Over 100,000 Iowans were involved in car accidents in 2021, and over 1400 suffered serious injuries. The aftermath of a car accident can be extremely stressful. When suffering injuries and property damage, it can be overwhelming to deal with pursuing a personal injury claim. Hiring a car accident lawyer means the car accident victim has access to legal expertise and an advocate through the settlement process. The victim can focus on recovery from their injuries and getting back to their normal lives as soon as possible.
Why Hire an Attorney After a Car Crash?
- An Iowa car accident lawyer will make sure their client is treated fairly according to state laws
- A lawyer will handle communication with insurance companies and ensure all the details are handled
- Careful evaluation of the all the relevant insurance policies to account for all of the damages the client is eligible to receive
- Communicating with medical providers to obtain all the needed records so that all medical expenses are properly reimbursed
- A car accident can represent their client in court.
A car accident lawyer can also prevent common mistakes car accident victims make when they negotiate with insurance companies themselves:
- Accepting an offer that is too low. In that case, the victim will still have outstanding bills.
- Not receiving a sworn affidavit of the at-fault party’s assets and accepting their insurance limits, which may not cover all of the damages the victim is entitled to.
- Failing to claim reimbursement for Uninsured Motorist coverage from their own insurance company.
Taking Care of Your Immediate Medical Needs: A Crucial First Step
The first step for a car accident victim is to make sure they immediately seek medical care. Even if the injuries do not seem serious at first, the full extent may not be revealed until later. Having a doctor’s exam and diagnostic tests, such as x-rays, will ensure the victim will get on the road to recovery without delay.
Finding the Right Car Accident Lawyer in Iowa: Tips and Considerations
When hiring a car accident lawyer, it’s important not to go by advertisements or listings only. Law firms advertise heavily online, on billboards and in print media. Although the ad may look good, a lawyer’s reputation is far more important. Positive reviews and recommendations are extremely important. An accident victim should look for testimonials about the lawyer’s communication style. Did they respond to inquiries quickly, provide updates about the case regularly, and handle questions with empathy and professionalism? The lawyer should have extensive experience in personal injury claims, particularly car accidents, and evidence of the claims they have won on behalf of their previous clients. The lawyer may also have ratings based on a number of positive reviews.
Initial Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer: What to Expect
After researching a law firm’s reputation and testimonials, the car accident victim should schedule a consultation to review the details of the case. The initial consultation should be free. An experienced lawyer will not accept a plaintiff’s case without reviewing the details, and making sure the car accident victim has grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. An ethical lawyer will not accept a case if the victim has little to no chance of receiving a settlement.
There are several examples where a car accident victim will likely not need to hire a lawyer:
- The accident resulted only in property damage to the victim’s vehicle, and the costs are covered by the at-fault party’s insurance company.
- The victim only suffered minor injuries, which were easily treated with minimal care from medical professionals.
- The insurance company offers a settlement that fairly covers the victim’s costs, and all damages are accounted for.
However, even if the accident victim decides to negotiate a settlement, a car accident lawyer should be consulted before the final agreement to ensure the insurance company is compensating the client for all of the damages they are entitled to. This is especially important if:
- The car accident victim spent time in the hospital while recovering from their injuries
- Surgery was required to treat the victim from injuries that occurred because of the accident
- The injuries suffered in the accident are permanent
- The at-fault party was driving drunk or under the influence of drugs.
Once a car accident lawyer is hired, they should review the next steps with the client. How often will the client and lawyer communicate? Will communications take the form of email, phone calls, online meetings, or face-to-face meetings? How much time will the lawyer allocate for the client? Will associates at the law firm also work with the client? What kind of documentation will the lawyer require? What kinds of evidence or supporting documents will be provided from the client and which will be requested from the source by the lawyer? It’s important for all of these expectations to be laid out in the initial meeting with the lawyer so the client knows exactly what to expect, and there is no confusion later.
Establish the Fee Structure
Many car accident lawyers take their payment on contingency. Contingency means that a fee is charged only under certain conditions. If the car accident lawyer hired is paid on a contingency basis, it means the client will not be charged an hourly fee for their time, or for a payment up front. The fee will be taken out of the client’s settlement payment. In many cases, this is a third of the payment awarded to the client for damages. A contingency fee means the client can breathe easy, knowing the time they need to consult with their lawyer is not being charged by the minute. It also means that winning the largest settlement possible for the client is also in the best interests of the lawyer, and they are highly motivated to get the maximum award for their client.
After reviewing the process of hiring a car accident lawyer in Iowa, by contacting us or calling us at 515-444-4000 for a free consultation, you can review your case and see if working with us on a case is right for you.