Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer Representing Injury Victims in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

If you or someone you love was injured in a truck accident in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, you are in the right place. RSH Legal attorneys have represented victims of Cedar Rapids tractor-trailer collisions for over 30 years. Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for those whom trucking companies may have otherwise taken advantage of.

Living in Cedar Rapids means sharing the road with large trucks. Unfortunately, semi-trucks can pose a danger to other motorists if they are not driven safely.

As the second largest city in Iowa, Cedar Rapids has a significant amount of tractor-trailer traffic. Grain processing plants like Quaker Oats, Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, and General Mills all attract a steady stream of semi-trucks. For that reason, Interstate 380, U.S. Highways 30, 151, and 218, and Iowa Highways 13 and 100 all have a lot of 18-wheeler traffic, and many truckers use Cedar Rapids truck stops like Pilot Travel Center, Kwik Star, and Casey’s.

In addition, Cedar Rapids, Iowa is home to national trucking companies like CRST, West Side Transport, Don Hummer Trucking, and JMS Transportation Company. The net result is that there are a lot of trucks on the road in Linn County, Iowa, and there are too many truck wrecks in Cedar Rapids in particular.

If you want an expert in Cedar Rapids truck crash cases, contact RSH Legal today at 1-800-433-0283.

Attorney Tim Semelroth is the first and only Iowa truck accident lawyer who is board-certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in Trucking Accident Law.

Frequently Asked Questions After a Cedar Rapids Truck Accident

Semi crashes can be extremely stressful events. Following a collision with a tractor trailer, many people are unsure of what to do, especially if they have suffered injuries.

Injuries from an 18-wheeler crash can be severe and can require extensive medical care, keep you from working, and have long-lasting effects.

The following are some frequently asked questions that truck accident victims often have regarding recovery for their losses:

Question:  The truck driver got a ticket after the crash. Do I really need to do anything to prove the truck driver was at fault for my injuries?

Answer:  If a truck driver caused your wreck, you want to do everything possible to ensure the truck driver is both ticketed and convicted. If the investigating officer calls you, make sure you take that call. If you know the names of any witnesses to the crash, make sure you pass on those names to law enforcement.

Most importantly, if you get a summons to appear in traffic court, you want to make sure you show up. Prosecutors often dismiss traffic charges if important witnesses do not show up for court.

The one catch to this advice is that we recommend you consult with a truck accident attorney BEFORE you must testify in traffic court. If a tractor-trailer collision caused severe injury or death, it is important to have your own attorney present in traffic court to advise you about your rights.

Question:  Should I take any photos after my collision with a tractor-trailer?

Answer: Even if you believe the investigating officer or an insurance representative took photographs, you should still get your own photographs taken after a semi crash.

Have all photos taken up close and from a distance. Take three times as many photographs as you think you will need. In particular, get the following types of photos taken:

  • Photos of the accident location:  Take photos of the scene from the direction you approached and from the direction of the trucker’s approach. Take photos of all skid marks and measure them. If possible, take photos of any debris left by the crash before moving it.
  • Photos of your vehicle:  Do not have your vehicle repaired before it is photographed. Take photos from all angles –— the outside, the interior, even the undercarriage when it is up on a lift at a garage.
  • Photos of your injury:  Take photos of all visible injuries. Take photos of all bruises, scrapes, cuts, etc. while they are fresh.
  • Photos of your medical treatment:  Have photos taken of you in the hospital. Have photos taken of all casts, slings, and bandages. If you are prescribed the use of a wheelchair, walker, or crutches, get photos of those as well.

How an Inexperienced Lawyer Can Wreck Your Cedar Rapids Truck Accident Case

Many people (including some lawyers) mistakenly think of truck accidents as simply larger automobile accidents.

Not only are the vehicles involved in the crash very different, but the laws and regulations governing semi-trucks and the people who drive them are also very different. These regulations are not just the basic rules of the road. Many of these laws and regulations are uniquely designed to protect other motorists from tractor-trailers.

Understanding the crucial details of commercial motor vehicle law is essential to handling a serious trucking case. Without that kind of specialized knowledge, a regular car accident lawyer could wreck your case with any of these common mistakes:

MISTAKE: Relying on a law enforcement investigation to decide who was at fault for your crash

DO NOT rely solely on the law enforcement investigation if the truck accident caused severe injury or death. For nearly 30 years, our attorneys have read many Iowa law enforcement accident reports that describe vehicle damage inaccurately or miss the names of important eyewitnesses. Local law enforcement is often overworked and undertrained – particularly when it comes to tractor-trailer crashes.

A modern semi is often equipped with dashboard cameras, GPS tracking, and radar detection equipment. This technical data can be missed by a Cedar Rapids police officer who doesn’t know what to look for.

