Steps to take if you are involved in a commercial vehicle accident
If you've been injured because of a collision with a commercial vehicle, you already know your accident was serious. In crashes involving semi trucks, generally the driver of the automobile is the one who is injured, and often the injuries are fatal. Due to size disparities and basic laws of physics, any collision between a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle is likely to result in serious injuries and significant property damage.
Following is a general guide of some of the do's and don'ts surrounding your accident:
- Report the accident immediately
- Do not state much about the accident
- Do not admit fault
- Do not apologize
- Seek medical attention immediately
- Do not wait to file a police report and retrieve a copy
- Do not wait to file your insurance claim
- Report only the basic facts of your accident to insurance adjusters
Your actions in the first hours and days of your accident are critical if you hope to receive fair compensation for your injuries. We urge you to obtain one of our reputable personal injury attorneys immediately. Retaining an attorney requires insurance investigators, law enforcement personnel and others whose actions may not be in your best interests to speak to your attorney first in all matters regarding your case.
Contact a Iowa semi accident lawyer representing clients in Cedar Rapids, Iowa today to schedule your initial consultation.
One of the more common defenses in a trucking accident case is that the driver of the passenger vehicle caused the accident. Because of their enormous size and slow maneuverability, large trucks have significant limitations when it comes to responding quickly to the action(s) of another motorist. Consequently, if the passenger vehicle does any of the following the fact of the action will be used to defend the truck driver:
- Driving left of center into opposing traffic
- Unsafe passing
- Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
- Failure to stop for a stop sign or traffic light
- Following too closely
- Driving over the speed limit
- Driving inattentively
- Driving in "no-zones"
- Improperly merging in front of a truck
The first step after hiring one of our experienced attorneys will be to file a Complaint which outlines the claims that the Plaintiff has against the Defendant. The Defendant then has a brief period of time in which to respond to the Complaint. Should the Defendant fail to respond within that time-frame, the court may then enter a default judgment against the Defendant? Eventually, the parties exchange documents and other pertinent information regarding the issues pertaining to the matter. In many instances, one or both of the parties will try to dispose of the matter, or a part of it, by a process called Motion. If the parties do not reach an agreement and the matter is not disposed of by motion, the case then proceeds to trial. Either party may choose to have a jury. At the trial, the attorneys present their individual cases, and the judge or jury make the decision on the unresolved issues. Once a decision is reached, the judge orders Judgment be entered for the party who wins. After the Judgment is entered, either party may Appeal the decision to a higher court. However, it is unusual for an appeals court to overturn a judge's decision.
Every commercial truck accident is unique. Therefore, it is difficult to determine the exact time-frame these steps will take in your particular case. It can take as little as a few months, to as long as a few years.