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Partially Responsible for a Car Accident in Idaho: Can You Sue?

Many car accident claims in Idaho involve liability disputes. You might have one version of events while the other driver has another. In Idaho, you still have the right to file a claim against a driver even if you think you were also responsible for causing the crash. It is important to understand how the courts deal with this type of claim in your state, however. In Idaho, the courts use a comparative negligence law.

Idaho’s Comparative Negligence Law

While you can still file a claim against someone else if you were partially responsible for the car accident in Idaho, your partial liability could reduce your compensatory award. This is the rule under Idaho’s comparative negligence doctrine, found in Section 6-801 of the Idaho Statutes. This law states that an injured party’s comparative negligence or comparative responsibility will not bar that person from compensation in an action to recover damages for another party’s negligence, gross negligence, or comparative responsibility resulting in injury or death. It will, however, reduce that party’s compensatory award accordingly.

If you were partially at fault for a car crash in Idaho, the courts will reduce your settlement or jury verdict by the amount of your fault. The courts will diminish your financial recovery in proportion to the percentage of fault or responsibility the courts assign to you for the car accident. This is why it is important to hire a Boise car accident attorney to help you with a complex personal injury claim. Your ability to prove the defendant’s fault – and defend yourself against comparative fault allegations – for a car accident can affect the final amount you receive in compensation.

Idaho’s comparative negligence law has a caveat, however – it states that this rule will apply only as long as the plaintiff’s comparative negligence was not as great as the fault of the defendant. This makes Idaho a modified comparative negligence state rather than a state that uses a pure rule. In a pure comparative negligence state, a plaintiff can still recover even with the majority share of fault. In Idaho, if the courts find you more than 50% responsible for the car accident, you will receive no financial recovery for your accident even if the defendant was partially to blame.

Joint and Several Liability in Idaho

Another law that could apply to a car accident case involving multiple at-fault parties is the doctrine of joint and several liability. Some states use this law to hold two or more defendants responsible for a plaintiff’s injuries. Section 6-803 of state law states that when multiple people (referred to as tortfeasors) cause an accident, the courts will issue a judgment against each party in an amount equal to his or her share of fault. In other words, each person responsible for causing a car accident in Idaho will be liable for his or her portion of the total damages awarded, not 100% of the victim’s damages.

Example of Comparative Fault

Idaho’s modified comparative fault law could reduce your compensatory award for a car accident claim. If, for example, you were crossing the road as a pedestrian when you did not have the right-of-way, but a driver was texting while driving and failed to see you, that driver could use comparative negligence as a defense to reduce what he or she owes you in compensation.

In this example, the courts would assess the evidence from both sides of the case to assign a portion of fault to each party. If the courts gave you 30% of fault for illegally crossing the road and the driver 70% for driving while distracted, you would receive 30% less compensation. For instance, you would receive $70,000 of a $100,000 judgment award instead of the full $100,000. Your portion of fault for a car accident in Idaho can directly affect your recovery award.

If you recently contributed to a car accident in Idaho and wish to seek compensation for your injuries, contact an attorney from Feller & Wendt, LLC for a free consultation. Our attorneys can help you navigate Idaho’s comparative negligence law during a car accident claim.

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