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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  • What is a “degree of accident fault” in a personal injury claim?

    The degree of accident fault in a personal injury claim is an individual’s percentage of responsibility for an accident and the losses or damages that occur as a result of the accident.

    If the person who was injured is partially at fault, that degree of fault will reduce the amount of compensation that can be recovered. Iowa lawyers can help Des Moines accident victims prove the other party’s liability to pursue fair compensation.

    How is degree of accident fault impacted by negligence laws?

    Negligence laws vary in each state. In Iowa, they are based on modified comparative fault. Under this standard, a jury or judge would assign a percentage of fault for each party that is in the accident from no fault to 100 percent at fault.

    When an injured person is partially responsible for a crash, this can result in a couple of outcomes. One is that it prevents him/her from recovering any damages. The inability to be compensated applies to cases in which the injured party’s degree of fault is more than half (51 percent or higher).

    The other outcome is that the amount of damages that are recovered could be reduced. If the degree of fault is 50 percent or less, damages can still be recovered. However, the damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned.

    Since a higher degree of fault puts an injured person at risk for receiving a significantly low amount or even nothing at all, it may be in his/her best interest to seek legal counsel with Iowa lawyers in Des Moines. An attorney may be able to help establish most or all fault with the other party.

    What types of evidence can reduce someone’s degree of accident fault in a personal injury claim?

    Proof is key to establishing the other party’s responsibility for a crash. Some of the evidence that may help are:

    • the accident report;
    • photographs of the accident scene;
    • eyewitness statements; and
    • observations from a responding police officer.

    At Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Iowa, lawyers in Des Moines can assist clients in collecting evidence for use in a personal injury claim to prove accident fault.  

  • How do personal injury lawsuits work in Des Moines, Iowa?

    Knowing how personal injury lawsuits work in Iowa is essential if you’ve suffered harm because of someone's intentional wrongful acts or because someone negligently caused an accident. A Des Moines personal injury attorney can help you to file a personal injury claim, but it’s good to first know the basics. 

    A personal injury claim starts when a plaintiff files a civil lawsuit. The plaintiff must state a cause of action, or some legal claim, and must request something (monetary damages) from the court. The plaintiff must follow all court rules of civil procedure in outlining the legal wrong and the action that he or she desires the court to take. Consulting with a personal injury attorney is usually best for lawsuits at this point to ensure that all legal requirements of the claim are met. 

    Once the plaintiff has filed suit, the defendant will need to respond. In most cases, defendants try to settle out of court so that the case doesn’t proceed to trial. Sometimes, however, the case will go to trial. If this occurs, then the plaintiff must prove his or her case in front of the judge or jury to be awarded damages. The plaintiff must prove the case by a preponderance of the evidence. 

    A plaintiff will need to prove several elements of a personal injury claim: 

    • He or she will need to prove that the defendant owed some duty. This duty can arise by virtue of their relationship (doctor/patient, store owner/customer) or as a general duty, such as the duty that drivers owe to all other drivers.
    • The plaintiff will need to show that the defendant breached the duty by being more careless than a reasonable person or professional would’ve been.
    • Next, the plaintiff will need to show that the breach was the direct cause of harm, and that harm occurred for which the plaintiff can be compensated. 

    A personal injury attorney can help prove all of these elements of a legitimate personal injury claim or lawsuit. 

    Contact a Des Moines, Iowa Personal Injury Attorney 

    To learn more about personal injury claims arising from an car accident, request your free copy of The Legal Insider’s Guide to Iowa Car Accidents: 7 Secrets to Not Wreck Your Case or contact Walker, Billingsley & Bair at (800)-707-2552, ext. 512 (24 Hour Message). 

  • Is there a surefire way to determine fault when a vehicle turns left in front of a motorcycle and causes an accident?

    Nothing is surefire when it comes to determining fault in an accident in Des Moines. However, in most cases when a vehicle makes a left turn in front of a motorcycle, the driver could be found liable. A Des Moines, Iowa injury law firm can help determine fault after evaluating the details of your accident.

    Other drivers may find motorcycles difficult to see. In fact, this is one of the most common causes of a car-motorcycle collision. However, this doesn’t negate the responsibility of a motorist.

    More importantly, whoever is making a left-hand turn is only supposed to do so when it is safe. By law, drivers must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic, so failure to do so could lead to them being found at fault for an accident in Des Moines.

    For instance, let’s say you were coming through the intersection of E. 9th Street and E. University Avenue. If a car was making a left-hand turn and decided to try and make it before you reached the intersection, the driver would likely be found liable if you collided.

    There are exceptions to this rule, however. For instance, if you were riding your motorcycle and speeding, this could diminish the fault of the driver making the left-hand turn. Or if you ran a red light, this could also eliminate the other driver’s liability.

    Establishing liability in any accident in Des Moines can be difficult. This is why securing legal help from a Des Moines, Iowa injury law firm is the best way to protect your rights.

    Contacting a Des Moines, Iowa Injury Law Firm

    The injury lawyer team at Walker, Billingsley & Bair work hard to level the field between injured Iowans and insurance companies. To learn more about what our legal team will do to help you protect your Iowa Workers Compensation claim, contact Walker, Billingsley & Bair to schedule a no-cost consultation. Call (888) 435-9886 for immediate legal assistance.