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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  • Can I file a truck accident claim if my vehicle was struck from falling cargo and not the truck itself?

    Drivers struck by falling cargo from a large truck can file a truck accident claim, this is called an unsecured load and unfortunately, most truck accident lawyers are very familiar with this situation. Many times, the cargo is secured inside a tractor trailer, but sometimes the cargo is not enclosed in a trailer.

    The cargo, such as pipes, logs and boxes, may be exposed. If the cargo is not secure, then the cargo can enter the roadway creating a very dangerous hazard. An Iowa law firm in Des Moines can help victims of accidents caused by this loose cargo establish accident liability and recover compensation for damages.

    Filing a Truck Accident Claim

    Even if the truck does not physically crash into another vehicle, victims of accidents caused by falling cargo can still file a truck accident claim. This is because truck drivers and companies have a responsibility to keep cargo secure so that others are not injured. In addition, truck drivers have a duty to drive safely. This means in a manner so that cargo does not fall off the trailer and into the path of other vehicles.

    A driver must suffer damages or injuries caused by the falling cargo in order to file a claim. Simply witnessing the act of cargo falling off a trailer does not warrant a claim. A lawyer with an Iowa law firm in Des Moines can answer any questions about whether a client has a valid claim.

    Determining Accident Liability

    Determining liability is the most important part of a claim. If the truck driver was the one who loaded the cargo, then he or she may be held responsible for causing the accident. If another employee of the trucking or shipping company loaded the cargo, then he or she may bear some responsibility.

    If the driver is hauling cargo for a trucking or shipping company, then the truck company may be liable under a law called respondeat superior. This means that the company bears liability for any injuries or harmful acts caused by employees during the course of their employment. In order to hold the company liable, the victim must be able to prove that the truck driver or another employee of the trucking company was negligent. If a third-party loaded the cargo, that party may be found to hold accident liability.

    Another thing to consider is product defects. If the truck driver or others securely loaded the cargo but a defect with the trailer led to the cargo coming loose and spilling onto the roadway, the manufacturer of the trailer could hold accident liability.

    In addition, multiple parties could be at fault for cargo-related accidents and injuries in a truck accident claim. Sometimes the trucking company and other companies could be held liable for damages. An Iowa law firm in Des Moines can review the facts in a case and help establish accident liability.

    Contacting an Iowa Law Firm in Des Moines

    Walker, Billingsley and Bair is an Iowa law firm in Des Moines with lawyers who can help victims injured by semi trucks and trailers, including accidents involving loose cargo that spills onto the roadway causing a collision with the truck, other vehicles, or structures around the roadway. Contact us today at (641) 792-0289 to schedule your consultation and for help pursuing a truck accident claim.

  • What are the truck regulations or laws for truck drivers in Iowa?

    Yes, there are truck regulations and laws for truck drivers in Iowa. Some of these are in addition to regulations enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Such regulations and laws may be cited by a Des Moines injury lawyer when bringing a truck accident injury case, especially if the driver was in violation of a law.

    Iowa Laws for Truck Drivers

    One of the laws in Iowa pertains to texting. All drivers, including those who operate semi-trucks, are banned from texting while driving. Talking on a hand-held cell phone is also prohibited.

    In terms of accident reporting, an accident report must be filed in Iowa if any of the following is true:

    • property damage of all vehicles is $1,500 or greater;
    • at least one person is injured; and/or
    • at least one person is killed.

    Further, and more specific to truckers, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) enforces rules pertaining to the transportation of hazardous materials. This falls under the Transportation of Hazardous Materials Driving and Parking Rules. Trucks transporting such material are required to have a placard.

    If there is an accident in Iowa involving a truck carrying hazardous materials, local law enforcement or Iowa State Patrol Communications should be notified. Other agencies that will get involved include the Iowa DOT’s Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

    Des Moines Injury Lawyers Can Review Truck Regulation Violations

    Laws for truck drivers are numerous and also include maximum weight and length requirements when operating on Iowa’s roads and highways. If there is a concern that a law or regulation was violated and it was the cause of a crash, a Des Moines injury lawyer may help sort out fault and liability for the accident. Victims can consult an attorney about the truck regulations that may have been violated and discuss how it may affect a claim.

