Posted on March 14, 2023 at 7:00 PM by The Biker Lawyers
Answers to Help Get the Compensation You Deserve After an Accident
With nearly 40 years of handling personal injury cases, The Biker Lawyers have heard nearly every motorcycle and car accident question. We realized that many of the most frequent questions are still being asked because people just aren’t getting clear enough answers when they need them most. So, in this article, we’ll attempt to do just that in an effort to help you understand vital things you need to know about car accidents and personal injury.
Should I call the police to the scene of my car accident?
Yes, you should always call the police to the scene of a car accident, no matter how minor the accident may seem. The police will create an accident report that will document the details of the accident, including the date, time, and location, the parties involved, and any witnesses. This report will be very helpful in determining liability and can be used as evidence in your personal injury claim.
What happens if a police car causes an accident?
If a police car causes an accident while in the course of their duties, the driver and the police department may be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages. However, there are some legal protections in place for police officers who are responding to emergencies.
In Iowa, the state's Emergency Vehicle Operations statute allows police officers to disregard traffic laws when responding to an emergency, but only if they do so with "due regard for the safety of all persons." If the officer failed to exercise due regard or acted recklessly, they could be held liable for any resulting damages. It's important to consult with a personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and determine the best course of action.
Who is at fault when the weather causes an accident?
Determining fault in an accident that was caused by bad weather can be challenging. In general, drivers are expected to adjust their driving behavior to match the conditions of the road. If a driver fails to do so and causes an accident, they may be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages. However, if the weather conditions were extreme and the driver was driving safely but still couldn't avoid an accident, they may not be found liable.
Ultimately, fault will depend on the specific circumstances of the accident, so it's important to consult with a personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and provide guidance.
Who is at fault in Side-Impact (T-Bone) collisions?
Determining fault in a side-impact collision, also known as a T-bone collision, will depend on the specific circumstances of the accident. In general, the driver who failed to yield the right of way or ran a red light or stop sign would be considered at fault for the accident.
However, there may be situations where both drivers share fault, such as if one driver was speeding and the other driver was distracted. It's important to gather evidence from the scene of the accident, including witness statements, photos, and the police report, to determine liability. A personal injury attorney can help you investigate the accident and determine who is at fault.
What should you do after a car accident that is not your fault?
If you've been in a car accident that was not your fault, there are several important steps you should take to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve:
1. Check yourself and others for injuries and seek medical attention if needed.
2. Call the police and wait for them to arrive. While waiting, gather information from the other driver(s), including their name, contact information, and insurance details.
3. Take photos of the accident scene, including any damage to the vehicles, skid marks on the road, and traffic signs or signals.
4. Get contact information from any witnesses to the accident.
5. Contact your insurance company to report the accident and provide them with the information you've gathered.
6. Consider contacting a personal injury attorney to help you navigate the claims process and protect your rights.
Remember, even if the accident wasn't your fault, it's important to take these steps to protect your legal rights and ensure that you receive fair compensation for any injuries or damages you've suffered.
Are you allowed to move a vehicle that was involved in a car accident?
In general, it's best to leave the vehicles involved in a car accident in place until the police arrive to document the scene. However, there may be situations where it's necessary to move a vehicle for safety reasons, such as if the vehicle is blocking traffic or is at risk of being hit by other vehicles.
If you need to move a vehicle, it's important to take photos of the accident scene first, if possible, and to document the position of the vehicles before moving them. Once the police arrive, be sure to provide them with accurate information about the position of the vehicles before they were moved. If you're unsure whether it's safe to move a vehicle, it's best to err on the side of caution and wait for the police to arrive.
Should I replace my motorcycle helmet after a crash?
Yes, if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident and your helmet was impacted, it's important to replace it. Even if the helmet appears to be undamaged, it may have sustained internal damage that can compromise its effectiveness in a subsequent accident. Helmets are designed to absorb the impact of a crash and protect your head from injury, but they are a one-time-use item. Once a helmet has been impacted, it should be replaced to ensure that it will provide adequate protection in the event of another accident.
What is collision insurance?
