No one expects someone they love to die in a truck accident. Unfortunately, truck crashes are far from uncommon in Iowa. In 2020 alone, large commercial trucks were involved in nearly 70—or 14 percent—of the state’s fatal accidents and resulted in almost as many fatalities, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) and the National Safety Council (NSC).
Losing a loved one suddenly and unexpectedly, such as in a truck crash, is never easy, but finding out that another person or company's negligence is to blame can make it even more difficult to come to terms with the loss. And if your family relied on the deceased for financial and moral support, learning to live without them can be particularly devastating, not to mention challenging.
Was someone in your family killed in a negligence-related truck accident they didn’t cause? You may have grounds to file a civil wrongful death lawsuit and pursue compensation for both economic and emotional damages. Here’s what you need to know about Iowa truck crash wrongful death claims, including who can file, what you could recover, who can benefit, and how the skilled injury attorneys with the Law Office of Matthew A. Lathrop can help you fight for the recovery you deserve.
Iowa Wrongful Death Basics
Wrongful death claims are civil actions that have specific rules and requirements. Exploring your legal options after losing someone you love in an Iowa truck accident? Keep the following in mind.
Who Can File
The Hawkeye State limits the ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit to the personal representative or executor of the deceased’s estate. Though this person is often a close friend or family member, the role of executor can also be served by a professional. However, if there isn’t a Will, the Will doesn’t name a personal representative, or the victim was a minor without an estate, the court will appoint someone to act as executor.
Who Can Benefit
The deceased’s survivors or estate can benefit from the settlement or financial award recovered in a successful truck crash wrongful death claim. This generally includes the surviving spouse, children (including adopted children), or parents of the person who died. Siblings, grandparents, other relatives, and close friends may be entitled to compensation if the decreased named them as beneficiaries of the estate in their Will.
How Long You Have to File a Claim
Iowa law gives the personal representative of a truck accident victim’s estate just two years (from date of death) to file a claim for damages. The court almost always refuses to hear cases filed after the two-year statute of limitations deadline expires. Waiting too long to take legal action can also allow vital evidence to be lost or destroyed, and witnesses may move, pass away, or forget what they saw. Don’t risk it. Consult a knowledgeable truck crash wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
Why You Need an Experienced Iowa Truck Accident Wrongful Death Trial Lawyer
A truck crash claim that involves a wrongful death isn’t a typical car accident case. Because the victim’s injuries were fatal and the damages sustained by them and their surviving loved ones are so significant, the potential settlement or financial award can be sizable. Don’t try to navigate the legal system on your own. Here’s how we can help:
- Investigate the truck accident to determine fault
- Identify the appropriate party (or parties) to name as defendant in your wrongful death lawsuit
- Gather and protect essential evidence, including sending a spoliation letter to the at-fault parties, informing them of their obligation to preserve evidence relevant to litigation
- Value your damages
- Interview witnesses
- Arrange for experts to testify on your behalf
- Evaluate and negotiate settlement offers
- Maximize the value of your claim (you could recover compensation for your loved one’s final medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost wages and earnings, loss of the value of their support, pain and suffering, and other losses)
- Take the case all the way to trial, if necessary
Schedule a Consultation
Ready to talk to us about your case? Complete our online contact form or call the Law Office of Matthew A. Lathrop at 402-614-7744 to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.