3 Ways a Motorcycle Injury Attorney Can Help if You Have Been Injured Riding Your Motorcycle

Motorcycle Injury Attorney

It is summertime in Iowa and that means a lot more motorcyclists on the rode enjoying one of America’s growing past times – motorcycle riding. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the number of households owning a motorcycle has been steadily increasing over the last 10 years. 

Additionally, more older Iowans are riding motorcycles and, as a result, there has been an increased focus on safety among motorcycle riders. This has included motorcycle training courses and the Share the Road movement, which is “intended to reduce accidents between drivers and motorcyclist by seeing, respecting and understanding a motorcyclist’s needs and rights on the highway.”

Despite the increased focus on safety, unfortunately, motorcyclists are still at a higher risk for injuries and fatalities from an accident than other drivers. If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash or have lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash, there can be a lot of complicated legal issues and a motorcycle injury attorney may be able to help you so that you can focus only on healing and recovering from a crash. Here are three things that a motorcycle injury attorney may be able to help you with:

  1. Determining the Insurance Available to Compensate You: When you have been injured because of the negligence of another it can be overwhelming to determine which insurance company should be paying your medical bills and should compensate you for your injuries. This can be complicated in motorcycle injury cases because many motorcycle insurance policies do not include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or medical payments coverage; however, Iowa has specific laws about this type of coverage. This can mean that it is important to determine the type of insurance that the negligent driver has and also to review your own insurance policy to determine what kind of coverage you have and if you may have additional coverage available because of Iowa’s insurance laws. In addition to these considerations, you also need to determine if your health insurance carrier should be paying your medical bills for treatment as you receive it and if they will be entitled to be paid back if you recover from the other driver. These issues are complicated but are very important to make sure that you recover as much as possible to help you with everything that you have to deal with when you have been unexpectedly injured. A motorcycle injury attorney can help you sort through these issues.

  2. Proving Who Caused the Crash: Motorcycle crashes can raise additional issues about who is at fault for a crash. Oftentimes the other driver will claim that they didn’t see the motorcycle and may assume that the motorcyclist did something wrong to cause the crash. It is important to get copies of the police investigative file and talk with all witnesses in order to prove who was at fault for the crash. It may also be necessary to hire an accident reconstructionist if it is not clear how the crash occurred. If the other driver caused the crash, a motorcycle injury attorney can help prove that and therefore help protect your rights.

  3. Overcoming Jury Biases: People can feel very strongly about motorcycles and motorcyclists. Some people feel motorcycles are inherently dangerous. Other people believe motorcyclists are dangerous drivers. But motorcyclists have the same rights as all drivers on the road and when they are injured, they have the same right to recover. If it becomes necessary to try your case in front of a jury (meaning it does not settle) a motorcycle injury attorney can try to help the jury understand motorcyclists’ rights.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident or if you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, please call us at (319) 826-2250, or fill out our contact form,  to discuss what you are going through and determine if we can help.

What To Do If Your Child Is Injured In A Car Accident

Child Injury Claims

Car accidents are among some of the most common child injury cases we see in our office – especially with older or teenage children. If your child has been injured in a car accident, you are likely juggling a lot and may require the assistance of a lawyer. Here are a few steps to keep in mind to arrive at the best outcome after a traumatic car accident.

1)   Actively Pursue Medical Treatment

First and foremost, take your child for whatever medical treatment is recommended, as soon as possible, including emergency room visits, follow-up appointments, therapies and rehabilitations, and more. The first priority must always be your child’s well-being and as a parent you know when your child is not back to normal and needs to continue with medical treatment.  It can be confusing trying to figure out which insurance should be paying your child’s medical bills, but a personal injury lawyer can discuss this with you and sort through how to submit the medical bills for payment.

2)   Decide Whether You Need a Lawyer

Acting on behalf of children can be more complicated than when only adults are involved. A court has to approve any settlement of a child’s claim that is more than $25,000. If your child’s car accident injury is significant, rather than a minor mishap, it may be best to hire a lawyer who can help with the issues that arise in pursuing and settling a child’s personal injury case.  It can be overwhelming caring for an injured child and making sure that the child receives the full value of their claim and a personal injury attorney can help.

