The city of Seattle is facing legal fallout as a result of its handling of months of protests including cases for personal injury, wrongful death and Civil Rights violations. Interestingly, the largest case may involve a lawsuit filed by a collection of real estate developers, small businesses and property owners who have also filed a lawsuit against the city.

In the business-related complaint, the plaintiffs claimed the city had violated property rights, violated due process rights by allowing a dangerous situation around the protest zone to fester, and failed to provide equal protection to the businesses and residents near the CHOP zone. The judge allowed each of the allegations to move forward after a Motion to Dismiss was filed against the city, except the judge did say the plaintiffs could not establish that the city had favored the beliefs of the protesters over the viewpoints of the businesses. The case could become a class action case as it is expected many other businesses will join the suit prior to the deadline to add new parties.

Here in Iowa, a bar owner has filed a class action lawsuit against the Governor and the Iowa Department of Public Health alleging that the pandemic-related restrictions. on business activity are violating the Iowa Constitution. The attorneys of the bar owner are members of our Brick Gentry Trial Team as well as our co-counsel from Hollywood, Florida. The lawsuit alleges the Governor’s proclamations violate provisions of the Iowa Constitution and the bar owner’s right to due process and equal protection, and that the state’s failure to provide business owners with notice of the orders is patently unreasonable.

We will share the progress of our client’s potentially precedent setting lawsuit as the case moves forward.

If you have been in an collision that you believe was as a result of someone else’s fault or carelessness, you may be entitled to compensation. The main aim of the compensation is to get you back into the position you would have been if the injury had not occurred. Naturally there are times where a person who is injured will never be the same and that’s why it is so important to pursue compensation in those cases. There are different types of damages for which you can claim compensation, one of them is pain and suffering. This blog post discusses what everybody should know about pain and suffering damages in injury cases.

What is pain and suffering?

Damages resulting from an injury claim will be categorized into economic and non-economic damages. While economic damages are awarded as a direct result of your financial loss, non-economic damages are those where it is not easy to point to the specific financial cost. Pain and suffering are considered part of non-economic damages and refers to the emotional distress, physical pain and psychological damages as a result of an injury. These pain and suffering damages are something you often cannot see when the injuries are of a “soft or connective tissue” nature. It is much easier to recognize the extent of the injury when someone is in a cast, there is a broken bone, or perhaps severe burns. A photo of your damaged car is often used to indicate the physical effects of a collision. You may also need medical records from a psychiatrist or therapist to show emotional distress damages, and it is important to show examples of how your quality of life and activities have changed since the collision.

After any collision, it is a good idea to make notes addressed to your lawyer of your daily activities from before the incident, and explain how your physical and/or mental injuries prevent you from participating in those activities after the collision. For instance, if you exercised a lot prior to the collision, but can no longer exercise, you can show you are limited in the pleasure you obtained previously in life. But don’t exaggerate. The defense lawyer and the insurance company will investigate whether your are telling the truth about the changes in your life. Be sure to keep track of all medications and anti-depressants because those are often a clear indication of pain and suffering

How a personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation

While it is possible to claim compensation without a lawyer, hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer will increase your chances of getting fair compensation. Your lawyer will help you collect the relevant evidence, gather witness and expert statements, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, represent you in court if necessary and ensure that your legal rights and interests are protected. This will help to make your case strong, effectively increasing the possibility of having a successful claim. Working with a lawyer will also give you the time and peace of mind, you need to make a full recovery.

When to hire a personal injury lawyer

It is advisable to hire a lawyer before making a claim with the insurance company. This is because proving damages related to pain and suffering as well as arriving at a demand or settlement amount for your injuries can be a challenge. Hiring a lawyer is even important if your case involves minor injuries. In such cases, a lawyer will help you get adequate compensation for pain and suffering because the insurance company is almost always skeptical of injury claims in minor cases.

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We encourage you to contact us if you have been injured in a collision and you have experienced pain and suffering. Please contact us now to set up a free case evaluation.


What are the car accident injury settlement basics every crash victims should know? The word settlement refers to an agreement between an injured crash victim and a person, entity, or organization legally responsible for causing the victim’s injuries and for compensating the victim for that harm.

In a typical car accident settlement agreement, the injured victim agrees to release the legally liable party from future financial liability in exchange for the payment of money. A settlement ends a legal case. If the injured person has already filed a lawsuit against the responsible party, then the settlement almost always includes an agreement to end the lawsuit. If the injured person has not yet filed suit, then the agreement typically prevents the filing of a lawsuit in the future.

Generally, an insurance company that sold an automobile policy pays the settlement amount to the injured crash victim. There are times though when a portion of the money for a settlement comes directly out of the responsible party’s own pocket. Experienced car accident injury attorneys investigate all potential sources of settlement dollars available to pay a car accident settlement, to ensure that insurance policy limits do not unnecessarily limit the amount of money an injured client receives.

