Questions We Are Asked Each Week By Clients...

We are often asked questions like how much should the insurance company pay?  How are my weekly benefits calculated?, etc.  So we have put together some of the questions we here the most and the answers to them.  We hope this helps you avoid making a mistake in your Iowa personal injury, car accident, dog bite, work injury or other injury matter.

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  • How does workers' compensation and employer's liability work?

    Every state including Iowa has laws in place to protect the rights of workers when they’ve been injured on the job. These laws require all employers to carry workers’ compensation policies, which pay for medical care and lost wages when an employee is hurt at work.

    But some become confused about workers' compensation and employer's liability – i.e., must an employer be liable for an injury in order to recover compensation?

    In workers’ compensation cases, there is a no-fault rule that eliminates the need to prove that your employer caused your work-related accident, injury or illness. If your condition is a direct result of your work duties or related to an incident that occurred while performing your job, you are entitled to recover benefits under workers' compensation laws.

    Can I file a lawsuit if my employer was negligent?

    Generally, no, you cannot file a lawsuit against an employer, even if the employer was negligent and caused your injuries. Workers' compensation not only protects workers by ensuring they have benefits available to them in the event of an injury, but also protects employers from liability in most cases.

    The exception to this rule may be if the employer intentionally caused the injury. But this is rare and can be difficult to prove, so in most cases, you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer.

    What if somebody else was negligent? Can I still get workers' comp?

    Yes, if another party other than your employer or a co-worker caused your injury, you may recover workers' compensation benefits, provided that the injury occurred during the scope of your employment.

    So if you were in a car accident on the way to work, this generally is not considered in the scope of your employment, and you would be unlikely to qualify for workers' compensation. You could pursue a liability claim against the other driver, though, if that driver caused your wreck, if you can prove liability.

    But if you were in a car accident while running errands for your employer, then you may be entitled to workers' compensation whether you were at fault or not. And if the other party was liable for your accident, you may also be able to pursue a third-party liability claim in addition to workers' compensation benefits; but you'll have to prove the other party's liability. Review how these cases affect each other with your lawyer.

    What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?

    Workers’ compensation coverage is designed to pay for medical bills related to your injury. This may include examinations, tests such as X-rays or MRIs, prescription medications, therapy services or follow-up visits. Workers’ compensation benefits also pay for reasonable mileage reimbursement for your traveling requirements to receive care.

    You are also entitled to disability benefits. There are several types of disability benefits for which you may be eligible depending on the circumstances of your case, so consult a lawyer about the types and amount of damages you may recover.

    Walker, Billingsley & Bair Can Help with Workers’ Compensation Cases

    Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines is dedicated to helping workers obtain fair workers' compensation and settlements for work-related injuries or illnesses. We understand the laws surrounding workers’ compensation claims and we can help you navigate the complex claims process. Especially in cases where a partial or total disability is the result of the work-related accident or illness, it is essential that your rights are protected and that you receive the type of compensation to which you are entitled.

    Call us today at 888-435-9886 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney.

  • Can I still file a dog bite claim if I killed the dog during the attack?

    In some instances of dog attacks, the victim attacked may kill the dog in self-defense. Killing a dog during a dog attack may leave the victim feeling badly for the dog in some cases, and also lead to legal questions about whether one could face criminal charges and how it affects their ability to recover compensation in a dog bite claim. If you’ve killed a dog in self-defense in Des Moines, here’s what you need to know about your legal rights.

    Iowa Strict Liability Statute

    When it comes to dog bite law in Iowa, the state has a strict liability statute. A strict liability statute means that in the case that a dog attacks another person, the owner of the dog is almost always liable. This law can be found in Iowa Code 351.28, which reads, “The owner of a dog shall be liable to an injured party for all damages done by the dog, when…the dog is acting or attempting to bite a person…” The exception to this law is in the case that the victim was doing an unlawful act, such as trespassing.

    Iowa Self-Defense Laws for Dog Attacks

    In most cases, killing a dog during a dog attack is justified if the action is in self-defense. According to Iowa Code Ann. Section 717B.2, a person is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor if he or she "intentionally injures, maims, disfigures, or destroys and animal owned by another person…" But this shall not apply if the "person is reasonably acting to protect a person from injury or death caused by an unconfined animal," which might be the case in a dog attack.

    Do I have a personal injury case?

    If you have killed a dog in self-defense, but sustained injuries before the death of the dog occurred, then you may still have a case for damages. The exception to this rule would be if, as noted above, you were committing an illegal action at the time of attack or if the dog had rabies and the dog owner was not aware of the dog's condition.

