Filing a truck accident lawsuit is a big decision.
Before you name someone as a defendant in court and go through the effort of pursuing a case, it is important to know how a legal claim works. Below, we provide an outline of some important topics that are relevant to how a truck accident case works. We encourage you to read this information and we invite you to contact us at any time to schedule a free consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer. Together, we can discuss your legal options and give you the information that you need to make an informed decision before filing a truck accident case.
What Happens in a Truck Crash Case?
There are certain things that you should know before you file a complaint in court. Specifically:
- You will have to name defendants in your complaint. There may be more than one defendant in a truck accident case. The defendants named in your complaint will depend on the unique cause of your crash and may include the trucker, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, the truck maintenance workers, or other parties who were liable for your accident and resulting injuries.
- You have a limited amount of time to file a case. The Iowa statute of limitations limits the amount of time that you have to file a lawsuit. In most cases, you will have two years from the date of your accident to file your claim, but the deadline may be shortened or extended in certain circumstances.
- You must have legal standing to file a case. You will likely have standing if you suffered a physical injury in the crash. Additionally, you may file a case on behalf of a minor child, or an adult who is mentally incompetent who is under your legal guardianship, or you may file a case on behalf of an estate if you are the administrator of the estate of someone who passed away in the crash.
- You may be able to file a case even if you were partly at fault for the wreck. Iowa law allows you to make a legal recovery if you’re partly—but not primarily—at fault for the crash. If your liability is less than 50 percent, then you may still pursue a recovery. However, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to you.
- You may need expert witnesses. Expert witnesses such as accident reconstruction specialists, doctors, and economists may be important to your claim. Depending on their expertise, these witnesses can help you prove what caused your crash or the value of your injuries.
- You may need an attorney. An attorney can make sure that all of your rights are protected and that everything is filed correctly and in a timely manner with the court so that you can get the recovery that you deserve. Additionally, an attorney can represent you in settlement negotiations with an insurance company or defendant.
- You may be able to settle your claim. The insurance company may be willing to settle your claim with you if you present compelling evidence. Be aware, however, that the insurance company’s goal is to maximize its profits by paying you as little as possible. Once you accept a settlement, it is binding and will most likely prevent you from recovering additional damages in the future.
- You should know how to deal with insurance adjusters as soon as possible. Anything that you say to an insurance adjuster can be misconstrued and used against you. Accordingly, it is important to let your attorney talk with the insurance adjusters on your behalf.
Your lawsuit will officially begin when you file a complaint in court. After that, the defendant will have the opportunity to file an answer; then, both parties can engage in discovery and file relevant motions. This may happen while you are continuing settlement negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company.
Truck Accident Cases Can Be Complicated, But They Are Important
Without filing a case, you may never see a fair recovery. Accordingly, we encourage you to learn more about your rights by scheduling a meeting us in our Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, or Davenport office. Contact us online or call us directly at 800.800.5678 today. Our experienced Iowa truck accident lawyers will answer your questions so that you know what to expect moving forward.