Were you rear-ended by a commercial truck and injured? Commercial trucks can include tractor-trailers, tankers, tow trucks, emergency vehicles, dump trucks, etc.—pretty much any large truck used by a business qualifies. Accidents with these vehicles can involve catastrophic damage, injuries, and death simply because of their size. You might be wondering, How do I start a lawsuit in court? Whom do I sue? What is the average settlement value in commercial truck accident lawsuits? Today we are going to answer those questions for you and others.
What Do I Do First If I Was Rear-Ended by a Commercial Truck?
At the accident scene, your first priority is to assess your injuries and tend to any that need immediate attention. If you are lucky enough not to need emergency medical attention, you should take the following steps:
- Call the police and report the accident;
- Get the contact information for the truck driver and their employer, as well as their insurance information;
- Take photos of the accident scene and the damage done to your car;
- Ask any witnesses for their contact information; and
- Go to the hospital to have your injuries recorded and assessed.
Even if you think you are feeling fine, it’s essential to go to the hospital or your doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Some injuries are not readily apparent, like concussions or internal bleeding. Besides that, however, you are going to need your doctors’ reports to link any of your injuries to the accident for your commercial truck lawsuit.
After you’ve dealt with the accident and tended to your injuries, your next step is to get an estimate for your vehicle damage. Finally, you should call an experienced injury attorney. It is very important to do this soon after the accident, as you only have two years in the state of Iowa to file your commercial truck accident claim in court.
What Is the Average Settlement for Someone That Was Rear-Ended by a Commercial Truck?
There actually is no true “average” settlement value in personal injury lawsuits. Every settlement for commercial truck accidents depends highly upon the facts of each case. Determining factors that will affect the ultimate value of the case include the circumstances of the accident, the severity of the injuries and property damage, and the truck driver’s employer’s insurance policy, to name only a few. Iowa does not place caps on damages in commercial truck accident lawsuits.
Some of the damages allowed in Iowa personal injury lawsuits include:
- Past and future medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future earning capacity,
- Loss of function of the mind and body,
- Physical and mental pain and suffering,
- Loss of consortium,
- Vocational rehabilitation,
- Household services, and
- Costs of making a home accessible for a disability.
You must have expert testimony to prove your future medical expenses and future lost income. The jury determines the value of damages for loss of function of the mind and body by assessing the ability of the injured body part to function normally. The jury also determines the value for non-economic damages such as physical pain and suffering, which includes mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and bodily suffering and discomfort.
What If the Accident Was Partially My Fault?
Iowa is a modified comparative fault state. This means that in an accident, each party is accountable for damages in proportion to their percentage of fault. If a party is 51% or more at fault, then they cannot recover any damages. The jury determines the percentage of negligence. For example, say you were rear-ended by a commercial truck, the amount of your damages is valued at $10,000, and the jury determines that you are 10% at fault for the accident, based on the facts. Your award would be reduced by that 10%, so you would recover $9,000. Generally, if you were hit from behind, it is likely that the truck driver is going to be the only party at fault. However, this will not always be the case.
Do I Really Need an Attorney?
Not only do you need an attorney, you need an experienced injury lawyer that understands the nuances of Iowa law. This is especially important in commercial truck accidents, as truck drivers are governed by a multitude of regulations.
In your personal injury claim, your lawyer is your best asset. They will represent your interests in numerous ways, including:
- Identifying every liable party, such as the truck driver, their employer, or the truck owner;
- Investigating the facts of the accident, gathering evidence, and interviewing witnesses and the truck driver; and
- Dealing with the insurance companies and ensuring that they do not take advantage of you.
Most personal injury cases actually end in settlement, which is usually the best option for both parties, as litigation can be time-consuming and expensive. Your attorney will do their best to negotiate a fair settlement for you from the truck driver’s or their employer’s insurance companies. If your lawyer cannot get them to come to a fair number, your lawyer will represent you at trial. If you are concerned about the costs of hiring an attorney, don’t be. In personal injury cases, your lawyer does not make money unless you receive a settlement or jury award.
Contact 303 Legal, P.C., Your Iowa Truck Accident Law Firm
Injury-based lawsuits are some of the most complex and time-consuming types of litigation, as well as emotionally involved and upsetting. At 303 Legal, P.C., we support our clients from the beginning through the end of the legal process. You can read testimonials from some of our clients on our website. You have enough to worry about when you are dealing with the aftermath of a commercial truck accident. 303 Legal, P.C., will take on the burden of dealing with the legal aspects of your claim, and in the meantime, you can focus on the most important thing, which is healing from your injuries. Contact us today to speak with us about your case.