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Iowa Negligence Laws

We know that we can't prevent all accidents. The same goes for the unfortunate injuries that can result from them. But what about if the accident is genuinely someone else's fault? If you're injured in an accident, how do you figure out who is at fault, and can you get some restitution from the responsible party? These cases are referred to as negligence claims and are the legal system's way of determining fault in injury-causing accidents and how much, if anything, they should pay to the injured party. This is an introduction to negligence laws in Iowa.

General Negligence Law

The first steps of a negligence case are figuring out if one person owed a duty of care to another and whether he or she failed in fulfilling that duty. If that person breached a duty of care, he or she may be financially liable for any injuries that result. The final steps are demonstrating that the person's failure was the direct cause of the injuries, and determining the extent of the harm and the amount of damages.

Negligence Laws in Iowa

States can craft their negligence laws in different ways, so the law applying to your case may vary depending on your jurisdiction and the specifics of your situation. For example, under Iowa law, your possible recovery may be diminished according to your level of fault in the accident, if any. If your fault is deemed greater than the defendant's, you may not be able to recover any damages at all. The chart below lists the details of Iowa's negligence statutes.


Code Section

Iowa Code 668, et seq.: Liability in Tort

Comparative Negligence


Contributory Negligence-Limit to Plaintiff's Recovery

Contributory fault does not bar recovery unless claimant's fault is greater than defendant's, but any damages diminished in proportion to attributable fault.

Contribution Among Tortfeasors

Yes, §668.5

Uniform Act


Negligence Cases

There are several elements of a negligence case that a plaintiff must prove for any negligence claim to be successful:

  • Duty: the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
  • Breach of Duty: the defendant failed to meet that duty;
  • Cause in Fact: but for the defendant’s failure, the plaintiff would not have been injured;
  • Proximate Cause: the defendant’s failure (and not something else) caused the plaintiff’s injury; and
  • Damages: the plaintiff has actually been injured and suffered some loss.

Iowa Negligence Laws: Related Resources

Negligence law can be complex, and different states treat negligence claims differently. You can find additional articles and resources in FindLaw's section on Negligence. You can also consult with an Iowa personal injury attorney if you would like legal advice regarding a personal injury or negligence issue.

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