Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases in Iowa
In nearly every legal case in jurisdictions all across the United States, there exists a statute of limitations. Statute of limitation laws establish a time limit during which legal action can be pursued.
If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit in the state of Iowa, it is important to know what the statute of limitations is for your particular case.
Because statutes of limitations are impacted by several factors, such as the type of case, location, and the people involved, the best way to know how much time you have is to speak with a personal injury attorney.
For general information regarding Iowa statute of limitation laws, continue reading below.
How Do Statutes of Limitations Work?
Statutes of limitations apply to both civil actions and criminal charges. Personal injury claims are civil cases. In these cases, the injured party has only a certain amount of time to file their case–after this period of time is up, they lose their right to file.
Statutes of limitations allow both plaintiffs and defendants to gather evidence and witness testimony while they are still fresh and readily available. They prevent years-old cases from bogging up the court systems. They also keep defendants from having legal action hanging over their heads indefinitely.
Iowa Civil Statutes of Limitations: Personal Injury Law
Under Iowa law, the general time period allowed for personal injury cases is two years. Wrongful death cases also have a two-year statute of limitations, under Iowa Code Annotated (I.C.A.) § 614.1.
In most cases, the cause of action–the legal claim that the defendant harmed the plaintiff–accrues on the date of injury or harm. The “clock” on the statute of limitations begins to run after the cause of action accrues.
There are variables that can impact this period of limitation. In some cases, the clock may not begin running until a later date. In others, the time period is shortened.
If you believe you have a case, contact a personal injury lawyer with The Iowa Advocates. Our Des Moines-based attorneys can help you understand the time limits specific to your claim.
Exceptions and Tolling Factors
There are several circumstances that may give you more or less time than the general statute of limitations.
A “tolling factor” may allow the period of time set forth by the statute of limitations to be paused or delayed. This means that the clock does not start running until a later date. Some tolling factors are listed below.
Minors and those with mental illness
Under Iowa Code Section 614.8, minors and people who are determined to be mentally incapacitated may have extended timelines for their cases.
These are not the only factors that may impact your time limit. An attorney can evaluate your case and give you a more precise timeline for your specific circumstance.
How Can an Iowa Personal Injury Attorney Help Me?
It is critical to begin your personal injury case as soon as possible. While two years may seem like a long time, the claims process can quickly become complex and time-consuming. Many times, insurance companies are unwilling to make a fair settlement offer right off the bat. Getting the compensation you deserve will likely require negotiation.
The Iowa Advocates can help. Your Advocate will help you understand the statute of limitations in your case and offer sound legal advice. We will fight insurance companies to get you fair compensation and, if they are unwilling to offer you a satisfactory outcome, we will litigate for you in court.