When you lose a loved one, you need time to grieve. Your thoughts are on your loss, not on lawsuits. However, your time to file a lawsuit is not unlimited. Accordingly, you need to begin thinking about the pros and cons of filing a wrongful death lawsuit so that you can take action before the statute of limitations expires.
In Most Cases You Have Two Years to File a Claim
An Iowa wrongful death claim may be filed after any death that is caused by the negligence or wrongful act of an individual, business, or government agency.
However, Iowa law does not give grieving families an unlimited amount of time to consider whether or not they want to file a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations in Iowa requires that a wrongful death claim be filed within two years of the death. A case does not officially begin until a complaint is filed with the court.
The statute of limitations will not be extended if a criminal case is pending against the potential defendants for your loved one’s death, it will not be extended if you didn’t know about the statute of limitations, and it will not be extended if you have been trying to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company.
What Happens If You Miss the Deadline?
If you miss the statute of limitations deadline for one of the reasons described above—or for most other reasons—then the defendants will file a motion with the court to dismiss your complaint when you do file it, and the court will grant that motion. Your case will be dismissed without any recovery of damages and without the opportunity to seek damages in the future.
Since it takes a significant amount of time to prepare a wrongful death case, the sooner you call a wrongful death lawyer, the better. Do not wait until the statute of limitations is about to expire. Instead, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about how a wrongful death case works in Iowa.