Although weather plays a major role in many of the car and truck accidents that transpire on Iowa roadways, it isn’t always the sole contributor to the crash. For example, let’s say a truck driver’s vehicle approached a puddle of rainwater that accumulated on the highway. After making contact with the rainwater, the truck spun out of control and crashed into the other vehicles that had been traveling behind it.
Although the trucker could claim it was the weather that was responsible for the accident, we must take into account what that driver was doing prior to losing control of his/her vehicle. Truck drivers, like all other motorists, are expected to adapt to roadway conditions, whether it be raining, snowing, foggy, etc. In fact, §392.14 of the Code of Federal Regulations says that “extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist.”
- 392.14 also states that “if conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated.” In the event a truck driver fails to adapt his/her driving to the present conditions or refuses to discontinue use of their vehicle until it is safe to be operated again, he/she could be accused of being negligent which would then result in them being held accountable or at least partially liable for the wreck they were involved in.
What do I need to do to recover compensation for the damages I suffered in a truck accident in Iowa that occurred when inclement weather was present?
Now that we have established that a truck driver could potentially be held liable for a truck accident that occurred when hazardous weather was present, you have to also understand that in order to hold the driver accountable, you will need to be able to prove they engaged in negligent behavior. How do you do this? Well, you could hire an Iowa truck accident attorney who has experience with handling these types of cases to help you.
Generally, you will only need to prove fault after a truck accident if you are looking to recover compensation from the trucker’s employer and/or their insurer or if you wish to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Filing a Claim with the Other Driver’s Insurer
After engaging in an accident with a commercial truck driver, you would likely file your claim with their employer’s insurer as they are usually responsible for their trucker’s actions. Unfortunately, insurers don’t like to pay much for third-party claims, which are claims that are filed against another driver’s policy, not yours. However, if you can prove the trucker driver’s behavior was responsible for causing the wreck, then the insurer should provide you with the money you are due.
Now, when you file a third-party claim, you might encounter two types of situations:
- The insurer may take longer to pay your claim than your insurer typically would, or an adjuster may deny it. Most insurance carriers will often find ways around paying a claim right away or paying it all as they will want to determine whether their policyholder was actually at-fault for the accident. This can result in the claims process being dragged out or your claim being denied.
- The insurer may attempt to offer you a settlement upfront that doesn’t take into account the true value of all your damages. While some insurers might make you wait to receive any sort of settlement, others may attempt to provide you with money upfront so that your claim is closed, and you aren’t able to collect anything else on it. When a truck accident victim accepts a settlement early on in the claims process, they often don’t have time to value their damages (i.e. medical expenses, lost wages, etc.). This results in them accepting a settlement that is far below what they should have received.
Important: Esurance says that if you are in need of immediate repairs or payment for medical bills but haven’t received anything from the other insurer, you can contact a claims rep from your insurance carrier and let them know. They may be able to file a claim on your behalf which would then initiate the subrogation process against the other driver’s insurance provider for all expenses. The only downside to doing this is that you would (1) need to satisfy any deductible you have first and (2) accept that “there’s no guarantee that subrogation will work.”
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
In the event you aren’t able to recover the compensation you are due for the damages you suffered, you might consider filing a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver and/or their employer. To do this, you will need to retain an Iowa personal injury lawyer. If you are interested in learning more about filing a personal injury lawsuit and what Iowa’s state laws permit you to recover, we recommend you contact Eells & Tronvold Law Offices, P.L.C.
If you were recently involved in a truck accident in Iowa that was caused by inclement weather and a trucker’s negligent actions, we encourage you to contact our truck accident law firm in Iowa to learn more about your legal rights and what your next steps should be so that you are adequately compensated for your injuries and losses.
You can reach Eells & Tronvold Law Offices, P.L.C. at:
1921 51st Street NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Phone: (319) 393-1020
Fax: (319) 393-4000