3)   Keep Track of Damages

If you find that you need to work with a lawyer, you can rest assured that most of the necessary documentation can be taken care of by the legal team. However, you may want to make the process easier by keeping track of any losses or damages your child experiences. For children, these may include days absent from school, as well as medical bills. Keep a folder of bills, receipts, letters, and other documents you receive to share with the lawyer if you choose to hire one.

4)   Let the Lawyer Do the Talking

In speaking with an insurance adjuster, they may ask you or your child to make a statement to settle the claim. Rarely should you let your child give a statement to the insurance company, and if at all possible, avoid giving one yourself. In many cases involving significant injury with large claim settlements, it’s best if your lawyer speaks with the insurance company.

If you find that you need a lawyer after your child is injured in a car accident, we are here to help. We can walk you through the process and be your advocate with the insurance company and in court. For a free consultation, fill out our contact form or give us a call at (319) 826-2250.

Trucking Accidents: 5 Things You Should Know if You Have Been Injured in a Car Accident with Semi-Tractor Trailer

Truck Injury Attorney

The number of semi trucks on the road has been steadily increasing and along with it, an increase in the number of fatal crashes and crashes causing injuries involving semi trucks. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2016, 4,213 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes and 55,633 large trucks were involved in crashes causing personal injury.

This problem is exacerbated because truck drivers are encouraged to drive more and sleep less and truck owners often do not keep trucks in safe, working order. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by the driver of a semi truck, there are some things that you should know:

  1. There may be multiple people or companies responsible: Semi truck accidents are often complicated because there may be multiple insurance companies and corporations that could be responsible for compensating you for your injuries. Determining who is responsible requires looking at who was driving the truck, who owned the truck and who the truck driver was hauling for. Most of these companies have insurance. There are complicated rules regarding how damages should be assessed against multiple responsible parties and their insurance companies. Before signing a release with any party, it is a good idea to speak with a lawyer so that you know the effect of releasing that party and whether you may also be releasing other responsible parties.

  2. There is usually more evidence available in a case involving a semi, but you need to get it early: Most semi truck drivers have to maintain log books that could contain crucial information to your case. Oftentimes there is crucial information found in the employment files of the truck driver or the maintenance records for the truck involved. Additionally, trucking companies often conduct their own accident investigation immediately after a crash and may have gathered important data. All of this evidence can help prove your case, but you need to obtain it as soon as possible and before it is destroyed. It can be difficult to obtain the evidence without representation, but a car accident injury attorney should be able to help you get the evidence you need.

  3. Semi trucks and their drivers have more rules to follow than other drivers: The federal government regulates the trucking industry. This includes regulations about the weight and mechanical condition of the truck, the training required to operate a truck and the number of hours a truck driver can operate a truck without taking a break. While most truck drivers abide by these rules and are cautious, some truck drivers and trucking companies do not follow the rules and their breaking of the rules may be very important to your case.

  4. Semi trucks are more dangerous than other vehicles:  Semi trucks are more dangerous than other vehicles because of their size and the difficulty operating the truck. These trucks have large blind spots due to their size and shape. The trucks also take longer to stop than a regular vehicle and can be difficult to maneuver around sharp turns.

  5. Multiple investigators will likely contact you: If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident or you lost a loved one in a truck accident, you should expect that multiple people will contact you about the accident. This includes the officers investigating the crash as well as investigators hired by the trucking company or an insurance company. You should be very cautious about providing information to an investigator hired by a trucking company or even hired by your own automobile insurance company. It is very likely that the investigator is focused on obtaining evidence that will help the trucking company prove that they were not at fault for the crash or information that they believe will help them to show you were not seriously injured.

If you or a loved one were injured in a trucking accident, it would be helpful to speak with an attorney about your options. Trucking cases are complicated and raise a number of factual and legal issues that should be dealt with by an experienced car accident injury attorney. If you would like to speak with someone at Ann Brown Legal about a trucking accident, please call (319) 826-2250.  

Sobering Facts - What you need to know about drunk driving and Iowa's dram shop law.

