What is the statute of limitations for a medical
malpractice lawsuit in Idaho?
Like a lot of states, Idaho has passed a specific statute of
limitations that affects the timeline of medical malpractice cases filed in the
state’s court system.
But first, in case your legalese is a little rusty, a “statute of
limitations” sets a time limit on a prospective plaintiff’s right to file a
lawsuit in court after suffering some kind of harm. If you try to file your
lawsuit after the deadline has passed, the defendant (that’s the person or
entity you’re trying to sue) will almost certainly file a motion to dismiss the
case, the court will grant the request, and that will be the end of your lawsuit.
So it’s crucial to pay attention to the statute of limitations as it applies to
your medical malpractice case.
Now, onto the specifics of the Idaho law. The standard statute of limitations
as it applies to a medical malpractice lawsuit can be found at Idaho
Statutes section 5-219, and it gives you two years to get your lawsuit filed. In most cases, the cause of
action “accrues” in Idaho (meaning that the clock starts running for purposes
of the deadline) “as of the time of
the occurrence, act or omission complained of” – the date on which the
error was committed, in other
But Idaho also recognizes a number of
exceptions to the two year deadline. Two of the most common situations are
those 1) involving “the placement and inadvertent, accidental or unintentional
leaving of any foreign object” -- such as a surgical sponge or instrument -- in
the body of the patient, and 2) where the patient’s injury has “been
fraudulently and knowingly concealed” by the defendant “for the purpose of
In those two scenarios, the statute
of limitations “clock” doesn’t start running until “the injured party knows or
in the exercise of reasonable care should have been put on inquiry” that he or
she was injured as a result of malpractice. Once that discovery is made (or
once it should have been made in the eyes of the law), it signals the start of
the two-year time period during which the lawsuit must be filed. (Get more
details on the Statute
of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases.)
by: David Goguen, J.D.