In Iowa, plaintiffs do not have an indefinite amount of time to file a personal injury claim after being involved in an accident. Instead, injured parties must file before a certain deadline that is known as a statute of limitations. For many plaintiffs, this means that they must initiate their lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident. There are exceptions to this rule, however, in which case, an injured party could actually have more time to file suit. To ensure that your own claim is not dismissed due to a failure to abide by the necessary deadlines, please call an experienced Iowa personal injury lawyer who can advise you.
What are Statutes of Limitations?
Statutes of limitations are laws that govern how long a person has to file a civil lawsuit after being involved in an accident, each of which varies depending on the specific type of claim in question. Generally, these deadlines begin running either from the day that the accident occurred, or from the day that the plaintiff discovered the injury or illness. In most cases, plaintiffs who allow this deadline to expire before filing a claim will be barred from recovery. In Iowa, the statute of limitations that applies in most personal injury cases is two years.
Delayed Discovery of the Injury
After the designated statute of limitation passes, a plaintiff’s right to file a civil action will expire and he or she will miss out on the chance to obtain monetary compensation. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule, in which case, the two year statute of limitations clock will extend the deadline. Iowa courts, for example, are usually willing to extend the two year deadline in situations where the plaintiff didn’t discover his or her injury until after the statute of limitations had passed. This scenario is particularly common in cases involving medical negligence, as injuries resulting from medical malpractice often fail to manifest for many years. In these situations, the statutory period will begin on the date that the injury was discovered, rather than from the date when the accident actually happened. It is important to note, however, that even in these cases, a plaintiff’s claim must still be filed within six years of the incident.
Accident Victim is a Minor
The two year statute of limitations can also be suspended when an injured party is a minor at the time of his or her accident. Typically, in these cases, the statute of limitations will be extended to one year after the injured party reaches the age of majority. This same extension will not, however, apply to any adults who were injured in the same accident with the child.
In the event that a person was involved in an accident, but suffered no physical injuries, he or she will have an additional three years to file a claim seeking compensation for the repair or replacement of the damaged property, extending the deadline to five years from the date of the accident.
What If I Miss the Filing Deadline?
Plaintiffs who fail to file a claim before the two year filing deadline passes and who still try to pursue a personal injury claim will almost always have their cases dismissed by the court. This can have devastating repercussions for the injured party in question, who may miss out on the opportunity to recover damages compensating him or her for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact an Experienced Iowa Personal Injury Lawyer
To speak with a personal injury attorney who can ensure that your legal claims are filed before the expiration of the statute of limitations, please call Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP at 712-309-3738 today.