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Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Iowa

According to the Global Gazette, the family of an 86-year-old man who died in 2014 at a Mason City nursing home recently filed a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim is a type of lawsuit that a deceased person’s family can file if their family member’s death was caused by the wrongful acts of another. The family’s lawsuit claims that the elderly man died of blunt force trauma to his head after falling down a flight of steps at the nursing home where he was living. The lawsuit also claims that the nursing facility is to blame because their staff negligently failed to investigate properly when the stairwell door alarm activated shortly before the man fell to his death. The wrongful death suit was filed by the deceased man’s widow and his four children.

Iowa’s Wrongful Death Statutes

While Iowa does not specifically define what constitutes “wrongful death”, deaths that are caused by someone else’s negligent or wrongful act often qualify. Therefore, if you are interested in filing a wrongful death claim in Iowa it is prudent to discuss your case as soon as possible with an experienced wrongful death attorney. With that said, Iowa does have several statutes that are critical to wrongful death cases within our state. For example:

  • Iowa Code section 611.20 – Actions Survive: This statute allows the deceased’s family to bring their causes of action after they die. For example, if you are filing a wrongful death claim after your mother passes, this code section allows you to also file an applicable pain and suffering claim on behalf of your deceased mother.
  • Iowa Code section 611.21 – Civil Remedy Not Merged in Crime: This law allows you to file a civil wrongful death action even if the government is also prosecuting a criminal case against the same defendant for the same act. For example, if your husband is murdered this statute allows you to still bring your wrongful death claim despite the fact that the government is also prosecuting the defendant on a murder charge.
  • Iowa Code section 633.336 – Damages For Wrongful Death: This statute dictates how damages recovered for a wrongful death act will be distributed. In Iowa, these damages are generally treated as personal property in the deceased’s estate. However, there are several important exceptions to this general rule.

Statute of Limitations on Filing A Wrongful Death Claim in Iowa

If you are considering filing a wrongful death claim in Iowa beware that there is a statute of limitations that bars these claims from being failed after a certain amount of time has passed. Under Iowa Code section 614.1(2), wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the decedent’s death. Therefore, it is always a good idea to consult with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your claim is not barred by the statute of limitations, if at all possible.

Need Legal Advice?

Those who are contemplating filing a wrongful death claim in Southeast Iowa are welcome to contact the Noyes Law Office, P.C. at (800) 875-7148 to schedule a free consultation. Our attorneys are skilled at representing both the deceased as well as his or her family, and would be happy to discuss your legal options with you.

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