Frequently Asked Iowa Car Accident Questions

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What have other people asked us about car accidents and, more importantly, how have we answered those questions? Find out here.
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  • Who can start a lawsuit after an Iowa car accident?

    Iowa law restricts the persons who can start a lawsuit after a motor vehicle accidentGenerally, the person who was hurt in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence has the right to sue the person who caused the crash. If the person who was hurt is a competent adult who survives the crash, then this rule applies.

    However, That Is Not Always the Case

    In some situations, another person may need to file a lawsuit on behalf of the person who was hurt. Specifically:

    • A parent or legal guardian may need to file a lawsuit on behalf of a minor child. Children do not have the authority to bring personal injury lawsuits on their own behalf.
    • A guardian may need to file a lawsuit for a dependent adult. The legal guardian of an adult may have the authority to start a lawsuit for any injuries the dependent adult suffered in the crash.
    • The personal representative of an estate may need to file a lawsuit on behalf of someone who died in the crash. If your loved one died with a will, then the personal representative is the executor of the will. If your loved one died without a will, then the personal representative will be the administrator of your loved one’s estate. The administrator will be named by the probate court. Typically, this will be the spouse of the person who died if the person was married. If the person was unmarried at the time of his death, then it would likely be his closest heir, such as a parent or child. If there were no heirs, then the court will name a different representative according to Iowa probate laws.

    Having the legal authority to start a lawsuit, which is known as standing to bring a lawsuit, is not the same as recovering damages. In a wrongful death case, the settlement or verdict that is recovered belongs to the estate and should be distributed accordingly. Additionally, any money that is recovered on behalf of a minor child or dependent adult is for the benefit of the child or dependent adult.

    It is important to know who has standing to bring a lawsuit and how a case works before you file a complaint in court. If you have any question about your legal authority to file a case then please contact our experienced car accident lawyers via this website today.

  • How long do I have to file a car accident case in Iowa?

    The Iowa statute of limitations gives only a limited time to file a car accident lawsuitIowa, like other states, limits the amount of time that an injured person has to file a lawsuit. This limitation is controlled by a state law is known as the statute of limitations. While lawsuits may be filed after the statute of limitations has expired, the defendant may raise the expired statute of limitations as a defense and the court will dismiss the case without any financial relief for the plaintiff.

    Why Is There a Statute of Limitations?

    Statutes of limitations are often seen as benefiting the defendants in a personal injury case because the defendants do not have to live with the possibility of an injured party filing a lawsuit indefinitely. However, there are also benefits to the plaintiff. When you file a car accident case promptly after an accident, there is a greater likelihood that useful evidence will be available and that you will get you recover more, sooner.

    What Does the Iowa Statute of Limitations Mean for Car Accident Victims?

    Generally, people who have been injured in a car accident, or the estate of a person who was killed in the crash, have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. However, this deadline may be extended if you were under the age of 18 at the time of the crash. If you were a minor when you were hurt in an Iowa car crash then you have either two years from the date of your accident or until your 19th birthday to file a car accident case.

    If you have any questions about how the statute of limitations applies to your car accident case then we encourage you to call us today at 1-800-800-5678 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced lawyer.

  • Do I need an attorney after an Iowa rideshare accident, or will the rideshare company protect me?

    Rideshare services come with a risk of serious traffic accident injuriesYes, you should contact an attorney. The law concerning liability for ride-sharing accidents is complicated. Currently, Des Moines is the only city in Iowa to have regulations for ride-sharing companies. In 2015, the Iowa House of Representatives considered a bill that would impose greater regulations on ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft. However, the Iowa Senate did not pass the bill. It is expected that similar legislation could be considered during 2016. Such legislation could include regulating when a driver is working and, thus, is covered by the ride-sharing company’s insurance policy if an accident occurs.

    What If You’re Hurt Now?

    As a passenger, you did not cause the accident. However, if you fail to take action then you may be responsible for paying your own damages. Instead, you have the right to hold the party who is liable for your accident accountable and to recover fair damages for your injuries. These parties could include:

    • The Uber, Lyft, or other ride-share driver.
    • The rideshare company.
    • Another driver who caused the accident.

    Each of these parties may have insurance policies that should compensate you for your damages. Yet, each insurance company may fight to pay you as little as possible because insurance companies maximize their profits by paying out as little as possible in claims. In the case of a rideshare accidents, the parties may try to shift the blame to one another.

    An experienced attorney can sort through these liability issues and fight hard to get you the recovery that you deserve from the party or parties that are legally responsible for paying you damages. To learn more, please start a live chat with us today and schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights and your potential recovery.

  • What happens if I’m in an Iowa car accident while I’m pregnant and my unborn baby is injured or killed?

