Fatal truck accidents occurring more frequently, FMCSA says

As the number of fatal truck accidents climb, it is important to understand your legal remedies if faced with the loss of a loved one.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently released some information that is of concern to all Iowans that regularly drive-the roads are becoming a lot more deadly. According to the FMCSA, fatal truck accidents have increased to the point that there are now 11 fatal accidents per day across the nation. Between 2009 and 2012 the number of fatal truck accidents increased 18 percent.

This statistic is especially of concern to Iowans, as the state is the crossroads of two major interstates (I-35 and I-80) that have very heavy interstate truck traffic.

Perhaps more shocking is that the number of deadly truck accidents has climbed as the number of trucks on the road has decreased. During the 2009-2012 period, the number of trucks on the nation's highways fell 2.86 percent. Additionally, the data showed that today's trucks are not driving as much as they did in the past, as the average number of miles driven declined by an average of 2.67 percent.

Experts partially blame the issue on problems within the trucking industry. Since the job has many undesirable qualities (e.g. low pay and long hours on the road), many companies have had difficulties keeping experienced drivers. Additionally, strict deadlines are endemic in the industry. As a result, drivers are often pressured to violate safety regulations to meet their deadlines, which can significantly increase the possibility of an accident.

Legal remedies for victims

Since violation of safety regulations is a leading cause of truck accidents, many could have been avoided. Unfortunately, many innocent people on the road pay the ultimate price because of driver and truck company negligence every day. This sudden loss of life can leave the victim's family with sudden and unexpected financial losses. Fortunately, Iowa law allows family members to recover compensation to cover such losses in a wrongful death lawsuit.

A wrongful death occurs when someone is killed because of the negligence of a person or company. The purpose of this type of lawsuit is to recover monetary damages for the economic and noneconomic losses suffered by the victim's family. Under the law, the victim's spouse, children, parents or the administrator of the estate, may file this type of lawsuit.

The law allows family members to recover a wide range of losses in the lawsuit including:

• The victim's funeral, burial and medical expenses

• Loss of present and future wages, earnings or benefits

• Property losses

• Loss of the services rendered by the victim to family members

• Pain and suffering

If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, it is important to ensure that the cause of the accident is immediately investigated, as vital evidence may be lost over time. An experienced personal injury attorney can work with accident experts to discover the cause of the accident and determine whether negligence was a factor. Following the investigation, an attorney can advise you further on your right to recover damages under Iowa law.

Keywords: fatal truck accidents, wrongful death