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

RSH Legal attorneys have represented victims of Waterloo 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 Waterloo 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 eighth-largest city in Iowa, Waterloo has a significant amount of tractor-trailer traffic. Large employers like John Deere, Tyson Fresh Meats, CBE Companies, and Bertch Cabinet Manufacturing all attract a steady stream of semi-trucks. For that reason, Interstate 380, U.S. Highways 20, 63, and 218, and Iowa Highway 21 all have a lot of 18-wheeler traffic, and many truckers use Waterloo area truck stops like Love’s, Flying J, and Road Ranger.

In addition, Waterloo, Iowa is home to national trucking companies like Warren Transport, Gray Transportation, C & A Transport, and Overland Transport. The net result is that there are a lot of trucks on the road in Black Hawk County, Iowa, and there are too many truck wrecks in Waterloo, in particular.

If you want an expert in Waterloo truck crash cases, you should call RSH Legal 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.

Common Myths about Waterloo Truck Accident Claims

Iowa Department of Transportation statistics show that tractor-trailer accidents cause death or major injury every year in Iowa. Despite the frequency of these injuries and deaths, common myths remain about what should happen after a semi crash.

Here are some of those misconceptions:

MYTH: If you hire an attorney, you will have to go to court

Thanks to Hollywood, the courtroom seems like a very intimidating place to the public. Iowa truck crash victims are often concerned that, if they hire an attorney, they will end up on trial being mercilessly grilled by a tricky trucking company lawyer.

Like many things in life, when it comes to our legal system, people shouldn’t believe everything they see on television.

In Iowa, most truck accident claims are settled out of court even if an attorney is involved some studies say as many as 90% of claims settle before trial. Insurance companies will often settle cases for a fair amount because an attorney is involved. They know that a good truck accident attorney presenting a legitimate case at trial poses a risk of a big payout for them. Insurance companies will often want to avoid that risk by offering a fair settlement before trial.

It is also important to know that the choice to go to court always rests with the client. The client decides whether to take a case to trial – not the attorney. Good Iowa truck accident attorneys will offer their opinions about whether going to trial is in the client’s best interest, but ultimately, it is the client’s decision.

MYTH: Any attorney who has handled a car accident case can handle an Iowa semi crash case

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

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. They’re not the basic rules of the road. Many of these laws and regulations are uniquely designed to protect other motorists from the unique dangers of 80,000-pound vehicles sharing our roads.

RSH Legal believes that understanding the details of commercial motor vehicle law is essential to handling a serious trucking case. Without that kind of specialized knowledge, an attorney could very well make a costly mistake.

Unfair Tactics Insurance Companies Use to Exploit Waterloo Semi Crash Victims

After a tractor-trailer collision in Waterloo, you will usually be contacted by an insurance company representative working for the trucking company. This person is a professional trained to use several tactics designed to allow the insurance company to pay you as little as possible.

TACTIC: “We won’t pay for that kind of treatment”

Sometimes the truck driver’s insurance company will find out what type of medical treatment you are receiving for your crash-related injuries and threaten not to pay for it. Often this threat is about chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, or treatment from an expensive specialist.

The suggestion that the truck driver’s insurance company can control your medical treatment is simply not true.

Under Iowa law, the at-fault driver (or his or her insurance corporation) is responsible for paying all “reasonable and necessary” medical treatment caused by the wreck.

What qualifies as “reasonable and necessary” medical treatment is decided by your doctors and other medical providers – not by some insurance representative sitting in a cubicle.

What makes this tactic particularly unethical is that most insurance representatives know the truth and are still using this “we won’t pay” line to bully truck accident victims into stopping legitimate treatment for crash-related injuries.

In most situations, injured motorists should get whatever medical treatment a doctor recommends until they are healed or until they are told by a medical professional that their injury is “as good as it is going to get.” Stopping treatment before this point can limit a truck accident victim’s ability to get a fair settlement.

If the trucking insurance company is telling you your medical treatment isn’t reasonable and necessary, call us at 1-800-433-0283. We’ll tell you what’s right.

TACTIC: “Why don’t I send you a settlement check right now?”

Insurance representatives will often try to convince a truck accident victim to quickly settle his or her claim with a dollar figure that may, at first glance, sound fair. What they often do not mention is that you may not be legally entitled to keep all that money.

Before reaching a settlement, a truck accident victim will often have medical bills or lost wages paid by his or her:

·  Health insurance

·  Auto insurance (“medical payment coverage”)

·  Disability insurance

·  Employer’s workers’ compensation insurance

Almost all those insurance policies require a truck accident victim to pay back any amounts received if he or she reaches a settlement with the trucking company.

This legal obligation, which is known as subrogation, can leave a truck accident victim with little or nothing after a settlement.

RSH Legal protects our clients from the shock of subrogation by advising them about how much of any settlement offer they will be able to put into their pockets. We also work to reduce our client’s subrogation obligations whenever possible before a settlement is reached.

TACTIC: “Are you on Facebook?”

Insurance companies typically will not come right out and ask truck accident victims if they have a social media account on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter, but that does not mean they do not already know the answer.

