Iowa drivers have a duty of care to not harm others on the roads

Cedar Rapids, IA – When accidents result in legal action, the victim is actually filing a negligence case against the defendant person or business in most cases. In order to prevail in the lawsuit, the plaintiff needs to establish all four elements of the cause of action for negligence. The first of these elements is a relevant duty of care. All drivers in Iowa must exercise reasonable care to avoid collisions and harming people on or around the roads. When this duty of care is violated, the court can proceed with the rest of the analysis for the remaining elements. 

Considering the relevant duty of care

All negligence actions begin by definitely establishing the first element. This consists of the court asking if the defendant had a duty of care that was meant to keep the plaintiff safe. Whenever driving is involved, all people operating motor vehicles have a duty to follow traffic laws and exercise reasonable care to avoid accidents. This duty exists even when the individuals involved have auto insurance policies that can potentially cover damages. 

Actions like speeding, improper lane changes, going through stop signs, or not using turn signals can all be used as evidence that this duty of care was breached. If a police officer issues a citation for one of these violations, that will make the plaintiff’s case for a breach of the duty of care even stronger.  

Iowa courts have analyzed various situations involving the potential for a duty of care by looking at both the relationship between the two parties and the public policy issues relevant to their relationship. This test was established by the case of Madden v. City of Iowa City from the Iowa Supreme Court. These public policy considerations have been used in practice to limit liability in cases where injuries are too remote or they do not seem to be foreseeable. Without such limitations, various entities that have had minimal contact with the plaintiff could possibly be sued. 

Concluding the lawsuit

As a practical matter, in situations where there was a clear traffic violation or lapse in judgement by the defendant, the parties may choose to settle the case rather than endure the risks associated with trial. The victim will usually receive an amount that is sufficient to cover most of their losses and medical treatment through a settlement agreement, and their legal fees will be smaller than if a trial and more litigation had occurred. 

Learning more about accident lawsuits from an attorney in Cedar Rapids

There are firms in the state of Iowa who focus their practice on bringing cases on behalf of injured victims. Eells and Tronvold is an experienced accident firm that provides exceptional results and representation. 

Firm contact info:

Eells and Tronvold Law Offices

1921 51st Street NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-2400