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

If you were injured in a tractor-trailer collision in Muscatine, Iowa, you are in the right place. RSH Legal attorneys have represented victims of Muscatine truck accidents for over 30 years. Our lawyers have recovered millions of dollars from trucking companies whose reckless truck drivers have endangered Iowa roadways.

Living in Muscatine 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 county seat of Muscatine County, the city of Muscatine has a significant amount of tractor-trailer traffic. Manufacturers like Bridgestone Bandag, H.J. Heinz Company, Kent Corporation, Grain Processing Corporation, Musco Lighting, HNI Corporation, and Musser Lumber Company all attract a steady stream of semi-trucks.

U.S. Highway 61 and Iowa Highways 38 and 92 run through or near Muscatine and have a lot of 18-wheeler traffic. Many truckers driving through Muscatine use local truck stops like A&E Travel Center, Stewart Road Fast Break, and Pilot Travel Center. In addition, Muscatine, Iowa is home to local trucking companies like Tantara Transportation Corporation, Robison Trucking Inc., Curry’s Transportation Service Inc., Holladay Trucking, LLC, and Mike’s Lines, Inc.

The result is that there are a lot of commercial motor vehicles on the road in Muscatine County, Iowa, and there are too many truck wrecks in the city of Muscatine in particular.

If you need an expert in Muscatine truck crash cases, you should call RSH Legal at 1-800-433-0283 today. We offer a free, no-obligation case evaluation to truck accident victims.

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.

When to Call a Muscatine Truck Crash Lawyer

Not every Muscatine crash claim requires an attorney. Only certain cases benefit from legal representation. Over many years of fighting for fairness on behalf of injured Iowans, we have identified several situations where an Iowa truck accident victim typically benefits from having a lawyer on their side.

Are your crash-related injuries stopping you from returning to your regular activities?

Injuries from a tractor-trailer collision often have a huge effect on a person’s life.  Pain or disability can affect what you can do at work, what chores you can perform at home, and what social activities you can do with your friends and family.

Iowa law says that people injured by negligent truck drivers are entitled to compensation for the ways that their crash-related injuries affect their lives. The reality, however, is that most trucking companies will refuse to pay anything for those losses if the only proof offered is from the victim’s own words.

For trucking companies, the most persuasive proof of an injury’s impact on a crash victim’s life comes from what is documented in their medical records.  Unfortunately, many health care providers do not write down all the ways an injury affects a patient.

After a serious tractor-trailer collision, if you are significantly limited at work or at home, you should consult with an experienced truck accident attorney.  An attorney should review your medical records to confirm whether your injury-related limitations were written down.

If they were not, the attorney can work with medical professionals to get your injury limitations appropriately evaluated and documented.  Again, if you want fair compensation for your crash injuries, this documentation should be submitted to the trucking company before any settlement negotiations begin.

Did the truck wreck worsen any of your pre-existing health problems?

Few people are walking around with spotless medical records.  Lingering injuries and health problems are a common part of life.  Unfortunately, after a crash, trucking companies and their insurance carriers often use pre-existing conditions as an excuse for paying less than fair compensation for crash-related injuries.

If the trucking company sees medical records showing that you had similar symptoms before and after the truck crash, it will quickly deny responsibility for your post-crash symptoms. This is not right or legal.  Under Iowa law, an at-fault driver is responsible for compensating a crash victim for any aggravation or worsening of a pre-existing condition.

If a truck accident worsened one of your pre-existing health problems, you should hire an attorney. RSH Legal offers a free, no-obligation case evaluation for anyone who has been in a serious truck crash.

In order to prove that the truck crash made your pre-existing problems worse, an attorney will usually need to interview your doctors and get a signed set of opinions explaining how your symptoms were aggravated by the crash. The attorney will then provide the doctor’s signed opinions to the trucking company along with a set of your medical records.

That will give the trucking company a clear picture of what its reckless driver did to you.

Was the truck driver drunk?

If the truck driver who caused your crash was intoxicated, in addition to your claim against the trucking company, you may also have a claim against the bar or restaurant that served the truck driver.

Iowa law says that a bar or restaurant is legally responsible for the harm that a drunk driver causes if the bar or restaurant over-served the driver.  The legal claim against the bar or restaurant is called a dram shop claim. Unfortunately, you can lose the right to make a dram shop claim if you don’t provide proper written notice to the bar or restaurant within 6 months of the crash.

That’s why you should promptly consult with an attorney if you suspect that the truck driver who caused your crash was drunk.  An attorney can take steps to investigate where the driver got drunk and determine whether you have a dram shop claim.  If the investigation reveals the driver was over-served at a bar or restaurant, an attorney can make sure proper written notice is given.

Mistakes Semi Crash Victims Make When Getting Medical Treatment

Failing to Seek Prompt Medical Attention after the Crash

You must prove that you were injured in a truck accident. Trucking companies often believe that if you weren’t hurt badly enough to get immediate medical help, you weren’t hurt badly enough to deserve compensation.

