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Idaho Car Accident Report Basics

The sickening thud of another car hitting yours is a sensation you won't forget quickly. Along with the impact come several questions. Who caused the accident? How will my car get fixed? What will happen to my auto insurance? Where should the money for the medical bills from my personal injury come from?

Many of the answers will come from the Idaho car accident police report. This document will be used by the insurance companies to help determine which driver was responsible and how much the accident victims are entitled to.

In addition to highlighting the importance of the police accident report, this article also examines other important facets of your post-accident world. You'll learn about the roles fault and negligence play in Idaho accident laws, how liability auto insurance works, and what you should and shouldn't do in the moments following a motor vehicle crash.

You may not be able to avoid a car accident, but you can be prepared just in case. Read on to learn about Idaho car accident police reports.

Car Accident Laws in the State of Idaho

Idaho's automotive laws strive to create the safest driving environment possible. It can be tough to know all of them. For example, did you know that both mechanical auto repair shops and body shops are required by law to report all cars with at least $1,500 worth of damage to law enforcement? This is to catch hit-and-run drivers. Let's look at some other meaningful traffic laws.

Mandatory Liability Auto Insurance in Idaho

Most injuries and damages caused by auto accidents are covered by liability auto insurance. The state of Idaho requires all drivers to have a certain amount of liability insurance on their vehicles. The minimum amounts permitted are:

  • $25,000 liability insurance coverage for bodily injury or death for a person in a single accident
  • $50,000 liability insurance coverage for bodily injury or death for more than one person in a single accident
  • $15,000 liability insurance coverage for injury to property in a single accident

These are the coverages for legal liability insurance in Idaho. However, the amounts may not cover the damages awarded. This would make you responsible for the amount that exceeds your policy limits. With increased coverage amounts, you'll have higher premiums, but it's a trade-off to consider.

Dealing with insurance companies after an auto accident can make you feel like you're trying to wrestle smoke. For a concise, step-by-step explanation of how your claim will play out and how long it might take to reach a resolution, check out FindLaw's Idaho Car Accident Settlement Process and Timeline article.

Fault and Negligence Laws in Idaho

If you've ever been in a store with a sign that says, "You break it, you buy it," you understand the basic idea behind Idaho's at-fault laws. The person who carries the most blame for causing the accident is considered the at-fault driver. They're responsible for compensating the accident victims for their losses. Most commonly, this is via liability auto insurance.

Idaho uses the doctrine of modified comparative negligence as well, which affects recovery in a couple of ways. If the at-fault driver is determined to be responsible for more than 50% of the causation of the motor vehicle crash, they are barred from receiving any damages. Those at 50% or less are eligible to be awarded damages, but their settlement will be reduced by their percentage of blame.

These systems can be confusing, so let's look at an example. You were in a car crash, and your damages were calculated to be $9,000. When the blame is decided, you're found to be 10% at fault. Your final amount received would be $8,100 (10% of $9,000 is $900, so $9,000 - $900 = $8,100).

When you're trying to get enough to fix your car or pay medical bills, it's crucial to understand how Idaho's laws work. You can gain a better understanding from FindLaw's Idaho Car Accident Compensation Laws article.

If you ever feel like you're out of your depth, consider getting legal advice from a car accident lawyer.

What To Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident in Idaho

It can be difficult to think straight in the moments following a car accident. If you can, take a deep breath and try to reorient yourself. All Idaho drivers have legal responsibilities at an accident scene, so do your best to remember what you can.

Even if you're not sure there was any damage, make sure to stop at the scene of the accident. Leaving without exchanging contact information and insurance can be considered a hit-and-run crime.

The health and well-being of all involved should be the primary concern. Check on everyone, including yourself. If someone is seriously injured, call 911 and alert them to the severity of the injury.

You are required to call for law enforcement if any of the following conditions apply:

  • There is an injury
  • There is a fatality
  • There is more than $1,500 of property damage

Given how expensive repairing vehicles can be, it's not a bad idea to call the police even if there are no injuries and the damage seems minor. If you're in a municipality, call the local police. If you’re out of town or on a highway, contact the county sheriff or the Idaho State Police (ISP).

Take pictures of the scene of the accident. If vehicles can be driven, move them to a safer location nearby. While waiting for law enforcement, exchange contact information and insurance information with the other driver(s). If there are any witnesses, get their information and a witness statement.

If you can, let your insurance carrier know about the accident as soon as possible. Getting an insurance adjuster assigned to your case quickly can speed up the entire car accident claim process.

Idaho Car Accident Police Report

When law enforcement arrives, expect them to take control of the scene of the accident. After assessing any injuries, the responding officer will create the Idaho vehicle crash report. They'll speak to everyone who was part of the accident and any witnesses, recording all statements on the report.

The police officer will also gather observational data from the scene of the accident. Some items that will be entered into the accident report include:

  • Diagrams showing the vehicle positions, where they were coming from, and the impact points
  • Driver's license numbers, date of birth, address, insurance policy information, and contact information for all drivers
  • Weather conditions
  • Type of roadway and its condition
  • Traffic signals and signs
  • Lighting
  • Exact location (streets, mile marker, etc.)
  • Injuries, treatments, and medical facilities involved
  • Sobriety of drivers

It's important to note that it's not the officer's job to determine fault. Their report should be written from an objective viewpoint. While the report will help determine blame and negligence, the officer was not a witness.

You’ll need copies of the police accident report for your insurance claim and any property damage or personal injury lawsuits you may file. You can get a copy from the police department or a sheriff's station in the accident’s jurisdiction.

If the ISP responded to your accident, you can request a copy from their website. You can order a .pdf copy filed by any law enforcement agency through the Highway Safety section of the Idaho Transportation Department for $7 plus a transaction fee. The initial availability depends on the law enforcement agency filing it, which could take several weeks.

Unlike many other states, vehicle crash reports are public information in Idaho. This means the ability to buy reports isn't limited to accident participants and insurance companies.

Idaho Car Crash Report Summary

The chart below summarizes the Idaho vehicle crash report information you've learned about, along with handy links to the corresponding codes.

Relevant Idaho Accident Statutes

Idaho Statutes Title 49. Motor Vehicles:

Idaho Statutes Title 6. Actions in Particular Cases:

  • Section 6-801 - Comparative negligence or comparative responsibility

Idaho Statutes Title 5. Proceedings in Civil Actions in Courts of Record:

Civil Statute of Limitations:

Immediate Accident Reporting

You must immediately notify the police when the accident results in:

  • Any person is injured or killed

  • Property damage of any one person exceeds $1,500

Purchasing a Crash Report

Crash report request form - Division of Motor Vehicles

Note: State laws are subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts that include federal decisions, ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Additional Resources: Idaho Car Accident Police Reports

Contact an Idaho Attorney After Your Accident

After a car accident, many people avoid or delay retaining an attorney because it seems like an additional hassle. However, when you're injured or suffer significant property damage, being properly compensated for a personal injury claim can quickly turn into a complex legal process.

An attorney can negotiate with the car insurance company and make sure you receive fair compensation. Consider contacting an Idaho car accident attorney.

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