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Iowa Car Accident Compensation Laws

Unfortunately, car accidents are a very common occurrence. Most car accidents do not involve personal injury, meaning that no one was hurt during the accident -- instead, these types of accidents usually result in property damage only. Victims of car accidents may be compensated for property damage and for their personal injury, if applicable. Each state has different car accident compensation laws.

This article provides a brief overview of car accident compensation laws in the state of Iowa.

Iowa Car Accident Compensation Laws: At a Glance

Check out the table below and the accompanying information to learn more about Iowa's car accident laws.

Statute of Limitations

Two years for personal injury lawsuits (Iowa Code Ann. § 614.1)

Five years for property damage lawsuits (Iowa Code Ann. § 614.1)

Limits on Damages


Other Limits

Modified comparative fault can prevent or limit recovery, depending on the driver's percentage of fault for the accident (Iowa Comparative Fault Law)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Iowa's "At-Fault" and "Modified Comparative Fault" Rules

Iowa is one of the majority of states that has an "at-fault" (also known as a "tort") system for insurance claims. To file a successful claim or legal case, a driver must show fault on the part of the other driver.

But how much fault? Iowa again goes with the majority here and uses a "modified comparative negligence"(often referred to as "modified comparative fault") system. To recover compensation for car accident injuries or property damage, the party seeking compensation must show that the other party was more at fault — it's that simple.

If your case goes to trial, the judge or jury will put percentages to the fault for the accident: a fault of 50% or more prevents a party from recovering. Damages are also reduced by one's percentage of fault. For example, a person 25% at fault would only recover 75% of their damages.

Types of Damages Allowed in Iowa

Auto accident damages are typically classified as economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include calculable expenses, such as auto repair, lost wages, and future medical bills, while non-economic damages include the less calculable costs: pain and suffering or compensation for disfigurement or disability.

Examples of typical compensable car accident damages include:

  • Medical costs
  • Vehicle repair or replacement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Rental cars
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of affection or companionship
  • Wrongful death

Limits on Damages in Iowa

As long as you aren't the more at-fault party, Iowa has very few restrictions on car accident compensation – there are no caps on damage amounts.

One rule, which is very common and very hard to beat, is the statute of limitations (time limit) for filing your case. There are two different time limits in Iowa: an injured party has two years from the date of the car accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury and five years to file for property damage.

Filing an insurance claim won't extend the time limit, so you'll want to speak with an attorney early to discuss the strength of your claim and what deadlines must be met.

Injured From a Car Accident in Iowa? Consider Legal Assistance

If you've been injured in a car accident, missing a filing deadline or settling for less than your case is worth can be devastating to both you and your family. A skilled legal professional can help you learn more about the damages that may be available to you.

Get started today and contact an Iowa injury law attorney near you.

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  • A lawyer can help seek fair compensation on your behalf
  • Car accident claims are complex and insurance carriers have lawyers on their side

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