Iowa Medical Malpractice: Laws, Claims and Damages
UPDATED: March 7, 2012
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IOWA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
An Iowa medical malpractice, or “med mal,” action is one brought against a health care professional who has injured a patient negligently. An Iowa health care provider has acted negligently when they administer a substandard level of care – that is, below the customary standard for their industry. If this negligence results in injury to a patient, the patient can recover losses incurred by the negligent act or omission. There are many situations in which an Iowa health care professional is considered to have provided substandard medical care resulting in an injury, including:
- Errors in diagnosis, such as misdiagnosis (most commonly misdiagnoses of heart attacks and cancer) or a failure to diagnose;
- Errors in prescribing medicine;
- Birth injuries;
- Unreasonable or improper treatment.
If you have been injured by a health care professional and believe that it was because of the health care professional’s negligence, you should contact an Iowa medical malpractice attorney immediately.
Who Can Be Sued in an Iowa Medical Malpractice Case?
Iowa law provides that any health care or medical care professional can be held liable for medical negligence. A health care or medical care professional can include either an individual or an entity, as long as they are licensed to perform or provide medical services on patients. This includes hospitals, hospice centers, doctors, dentists, medical technicians, certified social workers, and any other individual licensed to perform or provide the requisite procedures. If you’re not sure whether the individual or entity that injured you falls under the definition of a health care or medical care professional, an attorney can help you make that determination.
Iowa Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice suit in Iowa is generally two years after the injury occurs. If the injury is not discovered immediately, the statute of limitations may be extended to two years from the time that the injury was discovered, but may never exceed six years after the act that caused the injury.
The statute of limitations may also be extended if a minor under eight years of age is injured by the medical negligence of a health care professional. In this case, the minor has either two years to file a claim, or until their tenth birthday, whichever is later.
Since the statute of limitations is very case-dependent, an injured plaintiff should be sure to contact an Iowa medical malpractice attorney right away to ensure that they are not barred from filing suit.
Caps on Iowa Medical Malpractice Claims
In a medical malpractice suit, the plaintiff may collect for their losses caused by the injury, including noneconomic and punitive damages. Noneconomic damages are damages for non-monetary losses such as disfigurement, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages are used to punish a defendant for malicious behavior. While some states limit the recoverable amount of these types of damages, Iowa does not.
Filing an Iowa Medical Malpractice Claim
If you believe you are the victim of medical negligence in Iowa, it is crucial that you contact a medical malpractice attorney to assist you in filing a claim. Medical malpractice suits can become extremely complex, and are best left to someone with expertise in this area of law. Most health care professionals will have a team of experienced defense attorneys hired to protect them in these types of cases, so having one on your side helps even the playing field.
Furthermore, in order to recover in a medical malpractice case, you must accumulate the proper evidence by hiring expert witnesses and taking depositions, a costly and time-consuming process. There may also be other defendants who should be added to your claim in addition to the negligent health care professional. Therefore, it’s best to allow an Iowa medical malpractice attorney to assist you in this process so that you a chance at the highest possible recovery for your injuries.
Iowa Medical Malpractice Laws
- Iowa Code: Definitions; License required: Chp. 147 § 1-2.
- Iowa Code: Limitations of Actions; Period: Chp. 614 § 1.