Knowing how personal injury lawsuits work in Iowa is essential if you’ve suffered harm because of someone's intentional wrongful acts or because someone negligently caused an accident. A personal injury attorney can help you to file a personal injury claim, but it’s good to first know the basics.
A personal injury claim starts when a plaintiff files a civil lawsuit. The plaintiff must state a cause of action, or some legal claim, and must request something (monetary damages) from the court. The plaintiff must follow all court rules of civil procedure in outlining the legal wrong and the action that he or she desires the court to take. Consulting with a personal injury attorney is usually best for lawsuits at this point to ensure that all legal requirements of the claim are met.
Once the plaintiff has filed suit, the defendant will need to respond. In most cases, defendants try to settle out of court so that the case doesn’t proceed to trial. Sometimes, however, the case will go to trial. If this occurs, then the plaintiff must prove his or her case in front of the judge or jury to be awarded damages. The plaintiff must prove the case by a preponderance of the evidence.
A plaintiff will need to prove several elements of a personal injury claim:
- He or she will need to prove that the defendant owed some duty. This duty can arise by virtue of their relationship (doctor/patient, store owner/customer) or as a general duty, such as the duty that drivers owe to all other drivers.
- The plaintiff will need to show that the defendant breached the duty by being more careless than a reasonable person or professional would’ve been.
- Next, the plaintiff will need to show that the breach was the direct cause of harm, and that harm occurred for which the plaintiff can be compensated.
A personal injury attorney can help prove all of these elements of a legitimate personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Contact an Iowa Personal Injury Attorney
To learn more about personal injury claims arising from an car accident, request your free copy of The Legal Insider’s Guide to Iowa Car Accidents: 7 Secrets to Not Wreck Your Case or contact Walker, Billingsley & Bair at 641-792-3595.