Personal Injury Lawyer Des Moines, IA
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Iowa as a result of someone else’s negligence, it’s time to seek out a personal injury lawyer in Des Moines, IA from Johnston Martineau, LLP. We’re dedicated attorneys with years of experience fighting for the rights of victims, and now, it’s time we fight for you. For more information or to talk with an attorney on our time, call us today.
Expenses You Can Claim in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you were injured by the actions of another person, you probably desire some compensation for your injuries. This is natural, and the law guarantees that you are owed compensation. Personal injury lawsuits are filed every day allowing people to be compensated for their injuries. However, if you are like most people, you probably have a lot of questions about how this works. Remember, you can always speak with a personal injury lawyer in Des Moines, IA to learn more, but this guide will go over the basics of what expenses you can claim in a personal injury lawsuit.
Types of Damages
In the legal system, the types of compensation are called damages. All damages fall into one of three categories:
- Special compensatory damages
- General compensatory damages
- Punitive damages
The judge will decide which kinds of damages are valid for your case, but you can claim special and general compensatory damages when you file. The judge will decide if these claims are valid and whether punitive damages are appropriate as well. It is extremely common for personal injury cases to involve the first two types, but punitive damages are more rarely applied, as an experienced personal injury lawyer in Des Moines, IA can attest.
Special Compensatory Damages
This type of damage refers to financial losses. If you had any kind of expense as a result of your injury, it will fall into this category. The most common damage in this category is medical bills, but it can also include things like lost wages, loss of earning ability, medicine, and miscellaneous purchases. If something has a specific dollar value, such as a medical bill that is exactly $5,000, then it is special compensatory damage.
General Compensatory Damages
This type of damage refers to non-financial losses. It is commonly thought of as “pain and suffering,” but that is actually just a specific kind of general compensatory damages, as a personal injury lawyer in Des Moines, IA can explain. If you experienced a loss, but it does not have a specific dollar value associated with it, then it is a general compensatory damage. The judge will decide how much this type of loss is worth.
Punitive damages are assigned strictly to punish the responsible party. They are not meant to compensate the plaintiff at all. They are usually only assigned in cases where the defendant was acting maliciously or especially irresponsibly. For example, if someone was driving while drunk and caused your injury, punitive damages are very likely.
Before you can take your case to trial, you should hire a personal injury lawyer in Des Moines, IA from Johnston Martineau, LLP. The sooner you hire a legal professional, the better your chances of winning your case are. Call now.
How to Handle the Insurance Company
When you decide to pursue a personal injury claim, the insurance adjuster assigned to your case will immediately begin to review all of the details related to what happened. It is their job to resolve your claim as soon as possible and for the very least amount. Insurance adjusters are known for their zealous approach to cases, which tends to include many tactics that can be overwhelming and intimidating. In general, you should let a Des Moines, IA personal injury lawyer review your case and help you to understand your options.
Understanding the Insurance Adjuster:
The Insurance Adjuster Is Not On Your Side
Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company. Their job is to make a profit for the company; thus protecting the at-fault party. When they call you, expect a friendly tone of voice. You might even be given sympathy for what happened. They will likely tell you that they will take care of anything and that you don’t need a personal injury lawyer in Des Moines, IA. This is not true. Anything that is valued over a few thousand dollars or is not straightforward should be overseen by a qualified personal injury lawyer Des Moines, Iowa residents trust.
You May Be Asked to Provide a Recorded Statement
At some point, the adjuster may call and ask you to provide them with a recorded statement. They might even insist that this is necessary before any claim can proceed. In the event that you agree, and are not ready for what may ensue, there is a high chance of you making a mistake. This could result in your provided information being used against you. As a Des Moines, Iowa personal injury lawyer might tell you, it is inadvisable to offer any type of statement to the adjuster without having a legal advocate at your side.
Your Claim May Be Denied
No matter how much merit your case has, it is certainly possible that it will be denied. When this happens, a number of people will choose not to pursue anything any further. This is exactly what the adjuster wants you to do and another reason why they might say things like:
- We think you are at fault for the accident.
- There is no solid evidence that proves what happened.
- A previous injury is the cause of your current injuries.
- You failed to report the injury or accident
- The alleged negligent party did not do anything wrong
These are the statements that may be told to you and should not feel discouraging. As a personal injury lawyer in Des Moines, IA might explain to you, an adjuster can say practically anything to get you to agree to their terms. Or, in a best-case scenario get you to drop the case.