    Assuming that you were not committing an illegal action, and the dog was not rabid, then the dog owner may be liable for injuries regardless of whether or not the dog was killed in self-defense.

    Contact a Dog Bite Attorney if Injured in Des Moines

    If you killed a dog in self-defense and are concerned about whether you can still recover damages that you suffered, get help from an attorney. The dog bite attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair can walk you through your legal rights and help you exercise those rights to recover compensation. Call us today at 888-435-9886 to get started. 

  • How long does it take to settle a car accident claim in Des Moines?

    There is no specific amount of time it takes to settle car accident claims in Des Moines. How long it takes to settle a car accident claim depends upon numerous factors, which adds a lot of variability to timeframes. A simple, straightforward case with no injuries might settle in under a month, whereas a serious or highly contentious case might take a year or more.

    Factors that Affect Settling a Car Accident Claim

    There is no one-size-fits-all claim completion schedule; each has its own unique circumstances and potential speed bumps. Below are a few of the factors that can affect how long a claim might take.

    • Seriousness of injuries: When there is a serious or catastrophic injury involved, claims can take much longer. The case will not settle until there is a clear picture of the extent of the injuries. Doctors need time to assess the overall expected impact the injury will have on the victim’s life.
    • Fault is argued: In situations where fault and negligence are being argued, it may take some time for the parties to reach a settlement.
    • Extensive damages: Claims that have a high value will take longer to settle. Insurers may try to argue their way out of having to pay large settlements by either trying to refute your injuries, minimize their severity, or apportion blame to you.
    • Complexity: If there are multiple parties involved, or if there is also a third-party claim such as for a car manufacturer, the case can take longer than average..

    Speeding along Your Claim

    Much of the claims process is out of your hands, but there are several things you may be able to do to speed along the settlement. First and foremost: be diligent and timely. When your attorney asks you for information, provide it as soon as possible.

    You can also do a lot of the footwork involved in a claim to assist your attorney. For instance, you can collect the police report, your medical records and bills, and any other required documents on your own and share them with your lawyer.

    Making Ends Meet in the Interim

    If you are injured and not able to return to work, it’s quite understandable to want to rush to settlement. Rushing and signing the first settlement that comes your way isn’t advisable, though, because you’ll often get far less than what your claim is actually worth.

    To make ends meet while awaiting your claim to settle, you might talk to family or friends for a personal loan. You can use what resources you may have available such as savings, disability insurance, or public assistance. As a last ditch effort, you might consider personal injury lawsuit funding. You can speak to your lawyer about what that type of funding entails.

    Get a Free Legal Consult with a Car Accident Lawyer in Des Moines

    If you don’t have an attorney, you should know that having legal representation may benefit you as you work toward a settlement. Car accident victims who have lawyers get much larger settlements, with the added benefit of having a professional legal confidante throughout each step of the legal process.

    For a free consultation with a car accident attorney in Des Moines, call  Walker, Billingsley & Bair today at 888-435-9886.

  • How do I schedule/reschedule a workers compensation hearing?

    You can schedule or reschedule a workers’ compensation hearing by following the procedures provided on the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) website. However, many workers feel intimidate by the process and fear they’ll make an error that could be costly for their case. An attorney can assist you with scheduling your hearing, as well as preparing you for the meeting, and helping you present the facts to the overseer.

    Scheduling a Workers’ Compensation Hearing

    The first step in scheduling a hearing is to look at the court calendar and determine which dates have openings. To check the calendar, you can visit the DWC’s hearing schedule page and select “Venue” in the left sidebar. After selecting blue arrow beside the appropriate venue, e.g., Des Moines, you can search in the third column for any dates that are highlighted in blue. These are dates that are available.

    Once you’ve selected a couple of possible dates, you’ll need to make sure each party approves of the date(s) before requesting a hearing. You then email the DWC with your hearing request using the email address listed on the hearing schedule page.

    When you request a hearing, you must include the following information in your email.

    • The file number
    • All parties' names
    • Your preferred hearing dates and times
    • The venue in which you want your case to be heard.

    What You Can Expect at the Hearing

    Your case will be heard by the workers' compensation commissioner, the head of the DWC. It’s the DWC’s job to administer, regulate, and enforce the workers’ compensation laws, and it’s the commissioner’s job to oversee disputes.

    At the hearing, the commissioner is to remain unbiased, hear both sides of the case, and make a determination based on all the presented evidence. 

