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Iowa Car Accident Compensation Laws

Some might see Iowa and think the state is extremely ordinary: it’s right in the middle of the pack in terms of population, size and per capita income. It’s even quite literally – geographically – in the middle of the pack of 48 contiguous states. You know what isn’t ordinary about Iowa? The lifestyle. Cost of living is low. Traffic is nearly non-existent. And the literacy rate is 99 percent. Even without the traffic and with room to move, there’s still the Midwestern winter roads and a decent chance that you’ll someday be involved in a car accident. If so, you’ll want to be familiar with the Hawkeye State’s laws on car accident compensation.

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 Code Ann. § 668.1)

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: fault of 50 percent or more prevents a party from recovering. Damages are also reduced by one’s percentage of fault -- a person 25% at fault would only recover 75% of his damages, for example.

Types of Damages

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

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.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

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

Get tailored legal advice and ask a lawyer questions about your accident. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


 If you need an attorney, find one right now.

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