Middleton, ID Car Accident Lawyer
Idaho Car Accident Attorney Serving Clients in Middleton
Car accidents can happen in a split second. When a crash occurs, drivers and their passengers can sustain severe and life-threatening injuries. In collisions in Middleton, ID, those car accident injuries can make it difficult or even impossible to return to work. Moreover, those injuries can require weeks, months, and sometimes even years of medical care and rehabilitation. If you were injured in a crash in Middleton, you should not have to pay the price if the accident resulted from another party’s negligence or error.
At Hansen Injury Law, we are dedicated to providing aggressive yet compassionate representation for each of our clients. We know how devastating a motor vehicle accident can be, and we work tirelessly to obtain fair and just representation for injury victims throughout Idaho. An experienced Middleton, ID car accident lawyer at our firm can discuss your case with you today.
Getting the Facts About Car Accidents in Middleton
How often do car accidents happen in Middleton, Idaho? What are some of the most common causes of crashes in the state? The following facts and figures were reported by the Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety:
- Between 2014 and 2015, the rate of motor vehicle crashes rose in Idaho by 8.5 percent, and within that same period, fatalities rose by more than 16 percent;
- In 2015, there were more than 24,000 auto accidents in the states and 198 fatal collisions;
- 1,351 serious auto accident injuries occurred in Idaho in 2015, and 216 fatalities occurred that same year;
- 64 percent of all crashes—from noninjury to fatal collisions—in Idaho happen on urban roads;
- Nearly 80 percent of fatal crashes occur on rural roads;
- About 40 percent of all deadly collisions resulted from impaired driving in 2015;
- In impaired driving crashes that resulted in at least one fatality, the individual who sustained fatal injuries was either the impaired driver or a passenger of the impaired driver in almost 90 percent of the accidents;
- Aggressive driving contributes to more than 50 percent of all crashes in Idaho;
- Distracted driving played a role in at least 23 percent of all collisions; and
- Younger drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 are disproportionately involved in traffic accidents, and are 2.6 times more likely than older drivers to be involved in a collision.
To be clear, there are many different causes of car accidents in Middleton, Idaho, but in most cases, the crashes involve a driver’s negligent, careless, or reckless behavior. The most common reasons for collisions include:
- Aggressive driving, which includes speeding, following too closely, and weaving between lanes of traffic;
- Distracted driving, which can involve talking or texting on a cell phone, as well as changing a radio station or inputting information into a GPS device; and
- Impaired driving, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Damages in a Middleton Auto Accident
If you are injured in a Middleton auto accident, what types of damages can you expect to receive if you file a car accident claim? Most car accident injury victims in Idaho can be eligible for two types of compensatory damages: economic damages and noneconomic damages. What is the difference between the two?
- Economic damages compensate a plaintiff for direct financial losses, which can include hospital and surgery bills, medication costs, costs of doctor’s office visits, rehabilitation and physical therapy bills, and lost wages resulting from the inability to work.
- Noneconomic damages compensate a plaintiff for losses that are not financial in nature and are more subjective, which can include pain and suffering or the loss of enjoyment of life.
As you might imagine, it is much more difficult to quantify noneconomic damages. What is one person’s pain and suffering worth in terms of dollars? Given the subjective nature of noneconomic damages, they are typically determined on a case-by-case basis. It is important to recognize that Idaho is also one of a handful of states with a cap on noneconomic damages. In 2003, a cap—or limit—of $250,000 in noneconomic damages went into effect. This cap is adjusted annually for inflation, and the State of Idaho Industrial Commission provides a chart to help plaintiffs calculate the cap on damages in a given year. In 2017, for example, the cap on noneconomic damages, taking inflation into account, was $345,351.04. As such, even if a jury awarded a plaintiff $1,000,000 in noneconomic damages in a case that was decided last year, that plaintiff would only have been able to recover a maximum of $345,351.04.
In a very small number of cases, the plaintiff also may be eligible to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are not designed to compensate a plaintiff, but rather to punish a defendant and deter similar behavior in the future. Under Idaho Code Section 6-1604, a plaintiff may be able to recover punitive damages if she can “prove, by clear and convincing evidence, oppressive, fraudulent, malicious or outrageous conduct by the party against whom the claim for punitive damages is asserted.” In other words, if a car accident results from particularly egregious behavior by the defendant, punitive damages may be a possibility.
How Much Time Do I Have to File My Claim?
The statute of limitations sets the specific amount of time that you have to file your lawsuit. Under Idaho Code Section 5-219, a plaintiff injured in a car accident typically has two (2) years from the date of the accident to file her claim. After that time passes, state law bars you from seeking compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
In some situations, the statute of limitations may be shorter. For example, if the claim is against the local or state government, you may have only 180 days to file a notice of claim. As such, it is extremely important to discuss your case with a Middleton auto accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Middleton, ID
Do you need help filing a car accident claim in Idaho? An experienced Middleton car accident attorney can assist you with your case. Contact Hansen Injury Law today to get started.