Facing any court issue can be a difficult and stressful thing. Estimates from 2018 show that nearly 6 million car accidents occur every year in the United States. In 2019, it was estimated that 38,800 of those auto accidents lead to fatalities.
With so many car accidents, many only lead to property damage. Many, however, do lead to personal injury. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, a trucking accident, or another form of an auto accident in Iowa, find out how an auto accident lawyer can help you.
What to Do After A Car Accident in Iowa
When car accidents occur, it’s very important that you respond appropriately. Immediately following an auto accident, you should:
- Report the accident
- Seek medical attention
- Gather evidence
- Collect or exchange insurance information
- Find witnesses
- Talk to an auto accident lawyer
In Iowa, it’s required by law to report any auto accident that caused injury or wrongful death. Furthermore, any driver involved must report the accident as soon as possible. Bystanders are also required to help anyone injured and asking for help.
Accidents that only involve property damage and not personal injury or death must still be reported to the local police. When the police arrive at the scene they will fill out a police report, which will be submitted to the Iowa Department of Transportation in the days following the accident.
If you need a copy of the police report for your records, they can be requested from the Iowa DOT for $4 per copy.
Seek Medical Attention
If you’ve been hurt in an Iowa car or trucking accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Not only for your personal health and safety but also to create important medical records. In fact, medical records often act as essential evidence for a car accident insurance claim. Especially for accidents that involved serious injuries.
If you’re able after the accident, you should take pictures, write notes, and document the details of your accident. When the police arrive to investigate, ensure that they document your account of the accident.
If you are physically able to talk to witnesses, do so. Ask them what they saw and document their accounts. Ask if they would be willing to testify in court on your behalf. If they are willing to testify for you, you should collect their name, address, phone number, and email. Remember to keep in contact with these people, and inform them of updates to your case.
Talk to An Iowa Accident Lawyer
Unless your case involves only minor injuries, you should talk with an expert Iowa traffic collision attorney. Cases that involve serious injuries such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, wrongful death, or other debilitating injuries especially need the help of a personal injury attorney.
When To Hire A Car Accident Lawyer
Car accident lawyers and attorneys are specialists who know the ins and outs of both traffic law and dealing with insurance companies. Victims who try handling these interactions without experience or legal knowledge often lose compensation. Therefore, you should hire a qualified auto accident lawyer as soon as possible. Especially, if your injuries were severe.
If you were injured in a trucking accident, such as with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer, you should also seek the help of an auto accident attorney. Dealing with the insurance companies affiliated with trucking companies can be complicated, but it is often worth pursuing a case.
Settling Before a Trial
Believe it or not, more car accident claims are settled before going to trial. A faster settlement is typically a better option for all parties involved. Longer court cases are unpredictable, especially when subjected to a jury’s verdict. Plus, the longer a case, the greater the risk that both parties and their attorneys will lose money.
That being said, it should be noted that a defendant’s insurance company will try to avoid a maximum payout. Therefore, you should not enter into settlement discussions without the support of a legal professional.
Taking the steps we discussed above after your accident will strengthen your case and help you receive the highest amount for your damages.
Meeting With An Iowa Car Accident Lawyer
First, you’ll need to call and schedule a consultation with one of our excellent Iowa car accident lawyers at Galligan Law. When you come for your appointment, you should come prepared with all of the necessary information and documentation that you gathered after the accident.
During your consultation, your lawyer will review your case and help you decide whether you should settle before trial or not. Of course, this decision may change depending on the negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company.
Just know that when you work with an expert car accident attorney, you benefit from their years of legal knowledge, which will strengthen your case.
Payments and The Statute of Limitations
Now, one of the most important things to be aware of when filing a car accident claim is the Iowa Statute of Limitations. The Statute of Limitations governs how long you have to file a claim, how much you can recover, and what type of damage you can reclaim.
In terms of auto accident claims, Iowa laws do not impose strict limits on damage awards, so long as the plaintiff is not the more at-fault driver.
Time-wise, people wishing to file an auto accident claim in Iowa have two years from the day that the accident occurred. However, if you ever are, or were recently in a car accident you may be able to file a property damage claim as well. For instance, if you had expensive items in your car such as a computer and it was damaged, then it may be possible to recover that cost.
If you want to file a property damage claim, you have five years from the date of the accident. Note that these are hard deadlines that, so if you plan to file a claim, you should do it as soon as possible.
Iowa Trucking Accident Claims
Of course, we can’t forget that there are more than just cars on the road. Trucking accidents in Iowa cause thousands of dollars in damages, devastating injuries, and tragic wrongful deaths. If you have been involved in a large trucking accident, call Galligan Law for a thorough case evaluation.
Find Help for Your Case at Galligan Law in Des Moines, Iowa
At Galligan Law, we have been fighting for your rights for 20 years. While there’s never a guarantee when it comes to legal claims, we have the experience to give you the best chance for success. Call today for a free legal consultation.