How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Iowa

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Posted by Tim Semelroth

Losing a loved one is always difficult.  Such a loss can be even more painful when the death was caused by someone else.  Besides the normal grief, anger and confusion, families who lose someone because of the fault of another often feel the need to seek justice on behalf of the victim.  One way to do so is with a wrongful death lawsuit.  Let’s talk about what that means in Iowa.

What is a Wrongful Death?

First, it’s important to understand what a wrongful death is.  A wrongful death is a death that occurs because of someone else’s fault.  Examples of wrongful death include:

  • When motorists are killed in a crash because a semi-truck driver illegally turned in front of them;
  • When a patient dies after a doctor misdiagnoses and fails to treat a serious illness; or
  • When a nursing home resident got a fatal infection from a bed sore caused by the nursing home staff’s substandard care.

While these situations can be very different, they are all classified as “wrongful death” under Iowa law because in each case the death was caused by someone else.

Who Can Ask For Compensation in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Iowa?

Not just anyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit after someone dies.  In Iowa, only certain people are allowed to ask for compensation when someone dies.  These people include:

  • The spouse of the deceased
  • The children of the deceased
  • The parents of the deceased
  • The beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Iowa?

Iowa law also limits who can file a lawsuit.  Usually, Iowa courts require a wrongful death lawsuit to be filed by the administrator of the deceased’s estate.  That means that before a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed in Iowa, an estate must be opened and the court must name someone as its administrator.

Each wrongful death claim is different, so the best way to determine if you are legally able to file a lawsuit is to speak with an experienced Iowa wrongful death lawyer.

How Long Does The Family Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Iowa?

A family has a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit.  This legal deadline is called the “statute of limitations.”  In Iowa, the statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits is generally two years from the loved one’s death.  If a wrongful death claim has not been settled or filed with the court before the two-year anniversary of the victim’s death, there is typically no longer a chance to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Iowa.

Wrongful death laws in Iowa may seem complicated for a grieving family but legal answers are only a phone call away.  If you have recently lost a loved one due to a wrongful death, call our office at 1-319-774-1542 today.  One of our experienced wrongful death attorneys will explain the legal options available.

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