Crosswalk Pedestrian Accidents
An Urbandale High School employee was hit by a car in the crosswalk in front of the school yesterday in the early hours of the morning just before the students started to arrive. The fatal accident reminds area residents of the dangers presented at the busy intersection and many are calling for increased awareness to prevent future tragedies from occurring.
According to a recent National Highway Safety Administration NHTSA report, on average a pedestrian is killed every 2 hours and injured every 8 minutes with pedestrian deaths accounting for more than 10 percent of all car accidents. The Governors Board of Traffic Safety reports that pedestrian fatalities are outpacing all other traffic deaths, with a 27 percent increase in incidents over the last decade.
While pedestrian accidents correlate with the weather, time of day, economic conditions, demographics, fuel prices, and vehicle miles traveled and the presence of people walking, there are concerns that impaired and distracted driving may also play a role. Alcohol played a role in nearly half of all pedestrian traffic fatalities in 2016 and not surprisingly cell phone use while driving also figures prominently.
Also notable is that children and older adults are especially vulnerable to pedestrian accidents for reasons that include limited pedestrian experience, inadequate risk perception and perceptual judgement in children and fragility, reduced mobility and vision in the elderly. Studies reveal Iowa pedestrian fatalities involving children ages 15 and younger was among the highest in the country between the years of 2014-2015.
Strategies to increase the separation of pedestrians from cars include installing refuge islands on two way streets, use of pedestrian over and underpasses, countdown signals for pedestrians, and traffic signals where warranted. It is also crucial that pedestrians are more visible to drivers so improved street lighting, high visibility crosswalks and flashing beacons alerting drivers to an upcoming crosswalk are suggested. Higher speeds are associated with the greater likelihood of an accident and of greater injuries to a pedestrian. Drivers should adjust speeds down in the presence of pedestrian traffic to reduce the likelihood of an accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured by being struck by a vehicle, contact the Iowa pedestrian accident attorneys of Hemminger Law Firm to discuss what compensation may be available to you or your family member to cover medical bills, lost wages, and damages for pain and suffering caused by negligent motorists.
If you are involved in an injury accident, you may wonder how personal injury damages are calculated and what compensation you can expect for your losses. Typically, the at fault party’s liability insurance company will pay the injured person for their medical care and lost income, referred to as special damages. However, an injured party may also receive compensation for pain and suffering, permanent physical disability or disfigurement, loss of family, social, or educational experiences and emotional suffering referred to as general damages. Of course it is far easier to determine what someone has spent on medical expenses and the time they had to take off from work, but it is far more difficult to put a dollar figure on missed experiences or pain and suffering resulting from an injury. That is where the damages formula comes into play.
To determine how much to compensate you for general damages, those that are non-monetary in other words, an insurance adjuster will typically begin by adding up your total medical expenses and multiplying this figure by roughly one and one half to five to arrive at a figure for general damages. The more painful, serious or long-lasting the injury or effect thereof, the higher the multiplier. They will then come to the negotiation table with a settlement in mind that includes a general damage figure and lost wages.
It all seems pretty straight forward until you consider that the adjuster is not obliged to tell you whether they are using a formula or give you any specific details regarding the formula when they are. For the most part you will be in the dark as to how the adjuster arrived at the figure for damages and where you stand on the spectrum of compensation. However, it is helpful to understand that the figure is likely fluid and that an adjuster will almost always start on the lower end leaving room for negotiation.
This is where an experienced personal injury attorney is particularly helpful. An attorney who specializes in injury claims can often negotiate a far more favorable settlement simply because the adjuster is confronted with someone who understands the underlying process. Many injured parties receive far more in damages when they hire an attorney than they will on their own. If you or a family member is injured in an accident, contact the personal injury and workers’ compensation law offices of John T. Hemminger for immediate assistance today at 515-283-2116.
Documenting an Injury Accident
In the first 72 hours following an injury accident it is important to document details regarding the accident and continue to make notes to increase your chances of receiving all the compensation you are entitled to. It is not uncommon to settle an injury claim months or years after the event, so it is crucial that you keep detailed notes regarding the events surrounding your accident including the accident itself, the injuries you sustained, and economic or other losses you suffered as a result.
Begin by noting where you were going and what you were doing on the day of the accident. Include the date, time, weather, and who you were with, making sure to record every detail you can recall about what you saw, heard and felt immediately before, during and right after the accident. Make a particularly detailed account of impacts to your body perceived at the time of the accident – slams, jolts, or other and any sensations felt at the time of the accident. If there were friends or witnesses present who did or said anything in response to the accident, jot those details down too.
It is always best to seek medical attention immediately following an accident even if you think that your injury is minor. If you decide to make a claim, your medical records will serve as evidence that your injuries were caused by the accident. Be sure to include details regarding your visit to the doctor in your notes: who, when, where, what was said and what tests were taken and any other information regarding the appointment.