  • Will rain or other weather conditions reduce driver liability for my car accident?

    Rain or other types of inclement weather doesn’t usually reduce driver liability for a car accident in Iowa. Although it may be taken into consideration, there are still expectations to drive with caution when there is bad weather. An Iowa injury attorney in Ankeny will examine the details of the accident and any evidence that may indicate the other driver acted negligently, such as speeding in bad weather.

    Impact of Rain and Other Weather Conditions in a Car Accident

    Whenever someone gets behind the wheel, it’s important to drive according to weather conditions. This means slowing down to an appropriate speed if it’s raining, snowing, or if there is fog or other weather conditions that make driving more dangerous.

    The same is true for making sure enough distance is kept between vehicles. Having to stop in slippery conditions can be challenging, so there must be enough space to allow for safe stopping.

    If there is evidence that a traffic law was broken (such as speeding, running a red light or intoxication), then a traffic citation will likely be issued. This citation can be a valuable piece of evidence when filing a claim following a car accident in Iowa, as it can demonstrate that a driver acted negligently.

    Yet not receiving a citation doesn’t negate a person’s responsibility to drive slowly and carefully when it’s raining outside. In fact, with the risk of an accident being elevated in these conditions, there may be an even greater expectation placed on drivers to drive in a responsible manner.

    An Iowa Injury Attorney in Ankeny Can Help Prove Driver Liability in a Car Accident

    If someone has been seriously injured and it’s believed that another driver was the cause – whether or not the accident took place in poor weather – it is important to seek legal counsel.

    At Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Iowa, an injury attorney can help Ankeny drivers who have been in a serious accident. A lawyer can evaluate the circumstances surrounding a crash – such as weather conditions, driver behavior, and more – to determine driver liability. 

  • Who is at fault in a car accident involving a U-turn?

    It's not uncommon to wonder who is at fault for a car accident involving U-turn.

    Fault will depend on a variety of circumstances:

    • whether the U-turn was made legally;
    • if it was done safely; and
    • if there were other contributing factors.

    When it comes to U-turns and left-turn accidents, fault often lies with the driver making the turn, although this is obviously not always the case. Drivers involved in an accident can consult a Des Moines personal injury attorney to go over the circumstances and details of the accident.

    Legality of a U-Turn

    The first consideration is whether it was legal. Unless there is a sign that explicitly indicates a U-turn is illegal, it is generally not against the law in Des Moines.

    One scenario, however, in which a U-turn may be illegal even without a sign prohibiting it is when it’s performed from the wrong lane. An example would be making a U-turn from a middle or right lane.

    Safety of a U-Turn

    The other issue is whether or not the U-turn was made safely. Turning in a tight area makes it unsafe. Not waiting for big enough gaps in traffic or making the turn slowly can make it unsafe.

    Another example of an unsafe U-turn is making one and then failing to keep up with the flow of traffic. A sudden stop or slowing down could cause an accident.

    Another issue would be a motorist who makes a U-turn and blocks traffic. This presents a danger to other drivers and could lead to a crash.

    Other Contributing Factors in a U-Turn

    There could be other factors that weigh into who is at fault for a car accident involving a U-turn. For instance, a legal U-turn could still result in the driver being at fault if he or she was texting at the time or did not yield to other vehicles, such drivers turning right with a solid green or green arrow.

    There can be several extenuating circumstances that impact U-turn or left-turn accident fault. It may require seeking legal counsel. A Des Moines personal injury attorney at Walker, Billingsley & Bair can handle these types of traffic cases and can help determine who is at fault in a car accident involving a U-turn.

  • Can uninsured motorist coverage help if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?

    Uninsured motorist coverage can help if you were injured by another driver who doesn’t have insurance. For help exercising or understanding your rights when filing a car insurance claim, contact auto accident attorneys in Des Moines.

    You might be surprised how many motorists fail to carry auto insurance. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the state of Iowa ranks number 24 when it comes to uninsured drivers. About 11.5 percent weren’t insured in the year 2009.

    How Uninsured Motorist Coverage Can Help

    If you have uninsured motorist coverage and you are injured by another driver who fails to carry any, your medical costs and other damages may be covered in your car insurance claim. If there were passengers in your vehicle that also suffered injuries, they are protected as well.

