Personal injury laws cover several types of causes of action, each with different rules and laws. It is a process whereby injured parties make allegations to the opposing party's insurance company or in a court of law that they received an injury because of the negligence, recklessness, or misconduct of someone else. A personal injury claim can include areas of tort law such as product liability, premises liability, class actions, sexual abuse, professional negligence, or vehicle accidents.
In Which Jurisdiction Will I File My Claim?
You must file a lawsuit in the county court where the injury occurred or in the county where the defendant is living. The Idaho district courts handle injury claims where the amount in dispute is more than $10,000. For injury cases where the amount of damages claimed is $10,000 or less, the Magistrate Division has jurisdiction. The Small Claims Department will handle personal injury matters where the dispute or claimed damages are less than $4,000. Small claims are heard by a judge only without any attorneys.
Idaho Statute of Limitations
If you are injured, you have a limited time in which to file a lawsuit or you may lose your right to collect compensation for your accident. Idaho has a two-year statute of limitations from the date of the accident for filing a personal injury lawsuit. In a medical malpractice case, the injured party has two years from the date of the alleged negligence. If the malpractice concerns leaving a foreign object in the body following surgery, you have two years from the time the malpractice was discovered, or in the exercise of due diligence, should have been discovered.
For defective product cases, the time to file suit is two years from the date of the injury. But where the harm is due to prolonged exposure, it runs from the date the harm should have been discovered by a reasonably prudent person within a rebuttable presumption of 10 years.
If your claim is against a governmental entity in Idaho, you must file it within 180 days from the date of the accident or the discovery of the misconduct or act giving rise to the lawsuit.
For minors, the statute of limitations begins to run on their 18th birthday, except in wrongful death cases where the time limit remains at two years. A statute of limitation may be tolled, or put on hold, if the claimant was mentally incompetent at the time of the injury or where the defendant has filed bankruptcy.
How Are Damages Awarded?
You may claim certain damages in an Idaho personal injury case if they were caused by the accident, such as:
- Medical expenses, including past and future expenses if reasonably related
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of benefits
- Property damage
- Expenses for psychological treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium or the love and affection of your spouse
Damages for pain and suffering are usually the largest awarded, especially in a catastrophic injury case where you may have suffered severe burns, an amputation, paralysis, loss of cognitive function, loss of sight, or a disfigurement that causes extreme anxiety and embarrassment.
Is Idaho a Comparative Negligence State?
Idaho is a comparative fault state when determining the degree of fault between the plaintiff and the defendant. This means that if your degree of responsibility for the injury is at least equal to or greater than the defendant's percentage of fault, you will receive no compensation.
Who Can Advise Me?
Idaho has laws and rules that dictate how a personal injury case may be brought and the damages to be awarded. Talk to an Idaho personal injury lawyer who will evaluate your claim and advise you regarding legal representation.