What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Personal Injury Claim in Iowa?

McGuire Law, PLC

If someone else’s actions caused you harm, you may have legal standing to hold the at-fault party financially responsible. Before you can take legal action, you will need to make sure you qualify for a claim. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine if you qualify, but you must quickly get your case to them for evaluation. One legal barrier you must overcome is a filing deadline called the statute of limitations. So, what is the statute of limitations on a personal injury claim in Iowa?

What Are Statutes of Limitation?

All 50 states have laws known as statutes of limitations that govern when legal action can be taken in both civil and criminal cases. The statutes that are set by the state legislatures provide a window of time when legal proceedings can be initiated by a plaintiff. Anyone who is planning on taking legal action through a personal injury lawsuit may wonder why such deadlines exist.

Defendants also have rights and legal deadlines protect defendants from indefinite threats of legal action. Statutes of limitation also encourage the timely resolution of disputes. They can also ensure that evidence is preserved and presented before it becomes unreliable.

How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Case in Iowa?

Under Iowa state law, most personal injury cases must be filed within two years of the date of the injury. If multiple events caused the injury, the deadline begins with the date of the most recent act. Personal injury cases that must be filed within two years of the most recent incident include:

  • Car accident injuries
  • Motorcycle accident injuries
  • Pedestrian injuries
  • Construction site injuries
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Dog bite injuries
  • Medical malpractice

Most types of personal injury cases must be filed within this deadline. Filing even one day after the two-year mark can result in courts rejecting your attempt to seek monetary compensation through the justice system.

One major exception to the two-year deadline is any injury resulting from a defective product. Customers have 15 years from the date of the purchase of a defective product to take legal action in Iowa. One reason for this longer deadline is the fact that defective products can take years of use before they cause noticeable harm. If you have questions about your eligibility to take legal action through a personal injury lawsuit, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Am I Eligible to File a Personal Injury Case?

When someone’s negligence or misconduct causes you harm, you can take civil action against the person or group that harmed you. One example would be a driver who was not paying attention and caused an accident that led to bodily injury. You can work with a Mason City personal injury lawyer to reach a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company, or you can take legal action against the driver if they do not have insurance or their policy does not cover your expenses.

Emotional harm can also be used as the basis for filing a personal injury lawsuit with the help of an attorney. If you were emotionally traumatized due to someone else’s wrongdoing, you could sue for compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and even pain and suffering.

Whichever type of case you have, a skilled personal injury attorney can gather evidence and work to negotiate a favorable settlement on your behalf.


Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases in Iowa?

A: The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Iowa is two years for most types of cases. Anyone injured in an automobile or motorcycle accident has two years from the accident date to take legal action against the person who caused the injury. The deadline also applies to slip-and-fall accidents and defamation cases.

Q: How Far Back Can You Claim Personal Injury?

A: You can claim personal injury as far back as needed, as long as the most recent date of the injury is within two years. You may take legal action against someone who injured you one month or one year ago. Once the date of the injury has passed more than two years, you will not be able to sue the at-fault party.

One exception to the deadline is for injuries resulting from a defective product. Those injuries can be claimed as the basis of a personal injury lawsuit up to 15 years from the date of the purchase of the product.

Q: Can Defamation Be the Basis for a Personal Injury Case?

A: If someone’s actions caused you harm, you may be able to hire an attorney to take legal action against the at-fault individual. This could mean physical harm or harm to your reputation. Someone who publicly makes false statements about you could be sued for defamation. You would have to show that their action was reckless and caused you harm.

Q: How Can I Know for Certain If I Am Eligible to Sue?

A: Knowing whether you have legal grounds to sue is not always clear. One way you can add clarity is to consult with a personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney will have a deep understanding of the laws that limit when you can sue someone. A lawyer also knows when the most recent date was that you can use to measure how much time has elapsed.

Schedule Your Personal Injury Consultation Today

There are no exceptions to a missed legal deadline. The statute of limitations is designed to add a level of certainty and uniformity to civil and criminal cases. If you believe that you may be approaching the state’s statute of limitations, you can schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer to find out for certain whether you still have time to take legal action.

The full symptoms of an injury do not always manifest quickly. Often, taking legal action sooner rather than later comes with benefits. The longer you wait to hire an attorney, the less reliable your memory may be of the incident in question. The team at McGuire Law, PLC, has helped thousands of clients achieve successful outcomes in their cases. Contact us today for a consultation.