    Some of the evidence she can take into consideration when determining the outcome of your case include the following.

    • New medical records
    • Recent treatment results
    • Your pain/injury journal
    • New developments in your condition
    • Records and notes from medical professionals
    • Second opinions

    Unfortunately, many workers’ comp claims are denied because of insufficient evidence. If you’re concerned with the outcome of your hearing, it’s wise to have a legal professional help you prepare for and present your case.

    There is too much at stake to not have the support, counsel, and back-up you need at the hearing. Even the DWC states on its site, “Though not required, it is usually advisable to consider the need for legal representation when filing a contested-case proceeding.”

    Rescheduling a Hearing

    If you need to reschedule your hearing, you essentially go through the same procedure as mentioned above for initial scheduling. When you’ve selected a few possible dates and times and have cleared them with the other party, you’ll need to reschedule the hearing via phone.

    You can call the DWC rescheduling number at (515) 281-6621 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Monday through Friday. If you have hired an attorney to assist you, he or she will likely handle any scheduling or rescheduling for you.

    Get a FREE Consult with a Workers’ Comp Attorney in Des Moines

    To discuss your case with a workers’ comp attorney in Des Moines, or to inquire about how an attorney can help you prepare for a hearing and improve your chances of a successful claim, contact our office,  Walker, Billingsley & Bair. Contact us today for a free consultation at 515-440-2852.

  • Can an employee injured at a company event in Des Moines still file for workers’ comp?

    An employee injured at a company event in Des Moines may or may not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, depending upon the nature of the event. This is a highly complex area of the law and the courts often have difficulty making rulings about employer responsibility at events.

    If you were injured at a company social, conference, off-site meeting, or other event while not officially on the clock, seek advice from a workers’ compensation attorney.

    Determining Eligibility for Workers’ Comp if an Employee is Injured at a Company Event

    Generally speaking, if you are injured while performing a job-related duty during the course of your employment, you are covered by workers’ compensation. The area becomes a little grey when you are injured at a company event and not necessarily while at your place of employment and not during working hours.

    The Iowa Division of Workers' Compensation or the courts will have to determine the employer’s liability for the injury based on whether or not the event can be considered truly work-related.

    Below are a couple of guiding factors the courts often use when making their determinations.

    • Were you expressly or implicitly required to attend the event?  
    • Did your employer receive benefit by your attendance?
    • Was your company assigned to the event?
    • Did it occur on company property?

    Litmus Test of Employer Liability for Employee Injured at a Company Event

    Iowa courts use a general litmus test for determining employer liability at company events, referred to as the “business-related benefit test.”  Essentially, if the company benefits from the event, it might be responsible for employee injuries at the event.

    However, if the only benefit the company receives is a boost in morale, the injured worker may not be eligible for workers’ compensation. It’s difficult to ascertain company liability in some instances; each case is different and needs to be carefully analyzed by a legal professional.

    For example, if you were injured while you were voluntarily at a company picnic, you weren’t paid, you didn’t have to be there, and your employer did not benefit from your attendance, you will likely not qualify for workers’ comp. Conversely, if you were at a mandatory off-site conference or if you were manning a concession table for your company at a community event, you will likely qualify.

    Example of Employee Injured at Company Event & Who Sought Workers’ Comp

    In the case of Gazette Communications v. Powell, a man injured himself while at a bowling event that an employee committee had sponsored. The workers’ comp commissioner decided that because the company benefited from the employee’s participation, workers’ compensation applied.

    However, the district court and the Court of Appeals later overturned that answer. They found that “morale and efficiency benefits are not alone enough to bring recreation within the course of employment.” So, because the sole benefit the employer received was an increase in employee morale, the event was not within the scope of employment.

    Our Workers’ Comp Attorneys Can Determine Your Eligibility

    If you were an employee injured at a company event in Des Moines and believe you’re eligible for workers’ compensation, we encourage you to give us a call to talk about your options. You might be eligible for benefits or additional types of compensation such as a third-party claim if another party (like a property owner or manager) was negligent and you suffered an injury because of that negligence.

    Contact us today at Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines for a free consultation: (641) 792-3595.

  • I need a doctor in Iowa to rate a burn injury from a work accident. Where can I go?

    Thousands of workers are injured every year while on the job or doing work-related tasks. When a worker in Des Moines sustains an injury while on the job, they are usually covered by workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation often provides benefits in the form of medical care, disability benefits, death benefits, and more.

