Question: Can I file a claim for personal injury following an accident while I was driving a company truck?

Question Detail: Workers Comp is working the claim now, but I'm wondering if I should trust them to protect my interests. Should I? The steer tire on my tractor blew out and the truck went into a ditch and where it then overturned. The tire on the right front was a retread. I had a concussion from the accident and had 2 surgeries and have another one in the works. I’m getting workers’ compensation benefits but wonder if I need to hire a lawyer to go collect otherwise. Attorney Lombardi, any help you can give me would be appreciated. Tell me, what should I do?

Answer: You should consider all options, but knowing if you have a separate suit is difficult. The first question is, who would you file suit against? This will be the primary question and one without a clear answer. I need more facts. In Iowa you would not be able to sue your employer; although, if there were evidence of gross negligence you could sue your supervisor or co-workers responsible for the defective equipment being in use. But that's a long shot and not one with a high rate of success.

Maintenance could be a window of legal liability that I would pursue. It will depend on where maintenance was performed and by whom. Many times your employer is a corporation and a separate corporation performs the maintenance on the trucks you drive. A separate corporation may also own the trucks. If in your situation this is true, then you may have a claim against the other company that maintained the vehicles for your employer. There is the remote possibility of a claim against the company performing the retreading, but again, that is remote.

So here is what to consider:

  1. Which company owned the trucks?
  2. Which company performed the maintenance?
  3. Which company was hired to perform maintenance?
  4. Which company was responsible for the retreading?
  5. Are these corporations different than the employer that paid you a wage?

Not an easy case, but if we can answer further questions give us a call.

Steve Lombardi
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Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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