Personal Injury Lawyer Ames, IA
One of the most critical pieces of a personal injury case is proving negligence. In order to be successful in obtaining a personal injury award for settlement, an Ames, Iowa personal injury attorney needs to prove that the alleged at-fault party’s behavior was negligent.
If you or a family member has been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s actions, contact a personal injury attorney in Ames, IA from Johnston Martineau to find out how we can help.
According to Iowa law, negligence occurs when there is a failure to take reasonable care in order to prevent causing injuries or losses to any other party. In order to prove negligence, the following four elements must exist:
- The at-fault party had a duty of care
- The at-fault party breached that duty
- The at-fault party’s breach resulted in the victim’s injuries
- The victim losses because of those injuries
Duty of Care
Proving negligence means proving that the alleged at-fault party owed a duty of care to the victim. For example, a person who is granted a driver’s license owes a duty of care to all those he or she shares the roads with to drive safely and obey all traffic laws.
Duty of Care Breach
An alleged at-fault party is negligent if they breach the duty of care they have to the victim. Using the above example of a driver’s duty of care to obey all traffic laws, if the driver ran a red light and crashed into a vehicle that had the right of way, that driver breached their duty of care to other commuters to obey all traffic laws when they did not stop at the traffic light.
Still using the above example, it was the driver’s failure to obey the traffic laws and stop at the red light that directly caused the crash. Had the driver not breached their duty of care, there would not have been a crash.
If the victim suffered injuries and/or damage to property as a result of the accident, then the driver who ran the red light would be legally liable for any losses the victim suffers as a result. If the victim did not suffer any losses, then there would not be any liability on the part of the at-fault driver. In some cases, such as a drunk driving accident, a victim may also be awarded punitive damages which are meant to punish the at-fault party for especially egregious behavior.
Determining If Your Case Is Big Enough for a Lawyer
When it comes to personal injury cases, they vary in severity from simple to complicated. Some individuals can handle a case on their own, while others require the assistance of a lawyer because it’s so full of twists and turns. Are you wondering whether your case is big enough for a lawyer? After all, your goal in this is to get a chunk of money through a settlement, so you don’t want it all to go to legal fees. The following can help you make that decision.
If your car accident does not include any injuries, or your injuries are as simple as a few bumps and bruises, you probably won’t need to hire a lawyer. In fact, hiring a lawyer could end up costing you more than you would receive in a settlement, so it wouldn’t be beneficial. Instead, you should file a claim with either yours or the other driver’s auto insurance company.
When a claims adjuster starts poking around, can you handle him or her? If you have really good negotiating skills, you may be able to take on an adjuster, and possibly a personal injury case. If you’re not so good at negotiating, or simply don’t know where to start, it might be a better idea to contact a lawyer. If your case requires a good amount of negotiating, chances are it’s complicated enough and will turn out a large enough sum of settlement money to rationalize hiring a lawyer.
An insurance company will never pay out more than the policy limit. What this means is if the defendant’s insurance policy has a $150,000 maximum, and the insurance company has offered you that same amount, there’s no reason to hire a lawyer.
You won’t get more than that from the insurance company at least, but if you want to try for more through a lawsuit, you could hire a lawyer and go that route. Keep in mind the amount of assets the defendant has, because if there are none to pull money from, you may not receive a penny of your settlement.
More Serious Injuries
Some injuries may seem minor at first, but upon further examination will present greater and more serious issues. If you are going to require multiple trips to the doctor, as well as ongoing care for a number of years, it’s most likely your best bet to hire a lawyer. Determining future medical expenses isn’t always easy, but with a lawyer by your side, you’ll be better equipped to get what you deserve.
Speak With a Lawyer Today
If you were in a personal injury incident, you don’t have to fight it on your own. Whether you know your case is big enough for a lawyer or aren’t quite sure, speak with an attorney today to find out more.
Let an Ames, IA Personal Injury Attorney Help
If you have been injured as a result of another party or parties’ negligence, contact Johnston Martineau, LLP to find out what legal recourse you may have. A personal injury attorney Ames, IA clients trust can help you obtain the financial compensation that you deserve for medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and any other losses you have suffered. Call today to set up a free and confidential consultation.