Between 2003 and 2012, 968 fatal accidents in Iowa involved a drunk driver. Around 30 % of fatal crashes are alcohol-related.  In addition to fatalities, numerous people are injured by drunk drivers throughout Iowa. The Des Moines Register recently published an article highlighting the following shocking statistics:

  1. Since 2005, 222 people have been charged with vehicular homicide as a result of driving drunk;
  2. At least 13 of those drivers were caught driving drunk after being convicted of vehicular homicide;
  3. Since 2005, more than 11,300 people have been arrested for driving drunk three or more times.

These numbers are consistent with what I have seen in my practice. In nearly every case where I have represented a person injured by a drunk driver or the family of a person killed by a drunk driver, it has not been the first time the person was arrested for drunk driving. 

Unfortunately, often a driver with a prior drunk driving history does not have sufficient insurance limits to fully compensate the persons they have harmed (or does not carry any insurance). This leaves injured persons to recover for their own insurance through uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage or, in some cases, to pursue a dram shop claim. 

In Iowa, the law prohibits bars or other establishments that hold a liquor license from over-serving patrons. A bar that serves a patron to the point of intoxication or when they reasonably should know the patron is already intoxicated can be held responsible if that patron later harms someone while drunk. The law also requires that in order to obtain a liquor license, a bar or other establishment must provide proof of dram shop insurance. 

Dram shop cases can be complicated, often because the drunk driver refused to submit to a breathalyzer. They often involve obtaining the investigative files from police, speaking with investigating officers and hiring a toxicologist to determine if the drunk driver was likely served to the point of intoxication at the defendant bar. 

One important thing to remember about dram shop cases is that persons injured by a drunk driver must send a notice of a potential dram shop claim to the bar within six months of the date of injury unless they can show good cause for not doing so. Dram shop claims are often pursued in addition to a claim against the drunk driver who caused the injury. 

If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you should speak with an attorney about a potential dram shop claim as soon as possible. If you would like to speak with me about your claim, please call me at (319) 826-2250. 

Wrongful Death—Grieving a Loss that Never Should Have Been

Life is meant to be lived in the company of our families. The moments we spend with our parents, our children, our husbands or wives—those are the moments that make up a life well-lived. There is no greater heartbreak than the death of a loved one. It can be even harder when a death is unexpected and caused by carelessness. Words left unspoken. Plans broken. Dreams unrealized. 

During these tragic times, it seems unfair that there is often so much added responsibility to the families who have lost when grieving is already too much to bear.  We have been with families through these tough times and have found ourselves questioning how we could best help these families when at times it seems that any help we can give is not enough.   

Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, who unexpectedly lost her husband, has recently written a much-needed book addressing many of the things that are left unsaid about tragedy and grieving. The book is called Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. Sandberg not only gives advice for those who are grieving but for those who care about someone who is grieving. There are two pieces of advice that she gives that spoke to me: 1) don't ignore the tragedy because you don't know what to say; and 2) actually do something to help, no matter how small,  instead of simply offering to do anything.

One way that we strive to help our clients is through pursuing wrongful death claims, which can be complicated and overwhelming. We help our clients in a number of ways, including:

  1. Protecting them from unwanted communication from an insurance company;
  2. Helping them to determine potential claims and how to pursue them;
  3. Helping them to navigate opening an Estate; and 
  4. Finding available community resources. 

Our goal with every client dealing with an unexpected death is to provide them with reliable counsel and advocacy so that pursuing a wrongful death claim does not become overly burdensome in an already difficult time. 

Bicycle Accidents—What Every Iowa Motorist Needs to Know

 Iowa bicycle accident lawyer

When I was a child, my bicycle meant freedom to me. Before we had drivers' licenses, my friends and I would ride our bikes all through our neighborhood. Now my daughter and her friends ride off on their bikes almost every night when the weather is warm(ish). I still love riding my bike as an adult—it is a great way to get outside. 

With spring finally here, bicyclists of all ages are out on the streets, and it is important for motorists to keep an eye out. Bicycle accidents can have tragic consequences, and so it is important for motorists to obey all traffic laws relating to bicycles. Most of Iowa's laws concerning bicycle-motorist safety are found in Iowa Code Chapter 321. Here are a few provisions to keep in mind:

  • Drivers are prohibited from steering unreasonably close to bicyclists, including bicyclists that are on the roadway and on the shoulder;
  • The same rules for passing vehicles apply to passing bicycles—drivers should only pass bicyclists when it is safe to change lanes; and
  • Drivers should avoid following bicyclists too closely. 

