Iowa Car Accidents and Personal Injuries- Myths and Mysteries Revealed
When an Iowan is hurt in a car accident or other personal injury accident often they have misconceptions about what damages they should receive, whether they should hire an attorney and generally about what do to. This article reveals some of those misconceptions, common myths about personal injuries and other mysteries about Iowa's personal injury laws.
For more than 100 years Iowa Courts have recognized a person's right to bring a claim against another for injuries caused by fault also known as negligence. Whenever you are hurt by anyone's negligence, including that of another car driver, corporation, manufacturer, store merchant, or someone else you have a "personal injury" claim. Car and motorcycle accidents (injuries caused by a negligent driver), dog bites (injuries caused by a dog or other animal), falls (injury because someone did not take care of the walkway for example) nursing home (injuries sustained by a resident of a nursing home) and product liability (injury by harmful product) are all subtypes of personal injury cases.
One misconception is that the insurance adjustor is there to help you with your injury case. The insurance adjustor works for the negligent party and/or their insurance company and has no duty to protect your rights or even tell you what the law is. Just because you are reasonable with the insurance adjustor does not mean that the insurance adjustor will be reasonable with you. Remember, they are trained to pay you as little for your claim as possible. Sometimes this means intentionally frustrating you in hopes that you will give-up and go-away. If you decide to try to handle your case on your own, it is important that you do not lose your temper or make threats to the insurance adjustor. If the adjuster makes a ridiculously low offer, it may be difficult not to show emotion. However, showing your emotions will never convince the carrier to offer more money. In the eyes of the adjustor it means that you have a short temper which will certainly not help your case.
Often when you have been injured the insurance adjustor will ask you to provide a recorded statement for their file. Sometimes, they will even tell you that you must give them a recorded statement before they will consider your claim. While this can be true if you are making a claim against your own insurance company, for example in a property damage claim, uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, you are not legally required to give a statement to the insurance adjustor for the other party. The reason that they want the recorded statement is so that they can ask you questions before you are prepared to answer them. For example, the adjustor may ask you "Have you ever had neck pain before?" Your immediate response is "No". Well, if you previously saw your family doctor or a chiropractor at sometime in your life and mentioned neck pain this can create a real problem because your credibility is very important in the case. When answering a question like this most people are thinking "No, I have never had neck pain like this before", but that is not the question asked. So a single wrong answer to a question that you are not prepared for or do not understand can cost you thousands of dollars in your case. It is rare that giving a recorded statement to the other party's insurance adjustor will help you and your claim.
Sometimes clients will come to see me after they have fired an attorney they found in the phone book who advertised as a personal injury attorney. Any Iowa attorney can advertise that they handle personal injury cases even though they may have never handled a single case. What you need to look for is an attorney who advertises "practicing primarily in personal injury". This means that the attorney has certified with the Iowa State Bar Association that at least 40% of their law practice involves personal injury and that they have spent at least 15 hours per year taking continuing education classes about Iowa's personal injury laws. Iowa's personal injury laws are far too complex for someone without knowledge and experience to represent someone seriously injured. Only a qualified Iowa personal injury attorney can make sure that your rights are protected and that you are treated fairly in your case.
Another thing to look for when searching for an attorney is what results they have obtained for their clients and what their past clients have to say. Don't take "all my cases are confidential" as an answer. Ask yourself do you want someone representing you with a proven track record or do you want to take a gamble on the attorney you chose. If an attorney has obtained good results for past clients and past clients have good things to say, then chances are they are qualified to represent you. Whether you live in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Iowa City, Ft. Dodge, Marshalltown or even outside of the state of Iowa, you should find an experienced personal injury attorney to help you.
Clients often wonder how they can afford to hire an attorney to help with their personal injury case. First of all, most qualified Iowa personal injury attorneys will provide you with an initial consultation at no cost. Also, most personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee. A contingency fee means that if you do not make a recovery then you will not owe any attorney fees. The attorney being paid is contingent upon you being paid. If you receive money for your injuries then the attorney will receive a percentage of what you receive.
This article contains general statements, is not intended as legal advice or legal opinions and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or rely upon the information in this article without seeking the advice of an attorney because changes in the law occur frequently and you should consult with an attorney with respect to your particular case.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident or other personal injury accident then you can request my FREE Book. Why offer a Free Book? Over the past 11 years I have represented hundreds of Iowans injured in car accidents and other personal injury accident and too many have made mistakes before they had the "right" information costing them thousands of dollars. Quantities are limited so go to http://www.IowaInjuryBook.com .