Police with the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office received calls about a vehicle driving through signs that were meant to block and close construction site on a road. This happened around 11 pm on Highway 18 eastbound. An initial investigation showed that the vehicle crashed into bridge construction materials as it went through the closed area. The vehicle caught fire shortly after the impact, and the driver inside was killed. 

The incident happened close to the town of Hartley, about one mile west of the border. The O’Brien County Medical Examiner’s Office later confirmed the identity of the victim and that he died due to injuries sustained during the crash and fire. He was a 67 year old male from the town of Underwood, and he had been previously pronounced dead by officers at the scene.

It appears that no one else was hurt and no other vehicles were involved. The local police planned to conduct a more thorough investigation in the coming days. 

Is the construction company liable?

When an accident happens at a construction site or because of equipment that is left out overnight, it is often a question of fact as to whether the company responsible for the work can be sued in civil court. In most cases, the jury will need to find that the business or their workers acted negligently or deviated from standard procedures for working on and securing a construction site. 

All businesses and property owners have a legal duty to keep the areas they own and control safe for guests or others who are expected to be inside during the course of a normal day. Even trespassers may have grounds for a lawsuit when the area is not properly secured or marked to make others aware of any potential dangers. Under Iowa law, there will usually be an inquiry regarding whether the property was kept in an appropriate condition to minimize the possibility of injuries and damage. 

Iowa’s wrongful death law

In Iowa and every other state there is a specific statute that discusses the remedies available to the family of the victim of a fatal accident. This wrongful death law outlines details such as available damages, which family members can bring the case, and other important procedures that will affect how the case can be filed and the outcome. There is also a short statute of limitations for wrongful death cases, which means that the family should talk to a lawyer and begin the process to start the lawsuit within a year of the accident to avoid missing any deadlines. 

Find out if you should bring a civil lawsuit

There are lawyers who focus on accident cases and personal injury law throughout the state of Iowa. To speak with a local professional, contact:

Eells and Tronvold Law Offices

1921 51st Street NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-2400