    Although this type of coverage isn’t required in Iowa, it’s definitely recommended. Not only because of the protection it provides when involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, but it also covers injuries in a hit and run.

    The good news is that it’s fairly inexpensive. The more coverage you have, the better protected you will be. Keep in mind that damages for a car insurance claim will be covered up to the limits of your policy. The most common amounts that consumers purchase in coverage are $100,000 for one person and $300,000 per accident.

    Contacting Auto Accident Attorneys in Des Moines

    Most people wonder what can be done when another driver doesn’t carry insurance and injuries result from his or her negligence. Contact an attorney at Walker, Billingsley & Bair. We can explore the legal options that may be available in addition to using uninsured motorist coverage. 

  • How does a city truck accident claim differ from a regular truck accident?

    A city truck accident claim is mainly different from a regular truck accident claim because it involves the government, which is why your claim should be filed in City Hall instead of through an insurance company. 

    The process of filing a suit against a government entity isn’t handled the same way and can be more problematic, which is why victims in Iowa should speak with a personal injury lawyer in Des Moines to ensure their rights. 

    Filing a City Truck Accident Claim 

    City trucks can include: 

    • fire engines;
    • buses;
    • utility vehicles; and
    • garbage trucks. 

    When you have been injured in an accident with a government vehicle in Des Moines, you can fill out an Automobile Claim Form and submit it to the Legal Department at City Hall. 

    The form asks for general information about: 

    • your car;
    • any injuries;
    • witnesses to the accident; and
    • a description of the accident. 

    You will attach any relevant documents or other evidence to the form when submitting it; therefore, make sure you take pictures of any injuries sustained, damages to your vehicle, and any other pertinent physical evidence.  It also requires two different estimates for the damages that are claimed for any property damage stemming from the automobile accident. 

    If the claim is denied by the city, then you may choose to pursue a lawsuit to recover damages, with which a personal injury attorney can assist. Contact an attorney for help filing your claim form with the city, too, in order to avoid the risk of leaving out essential information, which in turn can devalue or void your claim altogether. 

    Seeking Help from a Personal Injury Lawyer in Des Moines 

    According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010 there were 390 traffic fatalities in Iowa. If you are in an accident and are injured because of the negligence of a city truck driver, contact a lawyer at Walker, Billingsley & Bair at (888) 435-9886. We can review the details of your situation to determine if you have the right to file a city truck accident claim.

  • What types of records do I need to obtain as evidence for my Marshalltown truck accident claim?

    When filing an injury claim, your Marshalltown truck accident lawyer will need to gather certain types of records to use as evidence in your accident case. While you may be able to collect some documentation on your own, an attorney may need to help you pull information on the driver and the trucking company. 

    Police Report 

    The police report that is filed after your collision is crucial evidence in an accident case. A police report not only describes the accident scene, but also contains the officer’s opinion on who (or what) was at fault for the crash. If the other driver was impaired, this should be in the report as well. 

    Medical Records 

    In order to recover compensation for your injury claim, you have to establish your injuries as well as the actual expenses and estimated costs for any future treatment or therapy that may be required. As medical expenses often comprise a large portion of the compensation sought in an accident claim, providing adequate evidence may be very important. 

    Truck Driver’s Driving Records 

    If there is a pattern of reckless driving on behalf of the truck driver, it may only help your case. If this is the case, your Marshalltown truck accident lawyer can show that the trucking company was at fault by allowing him or her to continue driving despite a pattern of reckless behavior. 

    Contact a Marshalltown Truck Accident Lawyer Today 

    Dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident can be extremely difficult, especially if you have sustained serious injuries. For assistance, retain the services of a lawyer for help collecting evidence in an accident case. 

    At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, our team of lawyers will work to ensure that you receive compensation for damages experienced as a result of the collision. For information about injury claims, download our e-book on the seven secrets to not wreck your case or contact our office at (888) 435-9886 to schedule an appointment with a Marshalltown truck accident lawyer.

  • Should I throw away any damaged property from my car accident in Iowa?