    One type of injury that’s relatively common in some types of industries is burn injuries. Burns can range in severity, and often require medical attention and assessment. If you suffer such an injury and wish to seek workers’ comp, you’ll need a doctor in Iowa to rate the burn injury from your work accident. Here’s what you need to know about finding a doctor to rate the severity of the burn.

    Who chooses medical care?

    In Iowa, the law stipulates that if you want workers’ compensation to pay for your doctor and healthcare expenses, then you will have to receive treatment from a healthcare professional your company selects. Essentially, the employer has the right to choose the doctor that the employee sees. Ask your employer or supervisor to direct you to an approved doctor.

    The doctor will give you an impairment rating for your burn injury. If you feel the rating is too low, then you can request another examination by a doctor that you choose. Your employer pays for this independent medical examination (IME).

    Why should I get an IME after the company doctor rates my burn injury?

    When it comes to serious medical issues, getting a second opinion is often a good idea. A burn injury can range in severity, as you may have a first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree burn. Third-degree burns are the most extreme, and may cause permanent disfigurement because they affect all layers of skin and even muscles or other tissue.

    The degree of burn that you have may affect the benefits to which you’re entitled under workers’ compensation law. A first-degree burn may cause no impairment, for example, while a third-degree burn may cause lasting impairment that warrants a higher impairment rating.

    Permanent Partial Disability Benefits for Burns

    If your burn injuries cause permanent impairment, you may recover permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. These provide 80 percent of pre-injury wages for a number of weeks depending on the body part that’s affected and the impairment rating issued by a doctor (for scheduled member disabilities).

    For example, if the burns cause permanent disfigurement on the face or head, then the worker is entitled to a maximum of 150 weeks of PPD benefits. If the impairment rating is 50 percent, then the number of weeks would be 50 percent of 150 weeks, or 75 weeks.

    In the case of an unscheduled member disability, the impairment rating plays a role in benefits, but many other factors are taken into consideration as well when determining PPD benefits.

    Hire a Lawyer if You Have a Dispute about Your PPD Benefits

    If you have been burned at work and are unhappy with the burn rating your doctor is issuing and need a doctor in Iowa to rate a burn injury from a work accident, you may see another doctor. If you are still disputing your benefits, you can seek help from an attorney.

    At Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines, our attorneys can provide legal relief during this difficult time. For help with medical care, filing a workers’ compensation claim, or getting the benefits you deserve, call us today at 888-435-9886 to get started. 

  • I injured my shoulder while performing a task at work. What should I do?

    When you’re injured in the workplace, there are a variety of steps you need to take to ensure you get the compensation you deserve, including filing a claim for workers’ compensation. If you’ve injured your shoulder while performing a task at work, refer to the following for what you should do.

    Injuries are a common occurrence in the workplace. In the state of Iowa in 2012, there were 4.5 total recordable cases of nonfatal occupational injuries per 100 full-time workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Seek Medical Attention if You Injured Your Should While Performing a Task at Work

    If you’ve sustained a shoulder injury, the first thing that you should do is seek medical attention from one of the following.

    • a first aid team.
    • emergency room doctor.
    • or, other type of doctor or specialist.

    This person(s) will provide you with the care you need, a diagnosis of the type of shoulder injury, and give you valuable medical information about your shoulder injury that will be essential when pursuing workers’ compensation benefits.                                                 

    Notify Your Employer if You Injured Your Should While Performing a Task at Work

    After receiving medical attention, the next most important thing you should do is to notify your employer of the injury. According to Iowa Worker’s Compensation Law Section 85.23, the law requires that the employer have notice of the employee’s injury within 90 days of the injury. As such, the sooner you inform your employer of the injury, the better. If you fail to inform your employer of your injury within the 90-day period, you risk forfeiting benefits.

    Document the Work-related Shoulder Injury

    When a workplace injury occurs, it is important to keep a thorough record of the injury and any related information.

    • when the injury occurred.
    • where the injury occurred.
    • what you were doing when the injury occurred.
    • why you were doing what you were doing when the injury occurred.
    • any medical information about the injury.
    • the conversation you had with your employer regarding the injury.
    • and, any other relative information regarding your shoulder injury.

    This documentation may prove to be essential in getting you the benefits you deserve when applying for workers’ compensation.

    File a Claim for Workers’ Compensation

    The majority of employees in Iowa are covered by workers’ compensation in the event that they receive an injury while at work, and, a shoulder injury that is the result of employment activities is also covered.

