Understanding Personal Injury Claims in Idaho
People are injured every day in Idaho due to someone else’s negligence. Their damages may include not only physical injury but emotional distress, medical expense, lost wages, and in the case of a loved one’s death, funeral expense, loss of consortium, and loss of income.
Perhaps you are not sure someone else can be held accountable for your injuries or a loved one’s incapacitation or death or what damages you might be able to recover. A knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney can help.
At Shep Law Group, we have represented hundreds of clients from Boise, Meridian, Ada County, Canyon County, and across Idaho in personal injury claims of all types. We work to negotiate settlements with insurance companies and litigate jury trials when a settlement can’t be reached. We are dedicated to helping injury victims recover fair compensation for their damages.
Personal Injury Claims in Idaho
Assigning fault for an accident that causes injuries is the cornerstone of personal injury claims. Idaho is a fault state for insurance purposes. This means fault must be determined in order for the injured party to file a claim against the at-fault person’s insurance coverage.
Vehicle drivers, business and property owners, and healthcare providers are all required to exercise a certain degree of care to protect others from injury. When they fail to do so and someone is hurt as a result, they are at fault.
Persons harmed by the negligence of others are entitled to seek compensation under Idaho’s personal injury laws. Fault is assigned to whoever contributed to the event that caused injuries, and that fault can be shared. This is called “comparative fault.” In Idaho, you may seek compensation for damages according to the percentage of fault assigned to you. For example, if you had the right of way in a highway accident but were exceeding the speed limit at the time, you could be found to be partially at fault for the crash. As long as you are less than 50% at fault, you can seek compensation from the other party.
Settlements and jury awards will reflect any comparative fault. For example, if a jury awards $100,000 in a case where you were assigned 10% of the fault, you would receive $90,000 (90% of the amount) in the settlement of your claim.
Who Pays the Medical Bills?
If you are injured, even due to someone else’s negligence, you will likely incur medical expenses immediately and continue to do so until you have completed treatment and recovery. That could take days, months, or you may have lasting effects of your injuries for the rest of your life. The first thing you should know is that the negligent party’s liability insurer does not pay your medical bills as they are incurred. Compensation for medical expenses is, however, one of the damages you can seek in a personal injury claim.
The first thing you can use to help pay your medical bills is your medical payment benefits (medpay) or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage on your own insurance policy. Idaho auto insurance coverage includes medpay if you opted for that coverage on your policy. Insurers in other states sell PIP coverage. You can access either coverage up to the policy limits upon demonstration of at least that amount of medical expense, and no fault must be established to file a claim.
If someone else was at least 50% at fault in your accident, you can file a claim against their liability insurance policy for medical expenses and other damages, including pain and suffering and lost wages. It may take some time to receive a settlement either through negotiation with the negligent party’s insurer or through a jury award in court, so it might take some time before you can pay your medical expenses or be reimbursed for what medical bills you paid before settling your claim.
You may also use your own health insurance to pay your medical bills. Medicare makes conditional payments that you must repay upon settlement of your claim. Some other employer-provided insurers may also have a right to be reimbursed for any benefits they paid if you later settle a claim. This is called a right to subrogation. If you do not reimburse your insurance company after receiving a settlement or jury award, you could be sued by your insurance company. An attorney can advise you about the advantages and disadvantages of using your health insurance coverage to pay for treatment until you receive a settlement and how to avoid getting sued by your insurance company if you do receive health insurance payments.
Who Pays for Repairs?
If someone else is at fault for an auto crash, their insurer should compensate you for your property damage, but the settlement process takes time and you probably need your car repaired right away. For that reason, you might file a claim with your insurance company to expedite repairs, then let your insurance company attempt to recover from the negligent driver’s insurer. This could include recovery of the deductible you paid so your insurance company can reimburse you.
The property damage claim is separate from your personal injury claim and they are often handled by different insurance claims representatives. While your personal injury attorney might assist you with your property damage claim, they are primarily focused on recovering compensation for your injury claim.
How Our Team Can Help
As you can see, making a claim or filing a lawsuit in a personal injury case can be complicated. You should retain a personal injury attorney to fully investigate the circumstances surrounding the event that led to your injuries, build a case, quantify your damages, and aggressively pursue compensation on your behalf. Insurance companies make profits by denying compensation to those injured by their insured. You need a law firm that will not back down.
At Shep Law Group, we know how to investigate claims and aggressively pursue fair settlements for our clients. We have done it for countless people in Boise, Meridian, Ada, and Canyon counties, and throughout the State of Idaho for years.
If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence and think you might have a claim for damages, don’t wait. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.