You probably never expected yourself or your loved ones to be hurt in an accident with a large commercial truck. Unfortunately, crashes involving semi-trucks and passenger vehicles are regular occurrences in Iowa. The state consistently ranks among those with the highest annual percentages of serious and fatal large truck accidents, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) and the National Safety Council.
Though Iowa law allows truck crash victims to take legal action to seek compensation for injuries and losses sustained in accidents they didn't cause, dealing with the aftermath of a collision with a big rig can be overwhelming and intimidating. You wouldn't be the first truck accident victim to feel unsure about what to do next.
At the Law Office of Matthew A. Lathrop, we understand—and we're here to help. Here's what you can do to protect your right to recovery after an Iowa truck crash and how our skilled Iowa personal injury trial attorneys can assist you.
Iowa Truck Crash Do's and Don'ts
A truck accident can be an extremely jarring experience, but what you do in the hours, days, and weeks that follow can have a huge impact on whether—and what—you can recover.
DO: Call the Police
Report the truck accident to the relevant law enforcement agency. Call 911 if the crash appears serious, people are injured, or if the involved semi-truck and passenger vehicles are blocking the roadway. If your injuries allow, stay at the scene until the police complete the accident report.
DO: Seek Immediate Medical Attention
While some of your loved ones may have been severely injured and transported to the hospital by ambulance, it's vital that everyone involved in the crash see a doctor as soon as possible. Not all accident-related injuries appear immediately; a thorough examination by a doctor can help connect late-appearing injuries to your truck crash claim. Make sure to go to every follow-up appointment and follow your doctor's treatment plan as prescribed.
DO: Collect Essential Evidence and Information
Members of your party who can stay at the scene of the accident should exchange contact and insurance information with the truck driver, as well as the drivers of any other vehicles. Talk to people who witnessed the crash and get their information so your attorney can contact them in the future, if necessary. Take photos or videos of visible injuries, property damages, and notable road or weather conditions.
DON'T: Apologize or Place Blame
Apologizing when something goes wrong may be second nature, but your innocent apology could be misconstrued as an admission of fault after a truck accident. Don't risk it. Be polite and say as little as possible when collecting the relevant information from the trucker.
DO: Notify Your Auto Insurer
Call your auto insurance company to let them know you've been in a truck crash. Notifying your insurer will allow them to launch an investigation.
DON'T: Let the Other Side Trick You Into Damaging Your Case
Insurers care more about maintaining the company's profit margins than paying claimants fair settlements and use a variety of tactics to reduce or deny valid claims. Though insurance adjusters may seem nice, their job is to get you to provide information that undermines your injury claim. For example, an adjuster may:
- Offer a quick settlement, before you know the extent of your injuries and damages
- Request a recorded statement about the accident, hoping you'll provide information that can be used against you
- Ask you to release your full medical history, so that they can blame your injuries on other things
Don't talk to representatives from the trucking company's insurer unless your attorney advises you to.
DO: Contact Our Truck Accident Attorneys
Truck crashes aren't your typical fender-benders. You need a skilled attorney to help you fight for fair compensation. Our exceptional legal team can investigate your accident, gather essential evidence (and notify the trucking company of their obligation to preserve relevant evidence), value your injuries and losses, and negotiate an agreeable settlement or take your case to trial.
Schedule a Consultation
Looking for knowledgeable and aggressive representation for your Iowa truck crash case? Look no further. Complete our online contact form or call 402-614-7744 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your claim with a member of our legal team.