Idaho Car Accident Compensation Laws

The mountainous “Gem State” is a sight to behold – and not just to potato farmers. Idaho, which is larger than all of New England, is home to arguably more natural beauty as well, including Yellowstone National Park. What does that mean for the local drivers of the state? Tourists are watching the scenery instead of the roads. Beware Idaho drivers and tourists alike – should these looky-loos lead to an accident, you’ll need to take a look yourself at the state’s car accident compensation laws.

Below, you'll find a chart laying out Idaho's car accident compensation laws, as well as in-depth explanations of the key parts of the laws.

Statute of Limitations

two years for personal injury lawsuits (Idaho Code § 5-219).

three years for property damage lawsuits (Idaho Code § 5-218).

Limits on Damages

$250,000 cap on non-economic damages, adjusted annually. (Idaho Code § 6-1603)

Other Limits

Modified comparative fault can prevent or limit recovery, depending on the driver's percentage of fault for the accident. (Idaho Code § 6-801)

"At Fault" and "Modified Comparative Fault" Rules in Idaho

Idaho is one of many U.S. states to employ "at fault" (also known as a "tort liability") rules for car accident claims. As common sense might dictate, drivers involved in car accidents who seek compensation must prove that the other party was at fault for the accident.

Entirely at fault? Not exactly. Idaho is a "modified comparative negligence" (often referred to as "modified comparative fault") jurisdiction. To recover compensation for car accident injuries or property damage, the party seeking compensation must not be more at fault than the other party. Fault is measured in terms of percentages calculated by a judge or jury (if the claim doesn’t settle first): fault of 50% or more prevents that party from recovering. This law operates to reduce damage awards as well -- a person 33% at fault would only recover 67% of his damages, for example.

Types of Damages

Damages that often result from car accidents include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Vehicle repair or replacement
  • Rental cars
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of affection or companionship
  • Wrongful death

These damages are often referred to as economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include repair or replacement of the damaged cars, past and future medical expenses, lost income, and calculable other out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic damages cover things like pain, emotional distress, and disability or disfigurement.

Limits on Damages

The primary consideration in any legal claim is the time limit (called the statute of limitations) for filing your case. Idaho has two different time limits: an injured party has two years from the date of the car accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury and three years to file for property damage. A filed, pending, or denied insurance claim doesn’t stop the clock, so it is important to consult with an attorney early to evaluate the strength of your claim immediately.

The other major consideration is Idaho’s cap on damages. While economic damages, such as lost wages, are not capped, there is a cap on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. The cap was initially set at $250,000, and is adjusted each July 1 in accordance with the percentage amount of increase or decrease by which the Idaho industrial commission adjusts the average annual wage.

Discuss Your Claim for Free With an Idaho Car Accident Lawyer

Time limits for filing claims and comparative negligence rules can be significant obstacles, and sometimes outright blocks, to car accident claims. The damage cap on non-economic damages can be even more devastating. Obtain a free claim evaluation from an experienced attorney on the strengths of your case and how much compensation may be available.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.