    Your unborn child may be hurt or killed due to an Iowa vehicle accidentYour child was not yet born at the time of your crash, and thus does not have all of the same legal rights that a person has after an accident. However, if your unborn child was hurt because of someone else’s negligence, then you may be able to pursue a legal claim against the person who caused the injuries.

    Three Steps to Take If You Are in a Car Accident While Pregnant

    You may not immediately know if your unborn child has been hurt because of the accident. Accordingly, it is important to take the following steps when you are in a crash while pregnant:

    • Get medical help. A doctor should take care of any of your injuries and determine whether there is placenta abruption, premature labor, or any other pregnancy-related complication because of the crash.
    • Follow your doctors’ orders. This may help minimize any permanent damage to you or your child.
    • Talk to an attorney. The legal issues surrounding injury or death of an unborn child are complicated. Generally, in Iowa, an estate may not be established if your unborn child dies. However, you may be able to recover for your loss as an expectant parent. Additionally, if your child suffers complications from the accident after birth then an attorney may be able to help your child get the damages, and thus the care, that your child needs.

    You can’t avoid traveling by car while you are pregnant, and you can’t prevent someone else’s negligence from hurting you or your unborn child. However, you can control what you do next if you suffer this type of car accident injury. Please state a live chat with us now to learn more about your rights and about the actions you can take.

  • Who will pay for my injuries if I suffer a burn in an Iowa car accident?

    Severe burns can result from an Iowa auto crashLiability in any car accident can be complicated, but a car fire that results in a burn may be especially complex. Both the cause of the crash and the cause of the car fire must be thoroughly investigated before you can seek fair compensation from the party, or parties, who caused you the significant pain of a burn injury.

    Potential Defendants in an Iowa Car Accident Case

    The defendant(s) in your car crash case will be the persons, or companies, who caused the crash and resulting fire. This could include, for example:

    • Another driver. The collision and resulting fire may not have occurred but for the negligence of the driver who hit you.
    • The car manufacturer. The manufacturer didn’t cause the crash, but the manufacturer may have made a defective vehicle that could not safely withstand the impact without a fire occurring.
    • The car mechanic. If a mechanic was negligent in fixing a vehicle and that caused a car fire, then the mechanic could be liable for the resulting burn injuries.

    One or more of these parties could be responsible for paying for your damages.

    Why It’s Important to Pursue a Recovery Against the Right Defendant(s)

    If you bring a lawsuit against the wrong defendants, then those defendants will likely explain why they are not liable to the court and the lawsuit will be dismissed. You will not recover damages. For this reason, it is extremely important that your case be brought against the persons or companies that caused your burn injury. That way, you can recover the fair damages to which you are legally entitled.

    For more information about recovering from a burn injury or another type of car crash injury, please start a live chat with us today.

     

  • I’m worried that a driver I know is medically unfit to be driving in Iowa. Can I report that person? Should I?

    Whether you are a relative, a doctor, or just a concerned citizen, you have the right to request an evaluation of a driver whose skills you think has diminished skills that affect his driving. While you may be reluctant to be the one who brings a driver to the attention of the Iowa Department of Transportation, the referral that you make could prevent a terrible and deadly car accident.

    What Happens When You Make a Report

    When you make a report, it does not mean that the driver will automatically lose his license. Instead, the Iowa Department of Transportation Office of Driver Services will review your request and determine whether or not the driver needs to be evaluated. If the Office of Driver Services decides that the driver does not need to be evaluated, then the matter is closed and the driver keeps his license. However, if the Office of Driver Services decides that an evaluation is necessary, then the driver may be required to take the appropriate tests.

    If a driver refuses to take the tests or fails the tests, then his Iowa license will be suspended. The driver may have the option of retaking the test or appealing the Office of Driver Services decision.

    You have the right to report anyone—regardless of age—if you think he or she has a physical or mental impairment that makes it unsafe for that person to drive. Please contact the Iowa Department of Transportation Office of Driver Services for more information, and please share this article on Facebook or Twitter to let others know the importance of reporting a driver who may no longer be safe on the road.

  • I don’t live in Iowa, but I was hurt in an Iowa car accident when I was traveling through the state. What should I do now?

    The good news is that you have the same right to a fair accident recovery as permanent residents of Iowa who have been victims of traffic crashes. However, like those who live in Iowa, you will have to fight for your fair recovery if you are hurt in an Iowa car accident.

    Pursing a fair recovery may seem overwhelming once you get home. The accident scene is far away, you may not know the Iowa traffic laws, and your medical care may take place first in an Iowa hospital and later in your home state.

    What to Do When You Get Home

    As with any accident, you should:

    • Report the crash to your insurance company. Simply report the location, date, and time of the crash to the 800 number for reporting claims.
       
    • Continue getting medical care to treat your injuries. Make sure that your doctors have your records from the doctors who treated you in Iowa immediately following the accident.
       