It is now corporate policy for most insurance representatives to do a social media search on anyone involved in a semi crash. The insurance industry is using this online information against injured motorists to try and reduce injury claim payouts.

There are reported cases in Iowa of insurance representatives spying on accident victims’ Twitter feeds, combing through photos posted online, and even attempting to “friend” people to get complete access to their Facebook accounts.

Insurance industry publications are urging their employees to do Google searches on anyone involved in a serious accident to see if they can find “dirt” to torpedo injured motorists’ claims. This “dirt” can be anything from posts about partying to vacation photos showing the accident victim smiling and having a good time.

Truck accident victims need to realize that, if they file a lawsuit, the other side will get complete access to everything they post online. Courts around the country are allowing insurance companies to dig into accident victims’ Facebook and Twitter accounts – no matter how high a person puts his or her privacy settings.

For all the reasons described above, injured motorists should avoid making social media posts from the time of their tractor-trailer collision until their injury claim is resolved. Unfortunately for truck accident victims, nothing online is truly private.

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 Protect Yourself After a Waterloo Tractor-Trailer Wreck

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:

Keep a post-crash journal

One of the most important things you should do after your crash is to write down the details of the truck accident as soon as you can and then keep track of any medical issues after that.

There are several benefits to keeping a post-crash journal.

It helps you remember the details of the crash

If your crash-related injuries last a long time, eventually you will be questioned in detail about how the semi wreck occurred. Whether the questioning comes from an insurance company or a doctor, how you answer these questions can be crucial to your case.

You may believe it will be impossible to forget something as traumatic as a tractor-trailer collision, but you might be surprised. Our memories fade with time, and it is possible you will forget certain important details. That’s where journaling comes in handy.

Soon after the crash, write down everything you remember including:

  • the time of day the car accident occurred
  • the weather conditions
  • the road conditions
  • any other specifics about the crash scene you can recall.

Don’t be worried if you can’t remember everything. Just write down what you can remember fully and truthfully. That journal description could be very important to your case.

It helps you remember the details of your treatment

If you have ever made an insurance claim before, you know that insurance companies do not pay for things that are not properly documented.

Your personal injury case after a truck accident is no different. If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, you are entitled to be compensated for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment.

That means that every doctor’s appointment, every prescription, and every over-the-counter remedy must be documented. A journal is a great way to record your medical appointments, the names and quantities of the different prescriptions you’re taking, and your out-of-pocket medical expenses.

An accurate journal of medical treatment makes the difference when asking the insurance company for a fair settlement for your injuries after a tractor-trailer collision.

It helps you remember the details of your pain

In the days following a crash, it is common to “hurt all over.” A lot of this pain will improve over time, but some pain can linger for weeks, months, or even longer. There is often no way to know immediately after your crash which parts of your body will heal quickly and which ones will not.

It is important to keep track of your medical issues in your post-accident journal. If you do not report or record each pain that develops as soon as you experience it, an important pain symptom can get lost in the shuffle. Insurance companies are notorious for denying responsibility for injuries that are not mentioned in writing within the first week or two after a crash.

That is why it is so important to keep a journal of how you are feeling after your car accident.

Write down:

  • Where you hurt
  • When you hurt
  • How often you feel the pain
  • The intensity of the pain
  • A description of your pain – such as shooting, burning, or throbbing

Be specific and detailed. Keep updating your journal about your pain until you are completely healed from the crash.

If you suffer truck-accident-related injuries, settle your claim or file a lawsuit within 2 years of the date of the truck accident

Iowa law requires a truck accident victim or the victim’s family to settle an injury claim, start a lawsuit, or give notice of an intent to make a claim within a short period of time after the accident.

Generally, the Iowa statute of limitations for an injured person is two years from the date of the injury. There are a few situations, however, that require a person to act more quickly.

If a person was injured in an accident with a semi driver, it is important to get an attorney involved within six months of the accident.

The reason is the truck driver and the trucking company are legally allowed to start getting rid of important records like maintenance reports and driver logs six months after an accident. An attorney can make a request that these records be preserved but only if the request is made before the 6-month deadline.

This is why people who are injured in a Waterloo truck wreck should contact an experienced Iowa truck accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash.

If a person is injured by a drunk truck driver who was over-served at a bar or restaurant, a person can bring a dram shop claim against the bar or restaurant if written notice of the claim was served on the bar or restaurant within six months of the injury.

If a person was injured in a truck accident and then was the victim of a medical error during accident-related treatment, he or she should contact an experienced Iowa medical malpractice attorney well before the 2-year deadline, as most attorneys will not file a medical malpractice case without a significant amount of pre-lawsuit research.

There are some other limited exceptions to the usual 2-year deadline. Whether an exception applies in a particular case is a question that can only be answered by an attorney who is aware of all the facts and has researched the applicable law.

If you have any questions about how an Iowa statute of limitation apply to your facts, you should ask for a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Iowa lawyer.

RSH Legal offers free, no-obligation consultations to truck accident victims. To schedule yours, call 1-800-433-0283.

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 Waterloo.