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After a collision, the last thing on most car or motorcycle accident victims’ minds is collecting evidence in case you have to file a lawsuit against the driver who hit you. However, the most successful car or motorcycle accident verdicts or settlements usually have one thing in common—solid evidence proving what happened and showing how bad the accident was.

If you think you might have to file an accident claim, you are probably wondering how do you prove the other side is at fault?

Photographic Evidence

We have all heard the expression that a picture is worth a thousand words. This tried and true adage rings especially true at the trial of a car or motorcycle accident injury case when the picture in question is of the plaintiff’s vehicle or motorcycle following a collision. Such photographs often serve as the single most important piece of evidence through which jurors view all of the other evidence in the case.

You should take wide-angle pictures that show the angles of the vehicles involved. Also, take close-up shots of injuries, skid marks and property damage. If the accident happened because a driver broke a traffic law, take photos of streetlights, speed limit signs and other traffic markers. You will want your photos to tell the story of the accident.

Keep in mind that the police may take pictures if they feel the photographs are relevant to the investigation or violation, however, there is no rule requiring them to photograph every accident scene. Often, the police DO NOT photograph the accident scene. To be careful, it is best to always try to take your own photos if you are able, or if you are unable under the circumstances, try to have someone with you take photos of the accident scene.

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

  • Less protection. Other vehicles on the road such as cars and trucks have a protective steel cage. Motorcycles lack this type of structural support, so they are less crashworthy and leave motorcyclists more vulnerable during an accident.
  • Less Road Stability. Motorcycles balance on fewer wheels. Due to their two-wheel design, motorcycles are less stable than passenger vehicles. Therefore, they are more difficult to control when braking and cornering.
  • Less Visible. Motorcycles are smaller than cars, and so they are less visible. Accidents often happen because a vehicle driver fails to check their blind spots when turning or changing lanes.
  • More road hazards. Bumps or changes in the road surface may cause instability when on a motorcycle. While a car may handle poor weather or road conditions, a slight hazard, such as road debris, can lead to a motorcycle accident.
  • Driver inexperience. Operating any motor vehicle requires training, experience, and caution. Motorcycles require a different combination of physical and mental skills than those used in driving four-wheel vehicles. They are less stable than passenger vehicles, and slight changes in weight distribution can have disastrous consequences. Some inexperienced riders may engage in risky behaviors, increasing the chance of a crash.

A motorcycle accident can occur in an instant, and the permanent effects of the pain and impact on everyday life can leave you struggling to remain employed, pay your bills, or perhaps even walk. You may well wonder how you can best recover from your motorcycle crash—physically and financially. We can help you understand what you’re facing and how to pursue compensation when someone else caused your motorcycle crash. We have an experienced personal injury attorney in our law firm who also happens to also be an avid motorcycle rider, both in competitions and as a recreational rider. It makes sense to have an attorney familiar with motorcycles to handle these types of cases, not just your run-of-the-mill personal injury attorney. The experience and insight he brings to such cases is incredibly valuable. If you have been involved in a motorcycle crash in Iowa, please contact us for a free consultation.

A major area of our trial practice consists of trade secret and non-compete law. We hear all the time from people that believe Iowa is a “right to work” state so that means non-competes are not upheld under Iowa law, right? Wrong.

Non-competes are upheld in cases where the scope and duration of the restrictive period is reasonably necessary to protect the employer’s interest as compared to the employee’s interest. Whether the non-compete will be upheld various greatly on the wording of the agreement and the position held by the employee.

But in a recent article from Seyfarth Shaw on some of the top developments in trade secret, non-compete law and computer fraud, I found it really interesting that government agencies are increasing the scrutiny of non-compete agreements. This is especially true in the case of certain franchises who had “no poach” provisions in their agreements. Lots of times these policies are used to prevent lower-wage workers from moving to higher paying jobs. Often fast food franchise operators have been found to have these sorts of provisions in their agreements. Attorney generals in several states alleged these provisions limited the earning potential of these lower wage employees and many franchisors decided to remove the clauses in the agreements due to pressure from the attorney generals.

Please be sure to read the article link for other interesting developments including a $700 million to a technology start-up In Texas for damages in a misappropriation of trade secrets case.


The Eye of Privacy blog from Sheppard Mullin has a very helpful post for small businesses with links to the Federal Trade Commission cyber guide. The purpose of the guide which contains various modules is to help small businesses address data security threats. This is something all small business owners should have in their toolkit. Gone are the days where where the small business owner says “I don’t need to worry about that.” We’re seeing data security issues spring up in many small businesses on a regular basis. We highly recommend browsing the modules.

It is reported that Michigan State will be paying $500,000,000 to the young women who were abused by Larry Nassar. I used all the zeros for a reason. It is a shocking number. I am not going to dive into all the facts and circumstances that led to the settlement in this post. What I do want to stress is this:

If you see wrongdoing in your organization, particularly if you are the leader of your organization, you need to step up and do the right thing.

Time and time again I have seen organizations that try to minimize, hide or ignore wrongdoing. It does come back to bite you. Don’t believe me? Well, I’ve 500,000,000 reasons for you.

I saw an interesting tweet from Elon Musk the other day,

It’s super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the ~40,000 who died in the US auto accidents alone get almost no coverage.

On the one hand, I understand his point. An accident involving a broken ankle isn’t too much to get excited about. On the other hand, the advent of the self-driving vehicle technology is still relatively new and people are still examining the safety and other issues associated with the new technology. As mentioned in the Washington Post article, another Tesla accident in March is still under investigation where the driver was killed so it is an issue that Musk can’t expect to go away soon. And even in this most recent accident the Tesla apparently did not brake prior to impact.

