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Idaho Auto Accident Laws & Resources

An accident is a stressful situation. It can be hard to know what you should do and who to call. To file an auto crash claim in Idaho, you need knowledge of the state’s auto accident laws. Every US state has its own car crash rules. These dictate how accident victims need to handle insurance and personal injury claims. 

From insurance laws to comparative negligence, it’s on you to know how to handle an auto accident claim in Idaho. Below is more information to help build your knowledge. If you have questions about a claim or lawsuit, you can use the attorney-finder tool on Lawsuit Info Center.

Idaho Is Not A No-Fault Insurance State

Idaho doesn’t have a no-fault insurance law. Instead, like most US states, Idaho has a fault-based insurance law. Car crash victims need to bring their claims to the insurance company representing the at-fault driver. The driver who is most responsible for causing the wreck is financially liable for damages and personal injuries.  

After an Idaho car crash, it’s essential to understand who caused your auto accident. It is vital to contact the police and their investigators. It’s wise to go over the crash report with your attorney to figure out who caused the crash. 

The most liable party may be the other driver. However, sometimes a defective auto part causes a car crash. In other cases, a road design flaw can lead to an accident. Your attorney can assist you in determining who or what caused the crash.

Next, file your auto accident claim with the person’s or entity’s auto insurance provider. 

Idaho Is Not A PIP State

Idaho is not a personal injury protection (PIP) state. This is a form of auto insurance that some states require you to buy. Idaho’s accident laws are fault based, so PIP insurance is not needed. 

According to Idaho Statute 49-1229, the state only requires you to have $25,000 in bodily injury protection per person. Additionally, you need $50,000 per auto accident, and $15,000 for property damages. So, Idaho is a 25/50/15 state. 

All basic auto insurance plans in Idaho have the minimum amount of protection. But you can waive the uninsured/underinsured driver coverage. However most experts don’t recommend it. The additional coverage is usually only a few dollars extra per month. 

Statute Of Limitations – Idaho Auto Accident Laws

You may need to file a car accident lawsuit in this state instead of an insurance claim alone. Your personal injuries could be severe enough to make a personal injury lawsuit worth your time. The insurance company may not provide enough compensation for severe injuries and their related losses. 

Also, the at-fault driver may lack insurance coverage, so you could need to go to court. The auto insurance company that deals with your case could attempt to ignore your rights. They do this by making a token settlement offering or simply denying your claim. In these citations, filing a personal injury lawsuit could be the best option. 

You have two years from the date of the auto accident to file your personal injury lawsuit. Or, you have three years for a claim that only involves property damage. This is the statute of limitations, which restrict how low you have to file a lawsuit. 

If you wait too long to contact an attorney, the court may dismiss your claim. Remember to talk to an auto accident attorney in the first few weeks after a crash.

How To Report An Auto Accident In Idaho

After you have a car crash in Idaho, you may need to report the collision and damages to law enforcement. According to Statute 49-1301, it is against state law to leave a car crash scene that resulted in auto damages, deaths, or injuries. 

You should never leave the scene of a serious accident without speaking to law enforcement. Doing so may result in a hit-and-run misdemeanor. You should pull over, find out if anyone needs assistance, and dial 911 if it’s a serious accident. 

Idaho state law states that “serious accident” meets certain requirements. A “serious accident” causes property damage above $1,500, injuries, or fatalities. In these situations, you must call your local law enforcement office. Filing an accident report is an important part of the process. Calling the authorities in Idaho will result in you getting a document. This report shows the auto accident details that you can use for insurance claims later.

Additional Idaho Auto Accident Laws and Information

Idaho Open Alcohol Container Law

It is illegal for a driver or passenger to possess open containers of alcoholic beverages when traveling on Idaho roads. It is also illegal to use a controlled substance when in or operating a motor vehicle. 

An open container of alcohol only may be in the trunk of your car or the rear seat. It is illegal to keep it in the glove compartment. 

Driving Under The Influence

It is illegal for a driver to operate a motor vehicle after drinking alcohol.  Avoid any substance that makes the driver unable to drive safely on Idaho roads. In this state, you’re guilty of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol if you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher. 

Ignition Interlock Devices

There may be a requirement for an ignition interlock device after the conviction of driving under the influence. This device will restore your driving privileges during your probation. If you have an ignition interlock device installed, it must be in all vehicles you operate. 