Sometimes the extent of your injuries are not immediately apparent, but show up hours, days or weeks later. In the days immediately following your accident, start taking notes detailing the pain or discomfort caused by your injuries. If you suffered a whiplash injury in a car accident for example, you may have a stiff neck, headaches, trouble sleeping, anxiety and more. Be sure to jot down any and all problems you experience so you can demand compensation for injuries that may not show, but are nevertheless debilitating. On subsequent visits to your medical care provider, be sure to share details you have recorded for entry into your medical record.
Documenting Your Injury Accident
Medical bills and pain and suffering are just part of the damages you may receive. There are also economic losses and family, social, educational or other losses. As you document your experience, be sure to write down times you have missed work, job opportunities you have not been able to participate in, missed classes, family or social gatherings you could not attend or other activities you would have benefited from or enjoyed but were unable to because of the accident.
Most memories grow fuzzier with the passage of time, even those that are traumatic such as being injured in an accident. Because compensation for your injuries often hinges on your ability to provide a detailed account of your experience along with any tangible evidence you can provide, getting it down in writing is key. Having notes to remind you of what happened before, during and after your accident will make it far easier and accurate to recall important details that may help your case.
If you have been injured in a personal injury accident, contact Des Moines personal injury attorney John T. Hemminger for immediate assistance at 515-283-2116.
Bike Lane Accidents
Bike accidents are down since designated bikes lanes have been marked on Grand Avenue and Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines. According the officials behind the project, bicyclists and pedestrians are safer with the addition of bike lanes to the heavily traveled corridor.
The Iowa Department of Transportation agrees, reporting that there has been a 2 percent drop in vehicle crashes and a 58 percent reduction in injury accidents since the bike lanes were installed. By all accounts, everything is running according to plan to make the downtown streets easier for bicyclists and pedestrians to navigate.
However, as many drivers in the area will tell you, it is sometimes difficult to see bicyclists in the lane as they travel alongside traffic so it is still important to remind bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists that there are risks involved.
Many injury accidents occur when pedestrians use bike paths and are struck by bicyclists. Other accidents may involve bicyclists on bicyclists who sometimes collide along the narrow pathways. When cars are added to the mix, some say that motorists may be even less aware of bicyclists in a bicycle lanes than those who share the road, so bicyclists should always drive defensively.
Common Accidents in a Bike Lane – Des Moines Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Although, so far, the bike lane program in Des Moines is off to a good start, it is important to remember that bicycle lanes and bike path accidents happen and can result in significant injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI). People on bikes or on foot are simply no match for a motor vehicle with an inattentive driver behind the wheel.
If You Are Injured In A Bike Lane Accident
Contact an Experienced Team of Iowa Personal Injury AttorneysIf you are injured while walking, jogging or riding in a bike lane or pedestrian path, you may have a right to file suit against the person responsible for the accident to compensate you for your medical bills, missed work and also the pain and suffering that resulted from your injury. It is important to discuss your circumstances with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can tell you what options are available to you. Contact the Des Moines bicycle and pedestrian accident personal injury attorneys of John T. Hemminger for help today if you or a family member has been injured in a bike lane or pedestrian path accident.
Tree Worker Injury Accidents
Tree trimming and tree removal can be a dangerous occupation with hundreds of tree workers killed or injured every year. According to the Tree Care Industry Association, tree worker injury accidents data spanning several years suggests that tree worker injuries and fatalities are more of a result of complacency rather than ignorance.
In support of this claim, the association notes that the typical fall victim was unsecured, the typical struck-by victim remained in the drop zone, and the typical electrocution victim violated minimum approach distance (MAD) and made contact with an electrified power source through a tool, a boom, a vehicle or other object.
The consistently high number of incidents in tree care industry in the last few years has caught The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) attention. OSHA seeks to raise awareness of tree trimming and removal safety hazards to which tree trimmers and tree care industry workers are exposed to on a daily basis in order to reduce the number of avoidable injuries and to reduce tree worker fatal injury accidents.
Employers have been put on notice to properly assess work sites to identify potential hazards such as live power lines, clearly demarcate drop zones to prevent struck by injuries, and require employees to wear full safety protection regardless of whether the workers are on the ground only or climb or they are lifted in aerial lifts and buckets. Furthermore, tree workers should be aware of safety hazards and receive ongoing safety training to promote safe practices to reduce preventable tree worker injuries.
Tree Worker Injury Accidents Lawyers
If you were injured in tree worker injury accident and your employer’s work comp insurance company denied your claim for work comp benefits or your work comp benefits do not fully cover your recovery, then your employee rights may have been violated. It is important to seek the assistance of an experienced Iowa workers’ compensation benefits attorney to secure the income and reimbursement you need to fully recover from your work injury. Call 515-283-2116 to schedule a free initial consultation with John T. Hemminger.
