Des Moines Wrongful Death Lawyer

The loss of a loved one is an indescribable tragedy, especially when it results from someone else's negligence. In these moments of grief and confusion, a compassionate and experienced Des Moines wrongful death lawyer from the Hope Law Firm can help you seek justice and compensation for your losses through a wrongful death claim. We offer the empathy, understanding, and legal representation you need during this difficult time.

Why Choose Our Des Moines Wrongful Death Lawyers?

A blue casket in a mortuary alongside a floral arrangement

At Hope Law Firm, our reputation is built on a foundation of trust and success. With 125-plus years of combined litigation experience, 100-plus bench and jury trials in State and Federal Courts across Iowa, our attorneys bring unparalleled knowledge and a commitment to justice. Through the years, we have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients. 

We understand that no two wrongful death cases are the same, and we tailor our approach to meet the specific needs of each family we represent. Choosing Hope Law Firm means partnering with a team that not only has a proven track record of success but also values and understands the community we serve. Contact us today for a free consultation and to hear how we can help you. 

What is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the negligence or misconduct of another individual, company, or entity. In general, a wrongful death claim allows the deceased's survivors or estate to file a lawsuit against those responsible for the death. This type of legal action is designed to provide compensation for the survivors for their loss.

Types of Des Moines Wrongful Death Cases We Handle

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The capital of Iowa is not immune to the tragedies that lead to wrongful death claims. From traffic-heavy areas like I-80 to industrial zones like Central Place Industrial Park and Valley Gardens Business Park, where workplace accidents can occur, our team is familiar with the local conditions and risks.

This local knowledge allows us to approach each case with an informed perspective, understanding the unique challenges faced by Des Moines residents. Some common accidents we handle that can result in a wrongful death claim include:

Vehicle Accidents

In Des Moines, motor vehicle accidents can result in wrongful death due to a variety of factors. Car accidents often occur because of speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence. Truck accidents are typically more severe due to the size and weight of the vehicles involved, often caused by driver fatigue, improper loading, or mechanical failures. Motorcycle accidents, unfortunately, can be deadly due to the lack of protection for riders and are often the result of visibility issues or hazardous road conditions.

Medical Malpractice

Wrongful death due to medical malpractice happens when healthcare professionals fail to provide the standard of care expected, leading to a patient's death. This could be due to misdiagnosis, surgical errors, incorrect medication or dosage, or failure to treat a condition promptly. Hospitals and medical staff are expected to provide a high level of care, and when this standard is not met, it can have tragic consequences.

Workplace Accidents

In industrial or construction environments in Des Moines, workplace accidents can lead to wrongful death. These incidents might involve falls from heights, machinery accidents, exposure to harmful substances, or electrical accidents. Despite safety regulations and protocols, accidents in these settings can still occur, especially if there is negligence in safety practices or equipment maintenance.

Nursing Home Abuse

When we entrust nursing homes with the care of our elderly loved ones, we expect them to provide a safe, respectful, and nurturing environment. Unfortunately, not all facilities live up to these expectations. Nursing home abuse encompasses a wide range of wrongful acts, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. These reprehensible actions can lead to serious injuries or even the premature death of a resident.

Birth injuries


The anticipation of a new life brings joy and hope to expecting families, making it all the more devastating when birth injuries occur due to medical negligence. In Des Moines, wrongful death claims related to birth injuries address the profound sorrow of families whose infants suffer fatal harm during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. These tragedies may result from a failure to adequately monitor the infant's and mother's health, improper use of delivery tools, or a delay in performing necessary surgical interventions. Such cases underscore the critical importance of adhering to the highest standards of obstetric care.

Do I Have a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Negligence, in the context of personal injury and wrongful death claims, refers to the failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The concept involves a breach of duty that directly causes harm or damage to another person. It's a foundational principle in many personal injury lawsuits, including wrongful death claims, where the negligence of one party leads to the injury or death of another.

To establish negligence in a wrongful death claim (or most personal injury claims), four key elements must be proven:

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  1. Duty of Care: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed the deceased a duty of care. This duty varies depending on the relationship between the parties and the situation. For example, drivers owe a duty of care to other road users to drive safely and adhere to traffic laws, while doctors owe patients a duty of care to provide competent medical treatment according to the standards of the medical profession.
  1. Breach of Duty: Once a duty of care is established, it must be shown that the defendant breached that duty through action or inaction. A breach occurs when the defendant fails to meet the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have met in a similar situation. For instance, a driver who texts while driving is breaching their duty to drive safely, and a doctor who neglects to follow standard procedures commits a breach of duty.
  1. Causation: The breach of duty must be the direct cause of the deceased's death. This element is twofold, involving both cause-in-fact (but-for causation) and proximate cause (legal causation). Cause-in-fact means that the death would not have occurred but for the defendant's breach of duty. Proximate cause relates to whether the death was a foreseeable consequence of the breach. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant's actions or failure to act directly led to the death.
  1. Damages: Finally, the plaintiff must prove that the death caused quantifiable damages. This includes not only the emotional pain and suffering but also economic damages such as medical expenses incurred prior to the death, funeral and burial costs, loss of the deceased's expected earnings, loss of benefits (like medical insurance or pension plans), and the loss of inheritance. Non-economic damages can also include the loss of love, companionship, care, protection, and guidance that the deceased would have provided.

