Skip to Main Content


$4 Million
Birth Injury
Confidential Birth Injury settlement.
View All
$3.23 Million
Daycare Child Injury
Damages awarded for a child injured at daycare.
View All
$3 Million
Car Accident
Highway collision settlement.
View All
$2.75 Million
Confidential medical malpractice settlement.
View All
$2.6 Million
Auto Accident
Confidential Birth Injury settlement.
View All
$3.23 Million
Daycare Child Injury
Damages awarded for a child injured at daycare.
View All
$3 Million
Car Accident
Highway collision settlement.
View All
Iowa Wrongful Death Attorney

Wrongful deaths have many causes, with violent accidents like car wrecks or truck collisions being the main cause. These are terrible events, leaving many families overwhelmed with grief and struggling to move forward. No one wants to pick up the phone and be told their spouse, child, or parent was killed in an accident.

In Iowa, certain family members can receive compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. This type of legal claim aims to hold the person who negligently or intentionally killed your loved one accountable in civil court. When handled properly, a wrongful death claim can supplement a family’s finances and provide a small measure of justice. To find out more, call Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C. With offices in Iowa City and Waterloo, we serviced the entire state. When possible, one of our Iowa wrongful death attorneys will drive out to meet with you or welcome you to a consultation at one of our two locations.

Give us a call at (319) 220-0416 or submit an online contact form to request a free, no-obligation consultation.

Read What Our Clients Are Saying

What is Wrongful Death in Iowa?

Some deaths are truly accidental. For example, someone who is driving carefully in the winter could hit a patch of black ice, losing control of their vehicle. They smash into a pedestrian, causing fatal injuries. In this example, nature itself is to blame for the fatality, because the driver did everything possible behind the wheel to drive safely.

A wrongful death is one that stems from:

  • Negligence—the failure to use reasonable care.
  • Medical malpractice—the failure to follow the correct standard of care when treating patients.
  • Recklessness—taking an unnecessary risk knowingly or consciously disregarding the safety of other people.
  • Intentional conduct—intentionally harming someone.

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death claim is a type of personal injury claim typically filed by the executor for the deceased person’s estate. As the name implies, someone dies due to the wrongful conduct of another person or a business entity. The estate then files the wrongful death claim against whomever is responsible.

This is not a criminal prosecution. Instead, it is a civil action for monetary compensation. If we win, then the defendant must pay damages to certain surviving family members or to the estate, or both.

Wrongful death claims have key differences from criminal prosecutions. In a murder trial, for example, the state needs to prove the defendant guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That is hard to do. With a civil wrongful death claim, by contrast, we must show the defendant was liable for the death “by a preponderance of the evidence.” Essentially, it is more likely than not that the defendant caused the death.

Our Wrongful Death Practice

We can help anyone who lost a loved one due to:

  • Car accidents. We can seek compensation if your loved one died at the hands of a distracted, fatigued, aggressive, careless, or intoxicated driver. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, 338 people died in fatal car accidents in 2022.
  • Truck accidents. Large trucks like tractor-trailers and dump trucks can cause fatal injuries when they crash into other motor vehicles.
  • Medical malpractice. Medical treatment should make patients well, not contribute to an early death. We might sue doctors, nurses, pharmacists, hospitals, and surgeons for failing to follow the correct standard of care.
  • Premises liability accidents. Many fatal accidents are caused by a property defect which the owner should have either fixed or warn visitors about. For example, a person could suffer fatal injuries in a slip and fall, fire, or explosion. Others are fatally injured when a heavy object falls on them, like merchandise in a store.
  • Food poisoning. This is a type of premises liability claim we can bring against restaurants or fast food joints. A person can die after exposure to food-based pathogens, like salmonella or E. coli when food is not prepared safely. Other victims have an allergic reaction because the restaurant did not warn customers that their products contained nuts.
  • Negligent security. A business should take reasonable measures to protect the safety of visitors from crime. For example, an apartment building should include locks on doors and windows so tenants are not attacked. A store should have security cameras and possibly guards.
  • Violent attacks. We can also bring a claim against someone who intentionally or recklessly killed your loved one.

