In Idaho, a settlement or jury verdict could provide you with money to pay for the damages you have due to someone else’s negligence. The amount recoverable will depend on the extent of your damages and the insurance coverage available. Depending on the value of your case, something called a damage cap could also influence how much money you receive. A damage cap sets a maximum on the total amount of compensation available, in some cases.
What Are Damage Caps?
Damage caps are statutes that limit the amount of money a plaintiff can receive during a personal injury or civil claim. It is a law that some states implement to prevent overcompensating victims and bankrupting defendants. Most damage caps are only on certain types of recovery awards, such as punitive damages or in claims against a hospital or government. Most states do not institute caps on economic damages. These are the actual losses the victim suffered in the accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and travel costs.
Some states have done away with damage caps they used to have in place. These states have ruled the caps unconstitutional. Others have eliminated caps on some categories of damages but kept certain limitations. States that cap noneconomic damages generally find a restriction on economic damages to be unjust. Idaho has damage caps on noneconomic and punitive damages.
Caps on Noneconomic Damages
Idaho Statutes Section 6-1603 is the state’s cap on noneconomic damages. It states that no personal injury or wrongful death action shall receive a judgment for noneconomic damages exceeding $250,000. This is the state’s noneconomic damage cap. It is subject to change based on the state’s adjustments to the average annual wage. Noneconomic damages can refer to pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost quality of life, and mental anguish. Idaho’s $250,000 damage cap applies to the sum of a claimant’s noneconomic damages regardless of the number of people responsible for the accident or the number of claims filed.
Statute 6-1603 lists two exceptions to Idaho’s noneconomic damage cap. The first is if the defendant caused the plaintiff’s damages through willful or reckless misconduct. You could be eligible for more than $250,000 in intangible or noneconomic losses if you can prove the cause of your injury was a reckless, willful or wanton act by the defendant. The other exception is if the courts find that the defendant’s misconduct fulfills the definition of a felony under state or federal law. The courts lift the noneconomic damage cap in these situations.
Idaho Caps on Punitive Damages
Idaho also has a damage cap on punitive damages. A punitive award is an amount of money granted to an injured party in addition to compensatory damages. It does not focus on reimbursing the victim for damages associated with an accident or injury. Instead, its purpose is to punish the defendant for grossly negligent, willful, malicious, or intentional acts. Even if a defendant has already fully satisfied a victim’s losses, he or she may have to pay an additional amount in punitive damages to make up for wrongful acts.
In Idaho, the cap on punitive damages limits a plaintiff’s recovery to no more than $250,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages – whichever is greater. It is up to a judge how much to award a plaintiff, if any, in punitive damages against a defendant. A judge in Idaho cannot, however, award more than the state’s applicable damage cap.
Contact Feller & Wendt Today
Idaho personal injury damage caps are just some of the laws you will have to navigate during your claim. The easiest way to work through these laws and obtain maximum compensation for your damages is by hiring an attorney. A personal injury lawyer in Boise can help you maximize your compensation up to the Idaho’s personal injury damage caps. You could increase your financial recovery and better understand your state’s related damage laws with help from an attorney.