress costs, and more, depending on your unique circumstances.
A truck accident lawyer can gather evidence and fight to prove that negligence was involved and help you file a claim. Should it be determined that a truck driver's negligence caused your injuries, you deserve to be compensated for your medical bills and other expenses and for pain and suffering.
Please call us today for a free consultation at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation. When you are injured in a truck accident, the statute of limitations (the time you have to file) starts on the day of the accident, not when the injury is discovered.
We routinely assist individuals on a contingency basis, which means there are no upfront costs. Your truck accident lawyer gets paid only when you get paid!
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.