Wrongful Death Defendants

The defendant we sue will depend on the facts of the case. Sometimes, it’s not clear who is to blame. For example, your spouse might have died in a multicar pileup on the freeway, and we don’t immediately know which motorist is at fault. In other cases, we know the person’s identity.

We might sue the following:

  • Car accidents—the negligent driver, a careless mechanic, or the car manufacturer for a defect.
  • Truck accidents—a negligent trucker, the trucker’s employer, or the loading company.
  • Medical malpractice accidents—a doctor, nurse, surgeon or other medical professional who does not follow the correct standard of care. We might also sue a hospital or nursing home.
  • Premise liability accidents—the property owner or tenant, or whoever has control over the premises.
  • Food poisoning—the business owner who prepared and sold the food to our client.
  • Violent attacks—the person who attacked your loved one, as well as the property owner where it happened if security was inadequate.

Call our firm today. Often, we need to go above and beyond the police investigation. The more time we have, the stronger your claim.

Compensation for the Loss of a Loved One

We bring wrongful death claims to obtain financial compensation for our clients. Because this is a civil suit, a court can only give money damages if we prevail. Our clients often request compensation for a variety of losses, such as:

  • Medical bills to treat your loved one’s injury or illness.
  • Lost wages and other earnings.
  • Loss of support and services provided to spouses, children, and parents.
  • The decedent’s pain and suffering.

The amount you can receive will depend on the facts. Your loved one’s pain and suffering is subjective. However, we can reasonably calculate lost earnings based on the deceased’s level of education, job, age, and salary or wages at the time of death. A young doctor or dentist could have earned decades of income, whereas someone who dies at 64 would have likely earned less.

Deadlines for Filing a Wrongful Death Case

Iowa has adopted a statute of limitations which gives you only two years to file the wrongful death claim in most cases. If you neglect to file in time, then a judge will probably refuse to hear your case. That means you can’t hold the defendant liable for your loved one’s death.

Contact Ball, Kirk & Holm today. We can review how much time remains, if any, and get a lawsuit filed in court.

Ankeny wrongful death lawyer

Iowa Wrongful Death FAQs

As an established law firm, we receive questions weekly about wrongful death and personal injury. Below, we highlight some of the more significant, and provide brief answers.

Will the prosecutor file the lawsuit for us?

No. This is a civil lawsuit. Usually, the estate’s personal representative files the claim.

Also, some conduct can be wrongful but not criminal. As an example: a person might fail to clear ice from their driveway after a storm. Their neighbor slips on the ice and suffers a fatal head injury. The defendant’s conduct is negligent, so the decedent’s estate probably has a wrongful death claim. But the defendant’s conduct doesn’t rise to the level of being a crime. In other situations—such as a stabbing or shooting—a defendant can face both a wrongful death claim and a criminal prosecution.

Who is the estate executor?

If your loved one created a will, then he or she named someone to serve in that role. Find the will. If your loved one died without a will, then the probate court will probably appoint someone, typically a family member. Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C., handles Iowa probate matters, and we are available to meet with an executor to discuss a possible wrongful death case.

How do I know if the death was wrongful or merely an accident?

Our lawyers perform a thorough review of all evidence, such as witness statements and police reports. We might also perform a preliminary investigation to find out more. You won’t know if you have a possible legal claim unless you reach out to an attorney at our firm.

What is the average wrongful death settlement?

There are so many factors that go into deciding fair compensation, that any “average” would not be helpful. For example, the age of the deceased often matters, as well as whether they provided financial support to you. We can go into greater detail in a consultation.

Speak with an Iowa Wrongful Death Attorney

Losing family members is emotionally devastating. Few people want to think about a legal claim at this difficult time, when there is so much to do. You have our sympathy.

Nonetheless, family members shouldn’t wait too long before reaching out to an Iowa wrongful death attorney to discuss the possibility of a lawsuit. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.

Contact us today for a free consultation by filling out our contact form or calling (319) 220-0416.

"The teamwork at Ball, Kirk & Holm was very informative & in constant contact."
"Eashaan is a fighter! This law firm won`t disappoint!"
Read More Reviews
Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C.