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Auto Accidents in Iowa

Accidents are sudden, unforeseen, and unplanned. No driver intends to have an accident, yet auto accidents occur daily on the roads of Des Moines, Iowa, Polk County, Iowa, Central Iowa, and across the state.

An automobile accident is literally a jarring experience, and the pain, stress and uncertainty that often follow an accident may be frustrating and confusing. Insurance companies often prolong the pain by denying fair and full compensation to the accident victim for financial losses due to hospitalization, medical care, lost wages, and property damage.

A major car crash may result in devastating or life-altering injuries. Sadly, some auto accident victims never fully recover from their injuries and some victims die. But sometimes, injury or death would have been avoidable if a vehicle’s driver or owner did not act negligently.

Des Moines, Iowa Auto Accident Lawyer

If you were involved in an auto accident or crash and suffered injuries or property loss, or if a family member or loved one suffered serious injuries or was killed in a motor vehicle accident in Des Moines, IA, or anywhere in the state, you should contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C..

If your injuries or property loss were caused by someone else, you may be able to recover damages, either through negotiation, or in civil court. But don’t try it alone. The experienced personal injury attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. can help you decide what to do next. We aggressively negotiate with insurance companies to compensate our clients fully for their injuries and financial losses. We are also prepared to go to court to seek justice for you.
Contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. at (515) 279-9700 today to schedule an appointment, during which we can explain the laws related to auto accidents and personal injury.

Iowa Auto Accident Information Center

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What to do if Involved in an Auto Accident

Your actions and words right after an auto accident can help preserve your health and safety:

Stay Calm: No matter who is at fault, emotions can spike in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. It is important to remain calm, keep a level head, and exhibit a professional, business-like demeanor in the moments after a crash.

Triage: After an accident, you should check yourself, your passengers, and anyone in the other vehicle(s) or any pedestrians for injuries and try to determine the extent of any injuries, if possible. Administer first aid if necessary.

Call 911: If emergency services such an ambulance or the fire department are needed, call 911 right away or ask someone else to call 911. If your car is blocking the road and you can move it to the side of the road, do so. If no ambulance or fire truck is needed, call 911 anyway to alert the police. Wait for the police or other emergency services to arrive.

Fault: Do not admit fault or accept blame, even if you feel you may be at fault. Do not accuse the other driver of being at fault.

Information exchange and accident report: If damage is minor, the police may not come to the scene, so you should exchange information (names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance details) with the other driver(s). If the police do not file an accident report, you are required to file one within 72 hours of the time of the accident if the total damage is $1,500 or more.

Insurance: Contact your insurance company. Some companies will send an adjuster to the accident scene. Do not accept initial insurance settlement offers until you are certain of the extent of damages. Discuss the accident only with the police and your insurance company’s representative.

Document the scene: Take, or have someone take, photos of the accident scene and the other driver’s information and vehicle, including the vehicle registration number (VIN), which is usually stamped on the dashboard or inner door panel. Note the exact time and location of the accident. Make written notes and include any unusual circumstances. Draw a diagram if it is helpful.

Medical: Go to the doctor. Injuries sometimes do not appear for days or weeks after an accident. The law limits the amount of time you have to report an injury after an accident.

Attorney: Seek the advice of an attorney experienced in traffic accidents and personal injury law.

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Common Types of Car Accidents in Iowa

Vehicular accidents are the leading cause of injuries and deaths in the U.S. More than 5 million auto accidents occur in the U.S. each year, resulting in more than 2.2 million injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 32,850 people were killed as a result of traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2013.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that 317 people died on Iowa roads in 2013. Twenty-two people died on the roads of Polk County, Iowa, in 2009.

Often, a vehicle’s driver is at fault for an auto accident resulting in injury or death.

The investigation of a serious car accident will focus on all the circumstances that occurred, including whether negligence was a contributing factor. A dedicated attorney may be able to uncover facts the police overlook or ignore. Our attorneys have represented clients in these and other types of auto accidents:

  • OWI (Operating While Impaired) Accidents
  • DUI (Driving Under the Influence) Accidents
  • Drunk Driving with Personal Bodily Injury or Death
  • Bar / Party Host Liability
  • Underage Drivers
  • Hit and Run Accidents
  • Vehicular Homicide
  • Drag Racing Accidents
  • Reckless Driving Accidents
  • Careless Driving Accidents
  • Commercial Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Passenger Injuries
  • Head-On Collisions
  • Rear End Accidents
  • Side Impact Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Bicycle Accidents
  • ATV Accidents
  • Rental Car Accidents
  • Taxi/Uber/Limo Accidents
  • Distracted Driver Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers
  • T-Bone Collisions
  • Low-Speed Impact Collisions
  • Distracted Driving Accidents
  • Drowsy and Sleeping Driver Accidents
  • Multiple Vehicle Accidents
  • Rental Car Accidents
  • Taxi Cab Accidents

Iowa law imposes strict time limits on how long you have to file an insurance claim, so if any of these types of accidents occurred in your case, you should seek the advice of a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

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What types of injuries are typical in caraccidents?

A car accident can be a simple fender-bender, a high-speed, head-on collision, or anything in between. The severity of injuries suffered can range from superficial or minor all the way to extremely bloody and bone-crushing with crippling or disabling results. On average, nearly four deaths occur nationwide every hour of every day due to auto accidents.

Some of the kinds of injuries that can occur in an auto accident include:

  • Amputation or Partial Amputation
  • Back Injuries
  • Broken Bones
  • Bruises
  • Burns
  • Coma
  • Concussion
  • Cuts (Lacerations)
  • Disfigurement
  • Displaced Fractures
  • Eye Injuries
  • Hernias
  • Herniated Discs
  • Internal Organ Injuries
  • Neck Injuries
  • Nerve Damage
  • Paralysis
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Severe Lacerations
  • Skin and Tissue Injuries
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Even if no injury is apparent after an auto accident, it is wise to visit a doctor anyway. Insurance companies often impose strict deadlines on how long a person has to file an injury claim, so you must act promptly or face the possibility of covering medical expenses yourself.

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Additional Resources

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) — The website of the U.S. Department of Transportation has information about driver and vehicle safety, crash-related research and data, and information about federal laws and regulations.

Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) — Iowa Accident Report Form — If a police officer did not file an accident report, use this four-page form that must be completed and filed within 72 hours for any auto accident in Iowa resulting in total property damage of $1,500 or more. The form includes instructions and can be completed online. If the form cannot be completed online, it should be printed, completed, and delivered or mailed to:

Iowa Department of Transportation
Office of Driver Services
P.O. Box 9235
Des Moines, IA  50306-9235   

Investigating Officer’s Crash Reporting Guide — This 154-page booklet, published by the Iowa DOT, is used by police officers when responding to auto accidents, but it also provides a wealth of information that could be useful to private citizens involved in car crashes.

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Find an Auto Accident Attorney in Des Moines, Iowa

If you have been injured in an auto accident in Des Moines, Iowa, you need a qualified, aggressive personal injury attorney to fight for you. The lawyers at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. have more than seven decades of combined legal experience. We represent accident victims throughout Iowa, including Polk County and Dallas County.

We will seek just compensation for your injuries and help you recover what you have lost. We can negotiate with the insurance company to get the highest settlement they will offer. Our attorneys are trial attorneys. We can take the case to trial, if necessary, to maximize how much your case is worth.

Call us today at (515) 279-9700 to schedule a consultation.