Idaho Governmental Tort Claims

Suing a government entity for personal injuries you have sustained can be a real challenge. In most cases, there are legal hoops you have to jump through before you can even bring a lawsuit.

Most cases begin with a Tort Claims Notice that has to be sent to the governmental entity involved. It is easy to run afoul of the procedural requirements involved with a Tort Claims Notice, and that is why you need an experienced law firm like ours to help guide you through the governmental bureaucracy.

Idaho’s Tort Claims Notice Requirements

If your claim involves any of the following types of entities or their employees, you will need to file a Tort Claims Notice before you can bring suit:

  • State office or department;
  • State agency, authority, commission or board;
  • State hospital;
  • State college or university;
  • County;
  • City;
  • Municipal Corporation;
  • Health District;
  • School District;
  • Irrigation District;
  • Special Improvement or Taxing District;
  • Hospital or Nursing Home established by a County or City;
  • Any other State or local governmental entity

When does the Tort Claims Notice have to be filed?

The tort claims notice has to be filed within 180 days of the date of your injuries. If you do not file your tort claims notice within this time frame, then you will not have the right to sue for your injuries.

Where does the Tort Claims Notice have to be filed?

It depends on the governmental entity involved in the incident. It can be difficult to figure out where the claim needs to be filed because it is not always clear whether the entity involved is legally considered the state or one of its political subdivisions. We recommend consulting with an attorney to help figure this out.

Is there a form?

There is no special form to fill out, but the Tort Claims Notice does have to contain certain information. The Tort Claims Notice has to specify:

  • The conduct and circumstances which brought about the injury;
  • The nature of the injury or damage;
  • The time and place the injury or damage occurred;
  • The names of all persons involved;
  • The amount of damages claimed: Be careful when specifying the damages claimed. You may not be able to recover any amounts above what you have specified;
  • The residence of the claimant at the time of filing the Tort Claims Notice;
  • The residence of the claimant for a period of six months before the filing of the Tort Claims Notice

The Tort Claims Notice needs to be signed by the claimant. If the claimant is incapacitated or is a minor or is a nonresident of the state of Idaho, then a Tort Claims Notice can be filed by any relative, attorney, or agent representing the claimant.

What happens after I file a Tort Claims Notice?

The governmental entity involved in the incident has 90 days to respond to a Tort Claims Notice. There are three types of responses that the governmental entity may make:

(1) admit the claim and offer to settle;
(2) deny the claim; or (3) fail to respond within the 90-day time frame. If the governmental entity denies the claim or fails to respond within the 90-day time frame, then you have the right to sue. If the governmental entity offers to settle the claim and the offer is acceptable to you, then the claim is resolved without suit. You are the only one who can settle your claim. If you are not satisfied with a settlement offer, you do not have an obligation to accept it. You can reject the offer and file suit to recover more money.

Is there a limit to the damages that can be recovered from a governmental entity?

Maybe. In many cases, a person who has a claim against a governmental entity may not be able to recover more than $500,000 for his or her injuries. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. It is important to discuss these exceptions with your attorney.

Can I recover punitive damages against a governmental entity?

No. Idaho law unequivocally states that punitive damages are not allowed against a governmental entity. There are other tort claims notice requirements for claims against the federal government and its agencies and departments.

If you have a claim against a government office, consult with an attorney immediately. There are important time limitations on your claim.