How to Recover Compensation After an Iowa Car Accident
We all know that serious car accidents occur frequently and many of us personally know someone, or perhaps multiple people, who have been badly injured in an accident. But did you know that according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel more than 37,000 people die in car crashes each year in the United States and that an additional 2.35 million people are injured? These statistics are staggering and translate into massive bills, both from treating resulting injuries as well as from repairing damaged property. But who is paying these bills? In Iowa, the answer often depends on who is found to be legally liable for causing the crash.
Determining Liability After a Car Accident
Determining fault after a car accident is not always an easy task, and to make matters more complicated not all states determine car accident fault in the same way. In Iowa, when one party is completely at fault for causing an accident that person is liable to pay all of the damages sustained by the injured party (or parties if the accident involved multiple people). However, when multiple people are found to be jointly at fault for causing an accident then courts in Iowa apply a comparative theory of negligence in order to determine who is liable, and in what amount. Under a comparative fault system the court apportions the total available fault among each party that contributed to the accident and allows the plaintiff (i.e. the party that is suing) to collect the percentage of their damages that has been attributed to other parties, provided that the plaintiff’s comparative fault does not exceed 50 percent.
For example, pretend that Driver A rear-ends Driver B while Driver A is drunk and Driver B has burnt-out tail lights. The court finds Driver A to be 85 percent at fault and Driver B 15 percent at fault. Under Iowa’s comparative fault system Driver B would be able to recover 85 percent of his/her damages while Driver A would be barred from recovering anything as he/she was more than 50 percent at fault for causing the accident.
Who Can I Recover Damages From?
In Iowa, an injured car accident plaintiff who is 50 percent or less at fault for causing the accident in which he/she was injured is permitted to recover damages from any at-fault driver(s) who caused the crash. This is true even if the plaintiff has their own insurance. Additionally, there may be other parties who can be held liable as well. For example, if an at-fault driver was working at the time of the accident then you may be able to hold his/her employer liable as well. In other instances you might be able to hold an auto manufacturer or retailer liable. If this seems complicated don’t worry, a local personal injury lawyer will be able to evaluate the facts of your case and determine which parties can be held liable.
Contact the Noyes Law Office Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in an Iowa car accident and are interested in learning more about how to recover compensation for your injuries contact the Noyes Law Office P.C. today. One of our experienced Southeast Iowa auto accident attorneys would be happy to discuss your legal options with you during a free no obligation consultation. Contact our Fairfield office today at (641) 472-3236.