Idaho Personal Injury Law
Statutes of Limitations: The amount of time you have to sue whoever caused your injury or damage.
- Personal Injury – 2 years from the act that caused the injury
- Damage to Personal Property – 3 years
- Medical Malpractice – 2 years from when the injury is, or should have been discovered
- Legal Malpractice – 2 years
- Other Professional Malpractice – 2 years
Where to Sue:
- Personal injury claims under $5,000 - Idaho Small Claims Court (part of the Magistrate Division)
- Personal injury claims between $5,000-$10,000 - Idaho Magistrate Division
- Personal injury claims over $10,000 - Idaho District Court
How to Sue:
Small Claims Court:
- Forms: Claim Form (Form SC1-2); Summons (Form SC1-1).
- Where to file: Where the defendant lives, or where the injury occurred.
- Notifying the defendant: The Idaho Claim and Summons forms should be delivered to the defendant by a sheriff or an uninterested adult over age 18, or be mailed to the defendant by certified or registered mail.
- Proving the defendant was notified: File an Affidavit of Service (Form SC2-1) with the Idaho Small Claims Court in the Magistrate Division where you filed suit. If defendant was served by mail, the return receipt is sufficient proof of service.
- Attorneys: Not allowed in Idaho Small Claims Court.
- Appealing a small claim: Either side may appeal the decision of an Idaho Small Claims Court for a new trial within 30 days of the initial judgment.
Idaho Magistrate Division: Prior to filing your personal injury lawsuit, you should get legal advice to insure that you do not misfile your case. Misfiling your claim may result in the dismissal of your case, or other undesirable consequences.
- Forms: Complaint and Summons.
- How to File: The clerk of the Magistrate Division where you intend to sue should be handed the Complaint and Summons. Following the filing of the case, the defendant should be served with the Complaint and Summons, and an Affidavit of Service should be filed with the clerk of the Magistrate Division where you filed your case.
What to Do if You Are Being Sued:
- Time to respond to a Summons in Idaho: 20 days.
- Notify your insurance carrier of the incident which caused the plaintiff’s injury. Your insurance may supply an attorney for you. But, if your insurance does not provide a lawyer, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney to defend yourself.
What to Do if a Judgment Was Entered Against You:
You face a default judgment if you do not respond to an Idaho Complaint and Summons within 20 days of receiving the Complaint. Being in default means that the court enters judgment for the plaintiff, and you must pay that judgment because in not responding your missed your opportunity to defend yourself.
- Time to Set Aside a Judgment in Idaho:
- An Idaho court can set aside a judgment for mistake, surprise, inadvertence, excusable neglect, misrepresentation, fraud or misconduct of an adverse party, or newly discovered evidence not more than six months after the default judgment was entered
- Defending against a default judgment can be a complex process, and seeking the advice of a lawyer is highly recommended.
Ways to Collect Your Judgment:
- Sometimes the defendant refuses to pay when you win a judgment against him in your personal injury case. If this is the case, consult an Idaho collection attorney about your best course of action. Some of your options include garnishment and placing a lien on the defendant’s property.