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Iowa’s Comparative Negligence Doctrine for Personal Injury Cases


If you have been hurt in an accident or due to another party’s negligence, you will want to consult an experienced personal injury attorney in Iowa right away who can analyze the circumstances of your injuries and determine whether you may have a valid claim against the responsible party.

Negligence Laws Vary by State

Each state maintains differing laws governing which personal injury claims are valid, and one of the rules that varies by jurisdiction is called the comparative negligence doctrine. The law recognizes that most accidents are caused by a confluence of factors, and in many situations, more than one party bears fault in causing an accident or incident.

How each state handles varying degrees of fault can make or break a victim’s ability to recover compensation for their injuries. What may be a clear-cut case of negligence in one state may be a case that never gets off the ground in another state.

That is because some states bar victims from recovering anything if they are determined to be even one percent in the wrong, while others allow victims to pursue compensation even if they bear 99 percent of the responsibility for causing a crash or accident.

Iowa’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule

In Iowa, victims are not barred from recovering compensation for their injuries simply because their actions contributed to causing their own injuries- so long as they are not found to be more than 51 percent at-fault. The state’s comparative negligence rule is considered a moderate position along the spectrum of comparative negligence.

Common Types of Actions that Contribute to Comparative-Fault in Iowa

There are many types of actions that could potentially be considered to have contributed to causing a victim’s injuries. Ultimately, it will be up to the court to decide whether a victim’s negligence was responsible for more than 51 percent of the fault in bringing about the accident. Some examples of behavior that courts consider when determining comparative fault percentages include but are not limited to:

  • Not following product directions;
  • Breaking the law;
  • Driving recklessly;
  • Failing to disclose medical history to physician;
  • Not wearing a bicycle, motorcycle, or ATV helmet;
  • Using a product in an unintended way;
  • Provoking a fight;
  • Jaywalking;
  • Trespassing;
  • Not supervising children;
  • Failing to obey posted warnings.

Regardless of the type of actions that could be considered at-fault conduct, none of these behaviors automatically bar recovery. Instead, comparative fault is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Iowa

Regardless of the circumstances that led to your accident, or how big of a role you believe you may have played in causing your own injuries, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced Iowa personal injury attorney who can evaluate the strength of your claim.

Only an experienced Iowa personal injury attorney can determine whether your actions exceed the percentage of fault allowed for an Iowa personal injury claim. Contact the Noyes Law Office, P.C. for assistance today.

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