Des Moines Truck Accident Lawyers
Commercial vehicles can cause catastrophic damage in the event of an accident, and the potential for severe injuries, including brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and death, is a real and grave threat to those involved. At the LaMarca Law Group, P.C., our Des Moines trucking accident attorneys are committed to protecting victims’ rights and will vigorously promote their interests in a court of law if necessary.
Truck accidents are different from passenger vehicle accidents in many ways. They are often more severe, as the large size and heavy weight of trucks can increase the force of impact during an accident. Additionally, trucks are almost always commercially operated, which means they are subject to hundreds of state and federal rules and regulations. State and federal laws govern almost every aspect of trucking, from hiring to training to maintenance.
If even one regulation was broken and that played a role in your accident, you may have a strong case for compensation. Truck companies are often large corporations that hire massive legal teams to defend them against accident compensation claims, so it’s in your best interest to hire a skilled and experienced truck accident attorney.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, 18-wheeler, or semi-truck, contact the LaMarca Law Group, P.C. at (515) 420-1612 for a consultation with an experienced Des Moines truck accident lawyer.
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
In the aftermath of the truck accident, you are likely feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Many truck accident victims find the stress of taking on a legal claim impossible to cope with during this difficult time. Your truck accident attorney will take the legal burden off of your shoulders so that you can take time to rest and recover.
Having an attorney to demonstrate that a truck driver was negligent is very important if you have a trucking accident claim. There are in-depth state and federal trucking regulations to consider, and you may be unable to navigate without legal help. You need to meet with a skilled lawyer who can review and investigate the accident to determine who is liable for your injuries. Insurance companies are all too eager to offer you a low settlement to save them money, but what they offer may not be enough to cover your medical bills or long-term hospitalization costs in the future. In this instance, hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer is in your best interest.
A skilled truck accident attorney will advocate for you against the insurance company representing that trucking company. Insurance companies are incentivized to avoid paying out claims and often do whatever is possible to reduce or deny claims. Insurance companies may take advantage of injured truck accident victims who are unfamiliar with the legal system or unsure of their rights and deny their claim or offer a settlement far lower than the victim is entitled to. Your lawyer will work to ensure that your rights are protected and that you get the compensation to which you are entitled.
You should never accept a settlement or sign a legal document without consulting an attorney. Once you accept a settlement, you will be required to sign an agreement releasing the insurance company from any further responsibility for paying for your damages. This means that even if you later find out that you were entitled to more money, you will be unable to pursue further legal action. Your lawyer will be able to advise when you should take a settlement, when you should keep negotiating, and when you should go to court.
Why Choose Us?
At LaMarca Law Group, P.C., our lawyers have several years’ experience helping clients with trucking accident claims. We can help prove who is at fault for your accident, investigate the circumstances that caused your injuries, and successfully determine compensation and damages that you can expect to receive based on the severity of your injuries.
At LaMarca Law Group, P.C., we are a team of highly skilled and experienced truck accident experts committed to obtaining favorable results for our clients by focusing on practical, results-oriented strategies. We believe that every truck accident case is unique and should be treated as such, so we never apply a one-size-fits-all strategy to a case. We work hard to develop a winning, compelling legal strategy for every case we take on. LaMarca Law Group, P.C. is also dedicated to supporting our clients throughout this difficult time and are with our clients every step of the way through the legal process.
When you hire a lawyer to represent you in a truck accident case, you want to find a lawyer with extensive experience going up against big corporate insurance companies. If an insurance company sees that an attorney is unprepared, unprofessional, or unaccustomed to truck accident law, the company may be more likely to reduce or deny a claim because they think they have a good chance of winning their case. On the other hand, if the insurance company sees that a claimant is represented by a successful, well-known law firm, they may be more likely to offer a fair settlement more quickly to avoid a drawn-out and costly legal battle.
LaMarca Law Group, P.C. has extensive experience in winning cases against many major insurance companies, including Allstate, Employers Mutual Casualty Company, St. Paul Insurance Company, American Family Insurance, Washington National, and more.
