Personal Injury FAQ

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Iowa Personal Injury FAQs

You may have many questions after suffering a severe personal injury in a vehicle accident, slip and fall, or other incident. It’s the job of an Iowa injury lawyer to explain the basic concepts of injury law and answer your questions. Below, the team at Loney & Schueller, LLC, answers some of the most common questions people have when they come to us about a potential personal injury claim.

How Do I Know if I Have a Valid Personal Injury Case?

You must prove three main points to win a personal injury case in Iowa. First, someone who had a responsibility to avoid or prevent injuring you must have caused your injury. Second, you need to have suffered harm of some sort, either physically or to your property. Lastly, you need to quantify your losses so you can seek compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit. If these conditions apply, you might have a valid case.

What Are Some Common Types of Accidents Leading to Personal Injury Claims?

Personal injury claims can result from various types of accidents. The unifying factor in these cases is that someone sustained an injury due to another party’s negligence. Some common types of accidents that often lead to personal injury claims include:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Defective product incidents

How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Iowa?

According to Iowa law, you must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of sustaining your injuries. If you miss this deadline, the courts will likely dismiss your case even if it has merit.

What Compensation Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Case?

In a personal injury case, you may be eligible to receive compensation to cover the losses you’ve endured due to an accident, including:

  • Medical Expenses – This covers the cost of your medical bills, including hospital stays, physical therapy, rehab, prescriptions, and any future medical care related to your injury.
  • Lost Wages – This compensates you for your lost income while recovering from your injury. This can include future lost earnings if your injuries affect your ability to work.
  • Pain and Suffering – This compensation addresses the physical pain and emotional distress you’ve experienced because of the accident.
  • Property Damage – This reimburses you for the cost of repairing or replacing any personal property damaged in the accident, such as your vehicle.
  • Punitive Damages – Although less common, you could receive additional compensation in cases of severe negligence to punish the offender and deter similar behavior in the future.

What Are the Steps of a Personal Injury Claim?

An Iowa personal injury claim follows a structured process that involves several key steps:

  • Consult a Lawyer – After seeking medical treatment for your injuries, meeting with a personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights and whether you have a viable claim.
  • Investigation – Once they have agreed to take your case, your lawyer will procure and analyze evidence related to the accident, such as witness statements, photos of the scene, and medical records.
  • Filing a Claim – Next, your attorney will file a formal claim against the responsible party or their insurance company, outlining your losses and the compensation you’re seeking.
  • Negotiation – During the negotiation phase, your lawyer and the opposing party try to reach a suitable settlement agreement.
  • Filing a Lawsuit – If the liable party won’t agree to a reasonable settlement, your lawyer may recommend filing a lawsuit to recover compensation.
  • Discovery – Both sides exchange information and evidence through discovery, which can include depositions and requests for documents.
  • Mediation and Negotiation – Often, there is another attempt to negotiate a settlement after the discovery phase. This can involve working with a third-party mediator.
  • Trial – If no settlement is agreed to, the case goes to trial. Both sides will present their evidence and arguments, and a judge or jury will hand down a ruling.
  • Award or Settlement – If you win your case, the court will compensate you for your losses. However, the parties may settle at any point in the process before the final verdict.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Handle My Personal Injury Case?

While you aren’t legally required to hire a lawyer to handle your personal injury case, choosing to represent yourself can be risky. Here’s why it’s beneficial to work with a lawyer and the risks of going it alone: 

Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer: 

  • Experienced Guidance – Personal injury law is complex. A lawyer knows the legal rules and can work within the court system or deal with insurance companies effectively on your behalf.
  • Higher Settlements – Lawyers are skilled negotiators. They often secure much higher compensation than individuals can recover on their own.
  • No Upfront Costs – Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t owe any fees unless your attorney wins your case.
  • Stress Reduction – Going through legal proceedings while recovering from an injury can be overwhelming. A lawyer handles the legal details for you, allowing you to focus on recovery.
     

Risks of Not Hiring a Lawyer: 

  • Lower Compensation – Without the negotiation skills and legal knowledge of a lawyer, you might accept a lower settlement than you deserve.
  • Complex Legal Processes – Misunderstanding the legal procedures and deadlines could jeopardize your case, possibly leading to its dismissal.
  • Dealing with Insurers – Insurance companies have experienced lawyers and adjusters who aim to minimize payouts. They may take advantage of your lack of knowledge and experience.

How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Typically Take in Iowa?

It depends on the case, the available evidence, how much money you ask for, and other factors. Most cases resolve within a few months, while others might take years, particularly if the case goes to trial. However, it’s important to stay patient to avoid settling for less than you deserve.

Can I Handle My Personal Injury Claim Without Going to Court?

Most personal injury cases conclude without going to trial. Court cases are risky, expensive, and unpredictable. Most of the time, you’re better off with the certainty of an insurance settlement rather than risking a courtroom trial. However, taking your case to trial may be necessary if the other party and their insurance company refuse to make a fair offer. Your attorney will always prepare for the possibility of going to trial so they can negotiate from the strongest possible position.

What Should I Look for When Choosing a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Choosing the right personal injury lawyer is crucial for the success of your case. Here are some essential factors to consider when selecting an attorney:

  • Experience – Look for a lawyer who focuses on personal injury law and has successfully won cases similar to yours.
  • Reputation – Check reviews and testimonials to learn more about the lawyer’s reputation. A respected attorney in the community can be a strong advocate for you.
  • Communication – Choose a lawyer who communicates clearly and regularly. You want an attorney who will keep you informed throughout the process and is accessible when you have questions.
  • Resources – Ensure the lawyer has the resources necessary to thoroughly investigate and prepare your case. This includes access to medical experts, accident reconstruction specialists, and other professionals.
  • Fee Structure – Understand how the lawyer charges fees. A personal injury lawyer who works on contingency will allow you to avoid additional financial stress while your case is in progress.

If you have additional questions about personal injury cases in Iowa, we’ll happily answer them for you. Call Loney & Schueller, LLC, today for a free initial consultation.

Get All The Compensation You Deserve. Call Our Attorneys Today.

Contact us online, or call us at 1-515-225-4485 to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Des Moines personal injury attorney. We handle injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no attorney’s fees unless we are able to recover compensation on your behalf.

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Contact Us for A Free Consultation

Our law office is conveniently located at 50th St. and I-235 in West Des Moines. We have successfully represented thousands of personal injury and Iowa workers’ compensation clients. Call 1-515-225-4485 for a free consultation. You never pay attorneys’ fees until we win and recover for all of your losses either in a favorable settlement or trial verdict.

What Our Clients Say

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Randy vigorously negotiated my case and I received a lump sum payment in excess of $200,000. He worked extremely hard for me and made sure I was taken care of. I am more than pleased with the outcome of my case.

Rusty from St. Augustine, Florida

Without Eric’s help and guidance I am not sure where I would be. I thank the person who referred Eric to me every day. I recommend that others use Eric for their workers’ compensation cases.

Terry of Iowa

Sarah also obtained a settlement from homeowner’s the insurance company. I would certainly recommend Sarah to represent you with regard to injuries received due to a dog bite.

Shane of Des Moines, Iowa