A car accident can leave a lot in its aftermath – damage to vehicles, injuries, and the medical bills, lost income and repair costs that come with them. When dealing with the outcome of a car accident caused by another driver, there may be some doubt if you need to consult a lawyer. When should you get a lawyer after a car accident in Iowa?
Did the Accident Result in Serious Injuries?
A personal injury lawyer can help recover damages for an accident victim if they suffer serious injury. However, if the car accident results in only minor injuries or no injuries at all, the victim may not require a lawyer. In a personal injury settlement case, the value of the settlement is dependent on the severity of the injuries. If only minor injuries have been suffered, the victim will not be entitled to financial compensation and it will not make financial sense to hire a lawyer.
Some guidelines to gauge if injuries suffered in a car accident are serious enough to justify hiring a personal injury lawyer are:
medical bills total over $5000
the victim misses more than two weeks of work
What is the Extent of the Vehicle’s Damage?
When claiming damages in a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident, and the victim was also in a vehicle when injured, a vehicle with significant damage is strong supporting evidence of an injury that deserves compensation. A personal injury lawyer can help make the case to an insurance company or jury. Conversely, if the vehicle has only minor damages, it can be difficult to prove the accident caused serious injuries and therefore a basis for compensation.
How Can a Lawyer Assist a Car Accident Victim?
If a car accident victim has sustained serious injuries and/or damage to their vehicle, a lawyer can assist a victim in building their case in a number of ways.
A lawyer is an expert in liability law. Iowa is an at-fault state, and under the law, parties that cause car accidents are required to pay for the damages caused. A lawyer’s job is to know how at-fault parties and insurance companies are required to compensate the victims of a car accident, and how to get the maximum compensation under the law. A lawyer will also know every type of compensation for which a car accident victim is eligible, and aggressively pursue the claim with the insurance company or at-fault party
A lawyer will be able to request records from authorities to support the victim’s case, and/or engage expert witnesses. A lawyer will know exactly what types of documentation are required to support the victim’s claim, such as accident reports and medical records. The victim can focus on their recovery and the lawyer will make sure all of the documentation is in order to build a strong case for their client. A lawyer can also work with expert witnesses who can help strengthen the victim’s case in court.
A lawyer will not be intimidated by a denied claim. When negotiating with an insurance company as an individual, the insurers may try to deny some or all of the victim’s claim, or offer a settlement lower than what the victim is entitled to. As an individual, it can be easy to just accept the first offer, or give up if compensation is denied. A lawyer will continue to negotiate for the best deal for their client and get the maximum amount of compensation possible.
What Damages Can an Iowa Lawyer Help Me Recover After a Car Accident?
A personal injury claim can include a number of different types of damages. Compensation for damages incurred in a car accident include:
Medical bills, such as ambulance fees, overnight hospital stays, surgeries, prescription drugs, follow-up doctor visits, physical therapy, and assistive devices.
Lost income from missing work due to recovery time from injuries, attending doctor’s appointments and physical therapy sessions. Accident victims can also lose income if their injuries are permanently debilitating and they can no longer perform the same work-related tasks they could before the accident.
Pain and suffering (also called non-economic damages) experienced as a loss of enjoyment, mental anguish, long-lasting physical pain, and emotional pain.
Property damage to the victim’s vehicle and personal items inside the vehicle.
Are There Limits to Damages for Personal Injuries in Iowa?
In the state of Iowa, there are no limits to non-economic damages (pain and suffering) from injuries caused by a car accident. However, there is a statute of limitations of two years to claim compensation for pain and suffering, so accident victims should not wait to contact a lawyer and begin building their case.
What Should I Do Immediately After a Car Accident in Iowa?
The police should be called and the accident reported. If there is any chance the victim would like to file a personal injury lawsuit, it is extremely important the authorities visit the scene of the accident, document the damage, and interview witnesses. This information could be vital in supporting a personal injury claim and proving the fault of the other party.
The victim should seek medical attention immediately. It’s very important after a car accident not to ignore or delay medical care. In order to support their claim for damages in a personal injury lawsuit, the victim should keep careful records of hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, and even time spent traveling to and from doctor visits and physical therapy appointments. The victim should also keep a “recovery journal” to keep track of their progress in healing from their injuries, their pain levels, and mental and emotional states. These records are important in claiming non-economic damages for pain and suffering.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Iowa, our experienced Des Moines Cae accident lawyers can navigate the legal system on your behalf and help you get the compensation you deserve. Even if you are unsure if you need a lawyer for your particular case, our initial consultation is free. Contact us or call us at 515-444-4000 today.