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 much space must drivers give cyclists under Iowa law?
There is no specific amount of distance that Iowa law requires drivers to give cyclists; instead, the law reads that vehicles must pass bicyclists at a “safe distance.” While this distance may be a bit arbitrary, other states say that a safe passing distance is three feet and is a good standard to apply.
In Iowa, bicycle and traffic laws help to maintain a safe relationship between drivers and cyclists. But when drivers infringe upon these laws, accidents can result.
When Drivers Fail to Follow the Safe Distance Law
When drivers fail to pass or ride next to a cyclist at a safe distance, the motorist is in violation of the law. Not only has a legal violation occurred (resulting in a traffic citation), but the cyclist may be in danger, too.
Driving too close to a cyclist can cause many terrible consequences.
- The cyclist being struck by the driver
- Forcing the biker into traffic
- Running a pedalcyclist off the road
Who’s liable for an accident caused by an unsafe distance?
When driving too closely to a cyclist who is riding safely around traffic results in an accident, the driver may be held accountable for damages.
Ways to prove that a driver was driving at an unsafe distance—and that this, in fact, caused the accident—include the following.
- Witness testimony
- Video footage
- Police reports
- Testimony of parties involved
- Physical evidence
The types of evidence listed above are crucial if filing an accident claim for a bike crash. If the fault of the driver in question can be proven, then the cyclist will be able to recover damages for all monetary losses, and may also be eligible for noneconomic damage recovery, too.
Do I need a bicycle accident attorney?
When riding around Des Moines or Newtown and seeing negligent drivers and wondering things like 'how much space must drivers give cyclists,' know that Walker, Billingsley & Bair is here to help you.
Being a cyclist can be a nerve-wracking experience at times. When aggressive or distracted drivers get too close, and accident can happen that results in serious injuries. If you’ve been in an accident caused by an unsafe driver, let a bicycle accident attorney help you.
At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, our bicycle accident team is dedicated to your needs as a bike accident victim. For assistance in learning about your rights and filing a claim for damages read our bicycle/pedestrian accident library.
Should I hire an attorney for bicycle accident?
Without an attorney for bicycle accident, you may run into trouble getting your full compensation amount or proving that you weren’t at fault. After a bicycle accident in Iowa, here are three reasons why you should speak to an attorney.
Iowa’s Comparative Negligence Laws
One of the main reasons that you should hire an attorney after a bicycle accident is Iowa’s comparative negligence law. This law allows for your damages amount to be reduced by your proportion of fault. In other words, if you were 10 percent at fault for your bike accident, your compensation payout will be reduced by 10 percent.
If you’re filing a claim, you can bet that the defendant/insurance company will focus on any errors you made, hoping to pay you less than you deserve.
Negotiating a Settlement Amount
Not only can an attorney help you to demonstrate that your injuries were incurred because of the fault of the other party but an attorney can also guide you through settlement negotiations.
Believe it or not, an insurance company is rarely on your side; it’s not uncommon for insurance companies to try pay you less than you’re entitled. To ensure that you’re getting your full payout amount, make sure you have a legal advocate.
You May Want to File a Lawsuit
Sometimes, settlements don’t work out as they should. Or, injuries are so severe that filing a claim with the insurance company alone isn’t enough. When either of the above are the case, you may want to file a lawsuit.
Filing a lawsuit requires the following.
- Knowledge of state and federal law
- Completed within the state’s statute of limitations
- Time and perseverance in the face of adversity
Take Action to Find Representation Today
At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, our attorneys are ready to get to work on your claim today. We want to help you complete the necessary steps
- Proving the fault of the other party
- Filing a lawsuit
- Acting as your support system
Can I get accident and injury liability if I was hit by a car when not wearing light color clothing or carrying a light while walking at night?
Yes, a pedestrian can hold accident injury liability (at least partially) for a pedestrian-car accident if he or she was partly responsible for the incident, but it’s a hazy area of the law.
Sixty-eight percent of pedestrian accidents occur at night, according to the National Highway Transportation Administration National Center for Statistics and Analysis. If a pedestrian fails to take safety precautions and doesn’t wear light clothing or carry a light, it could be construed as negligence on his or her part.
