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Iowa Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

Far too many of us have been injured in car accident. Or maybe we’ve been the victim of fraud or malpractice. In any case, we’ve wondered if we have a legal case to get compensated for our injuries. And if you’ve wondered that, you might have also wondered if there is a deadline for filing your case in court. As a matter of fact, there is, and if you don’t file your case in time, you may be out of luck. This is an introduction to civil statutes of limitation in Iowa.

Civil Statutes of Limitation

States create civil statutes of limitations in order to set a final deadline for filing lawsuits and other civil actions. Depending on the type of case, the limitations laws in the Hawkeye State can vary from two to twenty years. The statutory"clock" on civil claims, like for physical injury or financial fraud, starts ticking on the date of the incident or, in some cases, the discovery of the harm.

Statutes of Limitation in Iowa

The chart below lists the details of Iowa's civil statutes of limitations.


Code Section

Iowa Code 614, et seq.: Limitation of Actions

Injury to Person

2 yrs. §614.1(2)


2 yrs. §614.1(2)


5 yrs. §614.1(4)

Injury to Personal Property

5 yrs. §614.1(4)

Professional Malpractice

Medical: 2 yrs. from reasonable discovery; max. of 6 from act §614.1(9)


5 yrs. §614.1(4)

Collection of Rents

If rent is prescribed in written contract then 10 years


Written: 10 yrs. §614.1(5); Oral: 5 yrs. §614.1(4)

Collection of Debt on Account

If rent is prescribed in written contract then 10 years


20 yrs.: judgment of court of record §614.1; (6); 10 yrs.: judgment of court not of record §614.1(5)

Civil statutes of limitations are intended to create fairness and general predictability when it comes to filing lawsuits. They are an attempt to balance the interest in giving the injured party ample time to file a legal claim with the competing interest in a potential defendant not having an unfinished legal matter hanging over his or her head indefinitely. Statutes of limitation are the legal system's way of creating a definitive timeline for legal conflicts so the parties involved can plan accordingly.

Iowa Civil Statute of Limitations Laws: Related Resources

As noted above, even if you have a good case, the court may never hear it if it is filed past the statute of limitations deadline. You can find additional articles and resources in FindLaw's section on Statutes of Limitation. You can also consult with an Iowa personal injury attorney if you would like legal advice regarding a possible lawsuit or statute of limitations issue.

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