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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

File Before the Deadline: Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Iowa

In the hustle and bustle of life, accidents happen. Personal injuries can turn the world upside down, whether it's a car crash or a medical malpractice case. Amidst the confusion and pain, one thing to remember is the statute of limitations governing personal injury cases in Iowa.


Simply put, the statute of limitations is like a ticking clock. It limits how long victims have to file a personal injury claim after a crash. Regarding Iowa, the deadline for most personal injury cases is two years from the date of the injury.


That's not a lot of time when victims are dealing with medical costs, recovery, and the emotional toll of an accident. However, here's the kicker: anyone missing this deadline could lose their right to seek compensation entirely.


An experienced personal injury lawyer can be the saving grace in such scenarios. They understand the ins and outs of personal injury law and can work fast to gather evidence, assess the case, and file a claim before time runs out. They can also advise on how settlement negotiation works in an injury case.


Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases


In the world of personal injury claims, timing is everything. Filing a lawsuit within the statute of limitations can make or break a case. However, there are exceptions to this rule that every potential plaintiff should be aware of.


Mental Illness

It's pretty common to see cognitive impairment affecting the victim's ability to understand their legal rights. Mental illness can hinder someone from recognizing the severity of their injuries or comprehending the legal process involved in filing a claim.


As a result of the wound, they experience cognitive difficulties and struggle to make sound judgments. In such cases, the law may pause or extend the clock on the statute of limitations. It's essential to note that each situation is unique, and the application of this exception varies based on the circumstances.


Minor

On the other hand, victims under 18 are also granted exceptions to the statute of limitations in personal injury cases. Since minors cannot legally file lawsuits on their behalf, the statute of limitations typically begins when they reach the age of majority, which is 18 in most states.


This ensures minors have enough time to seek justice for their injuries once they reach adulthood. However, the laws governing the statute of limitations for minors can vary from state to state. Also, certain circumstances may warrant different interpretations of the law.


Free consultation sessions with the best personal injury attorneys in Des Moines can clarify how the statute of limitations applies to minors in specific cases.


Other Reasons for Extending the Statute of Limitations in Iowa


In some personal injury cases, mainly those involving hit-and-run accidents where the responsible party's identity is unknown, plaintiffs may face challenges initiating legal proceedings.


Unidentified Defendant

The court may extend the statute of limitations when the victim can't identify the defendant through reasonable efforts. Consider a scenario where a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle whose driver flees the scene. Despite diligent efforts by law enforcement and investigators, the driver remains unidentified.


In such cases, Iowa law extends the statute of limitations until it can identify the defendant. It ensures the injured person can pursue justice once the police find the responsible party.


Unavailable Party

Another situation that may warrant an extension of the statute of limitations is when a necessary party to the legal action is unavailable. This could happen if a witness or defendant is out of the state or otherwise unreachable. It is impossible to move forward with the case within the standard timeframe.


Disabled Victim

Suppose a person sustains a severe spinal cord injury in a workplace accident. The wound leaves them paralyzed and unable to communicate effectively. In such cases, the law may extend the statute of limitations until the injured party can participate in the legal process.


When Does the Statute of Limitations Apply in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?


As mentioned, the statute of limitations serves as a legal time limit within which an injured person must file a lawsuit in civil court. The clock starts counting down from the moment the injury or accident takes place. Once this time limit expires, the right to pursue legal action is typically lost forever.


Waiting too long to take action can result in losing valuable legal rights to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.


In the face of such challenging circumstances, seeking the guidance of a personal injury lawyer is crucial. These legal professionals can ensure injured victims receive the justice and compensation they rightfully deserve.


Deadline Expiration in a Personal Injury Claim


When the statute of limitations expires in a personal injury lawsuit, it closes the door to pursuing legal action for the injuries sustained. This deadline varies depending on the jurisdiction and the type of injury involved.


Regarding Iowa, personal injury victims have two years to seek justice. In other states, the deadline ranges from one to several years from the date of the incident. However, it's also important to acknowledge that exceptions or extenuating circumstances could extend the deadline for filing a personal injury claim.


These exceptions could include discovering injuries that were not immediately apparent or involving certain parties, such as government entities or doctors in medical malpractice cases.


Hiring a Lawyer for a Personal Injury Case

Hiring a Lawyer for a Personal Injury Case


When navigating the murky waters of a personal injury or car accident case, having the right legal representation can make all the difference. Still, how can a victim find and hire the perfect lawyer?

First and foremost, it's essential to understand the importance of hiring a lawyer specializing in personal injury cases.


While any attorney can handle various legal matters, personal injury law is a technical field that demands specific knowledge and expertise. The plaintiff must look for a lawyer with a proven track record of success in handling similar cases. Tom Fowler Law can also answer questions such as how long does a personal injury lawsuit take?


Next, they should consider seeking recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family members, or other professionals in the legal field. Personal referrals can be invaluable in helping them find a lawyer who is competent and reliable.


During the free consultation, clients must discuss the specifics of their case in detail and ask about the lawyer's fee structure and payment arrangements.


Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if they win the case. This can be a massive relief for those facing financial strain due to medical expenses and other costs related to their injuries.


Final Words


Time is not merely a concept but an essential factor that can shape the outcome of a personal injury case. While the statute of limitations is two years in Iowa, it can range from one to several years in other states.


Failing to file a claim within this deadline can have unfortunate consequences. Anyone considering a lawsuit should seek guidance from the experts at Tom Fowler Law.

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