What is the Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Idaho?

Question

What is the Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Idaho?

Answer

Before we get into the specifics of the law in Idaho, let’s explain that a “statute of limitations” is a state law that puts a strict limit on the amount of time you can take to go to court and file a civil lawsuit. These deadlines differ depending on the kind of case you want to file, but the time limits are almost always expressed in years.

Idaho Statutes section 5-219 sets the statute of limitations that will apply to almost all injury lawsuits arising from a car accident. This law gives you two years to ask the Idaho civil courts for a remedy for any kind of personal injury caused by someone else. So, any injury lawsuit by a driver, passenger, motorcycle rider, bicyclist, or pedestrian after a vehicle accident will be subject to this two-year filing deadline, and the “clock” starts running on the date of the accident.

That same statute also governs any wrongful death lawsuit that might be filed by a family member or a representative of the estate of anyone who was killed as a result of the car accident. For these wrongful death claims, the two-year “clock” starts running on the date of the accident victim’s death (as opposed to the accident date). Learn more about Idaho Wrongful Death Claims.

Finally, if you had your vehicle or other personal property damaged as a result of the car accident, any lawsuit over the damage must be filed within three years of the date of the accident, and that time limit is set by Idaho Statutes section 5-218.

(Keep in mind that whatever kind of lawsuit you are bringing after a car accident, it will almost certainly hinge on whether someone’s negligence was the cause of the crash. Learn more about Proving Fault for a Car Accident.)

Having read all of this, you may be wondering what happens if you try to file your lawsuit after the statute of limitations deadline has already passed. In that situation, the defendant is sure to ask the court to dismiss the case, and the court is very likely to agree that a dismissal is appropriate. That’s why it’s crucial to understand and abide by the statute of limitations as it applies to your potential car accident lawsuit. So, if the statute of limitations deadline is approaching, it may be time to talk with an experienced Idaho car accident attorney.

by: David Goguen, J.D.

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