Our experienced Des Moines lawyers will take on the burden of working with insurance companies, including completing any paperwork, gathering evidence and documentation, and negotiating a settlement with the insurance company so that you can focus on your health and recovery.
How are Truck Accidents Different From Passenger Vehicle Accidents?
Because trucks are about 20 to 30 times heavier than the average passenger vehicle, accidents involving a truck are almost always more serious than accidents between passenger vehicles. Trucks also take longer to slow down while braking, which can increase the force of impact during an accident.
Because trucks are commercially operated, they are subject to many state and federal rules and regulations. These regulations include how much weight a truck can haul, the process by which companies hire and train drivers, how often trucks receive maintenance checks, and many more. Passenger vehicle drivers are also subject to state and federal rules and regulations, but not to the same extent as truck drivers.
For example, consider the following: a truck driver appears to be driving safely at the speed limit until his truck hits a patch of invisible black ice, he loses control and crashes into you. The insurance company argues that since the ice was invisible and impossible to avoid, the truck driver was not at fault. However, your lawyer investigates and finds out that the trucking company had missed the truck’s last maintenance check and the brakes were wearing out. The insurance company may assume that you aren’t familiar with the minutiae of truck maintenance schedules and try to reduce or deny your claim.
Legal Support for Truck Accident Victims
Large commercial trucks pose a threat to other drivers on the road. Semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and 18-wheel vehicles can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Because of the heavy weight and size of these large rigs, trucking accident victims can suffer catastrophic and debilitating injuries.
The devastating injuries frequently caused by a commercial truck, 18-wheeler, and tractor-trailer collisions create physical, emotional, and financial difficulties for trucking accident victims and their families. At the LaMarca Law Group, P.C., we are committed to helping injury victims protect their rights. Contact our offices to learn more about:
- Drunk Driving
- Employer Negligence
- Mechanical Defects
- No-Zone Accidents
- Truck Driver Error
- Wrongful Death
- Liability in Truck Accidents
- Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
- Jackknife Accidents
- Rollover Accidents
- Underride Accidents
- Truck Debris Accidents
Whether your injuries were caused by the negligent driver of a semi-truck or the unethical business practices of a trucking corporation, the LaMarca Law Group, P.C. is equipped to help. With years of civil litigation experience and the resources to take on any opponent, we will stand by you and your family as you seek the compensation you deserve.
Click here for examples of truck accident cases we have handled.
Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents
It is rare that a truck accident is a true “accident.” In the vast majority of cases, one or more parties are determined to have been responsible for the accident. Following are some of the most common causes of truck accidents:
Distracted driving. Cell phone usage is one of the most dangerous behaviors to engage in while driving and is what most people think of when they hear “distracted driving.” In fact, distracted driving includes any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from driving. This can include eating, changing radio stations, interacting with passengers, and personal grooming activities like shaving or putting on makeup. Truck drivers can be more susceptible to distractions than passenger vehicle drivers since they spend so much time on the road.
Driving under the influence. Driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous. Drugs and alcohol can reduce reaction time, inhibit decision-making skills, cause blurred vision, and even make a driver fall asleep at the wheel. Driving while intoxicated can lead to civil and criminal penalties. Truck drivers may be especially likely to take stimulants to help them stay awake during long drives. Although stimulants may initially increase focus and alertness, the crash that follows when a user is coming down after a stimulant can be extreme.
Mechanical failures. Trucks are highly complicated pieces of machinery that require near-constant specialized maintenance. State and federal laws mandate specific maintenance schedules that truck companies must follow to ensure that trucks are operating safely. Some common mechanical failures include the braking system, steering column, and freight-hauling mechanisms.
Driver fatigue. Drowsy driving may not seem very serious, but severe fatigue can mimic the symptoms of intoxication. Extremely fatigued drivers may even fall asleep at the wheel. Truck drivers may be especially susceptible to extreme fatigue since they spend long hours on the road.
Regardless of the cause of your accident, you should contact a truck accident attorney to learn more about receiving compensation to help you with your accident-related expenses.