For more safe driving tips designed to keep Iowa bicyclists safe click here. 

If your child needs a bike helmet, visit Safe Kids Linn County to find out how to get a free children's bicycle helmet. Also, Ann Brown Legal is a contributor to the Hiawatha Memorial Day Bike Rodeo where they give away bike helmets to the first 50 children. 

Small Enough to Care. Strong Enough to Help.

At Ann Brown Legal we not only stand up for our clients, we stand with them, every step of the way. I have been working as a Cedar Rapids personal injury lawyer for over 12 years and my focus is on helping my clients recover. John, featured in the video below, was in a very serious motorcycle crash. His kind words mean the world to me and I am so happy that I was able to help him. 

Our philosophy at Ann Brown Legal is to always stand by our clients. We treat every case as important and every client as a friend. We are humbled that our former clients recommend us to others who need our services.

Helpful advice if you have been in a car or motorcycle accident

 Iowa Car Accident Attorney 

If you have been injured in a car or motorcycle accident, you likely have been or will be contacted by an insurance company and may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the process of dealing with the insurance company. Here are a few pieces of simple advice that may be helpful. 

Advice for Iowa Car Accident Victims 

 

  1. Hiring a lawyer. Not everyone who is injured in a car accident will benefit from having a lawyer (and that is coming from a lawyer!). If you sustained injuries that required little treatment and you have fully recovered, you may be better off resolving your case directly with the insurance company without getting a lawyer. However, if you have sustained injuries requiring substantial treatment or you have not recovered from your injuries, you may benefit from having a lawyer. If you are not sure if you would benefit from a lawyer, I am happy to talk to you about it. My job is to help people who have been injured, and so I always try to give an honest opinion about whether hiring a lawyer (almost always on a contingent fee) will likely increase the amount that you are able to recover for your injuries. 
  2. Talking to the insurance company. If you are considering hiring a lawyer, you should talk to that lawyer before giving a statement to the insurance company or signing a patients' waiver. Insurance companies want to save money and sometimes that means trying to shift the blame for an accident or minimizing your injuries and damages. Oftentimes you are simply better off not talking with the insurance company. If you have already spoken with the insurance company, do not fret, an attorney can still help you. 
  3. Document your injuries and damages. You should take photos of your injuries and of any damage to your car. You should also save any medical or other bills that you have.
  4. Getting Medical Care. You may be confused about what insurance company should be paying for your medical treatment. This often depends on your situation and you should always ask your lawyer who should be paying your medical bills. This is another topic I am always happy to discuss with people when they contact me. 
  5. Know the time limit for bringing a claim. In Iowa, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years from the date of injury, with some exception. You should know the statute of limitations applicable to your claim because if you try to bring your claim too late, you may not be able to do so. 

If you have questions about whether you should hire a lawyer, please contact our office at (319) 826-2250. We offer a free consultation, and I always provide helpful, honest advice to injured Iowans. 

This website is designed to provide general information and should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship

Distracted Driving on the Rise in Iowa

 Cedar Rapids Car Accident Attorney 

The Iowa Department of Transportation announced that in 2016 the number of deaths on Iowa Roads increased to over 400, after several years of steady decline. "The scary thing for us is, as you take a look, Iowa really had been trending the right way and then 2016 comes along." Patrick Hoye, the Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau Chief told the Cedar Rapids Gazette. While it is difficult to determine the exact cause of the increase in traffic related deaths, it appears the increase is likely due to an increase in distracted driving. 

Iowa already has a law prohibiting texting while driving, but because of the increase in fatalities in 2016, the Iowa Legislature is taking a hard look at possible legislation to address the increase in distracted driving. This could include making texting while driving a primary offense as opposed to only a secondary offense. 

As someone who has represented many people whose lives have been forever changed as a result of car accidents, I realize the seriousness of the risk presented by distracted driving. Whether it is additional legislation or more public education related to distracted driving, it is clear that something should be done to reverse this deadly trend. Four hundred families lost loved ones on Iowa Roads last year and that is 400 too many.