Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P.

Serving Story County and Central Iowa since 1906

323 6th St.
Ames, IA 50010-0664

Phone: (515) 232-4732

MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS :: Back to Practice Areas

I. General Information about Motor Vehicle Accidents
II. What to do if you are in an accident
         A. Immediately after the accident
         B. When the police get to the accident
         C. Soon after the accident
         D. Later
III. Theories of Liability
         A. Negligence
         B. Recklessness
         C. Third Parties
                  1. Drunk Drivers
                  2. Product Manufacturers
                  3. Automotive Technicians
                  4. Government Entities
         D. General Conclusion
IV. Injuries and Compensation
         A. Damages
         B. Damages for Family Members
         C. Insurance
         D. Amount of Compensation
         E. Injuries and Compensation Conclusion
V. Insurance Claims Tips
VI. Uninsured or Underinsured Drivers
         A. Uninsured Drivers
         B. Underinsured Drivers
         C. Collecting Damages
         D. Uninsured or Underinsured Drivers Conclusion
VII. No-Fault Insurance
         A. A No-Fault Insurance System
         B. Choice No-Fault
         C. A No-Fault Insurance Policy
         D. No-Fault Insurance Conclusion
Frequently Asked Questions


Insurance Claims Tips

  • One thing you should do before you call your agent, is to make sure that you review your insurance policy.  Be certain that you understand your policy, especially the “Coverage” and “Exclusion” sections.
  • As soon as possible after an accident, call your agent.  Call as soon as you get home and even before you see a doctor. 
  • Take detailed notes of all conversations with your insurance company.  Be sure to get the names, phone numbers, and job titles of everyone you speak with.  Get his or her supervisor’s name as well.
  • Keep receipts of any expenses, such as meals or travel expenses, that you incur in connection with the time spent pursuing your insurance claim from the time of the accident until you reach a final settlement with your insurance company.
  • Don’t allow any written or recorded statements with your insurance company until you are certain that you understand your insurance policy.  The insurance company cannot require you to allow your telephone conversations to be recorded.  If you have any questions about recorded statements, contact a lawyer.
  • Is your accident covered by other insurance policies as well?  Many times, more than one policy may cover your claim.  Look over your homeowner’s policy, umbrella coverage policies, and any coverage you may have under your credit cards.
  • If it’s possible, take pictures.  Don’t go to extremes, but definitely take pictures of your vehicle damage and injuries.
  • It’s important to be open and honest with your insurance agent.  Even if something is personally embarrassing, it’s better that your insurer knows about it.  Withholding facts or information from your insurer may cause them to deny coverage of your claim or invalidate your insurance policy.
  • There is a difference between replacement coverage and actual cash value.  If you have replacement coverage, it may cover the cost of a new vehicle.  If you take the actual cash value of your destroyed vehicle instead, you may take a loss.  However, if you have replacement coverage, you may be required to actually replace the destroyed vehicle before you can get reimbursed for the cost of replacement.
  • Be careful when accepting the estimate or appraisal of your losses that is given to you by your insurer.  Insurance companies will often try to get you to accept the estimate given by their estimator or contractor.  These estimates may be slightly lower than actual repair or replacement costs.  Do not sign any releases or waivers of any kind without advice from a lawyer.  You may feel pressured to accept an early, insufficient settlement from your insurance company if your financial situation is dire after your accident.  However, there may be other damages you could include in your claim that you didn’t think about at first.  Consulting with a lawyer will help you make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything.  Make sure that you read all the fine print on any payment from an insurance company.
  • Be aware of the time limits set by your insurance policy.  Most policies require a signed proof of loss within a set time period, unless you get a written waiver of this requirement from your insurance company.  If your claim has not been adjusted to your satisfaction, most policies only allow you one year to bring a lawsuit.  Contact a lawyer immediately if your claim has not been adjusted fairly by eleven months after your accident.  If you do not, you might lose your right to sue.
  • Don’t accept any check that says “final payment” unless you are ready to accept a final payment.
  • Remember that you have a legal contract with your insurance company.  Your insurer has a legal obligation to give you the coverage that was promised to you.  Insist on enforcement of that obligation.

Back to Top


DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is a public service and solely for informational and reference purposes. No legal service or advice is hereby provided. No attorney-client relationship is hereby created. This website may contain information addressing certain tax issues; however, it is not intended to constitute a reliance opinion as described in IRS Circular 230; therefore, it cannot be relied upon to avoid any tax penalties. The information provided here is without warranty of any kind whatsoever. Use at your own risk. No endorsement, warranty, or claim is made with respect to the works of others whose work may be referenced. Please seek the advice of an attorney for all legal matters.

Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P., is an Iowa general practice law firm with practice including, but not limited to  Administrative Law, Adoption Law, Agricultural Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Banking Law, Business Law (including business organization, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), incorporations, and sales of businesses and business assets), Civil Rights, Commercial Law, Construction Law, Corporate Law, Criminal Defense, Elder Law, Employment Law, Family Law (including divorce, prenuptial agreements, child support, child custody, dissolution modification), Government, Government Contracts, Litigation, Personal Injury (including Motor Vehicle Accidents and Wrongful Death), Product Liability, Professional Negligence Law, Real Estate (including mortgage loan closings, IRC Section 1031 exchanges, subdivisions, platting, condominiums, and cooperative housing), Municipal Law, Taxation Law and Tax Preparation, Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning & Probate Law (including financial and medical powers of attorney, guardianships and conservatorships, trust administration, and estate administration), Workers Compensation, Zoning, Planning & Land Use

The offices of the Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P., are located in Ames, Iowa. The lawyers and staff of the Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P., serve clients throughout Iowa, including the cities of Ames, Nevada, Gilbert, Huxley, Slater, Zearing, Story City, Roland, McCallsburg, Colo, Cambridge, Sheldahl, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Fort Dodge, Waterloo, Marshalltown, Boone, Webster City, Eldora, Grundy Center, Newton, Adel, Eldora, Ankeny, Johnston, Indianola, Cedar Falls, Jefferson, Marshalltown, Clarion, Knoxville, and the communities that make up Story, Polk, Linn, Webster, Blackhawk, Marshall, Boone, Hamilton, Jasper, Dallas, Hardin, Warren, Greene, Wright, and Marion counties.