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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

The Beginner's Guide on How to File a Lawsuit for Premises Liability in Iowa

Being a property owner comes with a great deal of responsibility. These individuals must ensure that their premises are safe and well-maintained to prevent accidents and injuries.

When a patron, guest, or customer is injured while on another person's property, they may be eligible for compensation. However, the process of tackling business owners with an extensive legal team might seem incredibly daunting.

Nevertheless, this should not deter injured persons from seeking restitution. With the help of a reliable personal injury attorney, victims can take legal action to secure the compensation they are rightly due. An attorney can also help explain how to file a lawsuit for workers compensation in Iowa.

Understanding Premises Liability

Understanding Premises Liability

Premises liability is a concept that ensures that property owners keep their premises safe. The truth is that slip-and-fall incidents, dog bites, swimming pool accidents, electrocution, and more can occur because of negligence on the part of the owner.

The law is designed to hold the property owner responsible when their carelessness results in someone being injured. If they fail to conduct the proper maintenance or do not include sufficient signage to warn people of a potential danger, then they will have to cover the victim's damages.

Iowa Has a Comparative Fault Rule

Suppose the victim was partly to blame for the accident. In that case, they might still be able to claim damages by filing a lawsuit. That's because Iowa has a comparative fault law, which means that the person's compensation will be reduced by the percentage fault they are assigned.

However, it's important for claimants to remember that if they are more than 50 percent to blame for the incident, they forfeit their right to file a claim for damages.

If Susan slipped and fell because of a broken step, for example, but there was a sign indicating that the area was dangerous, she might be partially at fault. Suppose she is assigned 25 percent of the blame and is awarded a settlement of $20,000. In that case, she will only be given $15,000 (75 percent).

To determine whether they have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit, injured parties should contact Tom Fowler Law for expert advice.

How to File a Lawsuit for Premises Liability in Iowa

Taking legal action against an at-fault property owner is fairly simple with the help of a premises liability lawyer. Victims can follow the steps below to hold the person, people, or entity responsible for their damages.

Step One: Find an Experienced Attorney

The first step when filing a personal injury lawsuit is for the plaintiff to find a trustworthy legal advisor who will work in their best interest. This is a crucial decision, as it has a direct impact on the outcome of the case. Here are a few attributes that claimants should look for:

  • A comprehensive knowledge of premises liability laws

  • High ethical standards

  • Empathy and compassion

  • Negotiation skills

  • Trial experience

  • A long track record of successful cases

  • Analytical and communication skills

The good news is that most law firms offer free consultations, so victims can schedule one to learn more and determine whether a particular attorney is the right firm. To book a FREE case review with Tom Fowler Law, claimants can call (515) 203-8434.

Step Two: The Initial Investigation

Before a claim can be filed, a reliable personal injury attorney will provide legal guidance and launch an investigation into the incident. Surveillance footage, witness statements, proof of damages suffered, and more will be obtained.

Expert witnesses, accident reconstruction experts, and investigators may be called in to uncover crucial pieces of evidence. This is an important step because the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff, which means that it is the claimant's job to prove the following:

  • Duty of care. The first thing that a victim will need to prove is that the property owner had a responsibility to act in a way that prevented the accident from occurring.

  • Breach of duty. This involves proving that the person acted negligently and failed to offer reasonable care. It might mean demonstrating that there was inadequate security on the property, that there were no signs displayed to warn people about a potentially dangerous structure, or that the owner failed to conduct proper maintenance.

  • Causation. The plaintiff will also have to prove that this breach of duty is what led to the accident.

  • Damages. Finally, proof must be provided to show that the person suffered real, calculable losses because of the incident.

While this may seem intimidating, it's important for claimants to remember that this is what premises liability lawyers do best. A reliable legal advocate will guide the victim through the process, ensuring that no stone is left unturned in the pursuit of justice.

Step Three: File a Claim for Damages

Once sufficient evidence has been gathered, the next step is filing a legal claim for damages. An attorney can take care of this process and handle all communication with the defendant and their legal representatives to save the victim the trouble and protect their rights.

Step Four: Negotiation

Most premises liability claims are settled without having to go to court. Both parties will meet with their lawyers present and negotiate a fair settlement. However, if the premises liability accident is complex or the property owner's responsibility is questioned, the matter may need to be resolved in court.

Step Five: Present the Case in Court

Some premises liability cases are settled in court. The plaintiff's lawyer will present the facts and evidence to a judge or jury, who will determine the outcome of the case. Victims should keep in mind that this process can take much longer.

What Damages Can a Victim Claim?

When a person suffers premises liability injuries, they can recover a number of economic and non-economic damages. However, it's important that they remember that every case is different, which is why it is important to enlist the services of a well-trained legal advocate.

Economic Damages

Economic or monetary losses form a primary component of a premises liability claim. These damages are often easy to calculate and may include the following:

  • Medical expenses

  • Lost wages

  • Property damage

Non-economic Damages

In addition to these financial losses, victims can also claim for the emotional, mental, and physical suffering they experience as a direct result of their injury. This might include:

  • Pain and suffering

  • Mental anguish

  • Emotional distress

  • Loss of enjoyment of life

  • Disfigurement

Working with a reliable and experienced premises liability attorney is the key to ensuring that claimants receive the maximum compensation for their injuries.

The Statute of Limitations for Cases Involving Premises Liability in Iowa?

It's important for claimants to remember that there is a deadline for filing premises liability claims. The state provides victims two years from the day the accident occurred in which to take legal action against the party responsible for their injuries.

If they fail to do so, they will lose their right to file a claim for damages. Moreover, waiting can harm a person's chances of obtaining a favorable outcome. It's best that they begin the process as early as possible to ensure that crucial details are fresh in their minds and can be used to investigate the case.

When Claimants Should Call a Personal Injury Attorney

When Claimants Should Call a Personal Injury Attorney

While relying on an insurance company to provide compensation might be the best option for most cases, filing a lawsuit is preferable for a number of reasons.

Firstly, when a person suffers serious and life-changing injuries, insurance coverage may not offer sufficient compensation to cover all medical bills. Sometimes, policy exclusions can restrict the amount that a person can claim. This is where filing a personal injury lawsuit can help.

Furthermore, if victims also suffer non-monetary damages as a result of premises liability accidents, such as disfigurement, they should file a legal claim to obtain compensation for these kinds of losses.

Hiring a premises liability lawyer can be incredibly beneficial in such cases. They assist with the following:

  • Advice and guidance. Taking legal action can seem incredibly daunting, especially when the plaintiff has no knowledge of the applicable laws. Legal advocates offer expert guidance to help ensure a favorable outcome.

  • Investigation. Because the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff, their lawyer can help to ensure that essential evidence is uncovered to support the claim.

  • Expert negotiation. Attorneys are great negotiators and can help victims ensure that they receive the compensation they are rightly due for their slip-and-fall claim.

  • Representation in court. If the premises liability case cannot be settled through negotiation, an experienced advocate will take the claim to court and provide expert representation.

Contact Tom Fowler Law Today!

When a property owner fails to maintain safe premises, they can be held responsible for any injuries that patrons or guests suffer as a result. While filing a claim for damages might seem overwhelming, the good news is that Tom Fowler Law is here to guide victims through the legal process.

Those who were injured on someone else's property are encouraged to contact our firm for expert advice and guidance on how to proceed.

Victims can call today to schedule a FREE consultation with an experienced attorney!

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