Neck and Back Whiplash Injury
Long before automobiles, people traveled by train. The first passenger railroad in the U.S. began construction in 1828 and five years later, the country saw its first train accident. As train travel proliferated, train wrecks became “a surprisingly frequent form of disaster” according to historians. “The single worst type, was the rear-end collision”, which left many victims with a peculiar constellation of symptoms such as back pain, arm pain, headaches, hearing problems, and anxiety known colloquially as “railway spine”. Flash forward to the future to the age of automobiles and the same condition is often referred to as neck and back whiplash injury, often resulting from a rear end car accident.
‘Whiplash’ injuries can range from a muscle sprain to spinal cord contusions to a fractured vertebrae. Soft tissue injuries including muscles tears, sprains, nerve damage or deep muscle bruising do not show up with diagnostic tools such as x-rays or MRI’s the same way traumatic injuries like bone fractures do, but that does not make them any less painful or life altering to the victim of a car accident. All injuries can have a significant impact and can manifest in different ways.
Following an accident, even if it is initially just minor discomfort or pain you are feeling, seek medical attention immediately. Remember that soft tissue injuries sometimes do not become symptomatic right away, so you may feel okay following an accident only to develop symptoms hours or days later, which should also prompt a trip to the doctor.
If you are making a claim with the offending driver’s insurance company, it is very important to document all the expenses you incur for treatment and rehabilitation, including medical expenses, travel expenses to and from a medical facility, lost wages for missed work, prescription costs and copays. If an insurance adjuster is unwilling to pay your claim, you may want to file a personal injury lawsuit to facilitate the collection of your economic damages as well as pain and suffering.
Are You Suffering From Neck and Back Whiplash Injury?
Contact a Des Moines Car Accident Attorney For Help
If you have been injured in an Iowa car accident and are suffering from neck and back whiplash injury, it is advisable to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your case first. An experienced car accident attorney can help you navigate the process so that you receive a fair settlement to compensate you for medical treatment of your injury or pursue a legal suit if an insurer is not meeting their end of the bargain. Contact the Des Moines personal injury law offices of John T. Hemminger at 515-283-2116 for assistance today.
If you are injured at work, typically a workers’ compensation claim is your only recourse to obtain reimbursement of your medical expenses and lost wages. In other words, you cannot sue your employer to recover monetary damages above and beyond the benefits provided by Iowa’s workers compensation.
Iowa Workers’ Compensation Versus Personal Injury Claims – Third Party Negligence
There are some situations, however, when a personal injury claim might be appropriate when an employee is injured while working. Commonly referred to as a third party claim, when someone other than you employer or coworkers are involved in your injury accident, you may be able to sue that third party in court for damages.
For example, if get into a car or truck accident during the workday, you may have a claim against the at-fault driver. Or, if you are hurt while working at the premises of a third party as part of your work duties, you may be able to sue the third party. This might include slips and falls due to hazardous conditions at a construction site or other dangerous conditions that resulted in your injury.
The advantages of a third party claim is that you can recover damages to the full extent of your injuries. Unlike workers compensation, personal injury claims allow you to recover damages in addition to medical expenses and lost wages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress, and sometimes punitive damages if the case is particularly egregious.
Do I Have to Pay Back Workers’ Compensation if I Win My Personal Injury Suit?
Of course, if you are successful in your third party claim, any payments that were made by workers’ compensation insurance for medical expenses and the like will have to be reimbursed. The concept of subrogation is that your insurance company has a right to be indemnified, or “paid back” for the bills they have paid on your behalf.
What the workers’ compensation insurer will be reimbursed can be complicated. In some states, if the employer is even partially at fault, the judge assigns a percentage to that which will then be deducted from the lien. A judge may also take into account attorney’s fees and other expenses related to the case, requiring the workers’ compensation carrier to pay toward those costs too.
In a personal injury lawsuit, common damages include medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. Workers’ comp insurers cannot take damages from an unrelated category to pay for its lien for reimbursement of another category. For example, if you are awarded pain and suffering damages or even punitive damages in your personal injury case, the workers’ comp insurer cannot take those to pay for the reimbursement of medical expenses or lost wages. It boils down to ‘staying in their lane’.
Contact an Experienced Iowa Personal Injury | Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Help
If you or a family member is injured at work, it is important to discuss your options with an experienced Iowa workers’ compensation, personal injury attorney. When a loved one is hurt, medical expenses can add up quickly, especially if someone is unable to work. It is crucial to get all of the workers’ compensation and disability benefits you are entitled to, which sometimes requires some legal teeth. If you are hurt due to the negligence of a third party, you may be able to pursue damages to the full extent of your injuries, reducing the financial impact of a work injury. Contact the Des Moines Iowa workers’ compensation, personal injury law offices of John T. Hemminger for a free consultation to determine the best strategy for your unique circumstances at 515-283-2116.