Minor pain can often get worse, so don’t ignore signs of pain, even small ones. See a doctor as soon as possible after a tractor-trailer collision.

Failing to Get Treatment for Mental Health Issues Caused by the Wreck

Trucking companies usually will not compensate people for injury-related depression or anxiety unless those conditions are properly diagnosed and treated by mental health professionals. Pain or disability from a truck accident can often trigger or worsen depression and anxiety.

Under Iowa law, a truck driver who caused another person’s physical injury is also legally responsible for that person’s resulting mental condition. However, if you don’t get treatment for your crash-related depression or anxiety, you are unlikely to get fair compensation for it. Mental conditions are just as real as broken bones and often cannot be overcome without appropriate treatment.

Therefore the same effort required when getting medical care for your physical injury is also needed when getting care for your crash-related depression or anxiety.

Stopping Medical Treatment Too Soon

Trucking companies often believe if a person stops getting medical treatment for an injury, the injury must have healed. If you have significant time gaps between treatments after your tractor-trailer collision, the trucking company will argue that you must have healed from the truck accident and then suffered a new injury later for which it is not responsible.

Failing to get more treatment for a crash-related injury after a doctor recommends it to you can be even worse for your case. If a trucking company finds a doctor’s treatment recommendation in your records but no evidence you followed up, it will argue that you do not deserve compensation because you did not try to get better.

Get medical care for your crash-related injuries until you are either completely healed or your doctor tells you there is nothing more that can be done to improve your condition.

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.

Victims of Tractor-Trailer Collisions Should Always Be Screened for Potential Brain Injury

17,000 brain injuries occur in Iowa every year and there are over 95,000 Iowans living with disability caused by brain injury.

Due to the force and violence of most truck wrecks, traumatic brain injuries are common in survivors of commercial motor vehicle crashes. It is important to look for telltale symptoms of brain injury like:

  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Memory loss
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Unexplained emotional reactions or mood swings
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sensitivity to light or sound

Any of the above symptoms should be noted and brought to the attention of a doctor.  Typical conservative treatment for brain injury symptoms includes:

  • Rest – both physically and mentally
  • Reduced exposure to bright lights and loud sounds
  • Avoiding any activity that may lead to a second blow to the head
  • Following through with all medical appointments and treater instructions

Ten to fifteen percent of the people who suffer traumatic brain injuries will likely continue to experience brain injury symptoms for years.

Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Wrecks in Muscatine

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.

Collisions involving opposing vehicles

In a situation where a commercial motor vehicle hits a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction, it is very important to identify the exact location of the vehicles involved both before and at the point of impact.  These collisions can either be head-on crashes or sideswipes. Even in situations where the opposing vehicle entered the truck driver’s lane of travel, it may have been possible for the truck driver to have avoided the collision.

For example, in a situation where the opposing vehicle is in a passing maneuver, a professional truck driver could have responsibility for the crash if the semi failed to slow down, stop, or move to the right to allow the other vehicle to re-enter its own lane.  Other truck driver failures in this situation could include failing to signal the opposing driver by flicking the headlights on and off or sounding the horn.

Collisions while turning

Turning movements require exacting care on the part of a professional truck driver. The truck driver making a turn is responsible for preventing squeeze plays during both left and right turns.

A U-turn that results in a collision is a preventable incident.  Failure to properly position the vehicle for the turn is evidence of driver error. So is failure to check the rearview mirror and check traffic and pedestrian lanes before turning.

Truck drivers often argue that collisions caused by sudden turns by other motorists are not preventable. However, extra precautions must be taken based on the information received from the driver of the other vehicle immediately preceding the incident.

At the first sign of a sudden turn, a professional truck driver should take immediate defensive action.  Failure to take reasonable defensive action is evidence that the collision was preventable.

Collisions involving pedestrians

A professional truck driver should slow down in any area where pedestrians are likely to be present. The truck driver must adjust speed whether traffic signs indicate lower speed limits or show other warnings.   This means slowing in school zones, shopping areas, residential streets, and other areas with special pedestrian traffic. An unusual route by a pedestrian at mid-block or from between parked vehicles does not relieve a truck driver from taking precautions to prevent hitting a pedestrian.

Collisions involving bicyclists, scooters, or skateboards

A professional truck driver must also take precautions in areas where people are using bicycles, tricycles, motor scooters, and skateboards.  People using such equipment are often the young, the elderly, or the inexperienced.

A truck driver who fails to reduce speed when this type of equipment is being operated within sight distance has failed to take the necessary precautions to prevent a crash.  Driving at the posted speed limit is not taking the proper precaution when the presence of these alternative forms of transportation call for a voluntary reduction of speed.

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

RSH Legal, located in Cedar Rapids, handles truck accident claims throughout Iowa, including Muscatine.