Des Moines Car Accident Lawyer
What to Do If You Were Injured in a Car Crash
Being involved in a car accident, whether relatively minor or major, is nearly always a frightening experience. In the aftermath of the crash, you could experience some degree of shock and be uncertain of what to do next. It is very important if you were involved in any type of accident to seek prompt medical care. Even if you do not believe that you were seriously injured, you could not realize the true severity of your injuries right away. It’s also important to get a few key details from the other driver(s), including their name(s), contact information, and insurance details. In the days following the accident, avoid speaking to any adjusters from the other driver’s insurance company and, as soon as possible, reach out to an experienced Des Moines car accident lawyer.
At King Law, PLLC, Attorney Mark King is ready to fight for your rights after a car accident. With over two decades of legal experience, he has spent the past 13+ years fighting exclusively on behalf of injured individuals and victims of negligence throughout Iowa. He draws on his past experience representing insurance companies in order to effectively anticipate the tactics they often use to dispute your claim and uses this knowledge to fight tirelessly for the rightful compensation you deserve.
Determining Fault in Your Car Accident Claim
Like most personal injury claims, car accident cases depend on the issue of fault; proving that another person or party was at least partly at fault for the accident that caused your injuries is critical to your ability to bring a claim. In most cases, showing that someone else was at fault for the accident involves proving that another person was negligent. Negligence can take the form of carelessness, recklessness, or even unlawful behavior.
Some fairly common examples of negligent driving behaviors include:
- Drunk driving
- Texting while driving
- Distracted driving
- Violating traffic laws
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Unsafe/illegal passing
- Fatigued driving
Essentially, any time a motorist fails to uphold his or her duty of care to others on the road—that is, fails to take reasonable action to prevent foreseeable harm—they have acted negligently and can be held legally accountable for the harm they cause.
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If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident, it’s important that you act quickly. In Iowa, you only have two years from the date of the accident (with some rare exceptions) to file your claim. If you do not file your claim within this timeframe, you will be unable to seek compensation for your damages.
Understanding Iowa’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
The state of Iowa follows what is known as a rule of modified comparative negligence. This rule allows you to file a motor vehicle accident claim even if you were partly at fault for the crash—with limitations. The jury must find you less than 50% to blame for the collision; if you are found to be more than half at fault, you will not be able to bring a claim.
However, if you are determined to be less than 50% at fault for the crash, you can recover compensation for your damages, but your total recovery will be reduced by your at-fault percentage. For example, if you were hit by a distracted driver who blew through a red light, but you were going five miles per hour over the speed limit at the time of the crash, a jury might decide you were 10% to blame for the accident. If your total damages—including the cost of your medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.—amounted to $10,000, you will only be able to collect up to 90% of that amount, or $9,000.
Damages in Car Accident Claims
After an accident, most people experience similar damages, or losses. These damages can be economic and non-economic in nature. In Iowa, you can typically recover compensation for all damages caused by someone else’s negligence, financial or otherwise.
Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, a Des Moines car accident lawyer may be able to help you recover compensation for the following damages:
- Emergency medical treatment
- Ongoing medical care
- Rehabilitation therapy
- Ambulance fees
- Hospital fees
- Future medical expenses
- Lost income/wages
- Future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Counseling services for trauma
- Lost/reduced quality of life
- Costs associated with modifying a home
- Property damage repairs
Every situation is unique, which is why it’s important to meet with an experienced car accident attorney who will take the time to listen to your story and inform you of your rights before building a strong case aimed at maximizing your recovery.