You may have heard the term “statute of limitations” before, but do you know what the term actually means? Let’s talk about what the civil statute of limitations is in Iowa and what it means for your personal injury case.
The Statute of Limitations in Iowa Civil Cases
The “statute of limitations” refers to the amount of time you have to bring legal action against the party who injured you. Whether you have been injured in a car accident, had a loved one who was abused or neglected in a nursing home, or have been the victim of a medical error — there is a limited amount of time to get compensation for injuries.
Generally speaking, the civil statute of limitations in Iowa is two years from the date of your injury. This means you have two years from the date you were injured to file a lawsuit or settle your claim with the person who hurt you. If you do not file a lawsuit or settle your claim before two years is up, then you may lose out on any compensation for your injuries.
Why Is the Statute of Limitations Important to My Iowa Personal Injury Case?
The reason the statute of limitations exists is to give you a good amount of time to decide what to do about your injuries. At the same time, it limits the time for bringing cases so that potential claims are not up in the air forever, which could lead to evidence disappearing or witnesses forgetting what happened. A statute of limitations is supposed to balance these competing considerations.
For example, let’s say you were in a car crash. At first, you didn’t believe you were injured that badly. But as the days and weeks pass, you realize you’ve been hurt worse than you first thought. It turns out that you may need surgery, or need to treat your injuries for longer than you first thought. This will mean more medical bills and time off work to heal.
Because the statute of limitations for your car crash is two years from the date of the accident, you still have time to either negotiate a fair settlement for your injuries or file a lawsuit. However, our clients are frequently surprised at how quickly the two years can sneak up on you.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Settle Your Personal Injury Claim?
You may decide that you need to hire a lawyer. We recommend talking to an attorney as soon as possible after you are injured. It’s rarely a bad idea to contact an attorney to see what your options are. Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation, so you can ask questions and get a case evaluation without any cost to you.
It’s possible that you can settle your claim on your own. Not every personal injury claim needs a lawyer. An experienced personal injury lawyer will explain whether or not they can help you and can give you advice on what to do next.
If you would like a free, no-obligation case evaluation from one of our personal injury attorneys, call RSH Legal today at 1-319-774-1783.