One Dead in Floyd County Motorcycle/Semi Crash

Today’s accident is between a semi-truck and a motorcycle and how different insurance claims intersect and compete to be repaid. Most people have no idea how complicated an insurance practice is when it involves personal injury. Most never take the time to even read their insurance policies and even if they did they wouldn’t be able to understand what all those words mean. Well… that’s sort of our job. It is why we have lawyers and it is why lawyers for injured people earn their position at the table. And so today let’s take a look at this recent Harley-Davidson cycle pulling out in front of a semi-truck driver which led to an accident.

“It is when multiple types of these claims are involved in the same lawsuit that lawyers who understand the competing claims are required.”

Thomas Houdek, 23, was riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, crossing onto Highway 218 northbound, when he pulled out in front of a semi driven by Joshua Brood. Brood slammed on his brakes in an attempt to avoid a collision, and both Brood and Houdek were ejected from their vehicles as they careened into a nearby ditch. Houdek was pronounced dead at the scene, and Brood was airlifted to Mercy Medical Center.

There are many similar accidents in Iowa each year involving multiple insured claims. And so what are those competing insurance claims?

Know that the first claim comes in during the ambulance ride to the emergency room. That’s because they want to get paid and so they turn their bill into your medical insurance, like Blue Cross & Blue Shield. So that is likely the first insurance company you will deal with.

Then there is the property damage claim because in this case we have both a motorcycle of Mr. Houdek and the semi-truck being driven by Mr. Brood. Those insurance companies will likely take care of arbitrating those claims without the drivers and owners knowing much about it. The property damage claims are likely settled up behind the scene.

What is an "insured claim"?

First the basics: "Insured claims" could be workers’ compensation, a claim against an at-fault driver based on negligence, a contract claim involving underinsured or uninsured coverage, medical insurance bills or could be one against a bar for both selling and serving alcohol while the person is intoxicated or to the point of intoxication. It is when multiple types of these claims are involved in the same lawsuit that lawyers who understand the competing claims are required. That is where our firm practices. We handle personal injury and death claims involving all of the above.

So what is it about today’s accident that I find so interesting?

Houdek likely has both a personal injury claim with Houdek’s insurer, perhaps even with his own insurer and a likely workers’ compensation claim. When you add in health insurance claims from an ERISA Plan or the workers’ compensation insurance paying the medical you then have federal and state laws governing issues of subrogation and liens.

Is this complicated? You bet it is.

Life is complicated and if you read your insurance policy you'll understand insurance is meant to be complicated. Personal injury practice is very complicated and gets more complicated as time goes on. With competing claims from insurance policy provisions involving subrogation and then statutory law creating liens; what will go on after an accident such as this one, is beyond description. If you add in that the motorcyclist died then the addition of claims against his estate via his insurance policy will need to be considered. I am sometimes asked why I write about car, truck and motorcycle accidents and about work related accidents. The simple answer is because it’s complicated and if you fail to put someone on notice, such as in a dram shop action or workers’ compensation claim, then you lose your right to seek damages. These blog posts are writtent to teach laypeople just how complicated this area is and to educate them about when to hire a PI lawyer. 

Safe to say this won’t be easy to handle without the aid of a lawyer or two.

Is this complicated? You bet it is. The most important question the injured person has to ask is who is protecting my interests? Without a lawyer no one is protecting your interests. And no one except your lawyer cares about whether or not you will be treated fairly. The insurance adjusters care only about saving money for their employers, the insurance companies.

And so this is the first question anyone should be asking when injured in an accident. Who is protecting me and my interests? If no one then you are making a mistake and should at least sit down with a personal injury lawyer to find out if you need a lawyer on your side.

Good luck with your claim, onward we march. 

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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