That is why – in any truck accident resulting in death or severe injury – you should consult with an experienced truck accident attorney to decide whether to hire an expert to do an independent vehicle inspection.

MISTAKE: Failing to preserve the vehicles involved in a tractor-trailer collision

After you’ve been in a truck accident, it can be tempting to want to get your car repaired or replaced as quickly as possible by your own auto insurance. An inexperienced attorney may even let you do it.

This can be a huge mistake —your vehicle is one of the most important pieces of evidence in your semi accident claim. Your vehicle should be preserved after a serious truck crash until both sides have had the opportunity to hire experts to examine it.

You don’t usually have to pick between repairing or replacing your car and pursuing a truck accident claim— you just have to be patient while your lawyer hires the appropriate expert and then gives the trucking company a fair amount of time to do their own inspection.

This is why it is so important that your truck accident lawyer has a pre-existing relationship with a qualified accident reconstructionist. You don’t want to have to wait for an inexperienced attorney to find the right expert for your case. You want to be working with an attorney who already has their truck accident team in place.

Attorney Tim Semelroth is a graduate of the Legacy Corporation Trucking Course for Legal Professionals, which teaches a hands-on approach to trucking crash cases.

Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Wrecks in Cedar Rapids

Tractor-trailer collisions can result from many different factors. Studies show, however, that most large truck accidents can be traced back to several all-too-common causes. This is important because responsible trucking companies should be aware of these common crash factors and should have procedures in place to prevent them.

Distracted Driving

A 2006 study found that driver inattention was the leading factor in commercial vehicle crashes and near-crashes. The study found that nearly 80 percent of crashes involved some form of driver inattention in the 3 seconds before the crash or near-crash.

Drivers playing with their cell phones are a common type of distracted driving. Federal regulations prohibit a truck driver from texting or using a hand-held mobile telephone while driving. That is why it is always important to investigate whether the truck driver who hit you was on a cell phone at the time of the crash.


Semi-trucks, when fully loaded, can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. That kind of weight impacts both stopping distance and the ability to quickly change directions.

That is why speeding is even more dangerous for a truck driver than the driver of a normal passenger car. A speeding 18-wheeler poses a threat to all other motorists on the road.

Large trucking companies use speed governors or speed trackers to stop their drivers from speeding, but most tractor-trailers do not have this type of technology. That is why the first step in any truck accident investigation is to determine whether the truck driver was speeding and whether the trucking company should have been aware of this dangerous behavior.

Aggressive Driving

Examples of aggressive driving of a semi-truck can include behavior like failing to yield the right of way, tailgating, following too closely, or cutting other motorists off.

This behavior is particularly dangerous because tractor-trailers are so much bigger than most passenger vehicles.

It is important to investigate the root cause of a particular episode of aggressive driving. Does the truck driver have a history of bad driving? It may be a negligent vetting issue on the part of the trucking company. Was the truck driver under stress to make deliveries on time? The trucking company may have had unreasonable scheduling expectations.

The point is that an investigation into aggressive driving should always look into the trucking company’s potential role.

Simple Steps to Protecting Yourself after a Cedar Rapids Semi Crash

Some of the most important things you can do to protect your case must happen within the first few hours and days immediately following a wreck. During that time, there is a lot of evidence that must be preserved.

Here are some initial steps you should take after a semi-truck wreck:

1. Get immediate medical care

If anyone may be injured at the accident scene, call 911. If you are offered an ambulance ride to the hospital, take it. In all cases, the safe thing to do is to seek immediate medical attention regardless of whether you think you are injured.

Symptoms of an injury may not show up immediately after a crash; some physical problems may not show up until hours or even days after a crash. Medical treatment is particularly important after a crash caused by a reckless truck driver because it is the best way to document all the harm caused by the crash.

2. During treatment, always remind your medical providers you were injured in a truck crash

In our legal system, the victim is always responsible for proving that he or she was injured in a particular accident. The best way to prove you were injured in a tractor-trailer collision is to have records from a medical examination occurring shortly after the crash.

Remember – the trucking company will not believe you are hurt just because you say so, it will only believe you are hurt if a medical record says so.

If you want fair compensation for your injuries from a semi-truck accident, it is essential that you get medical treatment, and you keep getting medical treatment until you are completely healed, or the doctors tell you that there is nothing more they can do for you. It is almost impossible to get a fair settlement for your Cedar Rapids truck accident injuries if you don’t get medical treatment or stop medical treatment before you are healed.

Attorney Tim Semelroth regularly shares his truck crash case knowledge with other attorneys at seminars and conventions.

RSH Legal, a law firm located in Cedar Rapids, handles truck accident claims throughout Iowa.