Figuring out if a lawsuit is the right option for you can be pretty tough since there are so many different facets of the law to consider. To help you out, here is an overview of a key legal concept (comparative negligence) and how it specifically applies to dog bite lawsuits in the state of Iowa:
What is comparative negligence?
In dog bites and other personal injuries, one of the most critical considerations is the concept of comparative negligence. Different states treat comparative negligence in different ways, but the core concept is that the plaintiff should be punished in some way if they were partially or wholly responsible for their injuries. Some states take an extremely harsh stance on this and say that if were to blame in any way, shape, or form, then you cannot be awarded any money at all. At the other end of the spectrum, more lenient states say that you can recover some money even if you were 99% responsible.
How is comparative negligence implemented in Iowa?
Iowa is somewhere in the middle, allowing you to recover some money if you were half or less at fault, but if you were more than half (51% or greater), then you cannot be awarded any money at all. If your level of fault was between 0% and 51%, then your damages will be reduced proportionally. For example, if the court looks at the evidence and finds that you were 25% responsible for your injuries and the court was initially going to award you $1000 in damages, then you would only end up getting $750, which is a loss of 25% for you.
What does this mean for your case?
As far as your case is concerned, this means that you really need to be aware of how your potential winnings could be influenced by the evidence. It's less of a question of how much you were at fault and more of a question of how much evidence the defense has that can prove that you were at fault. Their testimony will of course be used in the proceedings, but if that is the only proof that they have of your wrongdoing, then it's probably not going to decide the case on its own.
On the other hand, if they do have evidence (such as videos or impartial witness accounts) of you acting in a way that could have foreseeably led to you getting bitten, then you should really think about your chances of winning your lawsuit. If they can prove that you bore even 1% more than half of the responsibility, then you won't get any money at all and it might be better idea to not file a lawsuit at all. Contact a company like Prediletto, Halpin, Scharnikow & Nelson, P.S. for more information.