Understanding Wrongful Death Claims in Idaho

Losing a loved one is an immensely painful experience, and it becomes even more distressing when that loss is due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions. In such cases, family members are left not only with emotional scars but also with financial burdens and a sense of injustice. 

Wrongful death claims offer a legal recourse for families to seek compensation and accountability for the loss of their loved one. In Idaho, these claims are governed by specific laws and procedures, the understanding of which is crucial for those seeking justice.

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Claim in Idaho?

A wrongful death claim in Idaho arises when an individual dies as a result of another party’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions. This could include various situations such as car accidents caused by drunk drivers, medical malpractice, defective products, or workplace accidents due to safety violations. Essentially, any situation where the deceased would have had grounds to pursue a personal injury claim had they survived can potentially lead to a wrongful death claim.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Idaho law specifies who can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. Generally, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate initiates the claim. However, the damages recovered through the claim are ultimately intended to compensate specific surviving family members who have suffered losses due to the death.

The Emotional Toll of Wrongful Death

Beyond the legal and financial aspects, the emotional toll of losing a loved one in a wrongful death is profound. Grieving family members often experience a range of emotions, including shock, anger, guilt, and profound sadness. The sudden and preventable nature of the death can make the grieving process even more challenging. It is essential for family members to seek support from friends, family, and mental health professionals during this difficult time.

Time Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

In Idaho, there is a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim. Generally, the claim must be filed within two years from the date of the deceased’s death. Failing to file within this time frame can result in the loss of your right to seek compensation. However, there are exceptions to this rule, so it’s important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to understand your rights and options.

Potential Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

The damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death claim vary depending on the circumstances of the case. Typically, damages may include medical expenses related to the deceased’s final injury or illness, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and benefits that the deceased would have earned, and compensation for the pain and suffering endured by the deceased before death. Additionally, surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for their own losses, such as loss of companionship, guidance, and support.

Settling a Wrongful Death Claim

In many cases, wrongful death claims are resolved through a settlement rather than going to trial. Settlements can offer a quicker resolution and allow families to avoid the emotional toll of a court case. However, it’s crucial to ensure that any settlement offer adequately compensates you for your losses. An experienced attorney can help negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf and advise you on whether to accept or pursue litigation.

The Role of Expert Witnesses

In wrongful death claims, expert witnesses often play a crucial role in establishing liability and damages. These specialists, such as accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, and economists, provide testimony based on their knowledge and experience. Their testimony can help clarify complex issues for the court and strengthen your case.

Wrongful Death vs. Criminal Charges

It’s important to note that a wrongful death claim is a civil matter, separate from any criminal charges that may be filed against the responsible party. Criminal charges, such as manslaughter or vehicular homicide, are brought by the state to punish the wrongdoer, whereas a wrongful death claim is brought by the family of the deceased to seek compensation for their losses.

Trustworthy, honest, efficient, and effective - all words that describe John Edwards and his staff! Working with the team at Hepworth Holzer helped me focus on getting well and not on the financial worries of my situation.

Kathy Crowley

John Edwards and his staff are excellent. They took the time to explain the process completely and worked hard to ensure I would get the most out of my settlement. John is a very caring lawyer who cares more about his cleint then the possible gain from the end results. He was able to work with my health insurance company to lower their reimbursement to the lowest possible amount and even ensured I would be taken care of with future claims by waiving co-pays for my shoulder and neck injury.

Lee Morris

Mr Holzer has an above-and-beyond, do the right thing approach to life. He is caring and thorough. I’m grateful to know him and have his assistance!

Sarah Brown

Charlie Hepworth provided excellent legal services to my husband and I. In 2015, I was struck by a semi-truck on the connector and spent five weeks in the hospital. Charlie was referred to us by a friend and we were so fortunate to have him on board. He was compassionate, knowledgeable, highly experienced, and guided us every step of the way. We are pleased with the outcome and having Charlie on our team certainly made the long process of recovery a bit easier.

Guy H.

I am writing specifically about John Kluksdal. The work that he did for me was nothing but amazing. When it was time to go into my settlement hearing, he worked extremely hard and was able to get a justifiable settlement. He's great!

Guy H.

The Importance of Seeking Legal Advice

Navigating a wrongful death claim can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with the complexities of Idaho’s legal system while grieving the loss of a loved one. Seeking the guidance of an experienced wrongful death attorney can provide you with the support and advocacy you need during this challenging time. An attorney can help you understand your rights, gather evidence to support your claim, and navigate the legal process on your behalf.

The Burden of Proof in Wrongful Death Claims

In wrongful death claims, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff — the party bringing the claim — to demonstrate that the defendant’s actions directly led to the death of their loved one. This burden can be significant, requiring extensive evidence and testimony to establish liability and quantify damages. Working with an attorney can alleviate some of this burden by allowing you to focus on grieving and healing while they handle the legal complexities of your case.

Related Videos

Rules of a Personal Injury Claim

Choosing a Personal Injury Attorney

The Healing Process After Loss

While pursuing a wrongful death claim can provide a sense of justice and closure, it’s essential to recognize that healing from the loss of a loved one is a gradual process that takes time. Grieving is a deeply personal journey, and there is no right or wrong way to mourn. Family members may find comfort in honoring their loved one’s memory, seeking support from others who have experienced similar losses, and finding healthy ways to cope with their grief.

Verdicts & Settlements


Medical Malpractice


Plane Crash/Wrongful Death


Commercial Truck Collision/Wrongful Death


Trucking Crash


Industrial Accident Case


Wrongful Death/Aviation


Auto Accident


Commercial Collision


Medical Malpractice


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Advocating for Idahoans 

At Hepworth Holzer, LLP, we understand the devastation that comes with losing a loved one in a wrongful death. Our compassionate team of attorneys is dedicated to advocating for justice on behalf of our clients while providing the support and guidance they need during this difficult time.

A wrongful death claim can never fully compensate for the loss of a loved one. Still, it can provide a sense of justice and financial stability for surviving family members. If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, don’t hesitate to seek legal help. 

Contact Hepworth Holzer, LLP today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you in seeking justice for your loved one.