The Idaho Tort Claims Act: Suing Government Agencies

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Sometimes, the party at fault for a tort is a government entity. How does legal liability work when that’s the case? Can you sue a government entity? Are there special rules that apply?

Claims against government entities in Coeur d’Alene and throughout Idaho are covered by the Idaho Tort Claims Act.

Our Idaho personal injury lawyers explain what you need to know about the Idaho Tort Claims Act.

Understanding the Idaho Tort Claims Act

What is the Idaho Tort Claims Act?

The Idaho Tort Claims Act is a law that creates liability for tort claims against government entities in Idaho. It allows victims to bring claims against units of government. The Act creates rules and requirements for these types of claims.

What is the law for the Idaho Tort Claims Act?

Idaho Statutes Title 6, Chapter 9, § 6-901- to § 6-929 is the Idaho Tort Claims Act. The Chapter of law is called Tort Claims Against Governmental Entities.

What government institutions fall under the Idaho Tort Claims Act?

The Idaho Tort Claims Act covers government entities. That means the State of Idaho and political subdivisions. It is a broad definition that covers most government agencies in the state.

Some government institutions that fall under the Idaho Tort Claims Act are:

  • State of Idaho agencies and departments
  • The Division of Motor Vehicles and Transportation Department
  • Courts including District Courts, Appeals Courts, Supreme Court and Bankruptcy Court
  • University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene, North Idaho College
  • School districts including the Coeur d’Alene School District
  • Fish and Game Department, Agricultural Department
  • House of Representatives and Senate
  • Secretary of State
  • State commissions and boards
  • Kootenai Health and other publicly owned hospitals
  • The City of Coeur d’Alene, its divisions and departments
  • Kootenai County, its divisions and departments
  • Coeur d’Alene airport, Pappy Boyington Field Airport
  • Government buildings, engineering and utilities departments
  • Road commissions at all government levels
  • State, county and local police departments and fire departments
  • Nursing homes owned and operated by government entities
  • Publicly owned and operated parks and recreational facilities

It’s not always obvious whether an organization is government owned. If the entity, agency or organization falls under the Idaho Tort Claims Act, the plaintiff must comply with the requirements of the Act when bringing their case.

Time Limits Under the Idaho Tort Claims Act

One of the most important things for injury victims to know about the Idaho Tort Claims Act is the timeline. The person must first give notice of their intent to file a claim. Then, they have another time limit for filing their claim.

What is the time limit for notice under the Idaho Tort Claims Act?

You have 180 days from the date of the injury or discovery of it to provide notice to the government agency. The injured party must present and file the notice with the clerk of the subdivision of government involved. (§ 6-905, § 6-906, § 6-907).

What needs to be provided in the notice?

An Idaho Tort Claims Act notice must describe the incident causing damage. It must describe the injury and amount of damages claimed. It should give the date, time, place and persons involved. The claimant must provide their residential address.

What if the person can’t provide notice?

If the victim is incapacitated and can’t provide their notice, if they are a minor or if they are a nonresident and absent from the state, a relative, attorney or agent representing the claimant may provide the notice. A minor has six years or until they reach the age of majority to present and file their claim. (§ 6-906A).

What if the person doesn’t know everything required to give notice?

Not having all the facts required to give notice doesn’t necessarily mean the notice is ineffective. You must provide the information you have, and you may not mislead the government entity in its investigation of your claim.

How long do you have to file a claim under the Idaho Tort Claims Act?

Claims under the Idaho Tort Claims Act must be brought within two years from the date the injury occurred or when it was discovered. (§ 6-911).

Idaho Tort Claims Act FAQs

Are punitive damages available?

No. A claimant may not receive punitive damages against a government entity in Idaho. (§ 6-918).

Can you sue both the government and the employees?

No. Recovery from the government entity completely bars recovery from an employee for the same subject matter. (§ 6-917).

How do I file notice for the Idaho Tort Claims Act against Coeur d’Alene?

To submit a personal injury or property damage notice against the City of Coeur d’Alene, you may submit your notice by mail, in person, email or fax.

The address to submit by mail or in person to Coeur d’Alene is:

Office of the City Clerk

Coeur d’Alene City Hall

710 E. Mullan Avenue

Coeur d’Alene, ID  83814

By email: cityclerk@cdaid.org

with the claimant’s name as the subject of the email.

By fax: (208) 769-2284

What happens after you submit a notice of claim under the Idaho Tort Claims Act?

Once you submit a notice of claim under the Idaho Tort Claims Act, the government has 90 days to respond. They may accept the claim and agree to pay damages. While it’s the result you hope for, this doesn’t often very happen. They may deny liability, or they may not respond at all. Then, it’s up to you to file your claim in court.

Having the government entity deny your claim doesn’t mean that you don’t have a good case. They’re hoping you’ll give up. It may be necessary to formally bring your claim in court to receive compensation. Sargent Law Firm Injury Lawyers in Idaho can represent you.

Is there a limit to the amount of compensation you can receive under the Idaho Tort Claims Act?

Claims against government entities are limited to $500,000 or actual damages, whichever is lower. If the government entity has purchased insurance with a higher limit, the insurance limit is the maximum amount of compensation. (§ 6-926).

Lawyers for Idaho Tort Claims Act

Have you been hurt in a way that involves a government entity? We are lawyers who handle Idaho personal injury cases. Let us help you pursue your case against the government and the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.

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