When someone gets hurt as the result of someone else’s negligence, it’s generally a requirement to litigate his or her claim to the extent that it exceeds the Iowa District Court small-claims limit of $5,000.00. This is typically an extensive, time-consuming process that can take up to a year and a half. It can also involve considerable expenses, those of which are most commonly associated with compensating the injured person’s doctor to testify about his or her injuries at trial.

As of January 1, 2015, the Iowa Supreme Court developed new, relaxed procedural requirements for injured persons with modest claims. This process is known as the “fast track” civil litigation process, and it involves various trade-offs that can, in certain circumstances, work to the injured person’s benefit. Among other things, the pre-trial process is abbreviated, with each side limited to 10 written questions, 10 document requests, and 3 depositions. The trial process is likewise simplified. Trial must take place within one year and is limited in time to two days. Additionally, the injured person’s treating physician is permitted to “testify” at trial by way of a written statement, which reduces litigation expenses significantly. In exchange, the damages the injured person is allowed to recover are limited to $75,000.00.

Written by: Brian O. Marty