Negligence

In an Idaho negligence action, a plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant owed a duty to commit an act or refrain from committing an act; the defendant breached their duty; the breach of the duty caused an injury to the plaintiff; the defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the injury and the plaintiff suffered damages.

Modified Comparative Negligence

Idaho follows a modified comparative negligence system where the plaintiff cannot recover if he or she is found to have been 50% or more at fault for their own injury. Under this method, if the plaintiff is found to be 49% or less responsible for their injury, they will be permitted to recover in proportion to the attributed percentage of fault.

For example, if the plaintiff suffered damages in the amount of $1,000,000 and court or jury finds the defendant to be 90% at fault, the plaintiff would be entitled to recover since their portion of fault was only 10% (less than 50%) and would receive a damage award of $900,000.

When multiple defendants are joined in the action, the plaintiff’s portion of fault will be compared against each defendant’s portion – separately. Per Idaho Code § 6-802, a court may return separate verdicts to determine the amount of damages and the portion of fault attributable to each party.

Joint & Several Liability

Per Idaho Code § 6­803, Idaho adheres to a modified version of common law joint and several liability. In situations where the tortfeasors were acting in concert or as agents or servants of one another, liability is joint and several. In all other circumstances, liability among joint tortfeasors is several only. This means that each party’s liability will equal his proportionate share of the total damages awarded.

Damages

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the plaintiff for injuries suffered as a result of the negligence of the defendant(s). The award is meant to restore the plaintiff – as much as possible – to the condition they were in prior to the injury occurring. This includes both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include the value of loss for missed work, hospital and medical treatment, rehabilitation, property damage, and loss of future earning capacity.

Idaho has enacted extensive tort reform legislation. One of the most important tort reform measures to be aware of in Idaho is the $250,000 cap placed on noneconomic damages awards in personal injury or wrongful death claims. This cap is indexed to rise or fall depending on the current wage levels. At the time of this writing, the Idaho noneconomic damages award cap is $326,850.09.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant rather than to compensate the plaintiff. According to Idaho Code § 6-1604, “in any action seeking recovery of punitive damages, 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.”

Idaho places a cap on punitive damages of $250,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.

DISCLAIMER:

The law firm of Walker Morgan is located at 135 E Main St., Lexington, SC 29072. All lawyers at Walker Morgan are licensed to practice law in the State of South Carolina. Should you wish to retain our firm for legal representation regarding a potential case in any other jurisdiction we are required to associate local counsel in that foreign jurisdiction and seek permission from a court of the foreign jurisdiction to temporarily engage in the practice of law therein for purposes of pursuing your potential claim only.

By offering the following information the lawyers at Walker Morgan are not offering legal advice or legal guidance. The lawyers at Walker Morgan are not licensed to practice law in Idaho. Should you have a question/concern specific to Idaho law, please contact an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Idaho.