Once the agreement is signed by the parties, a settlement is final. For that reason, injured crash victims must approach settlements with care and should always seek the advice and counsel of an experienced auto accident injury lawyer before reaching an agreement. Those precautions help to ensure victims receive the maximum amount of money reasonably available in exchange for giving up their important legal rights.

To reach a settlement you can usually expect the following steps:

  • A crash happens and someone gets injured. The injured person gets medical care and then hires an experienced car accident injury attorney.
  • The attorney investigates the case. This may include reviewing police reports, visiting the accident scene, interviewing witnesses, and working with experts to determine how the accident happened, who may have a legal liability to the injured victim for damages and the ability to pay them, and how much money the victim deserves to receive under the law.
  • The attorney requests the victim’s medical records from the hospital, doctors and other medical providers. The attorney may visit with the medical professionals to determine the extent of victim’s injuries and the prognosis for the future including needs for continuing medical care.
  • The attorney demands money from a person or entity who have potential legal liability to the injured crash victim for damages. The attorney may do this by sending a letter to the party, to the party’s attorney, or to the party’s insurance carrier. The attorney may take a more formal approach and make the demand by filing a lawsuit against the person or entity. In some cases, the attorney may do both. Different cases will have different approaches to this step.
  • The party with legal liability responds to the demand usually through an attorney or insurance representative. The response may dispute certain issues in the case, and may argue who is at fault for the accident, or the extent of the victim’s injuries.
  • If fault and injuries are disputed, often the victim’s attorney may need to file a petition with the court and the case proceeds to its next phase, known as discovery, in which each side exchanges information relating to a car accident claim.
  • At some point, the parties begin negotiating a potential settlement of the injury case. When and how this happens varies widely depending upon the case. Sometimes the responsible party comes to the negotiating table right away. Other times, the other side may want to take time to investigate first, or engage in discovery including depositions of the victim, witnesses and the medical care providers.
  • Negotiations can take various forms—in person, over email, by phone, etc.—and may involve multiple rounds of offers and counter-offers. Sometimes parties go to mediation where a third party neutral such as another lawyer, or retired judge, may help the parties reach a settlement.
  • The parties reach a settlement when they agree on the amount and terms of payment of money the injured crash victim.
  • The lawyers will then draft a settlement agreement, the parties will sign it, and money will be paid to the victim.

Contact us today for a free evaluation if you are the victim of a car accident injury case.

We had a personal injury client contact our office wondering whether she should settle her injury case. She had been in a relatively serious accident, and her injuries did require an immediate trip to the emergency room, multiple doctor visits and chiropractic treatment. She called us less than one month after her accident. She had received a check from the insurance company which had not deposited (thankfully) and an agreement from the insurance company to pay up to a certain amount for medical bills. But the agreement also contained a full release of further liability on the part of the insurance company and the driver who admitted fault. The insurance company, in our view, had tremendously undervalued her claim. They were hoping she would take a low-ball figure very quickly. (I’ve discussed this insurance company tactic in other blog posts).

An important factor in cases like this is that the client had not finished treating for her medical injuries. At the time it was hard to know how serious the injuries ultimately would turn out to be, although we knew the value of her injuries far surpassed the insurance company’s  offer. Without a lawyer, she would not have known otherwise.

The seriousness of injuries often do not manifest themselves for some time. As a result, we generally recommend waiting at least a minimum of 90 days after an accident before attempting to settle your personal injury claim. It allows you to get a more accurate picture of your long-term prognosis. In some cases that timeframe may need to be even longer. In this case the client also had a concussion. Concussion and other head injuries are often difficult to diagnose and treat. They have the potential to have numerous adverse effects, even when you do not necessarily see immediate evidence of a head injury. Sometimes these effects do not go away. Therefore, waiting a reasonable period to resolve your case is especially important if you have sustained a concussion or head injury.

Another reason to wait before settling your injury case is because it is important to gather and examine all the medical records and bills. You only get one shot at receiving fair compensation from the insurance company. So you want to make sure you do not miss anything.

Finally, while it is always preferable to settle a case if possible, there are occasions that require going to trial in order to receive full compensation for your injuries. You will want to make sure you hire a lawyer that has the willingness to take your case to trial. In our experience there are lawyers whose sole objective is to settle your case, but are not necessarily willing to try your case in the face of low offers from the insurance company. Find out how many cases your proposed lawyer has taken to trial in the past 12 months. If they have not taken any cases to trial, they may not be the lawyer for you.

Please contact us for a free case evaluation if you have questions about your injury case.



If you are injured in a personal injury accident of any magnitude, we guarantee you the insurance company will review and monitor your social media accounts. The adjusters and/or their investigators will look for information to discredit you and your injuries. So what is the best policy to protect your personal injury case?

