Cedar Rapids, IA – Anyone who has been hurt in a motor vehicle accident can do several different things to try to receive compensation. They should contact their insurance company and file a claim, but there are also civil lawsuits that can potentially out large sums of money. A negligence case is the main type of lawsuit that personal injury attorneys file. This is a type of tort law action that argues the defendant was not careful enough and caused injuries and losses to the plaintiff.
The structure of a negligence case
Negligence laws can have some minor differences in each state depending on the local laws. The four elements of all negligence cases are a relevant duty of care, a breach of this duty, actual causation, and damages. If even one element is not present or proven to the jury, the plaintiff cannot win the case. Once negligence is proven, the jury is also instructed to divide the amount of fault for the accident between all parties involved. This process and this type of division will implicate the doctrine of comparative negligence.
Modified comparative negligence
Iowa uses a modified comparative negligence standard to divide fault for an accident. This means that the plaintiff can be partially at fault for an accident and still collect money. Their damage award is reduced relative to their level of fault rather than eliminated. However, a plaintiff who is more than 51% at fault for the collision cannot collect any damages at all. This gives most accident victims a chance at compensation, unless they essentially caused the accident.
Damages and compensation
All negligence lawsuits are filed because the victim needs to be paid for things like their time away from work and medical costs and treatment. The main types of damages available are economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages are related to losses that can be shown through evidence such as bills for property repairs and hospital treatment. Non-economic losses are for emotional and physical pain, suffering, and psychological trauma. The plaintiff’s attorney has to essentially show a reduced quality of life for the victim to prove non-economic damages. Punitive damages are rarely available in civil lawsuits, because this is money paid to the victim that is meant to punish the defendant rather than compensate the victim. There must be reckless or malicious behavior present for punitive damages.
Accident attorneys in Iowa
It is possible for accident victims to receive professional guidance and advice throughout the course of their lawsuit in the Cedar Rapids area. Eells and Tronvold Law Offices help local clients with bringing civil cases against the person responsible for their injuries.
Firm contact info:
1921 51st Street NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-2400