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Idaho’s Special Rules for Medical Malpractices Cases

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Idaho’s Special Rules for Medical Malpractices Cases

By Jarom Whitehead

The “Gem state” is a wonderful place to live. My family and I absolutely love it. But when it comes to medical malpractice claims, many people don’t know that there are special rules that apply in Idaho. Fortunately, I have brought and won many medical malpractice claims for my Idahoan clients. In fact, my partners and I have been representing medical negligence plaintiffs for decades. So, in this article I hope to share some of my experience and briefly discuss some of the special rules that apply to Idaho medical malpractices cases.  

Idaho’s Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

For Idaho medical malpractice cases, the two-year statute of limitations is the same as other personal injury cases. This means that to bring a medical malpractice claim in Idaho, you have two years to file your claim. Otherwise you lose that right. There are a few limited exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations which we can explain further in an initial consultation. But, if you were injured by a healthcare provider’s medical negligence, you should speak to us as soon as possible to avoid losing your right to bring the claim.

Idaho’s medical malpractice statute of limitations can be found online at Idaho Code§ 5-219(2).

Idaho’s Pre-litigation Screening Requirement

In Idaho, a person suing for medical negligence is required to file an application with the pre-trial screening panel with the Idaho Board of Medicine. This screening panel is its own special administrative process, separate and apart from your primary court case. We have extensive experience with these panels, and we can explain how this special procedural rule can affect your case.  

Idaho’s pre-litigation screening requirement statute can be found online at Idaho Code § 6-1001.

Idaho’s Damage Cap for Medical Malpractice Cases

In Idaho, a person effected by medical negligence cannot collect more than approximately $350,000 in non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case. The maximum amount recoverable, known as the damage cap, is adjusted each year depending on various economic factors. Non-economic damages are “subjective” damages like physical pain and suffering and emotional harm. Other “concrete” damages like medical bills, however, are not capped.

For some cases, there are certain exceptions to the damage cap. For example, if the medical professional acted recklessly, willfully, or if the acts would be a felony under criminal law. Of course, we can explain these exceptions and how damage caps might apply to your case in an initial consultation.

Idaho’s medical malpractice damage cap rule can be found in part at Idaho Code§ 6-1603.

Idaho’s Local Standard of Care Rule

Another special rule for medical malpractice cases involves the evidence required to prove medical negligence occurred. In Idaho the law requires a medical expert to be qualified to provide testimony for a medical malpractice claim. This means that to successfully bring a medical malpractice claim, you have to provide an expert in the same specialty as the doctor who’s allegedly at fault, and that person must know the local standard of care at the time the negligence was allegedly committed. Then, that person must testify that the doctor breached the local standard of care.

Idaho’s medical malpractice local standard of care rule can be found online at Idaho Code § 6-1012.

Idaho’s Special Locality Rule Creates Special Challenges

The local standard of care rule mentioned above can create a serious challenge for injured Idahoans. This is because most local doctors who specialize in the same field as the doctor who’s allegedly at fault don’t want to testify against another doctor within their community. So, our attorneys often have to broaden our search find an expert witness for the case. Sometimes, we can establish the standard of care to be a national standard that applies to all board-certified doctors. But this depends on each case and its unique facts.

We have extensive experience with the special rules in Idaho. After trying these cases for decades, we have noticed that understanding these rules and navigating them correctly can make all the difference in your medical malpractice case. Our firm is ready to handle these unique challenges and get you the compensation you deserve.  

Call attorney Jarom Whitehead for a free consultation and case review at 208-336-2552.