    If you have been injured at work, it’s important that you file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer or work supervisor should help you to file a report of injury, which will then be sent to a claims’ management service.

    If your claim is approved, you will begin receiving benefits immediately. If your claim is denied, you will be sent a letter in the mail. In the case that your claim for workers’ compensation is denied, you need to seek the help of a workers’ compensation attorney immediately.

    Seek the Help of a Lawyer if You Injured Your Should While Performing a Task at Work

    The law is designed to protect those injured while working. Unfortunately, some workers’ compensation claims are unfairly denied. If your claim is denied, or if you do not think you have received the benefits to which you are entitled under the law, seek the assistance of a legal professional.

    At attorney can help you to gather the documentation you need and will work to get you the benefits you deserve. If your claim has been denied or if you need help with the workers’ compensation claims filing process, don’t wait any longer to take action. At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, our attorneys are ready to work for you. To start fighting for your rights today, call our offices at 888-435-9886 or contact us online

  • How much is permanently disabled back injury case worth to workman’s comp?

    If you sustained a permanently disabled back injury, workman’s comp is available if it is work-related. In Iowa, you may be entitled to permanent disability benefits. Consult an attorney to help you explore your options and file a claim. A qualified attorney will handle your workers’ compensation case and deal with any objections or denials so you can focus on getting well.

    What criteria do I have to meet to be eligible for workman’s comp benefits?

    In Iowa, to recover workers’ compensation benefits, you must be able to prove that your injury is related to your work duties or environment. An injury, for these purposes, is defined by the Iowa Administrative Code as “any health impairment other than the normal building up and tearing down of body tissues.”

    While many permanently disabled back injuries are the result of a sudden injury like falling from a height, some are related to overexertion over a longer period of time that can cause a serious back injury.

    Can I receive permanent disability workman’s comp benefits?

    If you have received a prognosis from your medical team that your back injury is permanent in nature, you may be eligible for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits at the conclusion of the healing period, that is, when the worker goes back to work, can return to similar employment, or further healing is not anticipated. PPD benefits pay 80 percent of the worker’s spendable earnings up to $1,447 as of 2014.

    Iowa code Section 85.34 mandates that these benefits are distributed based on the seriousness of the permanent disability and, if appropriate, how it affects your ability to earn a living for the remainder of your lifetime. A permanently disabled back injury is an unscheduled disability, so more than just a doctor’s impairment rating – based on the AMA Guidelines to Permanent Impairment – is important to determine duration of benefits.

    The overall calculation process is complex and involves multiple factors designed to anticipate your loss of financial achievement over the duration of your entire remaining life.

    • age.
    • level of education.
    • changes in wages because of the injury.
    • and, more.

    In some cases, the claimant receives a settlement early in the process, and it’s important that you are wary of any initial offers. You could be entitled to much more than the insurer initially offered, and your attorney should review any such settlement agreements.

    What if I am totally and permanently disabled?

    If your permanently disabled back injury completely prevents you from working, workman’s comp may provide permanent total disability (PTD). This provides 80 percent of weekly spendable earnings up to $1,572 as of 2014. These benefits are available for as long as the injury is permanent and totally disabling.

    Call Walker, Billingsley & Bair for help

    Of course, lifetime medical benefits are also recoverable to pay for medical treatment and care for as long as needed whether you receive PPD or PTD. This can help ensure you receive proper treatment for the injury.

    If you’re suffering from a permanently disabling back injury, workman’s comp can help you recover medical and disability benefits. Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines can help you pursue fair benefits. We will help you file a claim, deal with any disputes, appeal a denied claim, and help with other aspects of the process as well. Call us today at 888-435-9886 or use our online contact form to set up an appointment with an attorney.

  • How much compensation for an annular tear at work?

    How much compensation for an annular tear at work can vary greatly depending on the circumstances of your injury. Read on for more information about annular tears and the workers' compensation benefits for which you may be eligible.

    What are annular tears?

    Annular tears are injuries to the intervertebral discs of the neck and back. These tears or rips occur in the exterior of the disc and can be attributed to general aging, everyday activity or trauma. For example, overuse at work or a sudden accident can cause these injuries. Annular tears can cause extreme pain and discomfort.

    How do I know what caused my annular tear?

    Because some annular tears can be linked to the natural aging process, it is important that you discuss your particular symptoms and work activities with your doctor to help determine if your injury could be work-related. The following list of types of annular tears might help you prepare for any conversations about your injury. The nature of the annular tear and what layers of the disc it affects can help tell your doctor what type of tear you’re experiencing and what the causes might be.

