How Does Shared Fault Work in Idaho Personal Injury Lawsuits?

Personal injury lawsuits are meant to provide accident victims with a legal remedy for their losses. People who get injured due to the fault of another person should not bear the burden by themselves. The one who caused the problems should pay for the damages. The question is this: How do we determine fault and payments?

States have their own way of dealing with this type of lawsuit. In Idaho, the jury will have the last say on the matter. They may find that one party is solely responsible for the injuries. Computing payments would then be straightforward. They may also conclude that both parties had some degree of fault. How does shared fault work in Idaho personal injury lawsuits?

Contributory vs. Comparative Fault

There are two theories concerning fault that is shared by more than one party. States that adhere to contributory fault are strict when it comes to the recovery of damages. They will only recognize the victim’s right to compensation if they did not contribute in any way to the accident. If their actions helped to bring about their injuries, then they forfeit their ability to collect payments. This harsh approach to suits makes it difficult for victims to get financial assistance for their predicament. Even minor contributions can become a catalyst for failure.  

Most states have shifted from the contributory to comparative fault rule. Idaho is one of these states. With this change, victims may still collect damages even if they are partially to blame for the accident. As long as the other party has the majority of the fault, they can still be confident in launching a suit and getting a favorable ruling. Defendants cannot walk away from responsibility just by exposing a small mistake on the part of the plaintiff. Since nuances are important, the jury must carefully study all of the elements of each case.  

The 50/50 Rule

Payment for damages in contributory fault states are either 100 percent or 0 percent. There is no in between. Meanwhile, the payments for comparative fault states will depend on the assigned degree of responsibility. If the injured person is 10 percent at fault, then the maximum payment he can hope for is 90 percent. The amount will always be reduced by the degree of fault.

It is also important to note that Idaho uses the 50/50 rule in shared fault cases. This states that injured persons whose responsibility for the accident is 50 percent or more cannot collect payments. This makes sense since two people who are equally at fault cancel each other out in terms of legal liability.

Things to Remember

It can be argued that comparative fault is more favorable to injured persons, as they are more likely to collect payment for damages. Small mistakes on their part cannot be used to invalidate their claim. On the other hand, the defendant will still try to pin as much blame as possible on the plaintiff to lower payments to a minimum. Make sure that you hire an experienced Boise personal injury lawyer who can develop a winning strategy for these cases.

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