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Des Moines Personal Injury Law Blog

Helping victims following an Iowa truck accident

The importance and influence the trucking industry has on interstate and intrastate commerce in Iowa and elsewhere has led to the high numbers of large trucks on the roadways throughout the nation. While tractor-trailer trucks can travel from one destination to another without any errors or mishaps, the reality is that it only takes a small error to cause a truck accident. Violations of federal trucking regulations often lead to serious and even fatal truck collisions, making it important for victims and their loved ones to consider the responsibility of trucking companies and the truck driver.

Claims following a truck accident are often complex, and victims may not be aware of all the liable parties following a truck crash. Our law firm has helped past clients navigate their claims, assisting them an aggressive pursuit for justice. With over 25 years of experience, the law firm of Galligan & Reid, P.C. has devoted much time to helping clients understand their rights and actions available to them.

Holding a drunk driver liable following a drunk driving accident

Being involved in any type of motor vehicle accident can be a very serious event for residents in Iowa and elsewhere. In some situations, it may not be entirely clear what caused the collision; however, in others, it can easily be determined that the negligence of a driver was the cause. With regard to drinking and driving, when a driver fails to drive below the legal blood-alcohol limit, he or she could be held responsible for the accident resulting from their intoxication and any injuries, losses and damages arising from it.

When individuals consider the penalties that a drunk driver could face after a drunk driving accident, most highlight the criminal aspects of the incident. While there is a great possibility that the driver will face criminal charges and penalties for his or her negligence behind the wheel, the driver could also endure civil liabilities. In fact, an injured victim can use the evidence and information associated with a criminal action in a civil action against a drunk driver in an effort to hold a drunk driver liable.

How can bicycle safety be increased?

Riding a bicycle is both a way to enjoy time outside and a means of transportation. No matter the reason Iowa residents choose to ride a bike, the fact is that this activity comes with some risks. Depending on where a biker is riding, he or she might be traveling on the road, in a bike lane or even on a sidewalk. No matter what surface a cyclist is traveling on, he or she is likely to travel near automobiles and traffic. Because of this, the risk of an automobile-bike crash is present, which makes it important for both drivers and bicyclists to exercise safety.

How can bicycle safety be increased? Increasing safety for bicyclists is about understanding the causes of bicycle accidents, safety features and accident prevention. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 900 bicyclists were killed in 2013 and around 494,000 went to the emergency room due to a bicycle-related injury. Bicycle accidents are most likely to occur in urban areas and in non-intersection areas on the roadway. Additionally, people between the ages 15 and 29, and adults older than 45-years-old are the age groups with the highest rate of bicycle deaths.

Concerns regarding the high rate of bike-car crashes in Iowa

Although the summer months are coming to an end, Iowa residents often continue with their outdoor activities such as bicycle riding. In fact, many residents will continue to travel by bike well into the winter months. Because of that, it is always important for bicycle safety to be considered. Bike riders should understand the rules of the road and where and how it is safe for them to travel. Additionally, drivers should always be cognizant of bicyclists traveling on or near the roadways throughout the year.

Many Iowans have expressed concern regarding the increasing numbers of bike accidents in Des Moines and throughout the state. In one incident, a 50-year-old Des Moines woman was riding her bike in front of her husband's bike, which was pulling their 5-year-old son in a car behind his bike. It was around 4:05 p.m. when a vehicle that was turning into a parking lot collided with the woman's front wheel of her bike.

Hours of service violations and truck driver fatigue

As previous posts have highlighted, federal trucking regulations have been passed to address safety concerns regarding large trucks that travel on roadways in Iowa and states across the nation. Additionally, these regulations provide mechanisms to ensure that trucking companies and truck drivers comply with certain safety standards. Even though the violation of these rules could subject the driver and company to fines and other penalties, certain rules get violated frequently, causing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to consider ways to better enforce these rules.

The hours of service rule a critical safety rule. Despite that, the FMCSA maintains that the "30 minute rule" included in the federal hours-of-service rules is frequently violated. This rule provides that a commercial truck driver must take a 30 minute break after driving for eight consecutive hours. The FMCSA reported that this rule is the fourth most frequently violated rule out of the 40 different types of driver violations that it tracks.

What are the six levels of DOT truck inspections?

Federal trucking regulations require truck drivers and trucking companies to meet certain standards such as regular maintenance of the vehicles. Additionally, truck drivers are required to have special licensure and up-to-date medical information. In order to ensure that the vehicle and driver are complying with these regulations, the Department of Transportation conducts inspections. A driver and truck could encounter one or more levels of inspection to verify compliance.

What are the six levels of DOT truck inspections? The first level is a standard inspection and includes looking at important documents that a driver should have as well as an evaluation of the vehicle. This ensures that everything is up-to-date, up-to-code and safe for travel. A level two inspection involves everything in a level one inspection as well as a walk-around inspection of the vehicle. The professional inspecting the vehicle will examine everything that would not require him or her to get under the truck.

Seeking financial recovery after a drunk driving accident

Encountering a negligent driver is a very concerning thought for drivers in Iowa. While in some situations such an incident could be avoided, it is almost completely out of the hands of an individual when and if they encounter a negligent driver. This is especially true with intoxicated drivers, and the destruction caused by a drunk driving accident could be tremendous.

Being involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver not only has the potential to impact those directly involved in the incident, but oftentimes the incident also greatly effects the loved ones of the injured victim. Our law firm understands that drunk driving is a form of driver negligence that could result in serious injuries and severe damages. Because of this, we are focused on helping victims through the criminal and civil law processes used to hold the negligent party responsible for the damages and losses that driver has caused the victim.

Drunk driving: what are the visible signs of intoxication?

While automobile collisions are an unfortunate event to be involved in, drivers in Iowa may be aware that a common cause of car crashes is the negligence of one or more drivers. This could amount to the driver being distracted, fatigued, reckless or even intoxicated. If impaired driving is to blame, it is important to understand the elements of a drunk driving accident, and how an injured victim could hold the drunk driver responsible for damages caused by the incident.

Victim, witness and authority accounts of the accident are often considered and relied on in the investigation of a drunk driving accident. This often means spotting and understanding the visible signs of intoxication. For law enforcement officers and courts, this means assessing the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the incident.

When may speeding be a factor in a car collision?

It can happen to all drivers. An individual in Iowa is running late, and in order to get to his or her destination on time, he or she will drive faster. Whether this means exceeding the speed limit by one or 10 mph, speeding can create a dangerous condition on the roadway. Moreover, this situation could result in a speed-related accident, resulting in serious injuries or fatalities.

When is it more likely for speeding to be a factor in a car collision? According to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are four major factors considered when addressing speed-related accidents. First, the study focused on whether a driver was exceeding the speed limit or traveling too fast for conditions at the time of the accident.

Intersection collision injures motorcyclist in Iowa crash

Although driving safely might seem like an innate action while behind the wheel of a vehicle, drivers in Iowa and elsewhere should always be alert and aware of their surroundings. This means taking constant notice of speed limit signs, traffic signals and signs, other vehicles on the roadway and any type of hazard that might be up ahead. Even when a driver is being cautious and believes he or she is driving safely, a simple moment of inattention could be the cause of an accident.

Authorities in Osceola County recently responded to an intersection collision that involved an automobile and a motorcycle. The motorcycle crash occurred at the intersection of County Road L-40 and County Road A-34.