Liability in Trucking Accidents
Individuals involved in trucking accidents not only suffer physical and emotional trauma during the aftermath of a trucking accident, but these types of collisions can also cause a significant financial burden to you and your loved ones. Extensive medical costs, dealing with lost income from work, and other expenses can add up and cause more stress and worry for accident victims.
Liability from a truck collision may entitle the injured party to obtain compensation from many insurance policies, which may include vehicle insurance policies covering the passengers, driver of the truck, or other the trucking company itself. The determination of who is liable often depends upon the circumstances of the accident and what party is most at fault. A crash involving a commercial truck may be a pure accident, but frequently, the driver or the trucking company might be negligent.
Another thing to consider is that the trucking company may violate the law to save the company money and increase profits. A truck driver may put in long hours on the road to meet company deadlines. Proper rest, food, and sleeping breaks are required to make sure truck drivers are alert enough to drive safely. If a driver is overworked, he or she may become fatigued and exhausted, which can lead to a disastrous crash.
If a truck is found to be defective or has defective parts, the trucking manufacturer may be liable for the accident. For example, if the manufacturer stated that the rig was outfitted to handle certain types of cargo properly, but that turned out it wasn’t the case, and a crash resulted. The manufacturer would then be held responsible for the accident, including any injuries and damages.
A victim must show that the other party’s failure to exercise reasonable care or violated a breach of duty of care, which directly caused their injuries.
Trucking Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,761 people died in motor vehicle accidents involving commercial trucks in 2017. Of all the truck-related crash deaths, only 18% were occupants of commercial trucks, while 72% were occupants of other vehicles. Over a one-year period from 2016 to 2017, there was a nine percent increase in the number of fatalities and a five percent increase in the number of injuries caused by large trucks.
In 2017, nine percent of all vehicles in fatal crashes involved large trucks. Commercial trucks were also 20% more likely to cause a fatal accident involving multiple vehicles than passenger cars. Data collected from truck crashes in 2017 found that 67% were head-on collisions, one of the most deadly types of motor vehicle accidents.
Data collected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration showed that 344,000 individuals suffered injuries in traffic-related crashes involving trucks. 15% of these injuries were the result of single-vehicle accidents, and 63% involved fatalities. The statistics show that a majority of fatal and nonfatal crashes occurred on weekdays. Most truck accidents that led to injuries and deaths happened between 6:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M.
Commercial vehicles travel long distances and cross state lines with their cargo, which is sometimes hazardous. Of all fatal crashes in 2017, 63% of the trucks carried flammable liquid, such as gasoline.
Another person, vehicle, object, or animal in or encroaching on its lane contributed to most fatal truck collisions. The truck driver’s own actions or errors caused 23% of fatal accidents.
Fighting Against Dangerous Trucking Practices
George A. LaMarca is an active member of the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America. The AITLA is a national association of committed trial lawyers who have joined together to help eliminate unsafe and illegal interstate trucking practices. Through the combined efforts of its member attorneys, this organization supports education, litigation, and legislation to make America’s highways a safer place tomorrow for our families, our clients, and all Americans.
The mission of AITLA is to dramatically reduce the number of traffic accidents, injuries, and deaths across America that are caused by trucking companies who are unsafe. Its members are committed to the organization’s motto of “Putting the Brakes on Unsafe Trucking Companies.” AITLA attorneys have attained extremely high levels of professional and national achievement and recognition in the area of law known as interstate trucking litigation. Membership in this prestigious organization is open only to ethical plaintiff’s lawyers who pledge to join together with other member attorneys to accomplish the stated mission of this organization.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are hurt in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, you deserve to know your rights and what steps you can take to obtain the justice that you and your family deserve. The Des Moines truck accident attorneys of the LaMarca Law Group, P.C. want to make sure that you know what legal options are available to you if you’ve been hurt by a reckless truck driver or negligent trucking company. We have provided the answers to some frequently asked questions below, and we are standing by to answer any questions you may have about your case. Contact us at (515) 420-1612 today.
How much is my case worth?
