With nearly 2 million people living in Idaho, car accidents are a fact of life. An unspoiled natural terrain can make navigating the roadways challenging. As such, over two hundred motorists are killed here every year. Idaho State car accident laws regulate the car accident claim process, so find a legal professional to help you navigate through these laws.
Here are some highlights:
- There is a three-year deadline for filing most lawsuits regarding vehicle damage caused by an accident.
- There is a two-year limit on filing most car accident injury lawsuits.
- The state’s “modified comparative fault” rule allows you to claim a settlement even if you were partially at-fault for a car accident.
Knowing Idaho’s accident laws before talking to an auto accident lawyer about your case is a good idea. Whether you call Boise, Twin Falls, Nampa, Meridian, or another place in Idaho home, each accident deserves proper analysis by a lawyer.
Your circumstance requires the expertise of an attorney to get the most out of your settlement.
How to Report a Car Accident in Idaho State
If you are involved in a car accident, stop your vehicle and remain at the scene. Idaho Statute 49-1301 says it’s against the law to leave the scene of a crash that causes vehicle damage, injury, or death.
Call for emergency help and render aid to others involved if necessary and if you’re able. According to Idaho Statutes section 49-1305, either driver involved must immediately report the crash if it results in:
- Injury to or death of any person
- Damage to the property of any one person in excess of $1,500
The driver must report the accident to the local police department if the accident occurred within a city in Idaho. If the accident did not occur within a city, the driver must report it to the:
- County sheriff
- The nearest office of the Idaho State Police
What to Record at the Scene of the Crash in Idaho State
Record as much information as possible from the scene of your Idaho car accident:
- Take photos of your injuries and make notes about them.
- Take photos of the damage to your vehicle.
- Exchange contact information with the others involved like:
- Insurance information
- Driver’s license number
Photos can help your insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Document your injuries immediately. See a doctor and alert your insurance company about the accident.
Is Idaho an At-Fault State?
The person at-fault for the car accident is responsible for injuries, vehicle damage, and other damages from the accident. This means the at-fault driver’s car insurance will cover other people’s losses up to the driver’s liability coverage limits.
However, Idaho Statutes section 6-801 says car accident victims may recover a settlement dependent on how much they’re deemed at-fault. Your settlement amount will then be reduced by a percentage that corresponds to how much you’re at-fault.
In other words, Idaho is a “comparative fault” state, which means each driver is assigned a percentage of liability in an accident. If you were partially at-fault for the accident, your settlement will be reduced by your percentage of fault. You may not recover damages if your share of fault amounts to 50% or more.
Idaho Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the amount of time a car accident victim has to file their accident claim.
- Idaho Statutes section 5-219 gives you two years from the date of the accident to ask the Idaho civil courts for compensation from personal injury caused by someone else.
- This two-year limitation also covers a wrongful death lawsuit if your family member was killed from a car accident.
- For these types of claims, the two years starts from the date of the accident victim’s death, which might be later than the accident date.
- IMPORTANT: If a minor was injured in an Idaho car accident, the two-year statute of limitations begins on their 18th birthday.
- The statute is different for property damage, according to Idaho Statutes section 5-218.
- If your vehicle or other personal property was damaged, you must file within three years on the date of the accident.
Meeting the statute of limitations is done by filing a legal complaint in the appropriate court. Reporting the accident to the insurance company isn’t enough.
Idaho State Car Insurance Laws
Idaho car accident law requires each motor vehicle in operation on the state’s roads be covered by liability insurance. It is a 25/50/15 state. This means that the required minimum amounts of car insurance coverage in Idaho are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle
- $50,000 for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle
- $15,000 for property damage per accident caused by the driver of the insured vehicle.
Idaho does not require you to purchase additional insurance. However, according to Idaho Statutes section 41-2502, all car insurance policies must include uninsured motorist coverage. UIM coverage must equal to the policyholder’s bodily injury coverage, unless waived by the policyholder.
IMPORTANT: In the state of Idaho, you may receive a $75 fine for not having insurance. A second time will result in a $1,000 fine with a license suspension.
More Idaho Insurance Coverage Options
You may carry more insurance coverage to protect you in case a serious crash occurs. Additional liability coverage protects any family member driving your vehicle. It will likely also cover you if you get into an accident in a rental car.
Collision coverage is optional and can pay for repairs to (or replacement of) your damaged vehicle after a car accident.
Types of Damages in an Idaho Car Accident
You may earn a settlement after filing a lawsuit according to Idaho car accident law. The types of damages you may earn after a car accident include:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
- Punitive damages
An auto accident attorney seeks to represent your argument as strongly and truthfully as possible to maximize these damages. Give your attorney as much evidence as possible to strengthen your argument for higher damages.
These damages seek to cover your measurable losses resulting from your Idaho car accident. Examples of measurable damages include:
- Medical bills from your injuries
- Vehicle repair bills
- Lost income or wages
- Rental car fees
Not all of the damages from a car crash are measurable. Non-economic damages cover the intangible, non-measurable losses sustained in a car accident. Examples of these include:
- Pain and suffering from the accident and your injuries
- Emotional trauma from the loss of affection or companionship
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
Non-economic damages have caps per Section 6-1603 of Idaho car accident law, currently a little over $430,700. An experienced attorney can help you calculate the total value of your car accident claim.
Idaho law allows for a jury to award punitive damages. To win this type of damages settlement, Idaho car accident law says:
“The claimant must prove, by clear and convincing evidence, oppressive, fraudulent, malicious or outrageous conduct by the party against whom the claim for punitive damages is asserted.”
The amount cannot be more than three times higher than the award for compensatory damages.
Connect With an Auto Accident Attorney from Our Network
Car accidents in Idaho have several moving parts that are hard to navigate without expert help. One misstep in your paperwork and you could miss a deadline or a crucial detail. Not only will an attorney clear up the complex legal process for you, but you may receive a higher settlement than if you agreed to the auto insurance company’s first offer.
Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.