This device measures how much alcohol that is in your body. Before you start your vehicle, you must blow into the tube that is on the ignition interlock device. If it detects a BAC of .08% or higher, the car won’t start, and law enforcement receives notification of the violation. 

At that time, you may lose your driving privileges. You also could be immediately arrested and even incarcerated, according to state law.

Idaho Dram Shop Law

Idaho features a modified Dram Shop Law. This law refers to the liability of a bar, hotel, nightclub, or private social host who serves alcohol. This applies to guests, patrons, or minors. The law comes into play if the alcohol served results in auto accident injuries to third parties. 

A private social host is someone who hosts a party, such as a birthday, wedding, or gathering of friends. Attendees receive alcohol for no profit for the host. 

Under state law, the commercial establishment or social host is liable. They will pay for the property damages and/or personal injuries caused by a drunk person. This is the case if they knowingly gave alcohol to an intoxicated person or minor. 

Comparative Negligence Rule

In this state, a car accident victim can sue the at-fault driver for compensation. The victim’s liability for causing the accident is comparative negligence. It will affect how much compensation you’ll receive. 

Perhaps you contributed less than 51% of the negligence that led to the crash. Then, the compensation you receive lowers by the amount of fault you have for the accident. If you contributed 51% or more, then you’re barred from getting compensation. 

For example, say you’re driving to work, and you turn left at the left turn green light. At the same time, the other driver is going straight through the intersection. She hits your vehicle. 

In the accident investigation, the police and insurance companies determine the other driver suffered a broken hip. She also has severe car damages that total $50,000. 

The police determine that you turned left in front of the other driver. You also failed to yield to oncoming traffic. However, the other driver was going 15 MPH above the speed limit. The insurance companies involved determined that you were 75% responsible for the accident. The other driver was 25% responsible. 

This means that other driver will receive $37,500 in compensation instead of the full $50,000. 

Limits on Personal Injury Damages

Idaho is like some other states that have limits on personal injury damages. There is a cap of $250,000 for pain and suffering in this state. The exception would involve willful or reckless conduct. A possible exception to this cap might be if a highly drunk driver, well over .08 BAC injures you in a car accident. 

Also, Idaho’s modified comparative negligence law bars you from recovery if you are 50% or more liable. When you are not barred from recovery, damages awarded reduce according to the level of negligence you had for the accident. 

Damages that you may be eligible to receive in Idaho include: 

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Auto repairs or replacement
  • Lost wages
  • Rental cars
  • Loss of companionship or affection
  • Wrongful death

These damages usually are non-economic and economic damages. Economic damages refer to repairing or replacing your car. They may also cover medical expenses for the past or future. Lost earnings, and other out-of-pocket costs that you can calculate are also economic damages. Non-economic damages refer to emotional distress, pain and suffering, disfigurement, or disability. 

Non-economic damages are difficult to calculate. This is why it’s almost always advisable to hire an attorney in a severe car accident. If you attempt to negotiate a settlement on your own, you’ll almost always end up with much less money than you need. 

Idaho Crash Settlement Taxes

Many people want to know if their settlement for a personal injury case is taxable in the state of Idaho and federally. For the most part, there is no tax on your personal injury settlement or verdict. That said, you should know the exceptions.  

Generally, suppose you receive money for a settlement for a tangible/physical injury. The settlement may cover the related medical expenses and your mental suffering. In that case, there will not be an income tax applied at the state or federal level. 

But you may have decided to deduct medical expenses in an earlier tax year. In that case, this is taxable as income in Idaho and the federal level. 

If you receive compensation for your property damage/loss, the funds are nontaxable.  If you get compensation for lost wages at work, this is taxable in Idaho and at the federal level. 

If you receive punitive damages, this is taxable at the state and federal levels. This is money you would get to punish the other party for reckless or willful misconduct. 

Keep in mind that while most of your settlement isn’t taxable, it’s always a clever plan to talk to a CPA about your situation; the last thing you need is an unexpected tax bill next year. 

Speak To Someone About Idaho Auto Accident Laws

If you’re injured in a car accident in Idaho, make sure that you call law enforcement and get medical help if required.

Lawsuit Info Center can help you find an experienced personal injury attorney in your area. You may be due compensation for your physical and emotional injuries. Use our site to find an Idaho auto accident lawyer today.