Understanding Iowa’s Comparative Negligence Laws
Nov. 6, 2019
After being injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the reckless and careless driving of another, you will need to pursue a personal injury claim to recover your damages, including economic damages like medical bills and lost wages along with non-economic damages like pain and suffering. In Iowa, you will encounter some unique challenges due to its comparative negligence laws. Iowa is what is known as a “Modified Comparative Fault” state.
Under the Modified Comparative Fault System, each party is held responsible for damages in proportion to their own percentage of fault pro-rata, unless the plaintiff's negligence reaches 51%. If the plaintiff's own negligence reaches this percentage bar, then the plaintiff cannot recover any damages.
For example, assume that at trial the jury listens to all the evidence from both sides and determines the Plaintiff was harmed in a motor vehicle crash and the value of that harm is $10,000,000. The same jury determined that 85% of the fault in causing that crash is on the Defendant and 15% is on the Plaintiff. The Judge would reduce the judgment to 85% of the ten-million-dollar verdict or $8,500,000. However, if the jury concluded that the fault of the Plaintiff was 51% or more, the ten-million-dollar verdict would be reduced to $0 to the injured Plaintiff. To ensure you are not wrongfully assigned for blame in an accident that was not your fault, it is crucial to hire an experienced personal injury attorney.
Proving Negligence in Iowa
To ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to, you must prove that the injuries you suffered were caused by another party's negligence.
In Iowa, you will have to show the following to successfully prove negligence:
You were owed a duty of care by the person who caused the accident
The person breached the duty of care
The person's actions and the injuries you suffered are directly linked
The harm you suffered was foreseeable
Your injuries, pain and suffering were caused by the person's negligence
If successful in proving these points, you can recover the compensation for your injuries.
How Can Contributory Negligence Affect My Case?
If you are found partially to blame for a car accident, this does not mean you will not receive compensation for your injuries. However, the amount you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault. The only circumstances that will prevent you from obtaining compensation entirely, is if you bear the majority of fault for the accident. Ensuring the accurate percentage of negligence is attributed is, unsurprisingly, the most contested issue in such cases. Without an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, you might end up with a percentage of blame assigned to you for an accident you were not responsible for.
Your attorney will ensure a complete investigation is conducted and that your right to compensation is protected.
Schedule a Free Consultation with An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is exceptionally more challenging in states with comparative negligence laws, which is why it is essential to hire a knowledgeable attorney to represent your case an ensure your ability to maximize compensation. At Danny Cornell Law, our personal injury attorney has more than 25 years of experience practicing law and is committed to helping clients hold the responsible party liable for their suffering. With our team on your side, you can rest assured your case will be effectively handled inside or outside of court.
Get started on your case today and contact our team to set up a free initial consultation with our compassionate personal injury attorney.