    • Concentric tears: This type of tear is typically caused by injury. It appears between the annulus fibrosus layers circumferentially.
    • Rim lesion: Common causes for rim lesions include injury and bone spurs. They occur in the outer layers of the discs.
    • Radial tears: This type of tear is often attributed to aging and begins in the center of the disc and extends through the outer layers. If you have a radial tear, ask your doctor if this could be the result of repetitive work-related activities.

    How do I know if I’m eligible for workers' compensation benefits?

    You must be able to prove an injury that is related to your work duties or environment to be considered for workers' compensation benefits. An injury, for these purposes, is defined by the Iowa Administrative Code as “any health impairment other than the normal building up and tearing down of body tissues.”

    In the case of annular tears, it is important to be able to prove that the natural aging process is not the cause of your injury when seeking benefits.

    In addition, you must be an employee working in Iowa to qualify for benefits. If you are a contracted proprietor who is not classified as an employee, you may not be eligible for workers' compensation.

    Figuring Out How Much Compensation for an Annular Tear

    Workers' compensation benefits include compensation for the following benefits.

    • Medical benefits: Your medical care and treatments should be covered by workers' compensation. This benefit includes reasonable lost wages for attending treatments or therapies as well as necessary expenses for transportation.
    • Disability benefits: Injured or disabled Iowa workers are entitled to up to 80 percent of weekly spendable earnings in disability benefits. The maximum weekly compensation amount is $1,419.00 for permanent partial disability (PPD), or $1,543.00 for temporary total disability (TTD), temporary partial disability (TPD) or during a healing period (HP). Death benefits are also capped at $1,543.00 per week.

    Call Walker, Billingsley & Bair

    If you’re suffering from annular tears and you believe it is a result of your work activities or an injury you sustained on the job, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Walker, Billingsley & Bair can help figure out how much compensation for an annular tear, handle any disputes, and appeal a denied claim. Call us today at 888-435-9886 to set up a free consultation in Des Moines.

  • What happens if my damages exceed coverage in an insurance claim?

    If your medical damages exceed coverage on a car insurance policy, the options available depend on two important factors. One is who caused the accident and the other is the terms of an auto insurance policy or other financial resources. 

    Options if Damages Exceed Coverage and You’re at Fault

    The most important thing to determine after getting injured in an accident is who is at fault. If you caused the crash, it's your responsibility to take care of the medical bills. If you only carry liability coverage, it won't help cover your own damages. But if you have other types of car insurance coverage, it may cover your damages up to policy limits.

    For instance, if you purchased medical payments coverage it will pay for those costs up to the limits of the policy. It's available no matter who was at fault for the accident. But any expenses that exceed policy limits will need to come out of your own pocket, or your health insurance may cover the costs. This may require you meet your deductible and make co-payments though.

    Options if Damages Exceed Coverage and Another Party is at Fault

    If the other driver was at fault for the crash, his or her liability insurance should cover the medical claims. Of course, that also depends on policy limits. The minimum amount required for bodily injury liability for one person is $20,000. So if that's what the other driver has for coverage and costs exceed that amount, you will need to consider other options.

    For instance, if you purchased underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage, this helps pay for medical costs that exceed the liable driver's policy limits. Again, it's up to the amount of coverage you have available. Let's say the other driver's insurance covers $25,000 in medical claims but they total $30,000. Your UIM coverage will pay for the remaining $5,000. Your own health insurance coverage may also help.

    Another option might be to file a lawsuit against the other driver to recover the full amount of your damages. This can be difficult in some cases if the at-fault driver does not have assets and resources to pay for the full extent of your damages. Talk to your attorney about the options that may be available.

    Talk to Lawyer if Medical Damages Exceed Car Insurance Coverage Limits

    It's important to talk with an attorney if you’re facing substantial medical costs and not sure how to pay them. When someone else is at fault for your Des Moines accident, you need to make sure there's adequate evidence to prove liability; an attorney can help with this aspect of your case as well.

    Of course, it's not just medical bills that cause concern for injured drivers. When the injuries are serious it could also result in weeks, months or even longer of missed time from work. This will increase the financial burden when unable to make a living. Also, you may qualify to recover other types of damages that address the physical and/or emotional losses.

    Speak with a lawyer at Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines to learn more about your legal options and for help pursuing them. Call us at 888-435-9886 or contact us online to set up a consultation about your case.