    Consulting with car accident injury lawyers in Ames can help in protecting your injury claim and knowing what kinds of accident evidence should be preserved. You definitely don’t want to throw away any damaged property from your car accident. 

    Most victims of a car crash are concerned about damage to their vehicle. But that may not be the only thing covered in an accident injury claim. If you had any personal items that were also damaged or destroyed, their value may be considered when filing a claim. 

    For instance, you might have had a large CD collection that was broken as a result of the accident. You may have had removable car seats that don’t work properly anymore because of the accident. 

    If you can find receipts for these items, it would be very helpful to your case. Even if you don’t have a receipt, preserving your belongings is important so you may include them in your claim. 

    Remember that the point of filing a claim based on someone else’s negligence is to be restored back to where you were before the accident. 

    Contacting Car Accident Injury Lawyers in Ames 

    For a better understanding of the types of things that may be covered in an injury claim, contact an attorney at Walker, Billingsley & Bair. Our law firm will sit down with you and discuss not only the physical losses you have suffered, but other damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish and more. 

    To help prepare for your meeting, get a copy of our FREE guide, which provides valuable tips. Then call us at our main number (888) 435-9886, or at any one of our other offices – (Des Moines) (888) 435-9886, (Ankeny) 515-964-5664, (Marshalltown) 641-352-4747 or 888-435-9886. 

  • What can I do to preserve my vehicle as evidence when it is towed from the accident scene?

    Des Moines car accident attorneys recommend filing a car accident claim if you’re involved in a wreck. A claim can help you recover costs for damages, medical bills, lost wages and more. Unfortunately though, claims such as these are often made difficult when the vehicles involved in the collision are towed away and evidence is lost or destroyed. 

    To prevent this from happening in your claim, our Des Moines car accident attorneys recommend you do the following. 

    • Find out where your car is being towed immediately. Contact your lawyer and ask him or her to send a preservation letter to the tow yard, requesting that the vehicle remain intact and untouched. If this doesn’t work, your attorney can also file a motion in court to order the tow yard to preserve your car.
    • Get your car moved to a private, covered storage area. Not only do tow yards typically charge a high daily cost for keeping your car, but also they often will destroy or scrap a car very quickly because of space and time constraints. You can prevent this by housing the vehicle in your own private unit. This also staves off vandalism or any other tampering.
    • Just in case, take pictures. Always keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment. If you’re ever involved in a wreck, snap photos of your damaged car, the accident scene and more. In the event evidence is lost, destroyed or tampered with, you still have evidence to proceed with your accident claim. 

     

    Are you planning to file an accident claim? Call 1- (888) 435-9886 to speak to the Des Moines car accident attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair about your case, or learn more by ordering the free book, The Legal Insider’s Guide to Iowa Car Accidents: 7 Secrets to Not Wreck Your Case.

  • What do I do if my Oskaloosa employer demands I return to work, but I don't think my work injury has healed enough?

    You need to seek an Oskaloosa workers' comp attorney immediately if you believe your work injury is not healed and your employer is demanding you return to work. Your employer’s actions may be just a game to terminate your workers’ compensation benefits. 

    Employers are much more familiar with the workers’ compensation system than most workers are. Employers may have aligned themselves with certain doctors who are not looking out for your best health interests but those of the company. 

    Anytime a treating physician advises you to go back to work when you know your work injury is not completely healed, a red flag should go off in your mind. This is especially true if your concerns about your injury go unheeded by the doctor. If no testing or x-rays are prescribed to check out the progress of your injury, you may not be getting the best medical advice. 

    Another red flag is if the physician attempts to coerce you to take a new job at the company that was especially created for you. There have been cases where an injured worker followed this advice just to find that a few weeks later the job was eliminated along with the employee and the workers’ compensation benefits. An employer must make reasonable accommodations for you to return to work and cannot force you to do so otherwise. 

    Contact an Oskaloosa Workers' Comp Attorney 

    The workers’ comp attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair know workers’ compensation law and can help advise you on your claim. For more information, get a free guide on Iowa Workers’ Compensation – An Insider’s Guide to Work Injuries: 7 Deadly Mistakes To Avoid If You Are Hurt At Work  by calling us today at (888) 435-9886 or 888-435-9886.