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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

How to File a Lawsuit for Slip and Fall in Iowa

Slipping and falling on someone else's property may not seem so severe most of the time. Unfortunately, some of these accidents can lead the victim to experience life-threatening consequences, including traumatic brain injuries.

Iowa property owners must provide a reasonable degree of care to ensure guests/clients don't get into an accident when they're inside the unit. An injured party of such an accident can file a personal injury claim to seek compensation.

The compensation can help the victim cover different expenses, including medical bills, lost wages, and treatments.

Here's a complete guide on how to file a slip and fall claim successfully in Iowa.

What Constitutes a Slip-and-Fall Accident in Iowa?

What Constitutes a Slip-and-Fall Accident in Iowa?

A "slip and fall" is a type of "premises liability claim." Simply put, it applies when a person slips or trips on another person's premises and suffers an injury because of that.

Property owners have the legal right to keep hazardous conditions away from their premises. If someone else were to get hurt in their unit, they could be held legally responsible for the victim's injuries.

How to File a Slip-and-Fall Claim Successfully

The process to file a slip-and-fall claim varies depending on what happened. Most of the time, however, the victim must go through a series of steps to ensure they start building their case effectively.

Here's a guide on how to file a lawsuit for slip and fall in Iowa:

Seek Medical Attention

The most important part is to seek medical treatment, even if the injuries seem minor. Not only will this ensure the victim is free from danger, but it will also get them medical records they can use as evidence later.

File an Accident Report

Once the victim is safe from danger, they should contact the police or a responsible law enforcement agent and file an accident report. This will outline all the details surrounding the case, including where it happened, how severe the injuries were, and more.

Gather Relevant Evidence for the Claim

If the victim can move after the accident, they should start gathering as much evidence as possible to use in their case. The more relevant evidence they get, the better.

Some great pieces of evidence to collect include photos of the injuries, videos of the scene, and witness testimony.

Other evidence that will be relevant later include:

  • Medical records

  • Proof of lost wages

Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer

Sometimes, the property owner may be willing to make an offer to cover the victim's injuries. Even if this happens, it's in the victim's best interest to seek advice from a personal injury lawyer.

All injured parties deserve to get proper compensation to cover all their potential expenses, so they should first talk to a legal professional to ensure they're getting a fair deal. For more information, Des Moines slip and fall lawyers may be able to help.

How to Prove Negligence in a Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit

Victims in Iowa need to prove four elements to hold a property owner liable for their injuries:

  • Duty of Care: The property owner owed the victim a duty of care. In other words, victims must prove that they were allowed to be on the property when the accident happened and that the owner had to provide proper safety conditions for them. The degree of care will vary depending on the type of visitor, with the lowest grade being for trespassers.

  • Breach: Next, the victim must prove that the owner breached the duty of care mentioned before. Owners must provide proper maintenance and address potential hazardous conditions that any reasonable person would consider a risk to others.

  • Causation: Victims must show that the breach of the duty of care was what caused the slip-and-fall accident. In other words, they must prove that they weren't negligent and unnecessarily exposed to avoidable risks.

  • Damages: Finally, the victim must prove that the accident caused their injuries, as well as any economic/non-economic losses experienced because of it.

In these cases, three potential parties may be held liable:

  • Property owner/landlord

  • Tenant/manager/business owner

  • Property management company

How Does Iowa's Comparative Negligence Rule Affect Lawsuits?

Iowa works with a comparative negligence rule. It establishes that the amount of compensation for the victim may vary depending on their percentage of fault.

If the victim's fault is less than 51%, they can recover damages.

Many property owners may use this rule to their favor so that they don't pay as much money in compensation. It's crucial to talk to a professional attorney to determine what the victim's degree of fault truly is.

Which Cases Count as Slip-and-Fall Accidents?

Many scenarios can lead to slip-and-fall accidents. They include:

  • Wet floors

  • Broken surfaces

  • Negligent maintenance

  • Poor lighting

  • Lack of warning signs

  • Torn carpeting

  • Narrow stairs

  • Potholes

Not all of these cases will lead to the same amount of compensation. Those who want to get a better idea of how much money they could get from their claim must talk to a personal injury attorney. They can also advise on how to file a lawsuit for a dog bite in Iowa.

How Much Time Do Victims Have to File a Slip-and-Fall Case in Iowa?

How Much Time Do Victims Have to File a Slip-and-Fall Case in Iowa?

According to the Iowa Code (614.1), victims have two years from the date of the accident to file their claim. It's possible to file a lawsuit against the property owner or whoever was responsible for the victim's accident.

Victims who fail to file their claim within this period may not be able to seek damages, as the property owner may ask the court to dismiss the case.

There are a few exceptions that could make the statute of limitations clock "pause." Victims can ask their slip-and-fall lawyer for more information about these special cases. They can also ask them for more information on how to file a lawsuit for personal injury in Iowa.

Bottom Line

Holding a property owner liable for a slip-and-fall accident is tougher than it looks. In most personal injury cases, the victim will benefit from having a lawyer by their side. They will ensure the victim gets enough compensation from the insurance company to cover their damages, lost income, and other important things.

The team at Tom Fowler Law is committed to helping victims in Des Moines, Iowa, to file their slip-and-fall claims. Those interested in legal help can get a free consultation from the team.

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