Nov 17

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Idaho Personal Injury Law Summary

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Idaho personal injury law involves civil claims (as opposed to criminal claims)  in which a person is injured through the negligence, recklessness or intentional misconduct of another person, a company, or property owner.   Personal injury claims and  lawsuits usually relate to physical injuries, although there are some for  emotional injuries.  The social role of personal injury law is to make sure that people are held personally responsible for their negligence or intentional misconduct.  Idaho’s laws are different from other states because each state creates its own law through its courts and legislature.

Personal injury covers a wide variety of cases including truck wrecks, accidents, car collisions, falls and other incidents.

Fault (Responsibility)

In Idaho, you generally must prove negligence of the other person in most personal injury cases.  Negligence is “the failure to use reasonable care.”  To prove negligence you must prove to the court or a jury:

  • The responsible party owed you a duty  (i.e. to stop at the stop sign)
  • They failed to uphold or breached the duty (i.e. ran the stop sign)
  • That failure caused your injuries (i.e.  hit you in the intersection); and
  • You suffered damages from the injuries (i.e. medical expenses, pain etc.).

Comparative responsibility

Idaho follows the doctrine of comparative negligence or comparative fault.  Under Idaho law if you are determined to be 50% or more at fault, you cannot receive compensation. If you are 49% or less responsible, the person who caused your injuries can be held responsible for the percentage of damages equal to their percentage of fault.  Whether there is negligence or comparative negligence will ultimately be decided by a jury because it is a question of fact.

Multiple parties or defendants

In a number of case there may be more than one responsible party that caused an injury.    For example if a commercial truck driver has a trucking accident, both the driver and the trucking company may sbe found at fault and share the blame for your injuries. Idaho law requires the fault of all responsible parties to be apportioned , so each one pays damages equal to their portion of fault only.

Time limit for filing your lawsuit

Idaho has a basic two year statute of limitations that applies to personal injury claims.  However, there are special rules that apply if the injury was caused by the government.  The statute starts to run when the injured person has suffered “some damage.”  It is not from the date the person discovers the injury.  The statute of limitations can cause problems and prevent you from recovering even when you should.

Compensation Offered By The Law

We discuss the compensation issue more fully in this post.  But basically you have a right to recover compensation for:

  • Medical expenses (past and future) arising due to the injuries
  • Lost wages, including future wages
  • Property damage including loss of use and diminution of value
  • Any disfigurement
  • Disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • Other costs resulting from your injuries

Non-economic damages are those like the pain and suffering component or emotional distress that cannot be converted to an economic loss.  In Idaho these damages are limited unless the actions at issue were reckless or willful.  If not the damages are capped at $250,000 with an adjustment for each year.  These caps are counterproductive and bad for ordinary people as discussed in this post.

Punitive damages are a special type of damages designed to punish the wrongdoer-not merely to compensate the injured person for their loss.  In Idaho, are limited to three times the compensatory damages or $250,000.  And are only available for extreme deviations from reasonable standards of care.

If you believe you have a personal injury claim, for a injury in Idaho,  you should contact us immediately to help you understand your claim.  We represent people throughout Idaho not just in Ada & Canyon County or Boise and Nampa.  We have clients from Rexberg and Rigby to Marsing and Melba, and even Sandpoint and Wallace.

Permanent link to this article: http://holzeredwardsinjurylawyers.com/2011/11/idaho-personal-injury-law-summary/


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