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Who Can File for Wrongful Death in Idaho?

When it comes to wrongful death lawsuits, Idaho is one of the more permissive states. Relatives who were partly or wholly dependent on the person who died may file a claim for damages directly. Under Section 5-311 of the Idaho Statutes:

When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another, his or her heirs or personal representatives on their behalf may maintain an action for damages against the person causing the death.”

The law goes on to define heirs as:

  • Individuals who would be entitled to the decedent’s property under Idaho’s Uniform Probate Code
  • The decedent’s spouse, children, stepchildren, and parents
  • Blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters who were financially dependent on the decedent
  • Illegitimate children (in some situations)

Many of these categories cross over, as the decedent’s spouse and children are likely entitled to the decedent’s property via probate. Nevertheless, Idaho explicitly protects the legal rights of surviving spouses, children, stepchildren, and parents.

Heirs may file their lawsuit directly, or the decedent’s personal representative may file on their behalf. Many states do not allow heirs to file directly, which can lead to confusion, but Idaho’s legal channels are more open.

Where Do Damages Go?

Unlike other states, which only award damages to the deceased person’s estate, Idaho awards damages directly to the people who file the lawsuit (the plaintiffs).

Damages for the loss of “care, comfort, and society” of the decedent are awarded to each family member. As of July 1, 2003, however, these so-called non-economic damages are capped at $250,000 per family member.

Economic damages, on the other hand, are not capped or limited in any way. They help family members cope with the expenses related to their loved one’s death.

Family members can recover funds for:

  • Their loved one’s final medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of household services

Idaho’s wrongful death laws focus on helping family members recover financially after their loved one’s untimely death. Our wrongful death lawyers at May, Rammell & Wells know these laws inside and out and are dedicated to making them work on behalf of our clients.

We have been helping families like yours since 1976, and we are ready to put our 70+ years of collective legal experience on your side.

If you have lost a loved one to someone else’s negligence, please accept our deepest condolences.

You can also call us at (208) 623-8021 or contact us online to discuss your legal options during a free consultation.

Our team at May, Rammell & Wells is here for you during this difficult time.


What Makes Our Firm Different?

  • 70+ Years of Collective Experience
  • Passionate About the Pursuit of Justice
  • Full-Service Law Firm
  • We Are Not Afraid to Take Your Case to Trial
  • Committed to the Highest Level of Integrity
  • Backed by a History of Success

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