November 14th, 2019


All states have established some form of wrongful death statute for the families of victims of auto accidents under certain circumstances. Not only does the estate of the victim have standing for a personal injury claim, but families that are enduring hardships following the fact can file for damages when gross negligence is a factor in causation. Wrongful death claims can be very complicated legal matters that are always defended vigorously by the respondents and their insurance companies, many times going to a trial in order to receive a jury verdict. This means it is always vital to have an experienced Boise car accident attorney that can prove the claim in court.

Standing for a Wrongful Death Action in Idaho

Section 5-311 of the Idaho state code allows that families of a deceased individual can file a legal action against a negligent party when their family member has died due to significant negligence on the part of an identified respondent or group of negligent actors. This can include vicarious liability as well such as a trucking accident where the shipping company or a contractor contributed to the death. Section 15-1-201 designates who may sue and what can be claimed by specific family members or a family representative.

Proving the Claim

The fact that someone perishes in an accident is not sufficient when there is no extenuating evidence establishing gross negligence. Driving under the influence by the respondent party is a primary example of extenuating evidence, but is not necessarily grounds for wrongful death unless there is an egregious or aggravating issue such as an elevated blood-alcohol concentration reading directly connected to the accident. Comparative negligence is also a central issue in a wrongful death claim allowance when the decedent was driving. The comparative negligence bar for any financial recovery in Idaho is set at 50%, which means that at 50-50 fault accident would bar the decedent from a personal injury claim as well as a wrongful death claim for the family. Your Boise wrongful death attorney would be required to prove the respondent party was 51% or greater responsible for causing the accident. This legal stipulation alone is enough incentive for a respondent insurance company to fight either claim in a jury trial.

Potential Damages

While a personal injury claim will usually include financial compensation for medical bills, physical property, lost wages when they apply, and general damages for pain-and-suffering, wrongful death action claims are much different. Damages in a wrongful death claim are typically centered around loss of consortium for family members, loss of support for minor dependent children or other dependents, and loss of an ongoing relationship had the accident never occurred. Funeral expenses and other associated financial expenditures can also be claimed. Punitive damages could also be awarded beyond standard economic compensation in wrongful death claims, but punitive damages are non-economic and non-compensatory punishment for very serious fatality cases. These damages also must be awarded by a sympathetic jury after being convinced by your Boise wrongful death attorney that they are justified.

Contact Joe Frick Law PLLC in Boise ID

Wrongful death claims are easily the most serious of all personal injury situations and a family should never attempt handling a claim without experienced and aggressive legal representation. Idaho residents should always call Boise car accident attorney Joe Frick Law for comprehensive legal counsel.