It’s really very simple.

Stay off of social media to protect your injury case.

Don’t post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other sites. Don’t be the person who claims a debilitating injury, but yet is pictured on Facebook partying, traveling, working out, etc. And most certainly, do not make statements about your accident or injuries on social media. It will not benefit you in any way, so just avoid it.

Do not give the defense in a case the ammunition to discredit your personal injury. Many social media posts and situations could easily be misinterpreted. Staying silent on social media is important in order to maintain a viable claim. Other steps you should take include:

  • Ensure through your privacy settings that only friends can see your posts.
  • Change your settings so only you can post on your timeline.
  • Delete any apps you are not using.

Share too much information on social media and your case could be over before it begins. So do yourself a favor and just give up the social media posts during the period of your case.

The weather in Iowa has been wonderful most of November thus far but winter is not far away. And winter in Iowa generally brings a number of slip-and-fall accidents. Lots of slip-and-fall accidents occur on sidewalks when people are shopping. Many of the store retail locations do not actually own their property. So, can those non-property tenant owners still be held liable for slip-and-fall personal injuries?

A law school friend of mine wrote an interesting blog post on an Indiana slip-and-fall case that could have application here in Iowa. In the case he referenced a grocery store did not own the property. And not only did the store not own the property, but also a management company had been hired to make sure the sidewalks were clear and maintained during the winter. A jury ultimately held the grocery store liable for 25% of the fault for the plaintiff’s injuries. The grocery store appealed.

On appeal, the grocery store argued the duty of care for “Invitees” did not apply because it neither owned nor controlled the sidewalk in question. There was precedent in Indiana that tenants cannot be held to have a duty to safely maintain areas for which they have not assumed responsibility and over which a landlord has specifically retained control, including common areas like sidewalks. However, the Court disagreed with grocery store’s position in this case and held as a matter of law that, as the business entity that invited Jones onto the property, the grocery store owed some duty of care to the plaintiff as an invitee. In the Court’s opinion, the fact that grocery store did not own the property and the property owner, as opposed to the store, had contracted for snow and ice removal services did not summarily relieve the store of liability. The Court noted the duty of an invitor to exercise reasonable care for the safety of invitees is an active and continuing one, and that parties cannot contract their way out of their duty to exercise reasonable care with respect to third parties. The Indiana Court of Appeals accordingly affirmed the judgment of the trial court in favor of the plaintiff.

A similar result could occur here in Iowa. Stores must be aware of the active and continuing to exercise reasonable care with respect to its invitees. Retail locations should not automatically assume that hiring a management company to clear sidewalks relieves them from all responsibility for slip-and-falls accidents even as a non-property owning tenant.

How do you choose a personal injury attorney for your case? The first step might be to get a referral from a friend or relative. Most often, a referral from someone who has experience with attorney is a great way to find a lawyer. But if you don’t have a referral source, it may be little more difficult to find the right attorney. In a lot of states you might see billboard after billboard of personal injury attorneys as you drive down the road. Fortunately, in Iowa, we don’t really have the constant barrage of roadside billboards. Other times you will see commercials with catchy phone numbers and slogans, or lots of ads on the Internet with bots that constantly pop up on the website asking for your information while all you want to do is browse the site for information.

But who you choose to handle your personal injury case can make a huge difference. You want to try to find an attorney who is willing and able to obtain a favorable trial verdict, not just someone who wants to get a quick settlement that may not be to your advantage. It is important find an attorney who insurance companies respect or perhaps even fear.

Some questions to ask might include the following:

  1. What are the last three jury verdicts your law firm has tried to a jury verdict? If the lawyer can’t tell you at least about their last three jury verdicts, they aren’t likely the lawyer for you. It means they likely don’t have an active trial practice, and it is also means the insurance company is less likely to pay top dollar for your injuries.
  2. What cases have you handled that are similar to my case? While every case is different, you want to find a lawyer that has the background and experience to handle your case. A great example in our firm is that one of our lawyers is an avid motorcycle rider. The breadth of his background and experience is invaluable for clients that have been injured in a motorcycle accident. If you want someone to care about your motorcycle case, it sure helps to have someone familiar with motorcycles on your team.
  3. Do you feel comfortable with the attorney? This is a bigger deal than prospective clients might think. Litigating personal injury cases can be stressful. The relationship you have with your attorney is hugely important. You want to work with a personal injury attorney that cares about his or her clients.

The bottom line is that choosing your personal injury attorney involves more than just seeing an ad or responding to a catchy phone number. The financial impact and injuries can literally last a lifetime and you get only one chance to get paid what you truly deserve. Choosing a personal injury attorney quickly and without asking the right questions can literally cut your recovery. A truly qualified attorney will be very happy to answer each of them. If, on the other hand, an attorney is unwilling to answer your questions, or doesn’t have good answers for you, that attorney is probably not the right attorney for you.