    • Contact a personal injury lawyer to help you protect your rights. You may want to talk to an Iowa lawyer who understands the law in the jurisdiction where your accident occurred.

    After an Iowa accident, you may be able to recover damages for your past, current, and future:

    • Medical costs
    • Lost income
    • Out-of-pocket expenses
    • Pain and suffering
    • Other damages

    In order to make sure that your case is pursued in the right court and that your legal rights are protected you should speak with an Iowa attorney. That attorney can review what happened in the accident, help you determine who would be at fault, and help you fight for the recovery that you deserve. Please start a live chat with us now to find out more information and to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.

  • I was hit by a car while I was riding my bike in Iowa. What should I do?

    The steps that you take at the scene of your bicycle accident and in the days following the crash could have a profound impact on your recovery.

    At the Scene of the Accident

    What you can do at the scene of your bicycle accident will depend on your unique injuries. If you are physically able to do so, then it is important to:

    • Call 911. This will dispatch police and medical first responders.
    • Take pictures of the accident scene. This may provide important evidence later.
    • Write down or record the driver’s name, license plate number, address, phone number, and insurance information. This will allow you, your attorney, or your insurance company to contact the driver later.
    • Call a loved one. You have been through a trauma and it is helpful to have a friend or relative help you get the emergency medical care you need and help you in the often chaotic aftermath of the accident.

    In the Days Following the Crash

    There are a also important things that you can do in the days after your bike crash to protect your potential recovery. Specifically, you can:

    • Follow your doctors’ orders. This is important to both your physical and legal recoveries.
    • Watch what you say to insurance adjusters. Anything you say can later be used against you.
    • Learn more about your legal rights. As the injured party, it is up to you to protect your rights. If you fail to take action before the two-year statute of limitations ends, then you will not be able to bring a claim for your injuries.

    However, just because the burden of beginning the claim is on you does not mean that you have to handle the case on your own. Instead, you have the right to work with an experienced attorney who wants to help you get the fair recovery that you deserve. To learn more about your rights and for help protecting them, please start a live chat with us today.

  • As a parent, should I worry that my teen is going to be distracted behind the wheel and be in an accident?

    Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

    While not every teen driver is distracted behind the wheel, a new study by the AAA Foundation found that the problem may be much more common than previously thought. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics indicate that about 14 percent of accidents are caused by distracted drivers. The NHTSA’s information is gathered from police reports. However, they may not reflect the true scope of the problem.

    A New, Naturalistic Study From the University of Iowa Says the Problem May Be Much Greater

    Instead of distracted drivers being involved in 14 percent of accidents, the University of Iowa study found that distracted driving was a factor in 58 percent of accidents. Researchers looked at data from 1,691 accidents involving 16- to 19-year-old drivers who had in-vehicle video cameras installed in their cars. Specifically, researchers looked at the six seconds prior to the crashes and found that in 58 percent of the crashes, the teen driver was inattentive or engaged in non-driving related activities. The two most common distractions were interacting with passengers and cell phone use.

    What This Means for You and Your Child

    While the study did not find that every car accident involving a teen driver is caused by distracted driving, it did find that the problem may be much more common than previously thought. Accordingly, you are right to be concerned about the danger and to do what you can to protect your child, her passengers, and other drivers. To do that, you can educate your child about the dangers of looking away from the road and teach your child to be a safe driver. Then, you may be able to worry a little less as your child takes this important, yet dangerous, step toward independence.
     

  • I broke my collarbone in a car accident. Is my injury serious enough for me to pursue a lawsuit in Iowa?

    A fractured clavicle, or a broken collarbone, is a serious injury. You probably suspect that as soon as your doctor gives you a diagnosis, and you may more fully realize it as your recovery progresses. You may be unable to move your arm the way that you want to and unable to return to work.

    A Broken Collarbone Is Serious Enough to Warrant a Lawsuit…But Do You Have a Case?

    While your injury is serious and will result in significant losses—such as medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering—your injury is not the only thing that you have to consider when deciding whether or not to pursue a car accident case in Iowa.

    In order to recover from another driver, or that driver’s insurance company, you are going to have to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident and your broken collarbone. You are going to have to prove that:

    • The other driver failed to exercise reasonable care and that it was this failure that resulted in your accident. The failure to exercise reasonable care can take many forms. It could be, for example, that the driver was speeding; was drinking and driving; was driving while distracted; failed to obey a traffic sign; or followed too closely. Of course, this list is not all-inclusive and drivers may also be negligent in other ways.
    • You broke your collarbone in the accident.
    • Your injury must have happened because of the accident.

    If you can prove these things, then you may be able to recover damages for the significant injury that you have sustained. Remember, you have a limited time to pursue a car accident claim so it is important to take action today if you think you might have a case.