Undoubtedly there are a number of benefits to the self-driving cars and trucks. Clearly, the auto industry is headed in that direction. But right now, it appears as though a great number of people believe the lack of human intuition to detect, analyze and adapt to situations is a detriment to its implementation.  Musk would obviously disagree, as his tweet implies, that human intuition failed in the circumstances resulting in the death of more than 40,000 people annually so are those concerns valid?

There may be arguments on both sides regarding the benefits of the new technology but there is little argument that personal injury / car accident cases will definitely change in the future. To examine fault, a lawyer will still need to consider the fault of the car / truck owner, the actual driver in auto pilot cases, or perhaps the developer of faulty software or sensors. There are many unknowns at this point so determining negligence in these cases is sure to evolve over time and it makes speculation a little difficult. But what is certain, lawyers will need to grasp these technologies in order to handle these cases effectively.

One of the things I hear over and over from distressed franchisees is that they purchased a franchise because it was a “proven business model.” Now, I don’t blame most franchisees for this thought process as they head into their franchise business purchase.  The franchise industry has done a remarkable job of marketing itself where people are preconceived to believe franchises are proven business models. Second, some franchises have been in business for a long time which naturally leads someone to believe it is a proven business model. After all, a franchise would not be in business for a long time if it were not proven, right?
Please keep in mind
All franchisors are not created equal. There’s no guarantee that the franchisor has developed a successful business model or is able to sustain that business model into the future. In fact, many franchise business models are not successful at all. The truth is many franchises out on the market may have no real system, no brand recognition, no marketing plan or perhaps even little to no business experience with the franchise owners.The issue and the problem with suing a franchisor for failure to have a “proven business model” lies within the franchise disclosure document (FDD) and the franchise agreement. The franchise agreement will contain a number of disclaimers that you must overcome or work around should you decide to pursue litigation against a franchisor. These agreements also are written in a manner that is very one-sided in favor of the franchisor. And more often than not, the franchisor has undertaken very limited obligations to the franchisee under the franchise agreement.
What to Do
Generally, you will need more than a failure of the business model to be successful in a franchise case. A franchise lawyer will need to review your FDD, your franchise agreement and the FDD disclosure and sales process to determine if a case exists. There also could be options that don’t involve litigation of the dispute. We often find that settlements with franchisors are possible in distressed franchisee cases. The key is to speak with a lawyer well-versed in franchise law to handle your case in order to have success in resolving the dispute. 

I am not getting any younger. This is a fact but it also means my friends are not getting any younger either. And lately, I’ve seen some of those friends down-sized and looking for work. It can be hard for older workers to obtain employment.

This article from Forbes discusses some factors that enabled the EEOC to obtain a $2.8 million settlement with Darden Restaurants (parent of Olive Garden) on behalf of older job applicants.

Employers will often use thinly veiled code words to describe why older workers shouldn’t get a job. If you’re being told you “don’t fit the image”, or you aren’t “vibrant” enough (among others), you may just be the victim of age discrimination. And if you’re an employer, avoid these sorts of references in your hiring decisions or you could find yourself on the wrong end of an employment suit or EEOC investigation.

The Brick Gentry Law Firm of West Des Moines, Iowa recently added its trial team blog to feature information on several practice areas including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Personal Injury;
  • Employment Discrimination and Harassment;
  • IP Litigation;
  • Business Litigation;
  • Class Actions.

This trial team blog is edited by Brick Gentry shareholder Rush Nigut. In 2006, Rush started his individual award-winning legal blog, Rush on Business, and has maintained it since that time. Rush has been quoted or referenced by hundreds of other legal and business blogs and Web sites including the blog networks for the Wall St. Journal, Forbes Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine.  Rush has extensive litigation experience in a variety of practice areas and serves as the point person from this blog to direct you in finding the right attorney on our Brick Gentry trial team to handle your case. We have several lawyers working on our trial team who all have their own individual specialties and so we try to align your case with the best lawyer at the firm to fit your needs.

We developed this new trial team blog to feature the Brick Gentry trial and litigation work. We have several attorneys working on our trial team and we are unique in Iowa because we have over 30 lawyers in our law office, yet we handle a substantial amount of plaintiff’s work rather than representing predominantly insurance companies like many firms of our size.

Our strong sense of purpose with this blog is to educate and provide information to people in a way that helps them identify legal issues and make more informed choices about what legal services they need.  The collaborative process of a law blog can allow this to happen.

Most Iowa personal injury lawyers work off contingency fee contract rather than hourly fees in a personal injury case. That is, the lawyer receives payment from the settlement or verdict proceeds, if any, based on a percentage. Usually if there is no recovery the lawyer does not get paid for attorneys’ fees.

The typical Iowa personal injury contingency fee is 1/3 of the total recovery but sometimes is increased to 40 or even 50 percent based upon the complexity of the case or whether the case is appealed to a higher court. Be sure to speak with your prospective lawyer regarding the fee so that you understand how the attorney’s fee is calculated.

Another aspect are the costs and expenses of the case. It is important for you to know that you are generally responsible for costs and expenses as the client. This may include, but is not limited to the filing fees, expenses of gathering medical records, retaining experts, taking depositions and other expenses.

So take the time to discuss these issues and also to understand the time frame of your specific case. Ask the lawyer how long he or she thinks it will take to build your case and send out a demand to the insurance company and/or file your case with the court. Find out if the lawyer is just interested in a quick settlement or whether he or she will take the time, effort and resources to litigate your case.