When you’re injured, you could face some complicated challenges. There’s the time and expense of your initial medical care, missed time at work for recovery, the pain, the followup care, and many additional burdens that impact your quality of life.
If you were injured by someone else, you may not have to deal with all those expenses on your own. You could be eligible to receive compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, where you recover monetary damages from the the person who hurt you. Typically, you can collect for short- and long-term medical bills, lost wages, disability, and pain and suffering.
The rules and procedures for personal injury lawsuits vary between states, however, so you’ll need to know some of the key elements that set Idaho apart.
In Idaho, you can sue for personal injury for most injuries that someone else caused you.
If someone intentionally hurt you with an assault or battery, you likely have a case for a personal injury suit. You’ll have to prove that the person who injured you purposefully made contact with you, or did an action they knew was likely to cause contact with you.
Personal injury applies to accidental injuries as well. Injuries caused by negligence occur in accidents that could have been prevented if the injurer had been more careful or responsible. Certain activities require a level, or duty, of care, and when people breach that duty of care, it could make them liable for injuries they cause.
Car accidents often involve negligent acts. Breaking Idaho’s rules that ban texting while driving, for instance, could be evidence of negligence. If someone falls in an unmarked ditch that road workers dug, that could be a potential negligence case, because markings and warnings would be the expected duty of care.
You don’t have to prove intent in a negligence case, you have to prove that the duty of care existed but wasn’t followed.
In some cases of accidental injury, you don’t even need to prove breach to the duty of care, you only need to prove that the injury happened and that the injurer caused it. In rules of strict liability, some cases make a person responsible for injuries they cause, even if they took the proper safety measures or acted responsibly.
Take dog bites, for example. Idaho is a “one-bite” state, which means a dog owner can be liable for injuries their dog causes, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before. It usually doesn’t matter if the owner didn’t act negligently in training the dog or if they tried to prevent the contact that led to the bite. However, the one-bite rule only applies if the owner knew their dog was unreasonably aggressive and may bite, even before it did.
There are a few procedural rules specific to Idaho that you’ll need to know before you file your lawsuit.
The first is the statute of limitations. These are time limits that dictate how long you have to file your law suit. In Idaho, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years. This is the same statute of limitations for personal injury suits filed in the federal courts. With few exceptions, if you don’t file your suit within two years of your injury the court won’t hear your case, which could mean you don’t recover any of your expenses.
In Idaho, there’s a limit to how much money you can be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. While there are some exceptions, personal injury cases are usually capped at $250,000.
Idaho follows what’s called a “modified comparative negligence” doctrine. This means if the court thinks you contributed to the cause of your injuries, your compensation can be reduced. If the court determines that 10 percent of your injury was your fault, you won’t be able to recover that 10 percent, and will only get 90 percent of the damages you sought. A lawsuit for $10,000 would then become an award for $9,000.
However, this only applies if the court finds you less than 50 percent responsible for your injuries. Any more than that, and you’re likely to be barred from recovering anything at all.
With so many rules and regulations to follow, it can be easy to make a mistake in building your own case. Unfortunately, even the slightest misstep could hurt your case, and cost you your compensation in the long run.
Working with an experienced local personal injury attorney could help make your case more secure. They can help you evaluate your evidence, state your claim, calculate your damages, and represent you in court. With a personal injury attorney’s assistance, you may have a better chance of getting the compensation you deserve.
Injuries cost money, including time away from work, medical bills, and other complications. Before taking legal action or trying to negotiate a settlement on your own, you should talk to an attorney about your case. You can search LawInfo’s legal directory to find a local personal injury attorney to discuss the merits of your case. This one step can level the playing field, help you protect your rights, and put you in the best position for recovering the compensation that you deserve.