Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer Representing Injury Victims in Davenport, Iowa

If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor-trailer collision, you are in the right place. RSH Legal lawyers have decades of experience helping injured drivers and passengers navigate every step of the post-truck crash process, fighting to protect them from some of America’s biggest bullies: trucking and insurance companies.

Living in Davenport means sharing the road with semis. Davenport’s biggest labor industry is manufacturing, with John Deere, the Rock Island Arsenal, KONE, Inc., and Alcoa all having facilities nearby. With that manufacturing comes a significant amount of tractor-trailer traffic.

Three interstate highways serve Davenport: Interstate 80, Interstate 280, and Interstate 74. Other highways include Iowa Highway 22 and Iowa Highway 130. All these highways have a lot of 18-wheeler traffic, and many truckers use Davenport truck stops like the Iowa 80 Truck Stop, Love’s, and Flying J.

Davenport is also home to local trucking companies like Wenger Truck Lines, Hirschbach Motor Lines, and Annett Holdings Inc. The net result is that there are a lot of large trucks on the road in Scott County, Iowa, and there are too many truck wrecks in Davenport, in particular. If you want an expert in Davenport truck crash cases, call RSH Legal at 1-800-433-0283. We can bring the full weight of our firm against those big trucking corporations to get fair settlements for clients who have suffered life-changing harm.

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 Davenport Truck Accident

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

Your mind is probably swirling with questions.  Here are answers to a couple of the most common questions:

Question: Should I be talking to the truck driver’s insurance company?

Answer: After a Davenport trucking accident, a representative of the trucker’s insurance company will usually contact you. This insurance representative will try to establish a bond with you, so that he or she may convince you to do things.

Always remember that this person is a professional trained to use tactics to make sure that his or her company pays you as little as possible.

Insurance representatives will often suggest to injured motorists that they do not need an attorney, because “we can just work this out on our own.” Truck accident victims need to realize that there is no “we” in this situation.

Don’t forget that the trucker’s insurance rep is not a friend and is not truly motivated to make sure that you receive fair compensation.

The insurance representative’s job is to settle your claim as quickly and as cheaply as possible – nothing more.

Recently, insurance industry documents have revealed that insurance corporations train employees to discourage accident victims from hiring attorneys. In fact, they give bonuses and raises to employees who can consistently talk people out of consulting with an attorney.

Why talk clients out of attorney representation? Insurance industry statistics show that “represented claims [claims in which the injured person uses an attorney] settle for 2-3 times more than unrepresented claims [claims in which the injured person settles on his or her own]” (Allstate Unrepresented Adjuster Training Manual).

In response to the discovery of this secret insurance industry campaign, courts and regulators in several states, including New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, ordered insurance corporations to stop discouraging accident victims from going to attorneys and learning about their rights before settlement. Unfortunately, the state of Iowa is not yet offering such protection.

Question: Do I need to talk to an attorney?

Answer: After an 18-wheeler crash in Davenport, it makes sense to at least talk to an attorney before signing any insurance paperwork or settling your crash claim.

RSH Legal offers free case evaluations after tractor-trailer collisions. We do this because it is disheartening to get phone calls from seriously injured people who have been exploited because they did not know their rights after a semi crash.

We are sick of having to tell people that they made early mistakes that cannot be fixed and believe the solution is providing helpful information to injured Iowans and their families before they:

·  Talk to an insurance representative before they are educated about their rights

·  Make costly errors like giving recorded statements without an attorney present

·  Miss an important legal deadline that will eliminate an opportunity to get fair compensation

·  Fail to get appropriate medical treatment for all accident-related injuries

A free case evaluation allows injured motorists to learn about their rights and whether an attorney can help without spending any money. During case evaluations, truck accident victims should always ask what benefit they would get from having an attorney represent them. If you ask that question and the attorney’s answer does not make sense to you, that is a sign that you probably do not need to hire an attorney for your situation.

Hiring an attorney is an investment. Serious semi crashes usually justify that investment. Minor fender-benders often don’t.

If a truck wreck causes severe injury or a need for a significant amount of medical care, hiring an attorney is usually a smart move. If a truck accident causes only vehicle damage or only minor and temporary injury, the cost of the attorney’s fee may outweigh any benefit from an attorney’s services.

That is a decision you can make after being educated about your rights as a truck accident injury victim.

Get your free case evaluation with RSH Legal by calling 1-800-433-0283 today.

How an Inexperienced Lawyer Can Wreck Your Davenport Truck Accident Case

Tractor-trailer crashes are much more complex than a regular car accident case. Not only are the vehicles very different, but the laws and regulations governing semi-trucks and the people who drive them are also very different.

