In Iowa, more than 3500 people have died in vehicle crashes over the past ten years, and the number of traffic fatalities has been increasing since 2018. It is estimated that the total annual cost of car accident fatalities in Iowa is $3.5 billion.
State authorities have identified five major causes of car accidents: aggressive driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, distracted driving, drowsy driving, and driving without a seatbelt. A serious accident can lead to a tragic fatality, and these poor driving behaviors can also cause accidents resulting in major or minor injuries and property damage. As well as drivers and passengers, car accidents in Iowa involve pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists.
Recovering from injuries in the aftermath of a car accident can take an incredible amount of perseverance and focus. Making insurance claims and filing for damages is a burden that many car accident victims cannot easily undertake. However, car accident victims may be eligible for several types of compensation, including lost income, medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering. Being awarded damages can be life-changing after a car accident; providing peace of mind that the financial side of things will be taken care of while recovery takes the time it needs.
A lawyer can not only make the claims process far easier; they can also apply their extensive professional knowledge to make sure their client is awarded all of the damages they are eligible for under the law. However, with a large number of personal injury lawyers in Iowa to choose from, how does a car accident victim find a good one?
Why You Need a Des Moines Car Accident Lawyer for Your Case
An Iowa car accident lawyer will have detailed knowledge of state law, and make sure these laws are enforced when it comes to their client. A lawyer will also take care of communications with insurance companies and sourcing records to build their client’s case, such as medical records and accident reports. If the insurance company does not settle out of court, a lawyer will represent their client in the court case.
A lawyer will avoid common mistakes that car accident victims make when attempting to negotiate with an insurance company directly. Insurance companies work with their own team of lawyers, and they may offer an initial low figure for a settlement. Without a lawyer to put in the time and energy to negotiate for every expense the victim is entitled to, the victim may accept a lowball offer just to get the process over with and divert their energy back to their recovery. A lawyer can also do a thorough investigation of the at-fault party’s insurance coverage and assets to ensure the victim receives the maximum amount of damages they are entitled to.
What is the Best Way to Research a Good Car Accident Lawyer in Iowa?
A law firm with an attractive website or billboard has clearly invested a lot of money in marketing, but a potential client should look further to decide if the lawyer is right for them. Does an internet search reveal positive reviews from independent sources? What is the firm’s track record in winning settlements for their clients, and in what amounts? What feedback do former clients have about the lawyer’s communication? Looking for these answers in a law firm’s promotional materials – and seeking independent recommendations – can help a car accident victim find the right lawyer for their case.
Your First Meeting with a Des Moines Car Accident Lawyer: What to Expect
It is important for any car accident victim to only agree to a meeting if the first consultation is free. A car accident lawyer will only take a case after assessing if the car accident victim will be able to collect damages, and there are situations where a car accident victim may not need a lawyer to make a claim from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
For example, if the victim or their passengers did not experience any injuries, only damage to their car, a claim could be made directly with the at-fault party’s insurance company without a lawyer’s assistance. Additionally, if the victim(s) only experienced minor injuries that could be treated easily without hospital care, or there has already been a fair settlement offered to the victim by the at-fault party’s insurance company, the lawyer may not need to offer any further services.
However, if a settlement has been already offered to the victim by the insurance company, it is advisable to consult a lawyer to read through it if 1) the victim had serious injuries that required hospitalization 2) permanent injury was suffered, or 3) the accident involved driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Cases with these factors are more complicated, and a car accident lawyer will ensure that the settlement includes all of the damages the victim is entitled to.
Collaborating with a Des Moines Car Accident Lawyer: What it’s Like
If the car accident victim and the lawyer decide to work together after the initial consultation, the lawyer should advise the new client about how they will communicate (and how often), and if they will also work with other members of the law firm. This is essential for a good working relationship – no client wants to be kept waiting for updates or unsure about what will happen next. The client will also need to provide some types of documentation and records in order to help build the case, and the lawyer should advise in detail what the client needs to give them, and when.
Understanding the Cost of Hiring a Des Moines Car Accident Lawyer
In personal injury cases, such as car accidents, the lawyer will generally get their fee based on contingency, meaning there is no payment made up front. The lawyer will take a percentage of the damages awarded to their client. This means 1) the client does not have to worry about a retainer, or making ongoing payments and 2) the lawyer’s motivation is to negotiate for the highest possible settlement for their client, including all of the damages the accident victim is entitled to.