Being involved in a car accident in Iowa can leave you with painful injuries, damages to your car and other personal property, and questions about how you can recover from this ordeal. If you weren’t liable for the accident, and for the subsequent damages, you can file a car accident claim to help you acquire compensation in order to cover the costs.
Iowa’s DUI laws add additional factors that you must consider during the process if the other party was intoxicated at the time. It is important to understand how Iowa DUI laws apply to your car accident claim if you were involved in an accident with someone who was driving under the influence.
You Must Establish Fault to File a Liability Claim
In many states, drivers are required to possess no-fault car insurance. In these states, those involved in an accident file a claim under their own insurance policy, unless the injuries and damages reached a certain severity. In Iowa though, the individual who was legally at fault for the car accident is liable to cover the costs of property damage or any resulting injuries the other driver suffered.
In order to file a personal injury claim in Iowa, you need to be able to prove in that another party injured you. Iowa follows a system of modified comparative negligence, meaning that you will be able to recover damages for your claim if you can show that the other party was more than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
So if the other driver was drunk at the time of the accident, a citation, charge, and conviction for DUI may help establish that he or she was negligent. You must also establish that the driver caused the accident. If you were speeding, ran a red light, and crashed into a drunk driver who was otherwise following the rules of the road, you may be mostly at fault and unable to recover damages.
But if you can establish that the driver was impaired and ran a stop sign or drifted into your lane, for example, you may be able to recover compensation from the drunk driver’s liability insurance.
Breath, Blood & Urine Test Results as Evidence
In order to prove the fault of the other driver, it’s important to have evidence that backs up your claim. In light of this, and according to Chapter 321J.2, of the Iowa Code, an individual is in violation of DUI laws if he or she is operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
Furthermore, Chapter 321J.6 of the Iowa Code dictates implied “consent to the withdrawal of…blood, breath, or urine and to a chemical test.” These tests are used to determine the level of an individual’s BAC at the time of the arrest. Results from the tests are admissible as evidence if you pursue a civil case against the drunk driver.
If an individual refuses to consent to these tests, he or she may be subject to fines, license revocation, and other specific punishments. This refusal to submit is also admissible evidence in any civil proceedings.
You’ll likely require other evidence to establish that the impaired driver is at fault for the accident, this might include:
- eyewitness testimony;
- photographs of the scene;
- expert witness testimony; and
Discuss all available and applicable evidence with an attorney. Your attorney can also address any defenses the impaired driver might use in a criminal case.
Contact Walker, Billingsley & Bair for Help
Ultimately, if you have been injured in a car accident with a drunk driver, contact a personal injury attorney for help. An attorney can examine the nature of your case, and can help you file a claim in order to recover damages for your injuries. Contact the attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines by calling 888-435-9886 or contact us online to get started.