Without specialized knowledge of the trucking industry, a regular car accident lawyer could wreck your case with any of these common mistakes:

MISTAKE: Failing to get all recorded data from the truck

Most attorneys who handle regular car accident cases are familiar with “black box” technology.

“Black box” is a term used to describe a vehicle’s event data recorder which logs various kinds of data, including speed and braking events. This information can be useful in determining how an auto accident occurred. A technician certified to properly handle black box data must typically download this information before a vehicle is driven again after a crash.

In truck crash cases, however, black box data retrieval is often just the beginning of the electronic data that should be collected. If a lawyer is not familiar with the current state of tractor-trailer technology, they do not know what to ask for.

Attorneys who handle truck crash cases must know to request and preserve electronic information from several additional sources. These additional sources can include:

Telematic control units

This is an embedded computer system in a semi that controls the tracking of the vehicle. Most are set to monitor:

  • Vehicle location
  • Company routing instructions
  • Hours of service compliance
  • Speed
  • Cruise control use

Onboard video cameras

These are increasingly being used in commercial trucks and buses. When a crash occurs, video from one or more cameras in the vehicle can often provide a clear picture of the circumstances leading to the incident, as well as the truck driver’s actions.

Onboard detection and avoidance systems

Truck and auto manufacturers are now producing radar and optical-based systems that can warn drivers of their blind spots, how quickly they are closing on other objects when they are veering out of a lane and if they are following another vehicle too closely. Once downloaded, this data can provide a “moving map” of the vehicles in much the same way a video recording can.

Driver cell phones or portable GPS devices

Besides truck-based technology, truck drivers often carry their own cell phones or portable GPS devices. They can also be sources of valuable data under the right circumstances.

MISTAKE: Failing to send an immediate evidence preservation letter

Many inexperienced attorneys don’t realize that there is a computerized paper trail whenever a tractor-trailer is on the road. There is GPS data, black box data, driver hours of service records, truck maintenance records, driver cell phone records, and more. Any of this information could be the key to explaining both how and why a truck crash occurred. In other words, it can make or break your case against a careless truck driver and his company.

Unfortunately, current laws allow much of this information to be destroyed by the trucking company after only six months. That is why an experienced truck accident attorney knows that the first step after being hired is to send a certified letter to the truck driver, the trucking company, and the company’s insurance carrier putting them all on official notice that this important evidence must be preserved.

You only get what you ask for, so it is also important that this evidence preservation letter lists the most up-to-date sources of information. This way the trucking company cannot claim it did not know what information needed to be saved.

Failing to promptly send an appropriately written evidence preservation letter is a huge blunder that your case may never recover from.

MISTAKE: Failing to identify applicable trucking standards

Most attorneys who handle regular car accident cases know their state’s traffic laws.  It is a mistake, however, to evaluate a truck driver’s conduct only in terms of traffic law violations.

Professional semi-truck drivers and companies are subject to laws that regular automobile drivers are not.

A lawyer handling a tractor-trailer collision should be familiar with the other rules that professional truck drivers must follow like:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

These rules control truckers’ driving hours, training and licensing requirements, inspection and maintenance requirements, and special duties.

Your state’s Commercial Driver License Manual

These manuals are a fantastic source for the industry standards that truck drivers must follow to be considered safe.

Trucking Industry Training Materials

These are the textbooks and manuals the trucking industry uses to teach new drivers and refresh experienced drivers on required knowledge and skills.

Trucking Company Internal Documents

Most trucking companies produce their own documents outlining their corporate policies. These documents can come in the form of company handbooks, internal memos, and employee training materials.

These resources are specific to the trucking industry—if your attorney is inexperienced in trucking accident cases, they probably don’t appreciate or fully understand how violations of these trucking industry standards can help your case.

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.

Simple Steps to Protecting Yourself After a Davenport 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 truck wreck. Here are some initial steps you should take after you get medical care:

Call your own auto insurance company

As soon as possible, report the collision to your auto insurance company – even if you are far from home. Ask your insurance agent about how to proceed and what forms or documents you will need to fill out to support your claim. If you fail to immediately report the wreck to your insurance company, you may lose whatever protection your insurance company is contractually obligated to provide you.

Take detailed notes about the crash as soon as possible

Write down everything you remember about the crash as soon as you get home. Draw a diagram of the scene and the vehicles involved. Specifically, note the following information about the collision:

  • Time of day
  • Weather
  • Road conditions
  • What you saw
  • What you heard
  • Names (and, if possible, contact information) of all people you saw at the scene

Put your notes in a safe place so that they are available if you speak with an attorney or go to trial. You would be surprised how helpful notes like this can be when you are asked very specific questions about the crash months or even years later.

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, including Davenport.