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No Tickets Were Issued. Do I have a Claim?


     In Iowa, a claim for liability is based on fault.  Generally, this means that if a party was negligent in causing an accident or other mishap to occur, that party can be held liable.

     A traffic ticket may have some bearing on whether a party was negligent, but it is not conclusive.  Furthermore, the fact that a party was issued a ticket may not be admissible as evidence in a civil case.  If the party receiving the ticket later pleads guilty to the offense, it is possible that such a plea could be offered as an admission. A ticket standing alone, however, does not establish liability.

     It is possible that more than one person can be at fault for an injury.  Iowa courts have adopted the principle of “comparative fault.”  Under this doctrine, the amount of damage a claimant receives is reduced by his or her percentage of fault.  If the claimant’s fault is more than 50%, the claimant receives nothing.

     The fault of each party must be proved by a preponderance of the evidence.  Ultimately, it is evidence and testimony (as opposed to a traffic ticket) which determines liability. 


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