Understanding Comparative Fault in Idaho

by | Dec 8, 2014

Let’s say you get injured in a car accident in Idaho. The facts of the case are as follows. You and the car that hit you both arrive at a four way stop at exactly the same time and both drivers run the stop sign. The cars collide. The court finds you 50% responsible for the accident and the other driver 50% responsible. Despite this, your injuries are more severe and you have had hefty medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and have even had to miss time on the job. Under Idaho law, are you able to recover 50% of the damages you have sustained in the accident from the other driver?

The answer, shockingly, is no.

Idaho uses a modified comparative fault standard when determining whether a victim can seek compensation for injuries sustained in an accident. A plaintiff can only recover damages if the fault of the other driver exceeds his or her own fault. If the fault is equal or if the other driver has less fault for the accident, but isn’t completely blameless, then, damages cannot be claimed.

In a case involving one plaintiff and one defendant, where the fault is determined to be 50-50, the plaintiff will not be able to collect damages.

Because Idaho is a comparative negligence state, victims can only recover damages in the case of an accident where the other driver of the vehicle is found to be 51% responsible for the accident or greater. 

Even if the other driver is found to be more than 51% at fault, it is also important to note that your ability to recover damages will be limited depending on the amount of fault ascribed to your actions. In other words, the degree to which you are granted fault for the accident will reduce the amount of money you can claim. Claims Journal writes about how comparative fault rules vary from state to state.

Let’s go back to our initial case, where both drivers ran the stop side and collided. If, during the course of the trial, it is discovered that the other driver was intoxicated when he or she ran the stop sign, the comparative fault in the case may change. Of course, determining fault is a complex matter. Many factors go into determining percentages of blame. This is why it is important to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer in Idaho who can review the full details of your case and help build a strong case that will allow you to receive the maximum amount of compensation allowed by law.

The Law Office Johnson & Lundgreen offers a team of personal injury lawyers in Meridian and Boise, Idaho with years of experience taking diverse cases to trial. Because the law is complex, it is important to have your case reviewed by an experienced lawyer before you seek damages. You might be entitled to more than you think. Contact our firm today for a free case evaluation.