Careless Pedestrian Behavior
In a pedestrian-car accident, both parties will be assigned a certain degree of fault for the accident. The attorneys, insurance companies, and courts will look at all the facts surrounding the accident and then determine fault. In some cases, it’s clearly one party that’s at fault, and in other situations, both parties may be partly responsible.
Pedestrians can hold some accident injury liability if they:
- failed to use a crosswalk;
- crossed a street on a “don’t walk” signal;
- walked or ran in front of traffic;
- didn’t take nighttime safety precautions, like wearing reflective or light clothing; or
- didn’t obey other traffic rules.
Pedestrians and Iowa Negligence
Iowa follows what’s known as the comparative negligence rule in which even if a person was partly to blame for an accident (up to 50 percent at fault), he or she can still seek compensation for the injuries. However, the settlement amount will be reduced by the individual’s degree of fault.
For example, let’s say a pedestrian was walking down a dark street at night while wearing dark clothing. The pedestrian is struck by a car while crossing the center of the street, not at a lit crosswalk, and the courts deemed the pedestrian 40 percent liable for the accident; the pedestrian’s settlement award would be reduced by 40 percent. So, instead of a $100,000 settlement, for instance, he or she would only receive $60,000.
Proving Liability in a Pedestrian Accident Claim
This is why proving liability in a pedestrian-car accident claim is so important; compensation is directly affected by liability. If fault is somewhat blurred or sketchy, accident victims will want to contact an accident attorney as soon as possible to start working on collecting evidence and proving fault.
An attorney will be able to:
- uncover facts regarding the accident;
- protect the client’s rights; and
- try to lessen the client’s degree of fault.
A lawyer will also help account for and calculate all the damages, and push for the highest and fairest settlement.
Contacting Injury Attorneys in Des Moines
Pedestrians are expected to uphold traffic and safety rules, as are drivers. When it comes to proving who is at fault for an accident, it’s best to consult legal professions. The office of Walker, Billingsley & Bair handles these types of cases and our lawyers are available to provide free consultations to victims or their loved ones. Contact us today at (641) 792-3595 to set up your appointment; we can hear your explanation of the case and provide information on your best legal options.
If I was crossing the road outside of a crosswalk and was hit by a car, can I still file an injury claim?
If hit by a car while crossing outside of a crosswalk, it may negatively affect recovery of damages in a pedestrian accident claim. Pedestrians in Iowa are required to use the crosswalk when there is one available. According to Iowa statute 321.328, when crossing the road at any point other than a marked crosswalk, pedestrians are to yield the right-of-way to vehicles.
Additionally, whenever traffic-control signals are present at any location that is not an intersection, the marked crosswalk must always be used. So there could be two issues at play, one being the failure to use a crosswalk and the second being a failure to yield.
The pedestrian in the accident may be considered to have acted negligently. A Des Moines personal injury attorney handling the Iowa accident case will have to address this in the claim.
Filing an Injury Claim after a Pedestrian Accident
This doesn’t necessarily mean a claim cannot be filed. If the driver had been negligent in any manner, both parties might be considered at fault. An example would be if the driver was intoxicated or had been looking down at his/her phone while reading/sending a text message when the pedestrian was hit by the car.
However, if there isn’t any evidence to demonstrate negligence of the driver, the pedestrian may be considered totally responsible for the accident. In this case, a claim may not be successful.
Impact of Comparative Negligence Laws if a Pedestrian Is Partially at Fault
If the driver and pedestrian share responsibility for the accident, it will need to be determined how much each one bears. Depending on how fault is assigned, the recovery of damages may or may not be possible.
Iowa follows the modified comparative fault, 51 percent rule. If the pedestrian’s percentage of fault were to reach 51 percent or higher, he/she would not be entitled to damages. Anything below that would allow for recovery, but the amount would be diminished by the percentage of fault that is assigned.
Contacting a Des Moines Personal Injury Attorney for an Iowa Injury Claim
With the complex issues involved in pedestrian accident cases, it’s advisable to contact a Des Moines personal injury attorney. In Iowa, Walker, Billingsley & Bair offers free consultations for individuals hit by a car and wishing to recover compensation for a claim.