There may be no event more devastating than losing your loved one in a fatal auto collision or other type of accident. Our experienced and compassionate lawyers at Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., may never truly understand the loss that you suffered from the death of your family member, but we will strive to help you move past this difficult time by pursuing compensation on your behalf.
What is a wrongful death case in Idaho?
Almost all wrongful death lawsuits are filed when somebody dies as a result of the carelessness and negligence of another person, business or governmental entity. Rather than the criminal justice system, wrongful death lawsuits are governed by Idaho’s civil justice system. On that basis, courts have the authority to award money damages to parties who prove their cases by a preponderance of the evidence.
A preponderance of the evidence
Since a civil case is different than a criminal case, the burden of proof is different too. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, the person claiming to be damaged need only prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. That means his or her version of the events and damages is more likely true than not true.
Who is eligible to recover damages in an Idaho wrongful death case?
Heirs of the decedent are the only people who are allowed to recover damages in an Idaho wrongful death case. Direct heirs include but aren’t limited to a surviving husband or wife, children, parents or adopted children who are dependents of the decedent.
Damages recoverable in Idaho wrongful death cases
Some states have caps on damages in wrongful death cases. Idaho has no such caps for economic damages. Economic damages include the decedent’s medical bills and future financial support along with funeral and burial costs. They might also include the loss of the value of the services that the decedent contributed to his or her household. Non-economic damages like loss of care, comfort and companionship are also recoverable, but the Idaho legislature has capped those at $250,000 per family.
Wrongful death statute of limitations
The general rule in Idaho is that a wrongful death case must be filed within two years of the decedent’s death. There are some exceptions to this rule, but in nearly all cases, if the case is not filed within that limitations period, it is likely to be forever barred.
Most states have survival statutes that allow the estate of the decedent to sue for damages suffered in an accident before he or she dies. Idaho has no such statute. Even compensation for pain and suffering before the victim’s death isn’t allowed by an applicable statute, but there are other alternatives for recovery.
Contact us today
If you lost a family member as a result of the carelessness and negligence of somebody else in Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene, or surrounding areas in Idaho, contact us as soon as possible, and we can arrange for a free case consultation and evaluation.
Representing the heirs of a decedent who was suddenly killed can be a complex endeavor. Beware of attorneys who don’t have the knowledge or resources to properly bring the case. You’ll want aggressive and successful attorneys who are highly respected by judges and insurance defense lawyers.