When you are involved in a car accident, your life can change in an instant. Even when we do everything possible to keep ourselves safe on the road, we cannot control the actions of others. When fellow motorists are careless, distracted, or even downright reckless, they can cause serious accidents with life-altering consequences for all involved.
If you were injured or if your loved one was killed in a car accident, it can seem impossible to move forward. However, if the accident was the result of someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions, you have the right to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim and hold that person accountable. You could be entitled to receive monetary compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, future medical bills and lost earnings, and pain and suffering. And, at Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C., we can help.
For more than 60 years, our Waterloo car accident lawyers have been representing victims of negligence throughout Iowa, including those injured in devastating car accidents. We understand the many challenges you face and are prepared to provide you with the personalized legal guidance and support you need.
We offer free initial consultations and can travel to meet you in the hospital or in your home if necessary. Call (319) 220-0416 or contact us online to get started with our attorneys in Waterloo or Iowa City.
Who Is Eligible to File a Car Accident Claim in Iowa?
In order to bring a car accident claim in the state of Iowa, you must prove the following elements:
- Another motorist (or some other party) was negligent, reckless, or violated the law
- As a result, you were involved in an accident that left your injured
- You sustained measurable damages (economic or non-economic in nature)
Because motorists have an implied duty of care to others on the road, you do not need to establish that the other driver owed you this duty of care. However, you do need to prove that he or she breached the duty of care in some way. Typically, this involves showing that he or she was negligent, reckless, or engaged in unlawful behavior.
A motorist was negligent or acting wrongfully if he or she:
- Drove while intoxicated/under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Drove while distracted, including while texting
- Failed to yield the right-of-way
- Violated traffic laws or rules of the road
- Failed to stop at a red light, stop sign, or abide by another traffic control device
- Engaged in reckless or aggressive driving, including road rage
- Fell asleep at the wheel or drove while fatigued
- Passed another vehicle where it was unlawful or dangerous to do so
- Drove more than their allotted hours (for truckers specifically)
These are just some examples of negligent driving behavior. If you were involved in an accident and you believe the other motorist was negligent in any way, you could have grounds for a claim. In fact, even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still be able to seek damages.
Understanding Iowa’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
Every state handles car accident claims a little differently. In Iowa, you are permitted to file a car accident claim as long as you are less than 50% at fault for the crash. Under the state’s modified comparative negligence rule, you are still allowed to recover damages if you were partially at fault (as long as you were less at fault than the other person/party), but your total recovery will be reduced by your at-fault percentage.
For example, if you were involved in a collision with another motorist who failed to stop at a red light because he was texting while driving, but you were driving five miles over the speed limit at the time of the crash, a jury might find you 20% at fault for the accident. If your total damages—including the cost of your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering—amounts to $10,000, you will only be able to recover up to 80% of that amount, or $8,000.
Why You Shouldn’t Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance Adjuster
The important thing to remember is that being partially at fault for an accident in Iowa does not preclude you from being able to file a claim and seek damages. Nor does it mean that you have to accept the insurance company’s first settlement offer. In fact, it is in your best interests to avoid speaking to any adjusters from the other driver’s insurance company until you have first spoken to a lawyer about your claim. Insurance companies are businesses and, like any business, they are primarily focused on making a profit. As such, they will often go to great lengths to avoid paying out claims. They may dispute your injuries or argue that you were mostly at fault for the collision, both tactics that can be used to deny your claim. It’s absolutely critical that you work with an experienced car accident lawyer who can help you fight back.
What If the Accident Was Caused by Someone Other Than Another Motorist?
Though relatively rare, some car accidents are not the result of another motorist’s negligence but, rather, the result of other outlying factors. In such cases, it is possible to hold other people/parties liable for your injuries if they acted negligently or otherwise breached the duty of care they owed to you.
For example, if your vehicle had a defective tire that blew out while you were traveling down the highway, leading to a single-car or multiple-car crash, the manufacturer of the defective tire could be held legally liable for your resulting damages. In fact, auto manufacturers, construction companies, designers of defective roads, and others could all be liable for accidents caused by their negligent or wrongful conduct.
These tend to be very complex cases; it’s important that you speak to an attorney who understands how to investigate these types of claims and provide the effective advocacy you need.
Real Clients, Real Stories
"My experience with Ball,Kirk & Holm was awesome."Terry D.
"Eashaan is a fighter! This law firm won’t disappoint!"Shea R.
The teamwork at Ball, Kirk & Holm were very informative & in constant contact.Russ, Personal Injury Client
Our Waterloo car accident attorneys know that no two cases are alike. As such, we employ a personalized, tailored approach to each and every case. Our team will meet with you in order to learn more about your specific situation, as well as your particular concerns and goals. From there, we can build a powerful case aimed at securing the maximum compensation you are owed. Throughout the process, you can trust our team to provide you with the attention, communication, and care you deserve.
Based in Waterloo, we serve clients throughout the state of Iowa on a contingency fee basis. This means there are no attorneys’ fees unless we successfully secure a settlement or verdict in your case.