Iowa Car Accident Settlement and Lawsuits

Iowa has laws on the books that place limitations on the time within which you may file a lawsuit.

After any car accident in Iowa, it’s good to have an understanding of the different state laws that could affect any insurance settlement or lawsuit. This page serves as a guide to the Iowa-specific resources on, including car accident laws and car insurance rules in the state. We’ll also provide tips in when it may make sense to contact an Iowa lawyer for help with your car accident claim.

Iowa Car Accident Laws

After a car accident in Iowa, if you decide to file a liability claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver, there are a few state laws you should know about, starting with the time limit for getting a lawsuit started in Iowa’s civil court system. This type of law is called a statute of limitations, and every state has one.

In Iowa, you have:

  • two years  after a car accident to file a  personal injury  lawsuit (this law is codified at Iowa Code Ann. § 614.1).
  • five years  after a car accident to file a lawsuit for  property damage (also at Iowa Code Ann. § 614.1).

If you don’t get your complaint filed before the statutory deadline passes, it’s safe to assume that the court will refuse to hear your case altogether. That’s why it’s so critical to follow the statute of limitations as it applies to your case, and pay attention to the deadline even if your case looks like it’s going to settle. You always want to have the option of filing a lawsuit; it’s a good bargaining chip to have during settlement talks.

Get details on other Iowa laws that could impact your car accident settlement or lawsuit in our article Car Accident Laws in Iowa.

Iowa Car Insurance Requirements and Rules

If you’re filing a lawsuit or seeking a settlement for injury or vehicle damage after a car accident in Iowa, car insurance coverage is sure to play a big role. Here is a snapshot of some key Iowa laws on car insurance:

  • Under Iowa law, drivers are required to show financial responsibility if they have been involved in a car accident. Drivers can do this in a number of ways -- including by obtaining proof of non-liability, and by making a installment payment agreement with the other parties, if you are at fault -- so car insurance isn’t technically required in the state.
  • For drivers who do carry car insurance, the minimum coverage amounts are: $25,000 for the injury or death of one person (yourself, a passenger, another driver, pedestrian, etc.), $40,000 for the total damages caused by a single accident, and $15,000 for property damage.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage isn’t a requirement in Iowa.

For the details on car insurance in Iowa, check out our companion article Iowa Car Insurance Rules.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Iowa

You don’t need a lawyer for every car accident claim scenario. For example, if the other driver’s insurance carrier isn’t disputing that its insured was at fault, and you didn’t suffer significant injuries in the crash, it’s probably fine to handle that kind of settlement yourself.

But if the other driver’s insurer is saying that you caused the accident, or if you suffered significant injuries, things can get complicated (not to mention contentious) very quickly, and it may be time to discuss your situation with a local car accident lawyer in Iowa. Remember that most car accident lawyers represent their clients on a contingency basis, meaning that you don’t pay unless you receive a successful settlement or court award.

A good attorney knows how to handle the back-and-forth of settlement negotiations with car insurance adjusters, and will make sure your rights are protected at every stage in the claim process, including filing a car accident lawsuit in the Iowa civil court system if that is the right strategy.

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