Des Moines Passenger Injury Lawyer
Car Accident Passenger Injuries in Iowa
If you were injured as a passenger in a car accident in Des Moines or anywhere in the surrounding areas, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. In some cases, you may be covered by the driver’s insurance. In other cases, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, whether that was the driver of the vehicle you were in or another vehicle that hit you.
Passenger injury claims present several challenges. You may even be hesitant to file a claim against the at-fault driver if it is someone you know. However, you should not have to suffer the consequences of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness on your own. Remember, if the at-fault driver has auto insurance, you will file a claim against the insurance company, not the driver. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance (or flees the scene), you may be able to bring an uninsured motorist claim.
Our Des Moines passenger injury lawyers can help you understand your rights and options. We understand the sensitive nature of these claims and are available to provide the personalized legal guidance you need. We do not charge anything for initial consultations, and we only collect attorneys’ fees if and when we win your case.
Can You Sue If You Were a Passenger in a Car Accident?
The short answer is yes, in most cases, you can sue for damages if you were injured as a passenger in a car accident in Iowa. However, the process of filing a claim (or lawsuit) varies depending on the specific details of your situation.
First, it’s important to understand Iowa’s auto insurance laws. All drivers in Iowa must have minimum liability insurance. While motorists can choose to purchase additional coverage, minimum liability is the baseline auto insurance requirement for all drivers in the state.
In Iowa, one must typically purchase minimum liability coverage in the following amounts:
- $20,000 in bodily injury/death per person
- $40,000 in bodily injury/death per accident
- $15,000 in property damage per accident
This insurance covers medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other related costs caused by an accident. It applies not only to drivers but also to passengers. This means that, if you are injured as a passenger and the at-fault driver is insured, you are entitled to at least these minimum liability amounts.
How to File a Claim as an Injured Auto Accident Passenger
Filing a personal injury claim as an injured passenger is somewhat different than filing a claim as an injured driver after a car accident. Because Iowa follows a traditional fault-based system, anyone who is involved in a motor vehicle accident must file a claim against the at-fault party. When you are the driver of the vehicle, this typically means you must prove that another driver (or a third party) was at fault for the accident. Then, you can bring a claim against the other driver/third party.
However, when you are a passenger, you may be able to bring a claim for damages against the driver of another vehicle or the driver of the vehicle in which you were injured. If the driver you were with was at fault for the accident, you may have a claim with their insurance provider. In this way, you may have more opportunities for compensation as an injured passenger than you would if you were the driver of one of the vehicles involved in the accident.
But what happens when multiple parties share some portion of the blame? Under Iowa’s modified comparative fault rule, people who are partially at fault for an accident can still recover compensation for their damages as long as they were less than 51% at fault. This means that, if you are a driver involved in a crash in which you were 30% responsible, you can still recover up to 70% of the total compensation you would have received if you were 0% at fault.
As a passenger, you are not likely to share any portion of the blame. However, determining who was at fault for the accident is still important, as this is who you will bring a claim against. When multiple parties share fault, you may be able to pursue multiple avenues of compensation. Our Des Moines passenger injury attorneys can help you determine the best course of action for your particular situation.
Contact Us Today for a Free Case Evaluation
Passengers in auto accidents often suffer serious, life-altering injuries. Whether you were involved in a rear-end collision, a rollover accident, or even a single-vehicle crash, LaMarca Law Group, P.C. is here to help you get back on your feet. We have extensive experience handling complex auto insurance claims and know the ins and outs of negotiating favorable settlements for our clients. When the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, we are fully prepared to represent you and your best interests at trial.