A successful wrongful death claim hinges on proving these four elements of negligence. Without establishing each of these components, the claim may not succeed. This framework ensures that the legal process addresses those cases where the death could and should have been prevented, holding the responsible parties accountable for their negligence.

Who Is Authorized to Initiate a Wrongful Death Claim in Iowa?

In Iowa, initiating a wrongful death claim is a responsibility designated by law to specific individuals. Primarily, this role falls to the executor or administrator of the deceased's estate, typically named in the will. In the absence of a will, or if the named individual is unable or unwilling to fulfill this role, a court may appoint a substitute, often a close relative such as a spouse, adult child, or parent.

Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

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Wrongful death claims in Iowa encompass a range of compensatory damages. Economic damages account for the direct financial impact of the death, including medical expenses incurred prior to death, funeral costs, lost future earnings, and lost benefits such as pension plans or health insurance. 

Non-economic damages address the more subjective consequences of the loss, such as the absence of companionship, guidance, and emotional support previously provided by the deceased. Additionally, punitive damages may be pursued in instances where the defendant's conduct was particularly egregious, serving both as punishment and a deterrent to similar actions.

The Statute of Limitations for Filing an Iowa Wrongful Death Claim

The statute of limitations in Iowa dictates a specific timeframe within which a wrongful death claim must be filed—typically two years from the date of death. Failing to file within this period generally results in the forfeiture of the right to sue. 


However, certain circumstances may modify this timeframe. For example, if the cause of death was not immediately identifiable, the statute may begin from the date the cause is or should have been discovered.

It’s important to consult a lawyer as soon as possible. If you fail to meet this deadline, you cannot recover compensation through the court. 

How Can a Lawyer Help with My Wrongful Death Case in Des Moines?

A lawyer with Hope Law Firm can provide comprehensive support and legal advice to navigate the complexities of a wrongful death case. Their assistance is crucial in securing justice and compensation for the loss of a loved one. Here’s how a lawyer from Hope Law Firm can help:

Evaluation and Advice

Your lawyer will evaluate the details of your case to determine its viability and the best course of action. They can offer legal advice on the wrongful death laws, including statutes of limitations and potential damages.


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Your lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation to collect all necessary evidence, including medical records, accident reports, and witness statements. They will work with forensic experts, medical professionals, and accident reconstruction analysts to strengthen your case.


Your lawyer can handle all communications and negotiations with insurance companies to avoid lowball settlements. They will strive to achieve a fair settlement that adequately compensates for your losses, including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Filing the Lawsuit

Your lawyer will prepare and file all the required legal documents to initiate the wrongful death lawsuit. They will act as your representative in all legal proceedings, ensuring your rights are protected throughout the process.


If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer will be prepared to take the case to trial, presenting a strong argument on your behalf. They will provide support and keep you informed throughout the trial process, making it as stress-free as possible.

Your lawyer will offer emotional support and understanding, recognizing the difficult time you and your family are going through. They will leverage their legal experience to guide you through the legal system, explaining complex legal terms and procedures in a way that is easy to understand.

Maximizing Compensation

Your lawyer will ensure that your claim covers all aspects of your loss, including current and future financial losses, emotional distress, and punitive damages, where applicable. They will work tirelessly to ensure that those responsible for your loved one’s death are held accountable, providing a sense of justice and closure for your family.

Contact the Des Moines Wrongful Death Lawyers at Hope Law Firm Today

Andrew L. Hope, Personal Injury Lawyer
Andrew L. Hope, Des Moines Wrongful Death Lawyer

After the tragic loss of a loved one, you can support your wrongful death claim. Follow through with any ongoing investigations, keep all medical and funeral expense receipts, and document any related losses. Write in a journal about the impact of your loss. You can obtain a copy of the police report and any other relevant documentation.

Bringing as much of this information as possible to Hope Law Firm is the final step. Our Des Moines personal injury attorneys can use this evidence to build a strong case, ensuring your family’s voice is heard, and justice is served.
Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Our team is here to guide and support you every step of the way. Contact us at (712) 424-4673 or through our online form for your free case consultation.

Hope Law Firm - Des Moines Office

Address: 666 Walnut St Suite 2220
Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone: (712) 424-4673