Experienced Legal Help for Serious Injuries
Any truck accident can have serious consequences. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there was a 9% increase in large truck accidents from 2009 to 2010 with almost 3,500 large trucks involved in fatal collisions. In fact, 60 people died in truck accidents in Iowa in 2011 alone.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a truck accident in Des Moines, the skilled personal injury attorneys of Hope Law Firm can provide the legal representation you need. With more than 40 years of combined experience, we can help you recover fair compensation, your health, and your hopes for the future.
Understanding Tractor Trailer Accidents
Given the size of an 18-wheeler, personal injuries sustained in a truck collision are often severe. Our truck accident attorneys work skillfully to obtain compensation for clients suffering trucking accident injuries from emotional shock to wrongful death.
Common injuries sustained in these types of accidents include:
- Whiplash: Whiplash is a common injury that occurs when the head and neck are forcefully jerked forward and backward due to the impact of a truck accident. It can cause neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and difficulty with mobility.
- Broken Bones: The immense size and weight of trucks can lead to severe fractures in the event of a collision. Common broken bones include arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis fractures. Multiple fractures or compound fractures may require surgery.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Truck accidents can cause traumatic damage to the spinal cord, resulting in partial or complete paralysis. Spinal cord injuries can have life-altering consequences and may require extensive medical care and rehabilitation.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): TBI occurs when there is a sudden jolt or blow to the head, causing damage to the brain. Truck accidents can lead to concussions, contusions, or more severe brain injuries. Symptoms can range from mild headaches and dizziness to cognitive impairments and permanent disabilities.
- Internal Organ Damage: The forceful impact in a truck accident can cause damage to internal organs, such as the liver, kidneys, spleen, or lungs. Internal bleeding, organ rupture, or punctures can result in life-threatening situations that require immediate medical attention.
- Lacerations and Bruises: Due to the violent nature of truck accidents, victims often sustain cuts, scrapes, and bruises from broken glass, debris, or impact with vehicle components. Depending on the severity, these injuries may require stitches or other medical interventions.
- Emotional Trauma: Truck accidents can leave victims with significant emotional and psychological trauma. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues may arise as a result of the traumatic event.
Causes of Truck Accidents
There are many causes of truck accidents in Iowa, including texting while driving and operating a big rig when fatigued. Because such accidents are so dangerous, the trucking industry is regulated on both the state and federal levels.
Common factors contributing to truck collisions include:
- Driver Fatigue: Fatigue is a significant issue among truck drivers, as long hours on the road can lead to drowsiness and decreased alertness. Fatigued drivers may have slower reaction times and impaired judgment, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Speeding: Speeding is a leading cause of truck accidents. Trucks require longer distances to stop due to their size and weight. When truck drivers exceed the speed limit or fail to adjust their speed according to road conditions, it can result in loss of control and collisions.
- Distracted Driving: Distractions such as cell phone use, eating, grooming, or adjusting in-vehicle technology can divert a truck driver's attention from the road. Any moment of distraction can lead to accidents, as trucks require focused and attentive driving.
- Impaired Driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or certain medications can significantly impair a truck driver's judgment, reaction time, and coordination. Impaired driving poses a serious risk of accidents and can cause severe injuries or fatalities.
- Improper Truck Maintenance: Neglecting routine maintenance or failing to address mechanical issues can result in equipment failures during transit. Brake failures, tire blowouts, or steering malfunctions can lead to loss of control and accidents.
- Aggressive Driving: Reckless behaviors like tailgating, improper lane changes, sudden braking, and aggressive maneuvers can cause truck accidents. Aggressive driving by truck drivers or other motorists increases the chances of collisions and dangerous situations on the road.
- Poor Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, fog, or strong winds, can make driving challenging for truck drivers. Reduced visibility, slippery roads, and decreased traction can contribute to accidents if drivers fail to adjust their driving behavior accordingly.
- Inadequate Training: Insufficient training for truck drivers can lead to improper handling of the vehicle, inadequate understanding of safety protocols, and inadequate knowledge of defensive driving techniques. Lack of proper training increases the likelihood of accidents.
- Improper Loading or Cargo Securement: When cargo is not properly loaded, balanced, or secured, it can shift during transit, causing the truck to become unstable and potentially leading to accidents. Improperly loaded cargo can also create hazards for other motorists.
- Failure to Follow Traffic Rules: Disregarding traffic laws, such as running red lights, failing to yield, or illegal passing, can lead to collisions involving trucks. Adhering to traffic regulations is crucial for safe driving.
Who Is Liable for My Truck Accident?
Our Des Moines truck accident attorneys can review the facts of your case to establish who may be legally liable for your damages. A list of potentially liable parties includes:
- Truck Driver: If the truck driver's negligence, such as speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence, directly caused the accident, they can be held liable.
- Trucking Company: The trucking company may also be held liable for a truck accident. They have a responsibility to hire qualified drivers, provide proper training, enforce safety regulations, and maintain their fleet. If the accident was a result of inadequate hiring practices, negligent supervision, or failure to maintain the truck properly, the trucking company can be held accountable.
- Truck Owner: In some cases, the truck owner may be a separate entity from the trucking company. If the owner's negligence, such as improper maintenance or faulty equipment, contributed to the accident, they can be held liable.
- Manufacturer or Maintenance Provider: If a defect in the truck's design or manufacturing, or improper maintenance by a third party, contributed to the accident, the manufacturer or maintenance provider may be held liable.
- Cargo Loaders: If the accident was caused by improper loading or securement of cargo, the party responsible for loading the cargo could be held liable.
At Hope Law Firm, our skilled team has years of experience in truck accident litigation. We can analyze the facts of your case to determine who is liable for your damages.
Getting Help after a Collision
Trucking companies usually dispatch investigators to a truck accident scene within hours of a collision.
They gather crucial evidence about:
- Crash site metrics: Measurements, photographs, and evidence found at the scene
- Data: Onboard truck computer, electronic data recorder, and log-book information
- Parties: Background of the driver and other parties to the accident, including the trucking company, the truck owner, mechanics, and manufacturers, among others
Investigation of the cause of your injury is essential to building a strong foundation for compensation. If you have been injured in a serious collision, speak to our Des Moines truck accident lawyers as soon as possible, before valuable evidence and witness testimony are lost. We can help.