Iowa Personal Injury Verdicts and Settlements

Below are example settlement amounts and jury payouts in Iowa medical malpractice and other personal injury cases.

Iowa Personal Injury Verdicts and Settlements

  • 2023, Iowa: $19,180,000 Verdict: A construction worker in Polk City, Iowa, was severely injured when a trench collapsed at a work site. Despite expressing safety concerns to his supervisor, he was instructed to work in the precarious trench, which caved in and trapped him, resulting in extensive physical injuries and psychological trauma, including PTSD. An Iowa jury awarded him over $19 million, with $3 million for compensatory damages and $16.18 million in punitive damages. He does not get to keep all of the punitive damages. Under Iowa’s Civil Reparations Trust Fund, the plaintiff keeps only 25% of a punitive damages award.
  • 2022, Iowa: $97,400,000 Verdict. A newborn boy was born via vacuum extraction. He suffered hypoxia and a skull fracture. The boy sustained permanent brain damage. He required lifelong round-the-clock care. The boy’s parents alleged negligence against the obstetrician. They claimed she improperly used forceps and a vacuum extractor, applied excessive force, and failed to consider performing a C-section. The Johnson County jury awarded $97,400,000, the largest malpractice verdict in Iowa history.
  • 2021, Iowa: $217,385 Verdict. A tenant fell as she walked down collapsing stairs. She suffered right peroneal tendinosis. The woman underwent ankle surgery. She alleged negligence against the property owner. She claimed it failed to repair and maintain the steps. The jury awarded $217,385.
  • 2021, Iowa: $22,368 Verdict. A family of four was T-boned. The husband suffered the exacerbation of his pre-existing lumbar injury. His wife and two children suffered unspecified injuries. The family alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. They claimed he ran a stop sign and failed to maintain an appropriate lookout. The jury awarded $22,368.
  • 2021, Iowa: $81,670 Verdict. A motorcyclist was T-boned. He suffered personal injuries. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed she failed to maintain an appropriate lookout and ran a red light. The man also made a UIM claim against State Farm. He received an $81,670 verdict.
  • 2021, Iowa: $2,000,000 Verdict. A 68-year-old walked outside the office building she worked at, which was undergoing renovations. She fell through a crawl space door. The woman fractured her hip, right rib, and ankle. She also sustained left knee adhesions. The woman alleged that the contractor’s negligence caused her permanent injuries. She received $2,000,000.
  • 2021, Iowa: $650,000 Verdict. A Department of Transportation employee was struck as he stood next to his truck. He suffered severe injuries. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed she failed to maintain an appropriate lookout and ran a stop sign. The man received a $650,000 verdict.
  • 2021, Iowa: $65,000 Verdict. A woman was T-boned. She suffered severe injuries, including a concussion. The woman developed post-concussion syndrome and chronic headaches. She alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The woman claimed she failed to yield at an intersection and maintain an appropriate lookout. She received $65,000.
  • 2020, Iowa; $114,225 Verdict. A woman was bit and attacked by a Chow Chow. She suffered left leg, ankle, and forearm lacerations. The woman also injured her hip and back. She alleged negligence against the dog’s owners. The woman claimed they failed to restrain their dog. She received a $114,225 award.
  • 2020, Iowa: $1,290,000 Verdict. A 50-year-old railroad trackman performed maintenance and repairs on a train that derailed. He was forced to jump from it. The man suffered right tarsal tunnel syndrome and the exacerbation of a pre-existing lumbar injury. He alleged negligence against his employer. The man claimed it failed to maintain safe working conditions and assigned him unsafe work. He received $1,290,000.

Iowa Malpractice Law

Below are key points of Iowa medical malpractice law:

Expert Testimony Generally Required

To establish a prima facie case for a medical malpractice lawsuit in Iowa,  plaintiffs must show evidence that establishes the applicable standard of care, demonstrate this standard has been violated, and develop a causal relationship between the violation and the alleged harm.

The only exceptions are malpractice lawsuits where a breach of the standard of care would be obvious to laypersons or the doctor admits the breach.  But you will likely still need an expert (or a treating doctor according to this 2022 case) to prove a causal connection between the harm suffered and the negligence.

Iowa Code Section 668.11 sets for the rules for the disclosure of expert witnesses in Iowa malpractice lawsuits:

A party in a professional liability case brought against a licensed professional pursuant to this chapter who intends to call an expert witness of their own selection, shall certify to the court and all other parties the expert’s name, qualifications and the purpose for calling the expert ….

Certificate of Merit Required in Iowa in 2024

Iowa Code Section 147.140 requires as of 2017 medical malpractice plaintiffs to file a certificate of merit in a medical negligence lawsuit in Iowa against a hospital or a medical professional.

Iowa Code section 147.140(1)(b) mandates that in a medical malpractice action, the plaintiff must serve upon the defendant a certificate of merit affidavit signed by an expert witness, under oath, within sixty days of the defendant’s answer.

This law mandates that one must hold an active medical license to practice. It is clear that neither law allows for the plaintiffs’ attorney to sign in place of the expert witness. The argument that an initial disclosure, signed by their medical malrpracice attorney, sufficiently adhered to the statutory requirements has been summarily rejected.

Iowa Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

Iowa has a statute of limitations and a statute of repose for medical malpractice lawsuits.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is two years for both injury and wrongful death.

The Iowa legislature “intended the medical malpractice statute of limitations to commence upon actual or imputed knowledge of both the injury and its cause in fact.” (The “twin-faceted triggering event must at least be identified by sufficient facts to put a reasonably diligent plaintiff on notice to investigate.”)

Statute of Repose

The statute of repose for a medical malpractice case is six years.  So there is no “twin-faceted triggering event” discovery rule exceptions for the statute of response. But fraudulent concealment is an exception to the statute of repose and whether there was fraudulent concealment and is typically a jury question.

Iowa Malpractice Cap on Damages

In 2023,  Iowa imposed caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. Specifically, the cap is $2 million for cases involving hospital liability and $1 million for those involving individual doctors. These limits apply only to non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, and do not affect economic or punitive damages.

This measure aims to create a more predictable insurance landscape, attract and retain physicians, and preserve healthcare access, particularly in rural areas. The introduction of the caps brings Iowa in line with several of its neighboring states that already have similar restrictions.

Iowa Informed Consent Law

Iowa’s informed-consent law asks whether a reasonable person in the plaintiff’s position would conclude that the information that was not provided was material to the plaintiff’s choice of whether to undergo the proposed treatment.  So the standard if it would have been material to the decision of an objectively reasonable patient, not necessarily to the patient at issue in the case.  There is no requirement that the doctor committed medical malpractice in the care of the patient with informed consent.

The damages for breach of informed consent would be comparing two parallel universes –  the condition a plaintiff would have been if she been properly informed and not consented to the risk and the plaintiff’s impaired condition as a result of the risk’s occurrence.

Contact Us About Your Iowa Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

If you suspect medical malpractice in Iowa, reach out to our dedicated legal team for a complimentary case evaluation. We collaborate with a range of reputable medical malpractice firms within Iowa to advocate for your case and pursue the full compensation you deserve. Contact us at 800-553-8082 or submit an inquiry through our website.

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