Collision insurance is a type of auto insurance that covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle if it's damaged in a collision, regardless of who was at fault.
Collision insurance is optional in most states, but it can be a good investment if you have a valuable vehicle or are concerned about the cost of repairing or replacing your car in the event of an accident.
In general, collision insurance will cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle up to its fair market value, minus your deductible. It's important to carefully review your policy and understand your coverage limits and deductibles before purchasing collision insurance.
What are the different types of personal injury?
There are many different types of personal injury cases, but some of the most common include:
- Car accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability
- Workplace accidents
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Defamation and slander
- Assault and battery
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Wrongful death
Each of these types of personal injury cases can result in physical, emotional, and financial harm to the victim, and may require the assistance of a personal injury attorney to obtain compensation for damages.
What is the statute of limitations for personal injury cases?
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Iowa is generally two years from the date of the injury or accident. This means that if you're injured in an accident or incident, you have two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries. If you fail to file your lawsuit within the two-year statute of limitations, you may lose your right to seek compensation.
However, there are exceptions to the two-year rule in certain circumstances, such as if the injury was not discovered until a later date or if the injured party was a minor at the time of the injury. It's important to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident or injury to ensure that you meet all the necessary deadlines and preserve your legal rights.
What is included in my personal injury case's compensation?
The types of compensation that may be available in a personal injury case depend on the specific circumstances of the case, but may include:
- Medical expenses: This can include past and future medical bills, such as hospitalization, doctor visits, surgery, physical therapy, and medication costs.
- Lost wages: If you are unable to work due to your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for the income you would have earned during the time you were unable to work.
- Property damage: If your property was damaged in an accident, such as a car or motorcycle, you may be entitled to compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing it.
- Pain and suffering: This includes compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress you experienced as a result of your injuries.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: If your injuries have affected your ability to enjoy life's activities, such as hobbies, sports, or other recreational activities, you may be entitled to compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life.
- Punitive damages: In some cases, the court may award punitive damages to punish the responsible party for particularly egregious behavior, such as drunk driving or intentional harm.
The specific types and amounts of compensation you may be entitled to will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. A personal injury attorney can help you evaluate your case and determine what types of compensation you may be entitled to.
What are the types of damages in personal injury cases?
In personal injury cases, there are typically two main types of damages that can be awarded: compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the injured party for the harm they have suffered, and may include:
Economic damages: These damages compensate the injured party for financial losses incurred as a result of the injury, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
Non-economic damages: These damages compensate the injured party for non-financial losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages, on the other hand, are intended to punish the responsible party for their conduct and deter others from engaging in similar conduct in the future. Punitive damages are only awarded in cases where the defendant's behavior was particularly egregious, such as cases involving intentional harm or gross negligence.
It's important to note that the types and amounts of damages that may be available in a personal injury case can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the case. A personal injury attorney can help you evaluate your case and determine what types of damages you may be entitled to.
What does 'pain and suffering' mean in a personal injury case?
In a personal injury case, "pain and suffering" typically refers to the physical and emotional pain and distress that a person experiences as a result of their injuries. This can include things like:
- Physical pain and discomfort caused by the injury, including ongoing pain and discomfort, stiffness, and limited mobility.
- Emotional distress caused by the injury, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Loss of enjoyment of life, which refers to the ways in which the injury has impacted the injured party's ability to enjoy activities they once enjoyed, such as hobbies, exercise, and spending time with loved ones.
Pain and suffering damages are a type of non-economic damages, meaning that they compensate the injured party for non-financial losses. Because these damages are more subjective than economic damages (such as medical expenses or lost wages), they can be more difficult to quantify. In many cases, an attorney may work with medical and mental health professionals to help document the extent of the injured party's pain and suffering in order to ensure that they receive fair compensation.
How can I tell if I have a good personal injury attorney?
There are several factors to consider when evaluating whether you have a good personal injury attorney:
- Experience: A good personal injury attorney should have significant experience handling cases similar to yours. Look for an attorney who specializes in personal injury law and who has a track record of success in cases like yours.