Your First Offer May Be Very Low
In the event of your claim not being denied, you may be offered a settlement that is very low. In fact, this amount might not even cover one of your medical bills! You might be told:
- This is a fair deal.
- It’s the best amount that can be offered to you.
- If you don’t accept this, you risk losing everything.
- They have no authority to offer anything higher.
If you accept their offer there will be no going back. Thus, you should remain calm, reject their offer, and call a personal injury lawyer in Des Moines, IA as soon as possible. Call Johnston Martineau, LLP.
How Is the Settlement Money in a Personal Injury Lawsuit Dispersed?
When your Des Moines IA personal injury lawyer does reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company, you may be wondering how those funds are dispersed. The insurance money will send the settlement check to the lawyer who will disperse the funds in the following ways:
One of the major reasons for your settlement is to pay medical bills. While doctors may work with you to decrease your bills, you must pay for any unpaid medical costs. In some cases, a medical provider may be able to file a lien against your claim. This gives the medical provider the right to collect any unpaid medical bills from your settlement.
In addition to medical bills, your insurance company may also file a lien against your settlement. If your insurance pays for your medical bills, you will have to reimburse the insurance company for the price it paid. Your lawyer will pay any outstanding medical bills directly from the settlement money before sending your share.
When you hire a Des Moines IA personal injury lawyer, it is important to understand fully any contingency fee agreement you are making with them. Most personal injury lawyers work for a contingency fee. Your lawyer only receives payment if and when you receive the settlement. If you do not win your case, then your lawyer will not receive the compensation. Most lawyers work for approximately 30 percent of the settlement amount. Some lawyers may charge more or less, depending on the case and the specific lawyer’s experience.
In addition to the lawyer’s fees, there may also be costs associated with the case itself. You may need to pay for filing fees, witnesses, police reports, and more. Some lawyers will charge you as the fees come up, whereas others may send you a monthly bill for the various fees. Once you receive your settlement, the lawyer will take whatever the total owed is out of the check.
Once the medical bills, lawyers’ fees, and other legal costs have been satisfied, you receive the rest of the settlement. Although a portion of your settlement goes to your attorney, it is important to remember that victims who have lawyers representing them in a personal injury case usually receive a much higher settlement amount than if they try to negotiate with the insurance company themselves.
If you have been injured in an accident, you will want to have a skilled Des Moines IA personal injury lawyer representing you to ensure you get the best possible outcome for your accident case. Call Johnston Martineau, PLLP today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Get Help From Our Personal Injury Lawyer in Des Moines, IA!
When you have been in a personal injury accident, our personal injury lawyer Des Moines, IA residents trust knows that you have many questions. You are likely still recovering from the injuries you suffered from and getting answers to your questions would shed light on the aspects of personal injury claims you are unsure about. We know that this entire process can complicate your life but we want to make it as simple as possible. Don’t hesitate to call our office when someone else has injured you out of negligence. We want to ensure you get compensated for the ways you have suffered. To see what our Des Moines personal injury lawyer can do for you, give us a call now.
Is a personal injury only physical?
Physical personal injuries are extremely common. However, it is also possible to suffer from a mental injury after an accident.
What should I do after the accident occurred?
While any personal injury accident is going to be unique, there are a few things that you can do following the accident that will not only get you on the road to recovery but also help your case. First things first: get better. After you have been in an accident you should seek medical help immediately, regardless of your injuries. We know it may not look like you have bad injuries, but a doctor’s assessment will find any underlying problems. You should also be wary of who you discuss the accident with. When an insurance agent calls to get your side of the story, they may simply be looking for information to twist in their favor. Wait to speak with your personal injury lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa before you talk with an insurance agent.
Do insurance agents often call after personal injury accidents?
This is very common and we encourage you to learn the reason behind this. After someone else’s negligence has caused your injuries, an insurance agent may call to “check-in” and even say you are owed a certain amount of money. This might sound great to you when you have medical bills piling up. Especially when this is the case, speak with your attorney because the insurance agent is likely giving you a much lower settlement than you deserve. Never sign anything from an insurance company until your Des Moines, IA personal injury lawyer has had a chance to look at it.
If you would like the help of a Des Moines, IA personal injury lawyer from our firm, call Johnston Martineau, PLLP now!
