Statute of Limitations for Accidents and Injuries in Iowa
Generally, under Iowa law an individual must bring a lawsuit within two years of their accident or injury or the claim is forever barred. While other states may have longer or shorter time periods for which one may bring a lawsuit, the statute of limitations for injury claims in Iowa is two years.
An important part of the statute of limitations is understanding when the statutory clock begins to run. Iowa has a discovery rule that says the applicable statute of limitations begins to run when the injured party has actual or imputed knowledge of the facts that would support a cause of action. While there may be situations where a person is not aware of their injury until a later date, such as exposure to asbestos, in most instances, the statutory limitations clock begins to run on the date of the event causing the injury.
The Iowa Supreme Court has addressed when the statutory clock begins to run for more serious injuries that do not appear until later. In LeBeau v. Dimig, an individual believed she had suffered only minor head and neck injuries from a car accident until epilepsy manifested more than two years after the accident. When she discovered the severity of her injuries, she filed a lawsuit alleging the injuries were caused by the car accident and argued that she could avoid the two-year statute of limitations because she had not “discovered” the epilepsy within the two-year statutory time frame. Ultimately, the Iowa Supreme Court determined that despite not knowing about the severity of her injuries, the discovery rule was inapplicable because she had knowledge of the necessary elements for bringing a claim within the two-year statute of limitations and therefore her claim was now time-barred.
While two years is generally the amount of time you have to bring your claim, you should consult an attorney for your individual situation as the time period could be as short as 6 months in certain instances.
For more information or if you have questions about your individual situation, feel free to contact the Crimmins & Kehm Law Firm at 515-573-2191.