A cemetery with grave stones


Ron Shepherd Sept. 9, 2021

The sudden death of a loved one can be devastating. Besides dealing with the emotional loss, you may find yourself overwhelmed by funeral arrangements, financial issues, and other issues related to the “business” of death.

If that death was caused because someone else was negligent or took your loved one’s life intentionally, there is also a considerable degree of anger. One different decision, one millisecond, one inch, and the outcome may have been different. Your loved one might still be here.

Idaho civil law provides a way that those left behind can recover damages from the person at fault for the death. Shep Law Group helps clients in Boise, Idaho, as well as Meridian, Canyon, and Ada counties, use the law to help them recover after such a loss.  

Why Should I Pursue a Wrongful Death Suit?

Money will not bring back a life, but it might make life easier for those left behind. Recovery for medical expenses for treatment related to final injuries, for the cost of the funeral and burial, and for the income lost in death can ease financial worries. Moreover, filing suit against those responsible for the death holds them accountable and might save another family from enduring the same tragic loss.

Taking legal action isn’t about profiting from someone’s death. It’s about holding people responsible. 

What Is Wrongful Death in Idaho?

Wrongful death is defined by Idaho statute as death caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another person. This would include actions of neglect involving auto accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, as well as intentional acts such as murder or manslaughter. Although some who cause another’s death may face criminal charges brought by the state, wrongful death is a civil action, conveyed by the heirs or estate of the decedent.

Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed, or an insurance claim settled, within two years of the date of the person’s death. If you wait too long, a claim won’t be allowed.

Who Does Idaho Allow to File a Wrongful Death Action?

The heirs or personal representatives of the estate are allowed to file wrongful death actions in Idaho. If filed by the personal representative, any recovery would benefit the estate’s heirs.

Heirs who may file an action include the surviving spouse, children and stepchildren, or parents. If there are none, other blood relatives, adoptive siblings, or a “putative” spouse (defined as someone who believed in good faith they were married to the decedent) may file.

What Damages May Be Recovered?

“Damages” are the economic and noneconomic losses the survivors suffer. Economic damages are those more easily quantifiable, including end-of-life medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, the amount of income the decedent would have contributed to the heirs, and the value of the services to the household they would have provided. For example, if they stayed home with minor children who must now go to daycare, there would be a dollar value attached to this additional expense.

Noneconomic damages are less tangible. They include the loss of companionship, advice, and comfort that person provided to the survivors. For example, the loss of a father’s guidance and counsel to children. Noneconomic damages are capped by Idaho law. The cap is recalculated annually but is currently $399,430.74 per person. There is no cap on economic damages.

Experience You Can Trust: Shep Law Group

Most of the time, legal processes seem very routine and matter of fact. However, when the sudden loss of life is the issue, the law can provide a way to garner some comfort by easing financial straits and forcing the person at fault to answer for what they did or did not do.

It helps to have compassionate and knowledgeable wrongful death attorneys guiding you through the process, handling the legal and communication responsibilities, and fiercely advocating for you. That is precisely what Shep Law Group provides for clients in Boise and Meridian, in Ada and Canyon counties, and throughout the State of Idaho.

If you are bearing the outcome of someone else’s neglect or wrongful act, or are administering the estate, call us today so we can schedule a free case consultation.

The two-year time limit is brief, so let’s get started. Call now.