How is fault determined?
One of the first things to determine in a car accident is which driver was at-fault. Iowa tort law follows the modified comparative negligence doctrine, meaning that if even you are partially at-fault for the crash, you may still be able to collect damages for your injuries. For example, a jury determines that damages for your injuries total $200,000, however, they also find that you were 20 percent responsible for the accident and the other driver was 80 percent responsible. Therefore, you would only receive 80 percent of $200,000, for a total of $160,000. It is important to note that if you are found more than 50 percent at-fault for the crash, you may not receive any damages.
Insurance companies and their attorneys may use the comparative negligence doctrine as a way of trying to place more blame on the injured victim in an attempt to decrease the amount of damages they may have to pay. A seasoned car accident attorney Des Moines IA offers has a lot of experience in dealing with the methods insurance companies employ in trying to shift the blame on the car crash victim and can work hard to fight for your rights.
What if the motorist is underinsured/uninsured?
Another common situation that your car accident attorney in Des Moines IA has likely dealt with is an at-fault driver who has no insurance or not enough insurance to cover the injured victim’s damages. In this situation, you may be able to recover any damages you have suffered from your own insurance company, depending on the terms of your policy. A car accident attorney Des Moines IA residents rely on may be able to assist you in determining whether you can file a claim.
A car accident attorney Des Moines IA trusts knows that insurance companies are in business for profits, so even your own insurance company may not cooperate the way they should in paying you the compensation you should receive. After evaluating your case, your Des Moines car accident attorney may send the insurance company demand letters and, if necessary, may file a bad faith claim if they still refuse or delay payments to you.
How soon should I speak to car accident attorney?
You should speak to a Des Moines car accident attorney as soon as you can. You may be eligible for compensation and an attorney can help you navigate the complex areas of law to recover medical expenses or property repairs. There is also a state-dependent “statute of limitations” that has a time constraint on how long you can wait to pursue legal action. If you’ve been involved in an accident, there is a lot of paperwork, bills, and reports to get together to file a claim correctly; and if you’ve been injured, this may not be easy. A car accident attorney in Des Moines IA can help you collect all of these as well as guide you in what needs to be done to best assist you in your claim.
How much can I recover from a car accident?
Determining how much your case is worth does not have an easy answer. It will depend on a multitude of factors, some that are harder to quantify than others. Some of these are:
- Medical bills (past and estimated future bills)
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Future lost income
- Pain and suffering
While some of these may be easier numbers, such as past medical bills, the damage to your car and belongings, and the income you’ve lost while in the hospital or getting treatment, others such as “pain and suffering” are more difficult; you need a skilled car accident attorney Des Moines IA respects to help you recover for any ongoing discomfort you may have after the accident. Learn more about Preventing and Treating Whiplash After a Car Wreck.
How long will my car accident lawsuit take?
There is no specific answer to this as each claim and lawsuit is case-specific and unique. By obtaining a car accident attorney Des Moines IA residents count on, they will be able to foot some of the legwork in your claim; some factors that depend on how long your lawsuit may take is the severity of injuries, determining who is at-fault, and the extent of damages. You can help your attorney by being timely in providing any answers they may have and answering to the best of your ability.
What if the other driver’s insurance company contacts me?
It is common for the other driver’s auto insurance adjuster to call you; however, you are not obligated to talk to them. Do not admit fault or that you are uninjured. Although you may walk away from the car accident feeling fine, many times the pain does not set in until days later. The insurance company is looking for evidence to use against you, so do not consent to being recorded or give any statements. They are looking to free themselves of liability, and while these phone calls may be intimidating, understand you do not have a duty to speak to the other driver’s insurance, and you may politely redirect them to a car accident attorney Des Moines IA offers.
When should I settle my car accident case?
Following your car accident, the insurance company may contact you and offer a settlement. They might tell you many things like “You should settle now”, “You don’t need a lawyer”, and so forth. Rest assured, it is their goal to make their first offer be the least amount possible. Most cases are settled before they go to trial, and it is often in your advantage to accept a settlement offer. However, an experienced Des Moines, IA car accident attorney from Des Moines Injury Law, LLP will explain it does not have to be the first one. Before you agree, you should consider the following:
- Will Your Injuries Improve – Until you know the full extent of your injuries, you should not accept a settlement. Your first offer could be made to you within a few weeks of the accident; however, it could be several months before you know whether or not the injuries have caused you permanent limitations. This does not mean you should hold off on filing a claim, but rather call a car accident attorney from our Des Moines, Iowa location for help.
- The Total Amount of Your Losses – After an accident, the total amount of your losses can spiral into the thousands of dollars very quickly. Take some time to gather documents and receipts regarding your hospital stay and bills, outpatient appointments, out of pocket expenses, medication, treatment, rehabilitation, lost time from work, lost bonuses, sick days, gas, property damage, and any other relevant losses.
- Your Potential Future Loses – It is likely that you will require ongoing medical treatment. You might not even be aware of the extent of the treatment you’ll need, especially if you’re not fully recovered. This type of loss is difficult to estimate. A Des Moines, IA car accident attorney should be able to help you.
- Pain and Suffering – In general, insurance adjusters will not offer damages for pain and suffering unless they strongly believe a jury would award this to you.
- The Overall Strength of Your Car Accident Case – Even after you have calculated all of your losses, the insurance company will largely base their willingness to settle upon whether or not they could win or lose at a trial.
- Think About your Goals – Ask yourself what it is that you are seeking? What is the best outcome you could imagine having, and what is the minimum amount of money your would accept? If you know these answers you may be more equipped to accept a settlement that you believe is fair and just. Furthermore, it can give you more control over the terms of the settlement. It is recommended to speak with a car accident attorney from the Des Moines, IA area if you need help figuring out your goals of the accident.
If you’ve been offered a settlement by the insurance company, our car accident lawyer in our Des Moines, IA office can review the amount and discuss whether or not this may be fair. At the minimum this can help you to make a sound decision. Alternatively, you might decide you want a lawyer to guide you through this process and assist in securing maximum damages. For a consultation, call Des Moines Injury Law, LLP.