Iowa's slip and fall law allows victims to pursue compensation from the at-fault party. The slip and fall law is a type of personal injury case called premises liability. The law of premises liability requires property owners to take reasonable care of their property and warn visitors of dangers. In most cases, the law only protects people who are invited or lawfully present on someone else's property. That said, property owners may have to post warnings for certain dangers.
Factors that determine if the victim can recover include why the victim was on the property, what he or she was doing on the property, and the circumstances leading to the accident. Also at play is if the victim promptly sought medical attention and followed the advice of his or her doctor. The victim also needs to timely file a claim or a lawsuit to protect his or her chances of recovering.
A slip and fall lawyer can evaluate your claim and let you know if the slip and fall law covers your situation. He or she can also help you understand the strict deadline – called statute of limitations – in place for filing lawsuits against at-fault parties.
Iowa's Slip and Fall Law
So, what is Iowa's slip and fall law? Here are important features of Iowa's slip and fall law that victims should know about. Keep in mind that this only covers general information. A premises' liability lawyer can help you understand details about the law not covered in this post. Most importantly, a slip and fall accident lawyer
can give you targeted advice for your specific situation.
If the slip and fall injury occurred at work, you can talk to an experienced workers' compensation attorney to understand your rights.
Proving Fault: Iowa's Negligence Rules
Iowa's negligence rule has four basic elements: duty, breach, causation, and injury (or damages). Let's go over each of those in turn and how they apply to premises' liability cases. Keep in mind that, i
n most cases, you need to bring your claim
within two years after the action accrues.
Duty of Care
To recover for a slip and fall injury, you need to prove that the at-fault property (in this case, the property owner) owed you a duty of care. Property owners have a duty of care to people on their property to perform reasonable upkeep on the property and to guard and warn others of known dangerous conditions on the property. A condition is “known” if the property owner knew about it or, through the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about it.
To show that the property owner owed you a duty of care, you must show that you were lawfully present on the property. Property owners owe duties to those who are invited onto the property. People are invited onto someone's property if they are guests, patrons, or, for example, mail delivery persons.
In most situations, the law offers minimal protections to trespassers. That said, there are exceptions to most rules. Even if you think that you might be considered a trespasser, contact a slip and fall lawyer to understand and protect your legal rights.
Breach of Duty of Care
You then need to show that the property owner failed to meet his or her duty of care. You might accomplish this by showing that there was an obvious spill on the premises and the business owner failed to either clean up the spill or post appropriate warnings. Or that the property owner knew about another hazardous condition and failed to address it or warn people like you of it.
Causal Link Between Breach and Your Injury
Next, you must prove that the property owner's failure to meet his or her duty of care caused your slip and fall. Another way to look at it is to show that your injury was a foreseeable consequence of the breach and that, had he or she taken proper precautions, you would not be injured.
Finally, you need to show that you actually suffered damages or were injured because of the breach. For example, you can provide evidence that you broke your arm in the slip and fall and had to have surgery.