In Iowa, the statute of limitations for a car accident is two years. This means that you have two years from the day of the accident to file a lawsuit for the accident. Once that period has passed, the plaintiff loses his opportunity, and the defendant is off the hook.
For car accidents, missing the filing deadline may come easier than imagined. When you attempt to resolve the matter with insurance adjusters, the statute of limitation is still running.
The negotiations period also has nothing to do with the filing deadline. So, in order to actually take advantage, the plaintiff must file the suit within the statute of limitations period. It does not matter if the entire lawsuit takes longer than that period to be resolved. So long as the plaintiff filed within that period, he has the legal potential to recover.
Lawsuit Pertaining to Personal Injury
Under Iowa Code Section 614.1, a personal injury victim has two years from the date of the accident to file suit for injuries sustained to his body. Thus, anyone personally injured as a result of the accident has two years to file. This includes drivers, pedestrians, bicyclist, and bystanders.
Lawsuit Pertaining to Wrongful Death
The same two-year period applies to victims who died as a result of a car accident. The only difference is that the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases starts to run at the day of death instead of the date of accident. Depending on the situation, this maybe a slightly longer time frame.
Lawsuit Pertaining to Personal Property Lost
Iowa is more lenient when it comes to recovering for personal property. Under Iowa Code Section 614.1, a victim whose personal property was damaged as a result of a car accident has five years from the date of the accident to file suit.
Personal property includes damages to car, bicycle, house, and any other tangible items. So, if the victim missed the personal injury deadline to file suit, he may still be able to take advantage of the longer personal property deadline.
Consulting a Personal Injury Lawyer
You should consult a personal injury attorney if you are having an issue resolving your car accident case. Even if you are uncertain whether you will benefit from filing a lawsuit, a personal injury attorney can represent you in your negotiations with the insurance company. Experienced negotiators may help you get a bigger settlement amount than by trying yourself.