If you have been involved in a personal injury case, take the initiative to contact us for a free case evaluation.

  • Insurance companies try to minimize your payments. Insurance companies use various negotiations and strategies to minimize settlement payments. Especially if you are filing a claim with another person’s insurance company, the other insurance company will often make it very difficult to get the full compensation you are due.
  • Insurance companies do not want you to hire a lawyer. Insurance companies will often tell you they want to quickly process your claim. They want to do this BEFORE you hire a lawyer so you don’t fully know the value of your claim, or understand your rights. Insurance companies often give low-ball offers to claimants who are not represented in the hopes that they can quickly resolve a case without paying fair value. Settlement negotiations can often be a long process in order to get fair compensation. You need to be patient. And often, your medical situation may not be entirely known early on. It is possible your injuries get worse over time. It is important to know the prognosis of your injuries before you settle. Just know that quick settlements are often low settlements.
  • You are entitled to many different types of damages. After an accident a number of expenses and damages occur. Medical bills, damage to vehicles or other property, loss of work, and pain-and-suffering are just some of the ramifications of an accident. The law protects people by allowing them to seek compensation from the party at fault.
  • You cannot seek further compensation once you have settled. That’s right. Once you have settled with the insurance company, there is no going back to the insurance company for additional monies. The settlement release will close your case for good. This means even if you learn of more serious injuries and damages down the line, you will not be able to pursue them if you have settled. For this reason we highly suggest you talk with a personal injury attorney prior to entering into any settlement with the insurance company. A lawyer can help advise you regarding the value of your case and assist in negotiating a fair settlement for your injuries and damage. There is no question that hiring a lawyer increases your chances of receiving fair compensation, especially when more serious injuries are involved.

The Brick Gentry Trial Team has extensive experience in dealing with insurance companies for personal injury clients. Please feel free to contact us for a free case evaluation.

When you are involved in an auto collision, it is very likely you will end up dealing with insurance companies. Dealing with insurance companies after a car accident can be very confusing. Regardless of whether it is your insurance company, or the insurer of another party in the accident, you can be assured insurers will attempt to limit payout amounts to as little as possible. You can easily make things go from bad to worse if you unknowingly say the wrong thing. Here are three things not to say to an insurance company after a car accident:

  1. Don’t guess. You will be asked many questions by the insurance adjuster. These questions are designed to help the insurance company limit their financial exposure from the accident. So, if you are asked things such as how fast you were driving or how far away you might have been from the other vehicle, do not guess. Your guess will be used against you if possible.
  2. Do not admit fault. When you say you are sorry, or indicate you may have acted inappropriately, you could be making a very big mistake. Even if you believe you are at fault, you should not admit it. After all, you do not know the extent of the other driver’s fault. Do not apologize, or try to explain your potential liability. Bottom line, it is NOT for you to decide who is responsible for the fault of the collision.
  3. Do not say you are not injured or that you are feeling fine. While you may not have pain at that present time, some injuries take time to manifest. As an example, we had a client who was hit in the head by a suitcase that fell from an overhead compartment on a bus. At the time the client felt just fine. Three days later the client suffered a brain aneurysm and almost died. The injury required emergency surgery and it all related to an accident that had occurred three days earlier. The truth is you do not know how you will feel in a week, a month, or maybe even a year after the accident.

If you have been injured in a car accident, we can provide you experienced legal assistance to maximize your recovery. Please feel free to contact us for a free case evaluation.


The moments right after an accident can be disorienting but remaining calm and acting fast works to your advantage. When you’re involved in a car or motorcycle accident,  remember to follow these rules:

  • Stay at the scene: It’s important to stay on the scene no matter how minor or severe an accident is until everyone has been accounted for and a police report has been filed. Checking if anyone got hurt is not only considerate but can help prove you did not abandon the collision.
  • Call the police: Contact the police immediately after the accident occurs. If anyone appears to be injured, request medical attention. Even if the damage is minimal, filing a police report is necessary to have a record of the accident and documentation of all the details. Having the police document the accident is critical because it provides the account of a neutral third party professional.
  • Record information: Regardless of what information the police gathers for their report, make sure to  document your own for personal records. Sometimes the police do not get information right in the report so it helps to have the information to check against the report to determine if changes should be made. Definitely get contact information for anyone else who was in the accident including phone numbers, addresses, email and insurance information as well as driver’s license and license plate numbers. In addition to gathering general information, use a camera phone to take photos of any damage, and of the other vehicles with their license plate numbers. Obtaining the names of witnesses and their accounts of the accident will prove very useful if a legal case arises.

If you have been injured in an Iowa car or motorcycle accident, please contact us for a free case evaluation.