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Accidents and injuries can abruptly disrupt lives. In such challenging times, Davenport personal injury lawyers are crucial allies. These professionals specialize in advocating for individuals who have suffered harm due to others' negligence, ensuring they secure rightful compensation. This article delves into the pivotal role Davenport personal injury lawyers fulfill, guiding individuals through the complexities of their claims and aiding them in reclaiming their lives.

What Has to Be Proven in an Iowa Dramshop Claim?

In Iowa, there are two typical scenarios where a dramshop claim may arise. The first occurs when an individual is served excessive alcohol at a bar or restaurant, leaves the establishment while intoxicated, becomes involved in a car accident, and is subsequently charged with OWI (operating a vehicle while intoxicated). The second scenario involves a drunk patron who assaults one or more people at the bar.

Under Iowa’s Dramshop Law, the bar owner, liquor licensee, or permittee (such as a bartender or waitstaff) may be held liable if they:

1. Sell and serve alcohol to an intoxicated person when they knew or should have "reasonably" known that the person was intoxicated.
2. Continue to serve alcohol to a person to the point where the owner, bartender, or waitstaff knew or should have reasonably known that the person would become intoxicated if they did not stop serving the patron.

Establishments licensed to serve liquor are legally required to exercise reasonable care to detect signs of actual or suspected intoxication in their patrons. If their employees identify someone who’s had too much to drink, they cannot serve them any more alcohol: [Iowa Code § 123.92].

This legislation is known as a Dramshop Law, which many states have adopted. Virtually all establishments are also required by law to have dramshop liability insurance to pay damages to injured victims of their intoxicated patrons.

Purpose and Scope of Iowa's Dramshop Statute

The Iowa Supreme Court has stated that the Dramshop Statute aims to prevent bars and restaurants from selling "excess liquor" to their patrons. In several cases, the Court has ruled that the dramshop law does not require the plaintiff to prove that the intoxicated person who injured them consumed the alcohol. The statute's language specifies that alcoholic beverages "sold and served for consumption on the seller's premises only" apply. Therefore, retail companies such as grocery stores and other liquor licensees that sell packaged liquor are not subject to the law because they are not licensed to serve alcohol on their premises.

Civil Damages in Dramshop Cases

In dramshop cases, all civil damages are available, including:

- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Damaged property
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death

Eligibility to Sue Under Iowa's Dramshop Law

Only those injured by an intoxicated patron (referred to as the “second party”) can sue the bar or restaurant establishment. The intoxicated person themselves (the "first party") may not sue under the dramshop law.

Exemptions from Iowa's Dramshop Law

The law applies only to vendors licensed to sell alcohol in restaurants and bars. It does not apply to "social hosts" who serve alcohol at private parties or other functions: [Iowa Code § 123.49].

Common Defenses Drivers Have to Bicyclists' Accident Claims

The cost of pedestrian and cyclist injuries in accidents involving motor vehicles totals approximately $55 billion in lifetime expenses for victims, according to the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. Bicyclists often sustain severe, if not fatal, injuries in bicycle traffic accidents, so the damages listed on the accident claim or lawsuit are often extensive.

After an injured cyclist (or their family member) files a claim or suit against the driver involved (the defendant), the driver’s insurer or attorney will likely refute some or all of the liability for the accident, using one of various defenses. It’s important for victims to enlist the help of a skilled accident attorney to help prove their case and dismantle any baseless defenses.

Common Defenses Drivers Use in a Bike Accident Claim

Helmet Use

If the driver can prove that the cyclist is at least partly at fault for their injuries due to not wearing a helmet, the driver's liability may be reduced.

Not Obeying Traffic Rules

The driver may claim that the cyclist was at fault because they were not following traffic rules, such as speeding, not stopping when appropriate, or riding against traffic.


The driver may argue that the cyclist’s distraction, such as wearing headphones, talking on the phone, or daydreaming, caused the accident.

Lack of Visibility

Drivers often claim that they couldn’t see the cyclist due to a lack of rear lights on the bike or the cyclist wearing dark clothes at night.

What is a Degree of Accident Fault in a Personal Injury Claim?

Understanding Accident Fault

The degree of accident fault in a personal injury claim is an individual’s percentage of responsibility for an accident and the resulting losses or damages. If the injured person is partially at fault, their compensation may be reduced accordingly. Iowa lawyers can help accident victims prove the other party’s liability to pursue fair compensation.

Impact of Negligence Laws on Fault

Negligence laws vary by state. In Iowa, they are based on modified comparative fault. Under this standard, a jury or judge assigns a percentage of fault to each party involved in the accident, ranging from no fault to 100 percent at fault.

Partial Responsibility

If an injured person is partially responsible for a crash, they may face two outcomes:
1. They may be prevented from recovering any damages if their degree of fault is more than half (51 percent or higher).
2. Their damages may be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned if their degree of fault is 50 percent or less.

Proving Fault in a Personal Injury Claim

Establishing the other party’s responsibility for a crash requires solid evidence. Useful evidence includes:

- The accident report
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Eyewitness statements
- Observations from a responding police officer

We Are Here To Help

Remember, you are not alone in recovering from your injuries. We have helped thousands of Iowans through their physical, emotional, and financial recoveries. If you have questions about what you are going through, feel free to call our office for your confidential injury conference. We will take the time to listen to you and give you our advice concerning your injury matter at no cost or risk to you.

Free Book at No Cost 

If you are not ready to speak with an attorney yet but would like to learn more about Iowa injury cases including tips about how you can avoid making common costly mistakes request a copy of our Iowa Personal Injury book which includes 14 myths about Iowa injury cases and 5 things to know before hiring an attorney.

If you have specific questions about your injury matter feel free to call our office to speak with our Injury team at 641-792-3595 or use our Chat feature by clicking here 24 hours a day/7 days per week. Your information will remain confidential and there is no cost or obligation.