Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer Representing Injury Victims in Iowa City, Iowa
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a truck accident near Iowa City, you are in the right place. RSH Legal lawyers have years of experience helping injured motorists 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 Iowa City means sharing the road with large trucks. Iowa City’s biggest employers like the University of Iowa, Procter & Gamble, and Loparex all attract a significant amount of tractor-trailer traffic.
Multiple highways serve Iowa City: Interstate 80, U.S. Highways 218 and 6, and Iowa Highways 1 and 27 (the Avenue of the Saints). All these highways have a lot of 18-wheeler traffic, and many truckers use truck stops near Iowa City like Kum & Go, Riverside Travel Mart, and Jay Brothers’ Truck Stop. Iowa City is also home to local trucking companies like Heartland Express, JRRW Transport, Maher Bros. Transfer and Storage, and Farr Transport.
The net result is that there are a lot of large trucks on the road in Johnson County, Iowa, and there are too many semi-accidents in Iowa City, in particular.
If you want an expert in Iowa City tractor-trailer cases, call RSH Legal. We bring the full weight of our firm against those big trucking corporations to get fair settlements for clients who have suffered life-changing harm.
Common Myths about Iowa City Truck Accident Claims
According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, approximately 50-100 serious tractor-trailer accidents cause death or major injury every year. Even with so many injuries and deaths every year, dangerous myths remain about what should happen after a truck accident.
We want to clear up the confusion surrounding the following misconceptions:
MYTH: The truck driver’s insurance must immediately start paying your medical bills.
The truck driver’s insurance company has no legal obligation to pay for your medical bills until it is ordered to do so by a judge after a trial. Even if the trucker was clearly at fault, you will usually not be immediately compensated.
Most insurance corporations will only issue one settlement check for an injury claim. That one settlement check will have to cover all your harms and losses (including past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, etc.).
To get that one settlement check, the truck driver’s insurance will require you to sign settlement paperwork stating that it has no responsibility to pay anything additional in the future for that collision. That means the trucker’s insurance will not usually start paying your medical bills after a tractor-trailer accident until you are willing to settle your complete injury claim with them once and for all.
One of the most common mistakes that truck accident victims make is allowing accident-related medical bills to go unpaid when their own health or auto insurance would cover those bills.
You can always reimburse your own insurance companies after settlement with the trucking company. It is difficult to rebuild a credit rating after it has been ruined by unhappy creditors while waiting for a truck accident settlement check.
MYTH: You can trust your own auto insurance after a semi crash.
There are a lot of good reasons to be skeptical when an auto insurance corporation spends millions of dollars on advertising saying it is “on your side.” One of those reasons is that the biggest threat to getting fair compensation after a truck accident may come from your own auto insurance company.
This situation can occur when either the trucker does not have valid insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover all the harms and losses caused by the collision. The State of Iowa only requires drivers to purchase $20,000 of liability insurance to legally drive in our state. The United States government only requires interstate motor carriers to carry $750,000 in liability insurance.
If the trucker had no insurance or not enough insurance, usually a truck accident victim’s only remaining chance to get fair compensation will come from his or her own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. That means that the injured motorist will be seeking accident-related compensation from his or her own auto insurance company.
Even the possibility of an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim will cause your auto insurance company to go into “pay-as-little-as-possible” mode. Auto insurance representatives are trained to use tactics to reduce claims payouts – even when the injured person is their own insured.
That is why truck accident victims should not assume that their own insurance company is looking out for their best interests. Injured motorists need to be on guard against shady practices from their own auto insurance companies before signing any paperwork or giving a recorded statement.
MYTH: There is no harm in waiting to talk to an attorney after a serious truck crash
If an Iowa City tractor-trailer collision causes serious injury, it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Iowa’s statute of limitations for personal injury is very strict. If you have not filed your case within two years from the date the wreck occurred, then you likely cannot get a settlement for your injury.
However, filing an Iowa truck accident lawsuit is not as simple as walking into an attorney’s office one day and having your case start the next day. Typically, the evidence must be gathered, witnesses must be interviewed, and vehicle data must be evaluated.
Many types of important evidence like video footage and trucking company records can be legally destroyed 6 months after a crash. Especially with truck accident cases, an attorney needs time to properly investigate the crash so all responsible parties can be included in your lawsuit. Waiting too long can limit what even a good lawyer can do for you.
Unfair Tactics Insurance Companies Use to Exploit Iowa City Truck Accident Victims
After a tractor-trailer collision, 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 can convince you to do certain things. Always remember that this person is a professional trained to use a number of tactics designed to allow the insurance company to pay you as little as possible.
TACTIC: “We can’t pay your bills if you don’t sign our medical release form.”
Remember, the truck driver’s insurance company is not likely to pay anything for your semi crash injury unless and until you are willing to settle your injury claim once and for all. Signing a medical release form is not likely to change that.
The trucking company’s insurance company is ultimately entitled to review records of any medical treatment for which you ask to be reimbursed. However, in our experience, most insurance industry medical release forms are written to give the truck driver’s insurance company access to ALL your medical records.
This includes past records with no connection to your truck accident injuries. Often, insurance companies will turn around and use your pre-accident health history as a justification for making an unreasonably low settlement offer.
RSH Legal protects our clients from this unfair tactic in several ways:
· We advise our clients to avoid signing a medical release for the trucker’s insurance company until we have reviewed your medical records first.