The winter season in Iowa is in full swing following the relative heatwave we experienced well into December this year. Snow and ice makes for treacherous driving, particularly when drivers do not adjust for changing conditions or are simply not used to slippery roads. Although Iowans are well-acquainted with the dangers hazardous weather presents, we still have our share of accidents in the winter driving season, which sometimes result in injury.
The Plains/Midwest region of the U.S. has the highest ice-related car accident fatality rates when compared to other parts of the country. Travel in the region often takes place on rural highways at high speeds with average trips requiring more time on the road, which can translate into a higher number of accidents when conditions deteriorate.
Add to the equation, that icing events in Iowa tend to be intermittent rather than season long, so motorists are caught unprepared. In general, the fewer road icing events a location sees per winter, the greater the rate of fatalities per event results. This rings true not only in Iowa, but parts of the country that rarely experience winter driving.
Whether you live in the Iowa or other parts of the country, getting ready to drive in inclement weather is key but, first, ask yourself if you really need to go out when a storm is brewing or can it wait until roads are cleared.
If you must venture out in slick conditions, make sure your tires and windshield wipers are up to the job. Practice cold-weather driving away from other motorists to get a feel for how to maneuver on icy roads and allow more time to get to your destination. Remember that distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents so smart phones or driving impaired in winter driving conditions definitely do not mix. Buckle up at all times and have an emergency plan if you get stranded out in the icy tundra.
Contact an Experienced Iowa Car Accident Attorney
Getting to your destination safely takes more thought on the part of all motorists when driving in winter conditions, but sometimes accidents do occur. If you or a family member is injured in an Iowa car accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the Iowa motor vehicle accident Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for immediate assistance today at 515-283-2116.
Drowsy Driving Can be Deadly
Unfortunately, people who drive with inadequate sleep can sometimes cause car accidents. A 2014 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study estimates that over 300,000 car accidents in the U.S. involve a drowsy driver annually. Of these, as many as 20 percent involve a fatality.
Drowsy driving is difficult to detect. When a driver is stopped, police usually have to rely on an admission by the driver that sleep deprivation led to their erratic driving or even an accident. There is no sleep meter akin to a breathalyzer that can show someone was asleep behind the wheel.
States have been left with few options except to post catchy messages on highway boards, which many have seen displayed on Iowa highways, e.g.,“Sleep Deprived is No Way to Drive” or “Drowsy is Lousy, Rest is Best”. Other measures include raising awareness about drowsy driving through driver’s education courses and related materials to alert new drivers to the risk.
A few states have sought to criminalize drowsy driving that leads to a fatality, but again it is very hard to prove. Technology that detects drowsy driving is out there, but few cars are equipped with the so-called Driver Attention Systems that monitor the telltale signs of nodding off.
Recently, the potentially deadly problem of drowsy driving in Iowa prompted the Governors Highway Safety Association and the National Road Safety Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes safe driving, to distribute $15,000 grants to a handful of states, including Iowa, to create innovative drowsy driving prevention campaigns.
Iowa is taking the lead to put a stop to drowsy driving through public service announcements on television and social media, more highway message boards, and partnering with local supermarkets to include bag stuffers to spread the word about the dangers of drowsy driving.
A spokesman for the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau says the key is to “educate the public that this [drowsy driving] is a serious issue and that is causing fatalities in the state.” Hopefully, the efforts to raise awareness will make roads safer for Iowans and their families. The best advice is to get the sleep you need especially before heading out on the road.
Experienced Des Moines Car Accident Lawyers
If you or a family member has been injured in an Iowa car accident, contact the Experienced Des Moines Car Accident Lawyers of John T. Hemminger for immediate assistance. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries in cases where the negligence of another driver resulted in your injury. Call us at 515-283-2116 or contact us online.
Iowa Car Accidents Involving Teens
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. teenage drivers are more likely to cause motor vehicle accidents than any other age group and, unfortunately, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Fatalities are not limited to the driver, however, as many teen drivers are also responsible for causing injury to others.
Thinking about teenagers on the road can be a cause for concern, especially when your own teen starts driving. No one wants their child to get hurt or injure someone else, however accidents do occur so it is not only important to instill safe driving practices, but also have insurance to cover your financial needs in the event of a catastrophic accident. As your kids approach this milestone in their lives, insurance experts recommend that parents consider these tips when insuring new drivers:
Being thoughtful about the process of teaching your teen about their responsibilities as drivers will encourage them to drive safely and hopefully avoid an injury accident. If you or a family member have questions regarding an Iowa personal injury matter, contact the Des Moines Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for assistance today.
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