Medical Malpractice Law in Iowa

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While vastly simpler then the laws in many other states, medical malpractice law in Iowa is still governed by an occasionally confusing set of laws and precedents. The following is an introduction to basic information involved in a medical malpractice action, as well as a table that outline the main medical malpractice laws in Iowa.

 

Iowa Medical Malpractice at a Glance

Iowa State Tort Law
Statute of Limitations Two years from discovery of injury, max six years from inury.
Damage Award Limits No Damage Limits
Joint Defendant Liability Proportianal liability of defendents based on percentage of fault
Expert Witness Expert must have qualifications directly relating to type of injury
Attorney Fees Court will review plaintiffs attorney fees

Introduction to Statute of Limitations

Put simply, any suit regarding medical malpractice law in Iowa must be filed within two years of the date the claimant knew, or reasonably should have known, of the injury. However, regardless of the claimant's knowledge, no legal action can be brought after more then six years after the date of the alleged wrongful act. The maximum of six years is accepted in cases involving a foreign object in the claimant's body. A specific extension is granted to minors and the mentally ill, allowing them to bring suit up to one year from the date or majority, or removal of disability.

Pre-Suit Mediation

Medical malpractice law in Iowa does not require mediation or arbitration of a suit before it is brought to trial.

Guide to Comparative Negligence and State Liability

In cases of medical malpractice law in Iowa, a legal action is barred if negligence of the claimant exceeds the negligence of all other parties combined. A suit may be brought against the state of Iowa in cases involving state employees only is a written appeal is made to the state review board within two years of the negligent action.

Requirement for Expert Testimony

Actions for medical malpractice law in Iowa must provide proof of negligence in the form of expert testimony. The exception to this is when the negligence and pack of care is obvious enough to be understood by non-medical professionals. Additional, when the basis of the medical malpractice suit is the standard of care given the plaintiff the court shall only allow a person to qualify as an expert witness and to testify on the issue of the appropriate standard of care if the person's medical or dental qualifications relate directly to the medical problem or problems at issue and the type of treatment administered in the case. (Iowa Code Ann. § 147.139)

While a review of similar laws in other states will make obvious the relative lack of complexity of medical malpractice law in Iowa, it is still a more complex area of law then can be presented in its entirety here. It is recommended that anyone contemplating legal action seek more detailed information and advice from a legal professional.

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