A 12-Point Checklist To Use When Interviewing Personal Injury Lawyers
Finding and hiring a personal injury lawyer in Des Moines IA is a wise decision after getting hurt in an accident. Ideally, you can research possible candidates before you make a final decision on who shall represent you. Consider using the following checklist when interviewing and evaluating personal injury lawyers in your area.
1. Reviews from Past Clients
- Check out the reviews from previous clients.
- Search for comments from someone who had a case similar to yours.
2. Knowledge of Iowa Personal Injury Law
- Ask how long the candidate has practiced in the state of Iowa and how often he has tried cases in your county.
3. Firm Reputation and Resources
- Inquire about the law firm’s resources. For example, ask about their partnerships with local doctors and expert witnesses.
- Most law firms will display awards or leadership accolades in the waiting rooms of their offices, which may indicate they are established and reputable.
4. Experience With Your Type of Case
- Inquire about the experience of the personal injury lawyer in Des Moines IA. How often has he/she handled personal injury cases similar to yours?
- Ask if the attorney you are interviewing will be the one representing you. If not, who will they assign to your case?
6. Length of Litigation
- Your candidate should be able to pinpoint a date to file your lawsuit. Ask for an estimate for the amount of time it might take to settle your case. Do they have many pending cases? They might be too busy to give your case the attention it needs.
7. Trial Success
- How often has the lawyer tried personal injury cases in your jurisdiction? What is his/her success rate? Johnson Martineau LLP can tell you about their trial strategies and experiences.
8. Negotiation Skills
- Ask the personal injury lawyer in Des Moines IA to provide settlement amounts from his/her previous cases.
9. Past Disciplinary Record
- Has the attorney received any legal or ethical violations in the past?
10. Expectations for the Client
- What is your role during the process? Does the lawyer have certain expectations for clients?
11. Your Comfort and Preferences
- Does this candidate genuinely listen to you and answer your questions? Do you feel comfortable sharing the details of your case with them? Find out how they will communicate with you about your case and state your communication preferences if needed.
- How do they expect to be paid? Will fees change over time? Will there be additional costs for expert witnesses and other resources?
Call Johnston Martineau LLP for a personal injury lawyer in Des Moines IA. We will review your case and answer any questions you have.
Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits
A personal injury case is different from criminal charges, it is a civil lawsuit brought by one or more people who have been harmed by another. The party filing the suit is seeking compensation for the damage that they have suffered due to the negligence of the other party. Harm can include either physical or mental damages. Examples of this include injuring someone in a car accident, causing emotional trauma, harming a person’s reputation, breaching a contract, causing illness through a known defective product, and other acts of bad faith. To learn whether your case has merit you should contact a personal injury lawyer in Des Moines, IA. Johnston Martineau, PLLP has the experience to help you with your case. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with our team.
Auto Accidents | Car accidents happen all the time. Sometimes they are simple fender benders, but at times they can have serious repercussions. If the driver that caused the accident was acting negligently when it occurred, then they might be liable for damages. These kinds of cases include drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, and reckless driving.
Medical Malpractice | Medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider harms a patient by failing to provide the universal standard of care – the care an average provider of their training would have given. In medical malpractice, the doctor, nurse, or other type of medical worker either did something they were not supposed to or failed to provide the appropriate level of care. Common types of medical malpractice cases are a doctor misdiagnosing an illness, a pharmacist dispensing the wrong kind of medication, or a nurse giving the wrong dose of medication. If you believe you or a loved one experienced medical malpractice, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer in Des Moines, IA from a firm like Johnston Martineau, PLLP.
Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents | Property owners of publicly used spaces are responsible for ensuring the space is reasonably safe. If someone is injured on their property because the owner didn’t take measures to address known hazards or other issues, then they can be liable for the resulting damages. Examples of this include an owner not fixing a loose railing or leaking machine, which caused a fall or slip on their property and resulted in injury.
Workplace Injury | The workplace should be a safe environment. An employer is legally responsible for providing a secure workspace for their employees. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Companies cut corners and don’t take care of the hazards that they should, and their employees suffer as a result. Faulty machinery, unsafe equipment, and other known risks that aren’t mitigated for are all grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
The longer you wait to file a personal injury suit, the harder it can be to gather evidence and win your case in court. Don’t wait. Speak with a personal injury lawyer in Des Moines, IA to see if you should pursue compensation. Call Johnston Martineau, PLLP today to make an appointment with our skilled lawyers today.
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