Your ultimate amount of compensation will depend on the unique circumstances of your case. In general, truck accident victims are able to ask the trucking company’s insurance provider to cover their medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Medical bills can include:
- Paramedic treatment/ambulance transportation
- Emergency room visit
- Intensive care unit (ICU) stay
- Hospital stay
- Prescription medications
- Specialist visits
- Physical therapy
- Caregiving services
Property damage includes the cost of repairs to your vehicle or a replacement vehicle if yours was totaled.
The insurance company may be required to compensate you for your lost wages if your accident-caused injuries have made you unable to work. If your injuries result in permanent disability, the insurer may have to compensate you for your future lost wages, as well.
It can be more complicated to assign a dollar figure to pain and suffering as these are subjective experiences. Usually, pain and suffering compensation takes into account your total medical bills and the severity of your injury. One formula used to estimate a dollar figure for pain and suffering multiplies your total medical bills by a number from 1 to 5. A “1” corresponds to a less serious injury, while a “5” would indicate the most severe injury.
For example, let’s say your total medical bills for a severely fractured leg that required two surgeries to repair and a moderate concussion were $60,000. This might be considered a “4” in terms of severity, so your compensation for pain and suffering could be around $240,000.
The above example is merely one way that pain and suffering can be calculated. To get a more precise idea of the amount of pain and suffering compensation you may be eligible for, you should contact an experienced truck accident attorney.
In order to make the case that you deserve compensation for pain and suffering, we recommend keeping a journal in which you document the ways in which your injuries impact your everyday life. Write down the day and time whenever you experience pain, cannot complete daily tasks, or experience mental trauma or anguish.
What is a “commercial vehicle” exactly?
The term commercial vehicle is commonly used to describe any vehicle that is used to transport commercial goods or is used in the course of daily business. It is frequently used when referring to 18-wheelers or “big rigs,” but also applies to delivery vehicles, sixteen passenger vans, tanker trucks, and other large freight vehicles. Many businesses use consumer trucks for their companies’ regular operations, but most commercial vehicles are larger, heavier, and require a special commercial drivers’ license for the driver to operate them.
How do commercial truck and passenger vehicle accidents happen?
Collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles happen every day on the roads and highways across the U.S. The majority of these accidents can be attributed to the size and handling nature of these large vehicles, and the drivers of passenger cars and truck’s failure to keep a safe distance and staying out of the truck’s many blind spots when driving near a large passenger vehicle. When these two factors are at play, serious injury accidents may occur. Trucks have limited visibility and “no-zones” and have severe limitations on braking and maneuverability to avoid collisions. Because of these characteristics, drivers of passenger vehicles should make sure to drive with caution when they are near an 18-wheeler on the road.
What is a “No-Zone” on a commercial truck?
The term “no-zone” refers to areas on large commercial vehicles that have minimal or zero visibility for the driver, due to the sheer size of the truck. These areas are directly behind the truck and immediately to the rear right and rear left of the truck. If a passenger vehicle is in the truck’s no-zone, the truck driver may not be able to see the car when merging, changing lanes, or making other maneuvers on the road, and a collision may occur.
What Do I Do If I Am the Victim of a Trucking Accident?
If you have been seriously injured in a trucking accident, you need legal representation. Collisions involving large trucks can cause difficulties and potential complications when filing personal injury or even wrongful death claims.
A lawyer can review your case to see if trucking regulations were followed properly. An experienced legal team can find discrepancies or inconsistencies in order to determine if the driver or trucking company is liable for your collision.
Contact a Des Moines Truck Accident Lawyer
Filing a personal injury lawsuit in a truck accident case is a complex process and can be daunting to someone who lacks an exhaustive understanding of the law. For that reason, it is in your best interest to promptly seek legal counsel to determine your rights and to bring a personal injury claim timely.
At the LaMarca Law Group, P.C., our Des Moines semi-truck and tractor-trailer accident attorneys can bring their extensive litigation experience and aggressive representation to bear for you and your family. To schedule a free consultation with an Iowa truck accident lawyer, contact our law firm today at (515) 420-1612.
All claims must be brought within a specific time, or they are lost forever, irrespective of the merits, so you should promptly call an attorney after any motor vehicle injury or death.