Wrongful Death in Des Moines, Iowa
When someone dies in a way that could have been prevented, the grief is often magnified for family and friends. But if another person or organization such as a business was responsible for the death due to negligent, reckless, or intentional action, a wrongful death may have occurred.
Iowa law allows the estate or family members of a deceased person to file a wrongful death claim against those responsible to seek damages as compensation for the losses inflicted because of a death.
Accidents, defective equipment or product failure, medical malpractice, abuse, and criminal behavior resulting in death are among the many causes of Iowa wrongful death claims.
Des Moines, Iowa Wrongful Death Lawyer
If a family member or loved one died due to the negligence of another person or business in Des Moines, IA, you should contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. We represent family members of wrongful death victims throughout Polk County, Iowa and the surrounding areas of Central Iowa, including Dallas County.
You may be able to recover substantial damages from the negligent person or company responsible for the death of your loved one. Damages may be awarded for measurable economic costs such as medical expenses, funeral expenses, and lost wages, as well as intangible, non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship.
The compassionate, experienced personal injury attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. help you cope with the tragedy of a wrongful death by ensuring that both you and your departed loved one receive justice. We aggressively negotiate to seek full compensation for the loss of your loved one and we are prepared to go to court to seek justice for you, if necessary.
Contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. at (515) 279-9700 today to schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers. We will explain the steps to take if a wrongful death is suspected and we will help you continue the healing process while seeking justice for you and your loved one.
Iowa Wrongful Death Information Center
- What is wrongful death in Iowa?
- What types of incidents occur that sometimes result in wrongful death?
- How are damages determined in wrongful death cases and who may benefit?
- Where can I learn more about wrongful death in Iowa?
If someone dies in Iowa because of the negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct of another person or business, a claim of wrongful death may be brought by either a family member or the estate of the deceased person within two years of the death. Wrongful death claims are civil, not criminal, and are a part of tort law.
A "tort" is an action resulting in "wrongful death or injury to person or injury to property or injury to personal or property rights and includes but is not restricted to actions based upon negligence; error or omission; nuisance; breach of duty, whether statutory or other duty or denial or impairment of any right under any constitutional provision, statute or rule of law." (Iowa Code Ann. Title XV, Subtitle 5, Chapter 670.1(4).)
Iowa tort law is intended to provide a method of compensation for people who suffer losses due to the fault of another person or business.
When a death occurs due to the alleged fault of another, both criminal and civil charges may be brought against a defendant, although the outcomes may be far different. (For example, the infamous trials of O.J. Simpson in California in the 1990s rendered two starkly contrasting verdicts: an acquittal on double homicide charges in the criminal trial and a wrongful death conviction in the civil trial with a $33.5 million dollar award for damages.)
Iowa lacks a comprehensive law that addresses wrongful death, but in statutes passed by the Iowa Legislature and Iowa court decisions over many years, the state has established a legal doctrine for wrongful death claims.
The potential causes of wrongful death are almost infinite, but commonly involve torts resulting from actions caused by negligence or the reckless or intentional conduct inflicted on someone by another person or business. Examples of death resulting in wrongful death claims include:
- Agricultural Accidents
- Animal Attacks and Dog Bites
- Auto Accidents
- Aviation Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Boating Accidents
- Commercial Truck Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Criminal Acts
- Defective Equipment
- "Dram Shop" Claims Against Bars, Taverns, or Restaurants that Serve Alcohol to Intoxicated People
- DUI (Driving Under the Influence) Accidents
- Excessive Force by Law Enforcement Officers
- Failures of Medical Devices
- Fires and Explosions
- Food Poisoning
- Hotel and Motel Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Negligence by Authorities
- Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
- OWI (Operating While Impaired) Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Premises Liability (Dangerous or Unsafe Premises, Buildings, or Land)
- Product Failures and Product Liability
- Slip-and-Fall Accidents
- Swimming Pool and Spa Accidents
- Toxic Chemicals or Substances
- Train Accidents
- Violent Acts
- Workplace Accidents
A personal injury attorney experienced in wrongful death cases will be able to offer sound guidance and insightful and compassionate assistance that will guide you through the legal process of obtaining justice and full compensation for your departed family member or loved one.
Wrongful death lawsuits in Iowa may include separate, but related, claims.
Certain family members, specifically the spouse, children, or parents of a deceased person, may seek compensation for the loss of their relationship with the deceased. Claims may also be brought for expenses incurred prior to or after the death. Compensation may be awarded for:
- Medical Costs
- Nursing Costs
- Funeral Costs
- Loss of Companionship
- Loss of Consortium
- Loss of Future Earnings
- Loss of Inheritance
- Loss of Support
- Pain and Suffering
- Punitive Damages
(In addition to a wrongful death claim, the executor of a deceased person's estate may make a claim for losses to the estate due to the death in the form of a "survival claim," also known as a "survival action").
Iowa law grants courts plenty of latitude in determining damages in wrongful death cases. According to Iowa law: "When a wrongful act produces death, damages recovered as a result of the wrongful act shall be disposed of as personal property belonging to the estate of the deceased."
"However, if the damages include (the) loss of services and support of a deceased spouse, parent, or child, the damages shall be apportioned by the court among the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the decedent in a manner as the court may deem equitable consistent with the loss of services and support sustained by the surviving spouse, children, and parents respectively.
"Any recovery by a parent for the death of a child shall be subordinate to the recovery, if any, of the spouse or a child of the decedent. If the decedent leaves a spouse, child, or parent, damages for wrongful death shall not be subject to debts and charges of the decedent's estate, except for amounts to be paid to the department of human services for payments made for medical assistance … paid on behalf of the decedent from the time of the injury which gives rise to the decedent's death up until the date of the decedent's death."
See Iowa Code Ann. Title XV, Subtitle 4, Chapter 633.336 — Iowa Probate Code.
Iowa Code Ann. Title XV, Subtitle 4, Chapter 633.336 — Iowa Probate Code — Read the section of the Iowa Probate Code that enumerates the state law related to wrongful death.
Amanda the Panda — A non-profit grief support group, founded in 1980 and based in West Des Moines, Iowa, Amanda the Panda provides hope and healing to grieving children and families throughout the state of Iowa, including those who lost of a family member or loved one due to a wrongful death.
Find a Wrongful Death Attorney in Des Moines, Iowa
If your family member or loved one died because of the negligence of another person or business in Des Moines, IA, you should seek professional legal advice from the experienced personal injury attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Our attorneys represent the family members of wrongful death victims in Des Moines and throughout Polk County, Iowa, as well as the surrounding areas of Central Iowa, including Dallas County.
The lawyers at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. will aggressively seek just compensation for the death of your family member or loved one and help you recover damages for the loss.
We are adept at negotiation with insurance companies, but we are also prepared to go to trial if necessary to obtain justice for you. Call us today at (515) 279-9700 to schedule a consultation so we can explain your options and help you begin devising a strategy to overcome your loss.