- Communication: Your attorney should be responsive to your questions and concerns, and should keep you updated on the progress of your case. They should be willing to explain complex legal concepts in plain language so that you understand what's happening at every step of the process.
- Strategy: A good personal injury attorney should have a clear strategy for how they plan to handle your case. They should be able to explain their plan and the reasoning behind it in a way that makes sense to you.
- Resources: Personal injury cases can be complex and require significant resources, such as expert witnesses, medical records, and other evidence. A good personal injury attorney should have the resources necessary to fully investigate your case and present a strong argument on your behalf.
- Compassion: Dealing with a personal injury can be a difficult and emotional experience. A good personal injury attorney should be empathetic and compassionate and should work to make the legal process as smooth and stress-free as possible for you.
Ultimately, the best way to determine whether you have a good personal injury attorney is to schedule an initial consultation with them. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions, discuss your case, and get a sense of whether you feel comfortable working with them.
Why do personal injury claims take years to resolve?
Personal injury claims can take years to resolve for a variety of reasons, including:
The complexity of the case: Personal injury cases can be complex and involve multiple parties, multiple insurance companies, and complex legal and medical issues. This can make the process of investigating the case, gathering evidence, and negotiating a settlement take longer.
Medical treatment: The extent of the injured person's injuries may not be fully known or understood at the time of the accident, and ongoing medical treatment may be necessary. This can prolong the claims process as the injured person's medical condition and prognosis become clearer over time.
Negotiations and litigation: Personal injury claims typically involve extensive negotiations between the injured person's attorney and the insurance company representing the at-fault party. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may go to trial, which can also be a lengthy process.
Court backlog: In some cases, court systems may be backlogged, which can result in delays in scheduling hearings and trials.
Evidence collection and investigation: Personal injury cases often require extensive investigation and collection of evidence to build a strong case. This can include gathering witness statements, reviewing medical records, and hiring expert witnesses. This process can be time-consuming and may result in delays in the claims process.
Overall, the length of time it takes to resolve a personal injury claim will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. It's important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected throughout.
What is strict liability in personal injury?
Strict liability is a legal concept that can apply in certain types of personal injury cases. Under strict liability, a defendant can be held liable for harm caused to another person, even if the defendant was not negligent or did not intentionally cause the harm.
Strict liability typically applies in cases involving defective products or abnormally dangerous activities, such as storing explosives or keeping wild animals. In these types of cases, the injured person does not need to prove that the defendant was negligent or intended to cause harm. Instead, the injured person must show that the defendant engaged in an activity that is inherently dangerous, and that the harm was caused by that activity.
For example, if a person is injured by a defective product, they may be able to bring a strict liability claim against the manufacturer or distributor of the product. In this type of case, the injured person would need to show that the product was defective and that the defect caused their injuries.
Strict liability can make it easier for injured people to recover compensation for their injuries, as they do not need to prove that the defendant was negligent. However, strict liability only applies in limited circumstances, and it's important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine whether strict liability may apply in your case.
When should we hire an attorney after being in an accident?
It's a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney after being in an accident if you've suffered significant injuries, if the accident was caused by someone else's negligence, or if you're having trouble getting the compensation you're entitled to from the insurance company.
An attorney can help protect your legal rights, gather evidence to support your claim, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. They can also advise you on the strength of your case and the potential damages you may be entitled to, including compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. If you're unsure whether you need an attorney, most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation where they can evaluate your case and advise you on your options.
Can I make a personal injury lawsuit without a lawyer?
It is possible to make a personal injury lawsuit without a lawyer, but it can be a challenging process. Personal injury law can be complex, and there are many legal rules and procedures that must be followed in order to successfully pursue a claim.
Additionally, insurance companies and defendants are often represented by experienced attorneys who may try to minimize your claim or deny liability altogether.
An experienced personal injury attorney can provide invaluable assistance throughout the claims process, including negotiating with insurance companies, gathering evidence, and representing you in court if necessary. They can also provide guidance on the potential value of your claim and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Overall, while it is possible to pursue a personal injury claim without a lawyer, it's generally not recommended. The legal system can be complex and intimidating, and working with an experienced attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Related: What to do when you get pulled over