· If our review uncovers items in your medical history that may impact your claim, we make sure that you know about it before the trucker’s insurance company does.
· When we do provide the truck driver’s insurance company with a medical release, we make sure the release only applies to relevant medical treatment.
If you need our help, we offer a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Call RSH Legal at 1-800-433-0283.
TACTIC: “We can’t pay your bills if you don’t give us a recorded statement.”
To repeat, it is unlikely the trucker’s insurance company will pay for anything until you are ready to settle your entire injury claim. That means not one medical bill and not one lost paycheck will likely be paid before then. Giving a recorded statement to the truck driver’s insurance company is not going to change that.
If the truck driver’s insurance representative tries to suggest otherwise, ask if giving a recorded statement means they will immediately start paying for your medical bills – and wait for the backpedaling on the other end of the line.
Giving a recorded statement has the potential to place your claim in danger while offering almost no benefit to you. Insurance company representatives are professionals trained to take recorded statements that can be used against truck accident victims in court. They are coached to sound caring and sympathetic to gain your trust.
Do not be fooled! These insurance representatives will take advantage of your trust to ask questions that can hurt your claim and limit what the insurance company must pay.
Truck accident victims and their families are not required to give recorded statements to the truck driver’s insurance company. Refusing to give a recorded statement will not reduce the amount of compensation that must ultimately be paid.
If the truck driver’s insurance company calls after a crash, we recommend that you politely tell them that you will be happy to speak to them after you have healed and have a clear picture of your crash-related harms and losses.
Due to the risks associated with recorded statements, RSH Legal only allows our clients to be interviewed by a truck driver’s insurance representative when one of our attorneys can be present to protect you from tricky or unfair questions.
TACTIC: “You must act ‘right now’ if you want to get a settlement.”
Insurance representatives will often try to pressure you to do things for them immediately. They often suggest that you will not receive a fair truck accident settlement if you don’t act “right now.”
This suggestion is false.Iowa truck accident victims generally have 2 years from the crash date to either settle their claims or file a lawsuit. While there are some situations where the law requires you to act within 6 months, you only must act when the law requires it – not when an insurance company demands it.
Simple Steps to Protecting Yourself After an Iowa City Semi Crash
Some of the most important things you can do after a tractor-trailer collision should happen within the first few days. Here are some of those simple yet essential steps:
Get permission before having your vehicle repaired or junked
If a truck accident has resulted in a serious injury or fatality, you should not allow your vehicle to be repaired or junked until it has been thoroughly inspected by a qualified accident reconstructionist.
The trucking company will often try to avoid responsibility for the crash by claiming that the crash was not its truck driver’s fault. They will accuse you of everything from speeding, to failing to use your blinkers, to coming into the truck’s lane.
Sometimes, the only proof that can refute the trucking company’s false accusations comes from your own vehicle. A false accusation of speeding can be debunked by downloading your vehicle’s black box. A false accusation of failing to properly use blinkers can be debunked by inspecting your vehicle’s lights. A false accusation of improperly coming into the truck’s lane can be debunked by measuring the crush damage on your vehicle.
You should also find out what procedures your own auto insurance company requires before arranging for repairs. If you fail to take this important step, your auto insurance company may refuse to pay your repair bills.
Get a free consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer
This step involves a two-part decision.
The first part is “Do you need to talk to a lawyer at all?”
Here is an eleven-point review to help you decide whether you should consult with a lawyer after a traffic accident.
Any question that you answer with a “yes” is a point in favor of consulting with an attorney.
- Did the crash result in death or severe injury to you or a loved one?
- Was the at-fault driver driving a semi or some other type of company vehicle?
- Were you or your loved one on the job at the time of the crash or driving a company vehicle?
- Is the insurance company for the other driver asking you or your loved one to give a recorded statement without an attorney being present?
- Is the insurance company for the other driver asking permission to inspect you or your loved one’s vehicle?
- Have you or a loved one received a letter from the court or from the prosecutor asking you to testify in court about the crash?
- Is a medical provider refusing to submit crash-related medical bills to a health insurance company?
- Is a health insurance company refusing to pay crash-related medical bills?
- Are you or your loved one still getting medical treatment for crash-related injuries?
- Are you or your loved one done treating but have a permanent disability because of the crash?
- Are you or your loved one already being offered a settlement for an injury claim?
It is important to realize that most personal injury attorneys will do a free initial consultation with anyone who answers “yes” to any of those eleven questions. You can get these initial consultations at no cost and with no obligation to hire the attorney after the consultation. To get yours from RSH Legal, call 1-800-433-0283 today.
There is no financial reason to wait to consult with a lawyer if any of those eleven factors apply to your situation.
The second part of this decision is “Do you need to do this consultation with a truck accident lawyer?”
If the answer to question no. 2 – “Was the at-fault driver driving a semi or some other type of company vehicle?” is “yes, then you do need to make sure you are consulting with an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Because tractor-trailer cases are very different than normal car accident cases. Semi crash cases involve different technology, different laws, and different procedures. Treating a truck accident case like a car accident case can cause you to lose a case you should win or get a settlement that is significantly less than it should be.
RSH Legal, a law firm located in Cedar Rapids, handles truck accident claims throughout Iowa, including Iowa City.
A car came through the median and we were hit head on. Every bone in my body from my lower jaw down to the bottom of my feet was broken. My medical bills were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. I can’t imagine going through something like this without someone like Tim or RSH Legal.See more Client Reviews