Individual States 

IDAHO

ASSUMPTION OF RISK

Assumption of risk is no longer available as an absolute bar to recovery in any action instituted in the state, unless plaintiff expressly assumes the risks involved. Salinas v. Vierstra, 695 P.2d 369 (Idaho 1985) .

Implied assumption of risk is part of comparative negligence, however claimant is never required to inspect the product for a defective condition, and recovery will only be reduced if the claimant failed to observe an obvious defect. Idaho Code §§6-1405, 6-801 .

CAPS ON NONECONOMIC DAMAGES

Noneconomic damages in personal injury or wrongful death actions are limited to $250,000 (increased annually every July 1st, beginning on 7/1/2004). However, there is no limitation for willful or reckless misconduct, or for an act which the trier of fact finds beyond a reasonable doubt would constitute a felony under state or federal law. Idaho Code §6-1603 .

COLLATERAL SOURCE RULE

In any personal injury or property damage actions, the award is reduced by the amount compensated independently from collateral sources, except those from federal programs which must seek subrogation, death benefits under life insurance contracts, benefits paid by a service corporation, disability payments from the U.S. Employment Service, health insurance, and those recoverable under subrogation rights created under Idaho law or by contract. Evidence of payment by collateral sources is admissible to the court after the finder of fact has rendered an award. Idaho Code §6-1606 .

COMPARATIVE FAULT

In any negligence or product liability action for wrongful death, property damage, or personal injury, contributory negligence is not a bar, and damages are diminished proportionately if claimant's fault is not as great as the individual fault of the person against whom recovery is sought. Idaho Code §6-1404, 6-801 .

Comparative negligence is not a defense for breach of warranty, and does not apply to intentional torts. Duff v. Bonner Bldg. Supply, Inc., 649 P.2d 391 (Idaho App. 1982) .

ECONOMIC LOSS

The economic loss rule prohibiting the recovery of purely economic losses in all tort actions has been adopted with the following exceptions:
1. Economic loss is recoverable in tort actions involving injury to person or property other than that which is the subject of the transaction; and
2. The "special relationship" exception applies to cases where the relationship between the parties is such that it would be fair to impose a duty to exercise due care to avoid purely economic loss. Duffin v. Idaho Crop Improvements, 126 Idaho 1002 (Idaho 1995) .

JOINT & SEVERAL LIABILITY

Pure several liability applies, except that joint and several liability is imposed on parties who act in concert or as an agent or servant of another party. Idaho Code §6-803 .

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Punitive damages require clear and convincing evidence of oppressive, fraudulent, malicious or outrageous conduct. A party may not file a claim for punitive damages, but may amend the pleadings to include a prayer for relief seeking punitive damages. This amended pleading will be granted only if the court concludes that there is a reasonable likelihood of proving the necessary facts at trial. Note that no dollar amount for general damages or punitive damages may be pleaded in the complaint. Idaho Code §6-1604(1) to (2) ; Idaho R. Civ. Proc. 9(g) .

Punitive damages may not exceed the greater of $250,000 or three times compensatory damages. Statutory limitations for noneconomic damages are not applicable to punitive damages. Idaho Code §6-1604(3) .

Punitive damages are allowed in wrongful death actions. Pfau v. Comair Holdings, Inc., 15 P.3d 1160 (Idaho 2000) .

RIGHT TO CONTRIBUTION

Where joint and several liability applies, a joint tortfeasor has a right to contribution if he has discharged the common liability by payment, or has paid more than his pro rata share. A joint tortfeasor who enters into a settlement is not entitled to recover contribution from another joint tortfeasor whose liability to the injured person is not extinguished by the settlement. Idaho Code §6-803 .

Recovery by the injured party against one joint tortfeasor does not discharge the other joint tortfeasors. A right to contribution does not affect any right of indemnity under existing law. Idaho Code §6-804 .

A release by the injured person of one joint tortfeasor does not discharge the other tortfeasors unless stipulated. However, the release does reduce the claim by the greater of the amount paid in consideration, or the amount stipulated. The released joint tortfeasor must still make contribution unless: (1) the release is given before the right to contribution has accrued; (2) the release provides for a reduction of the judgment against the remaining joint tortfeasors, in the amount of the pro rata share of the released tortfeasor; and (3) the issue of proportionate fault has been litigated between the joint tortfeasors in the same action. Idaho Code §§ 6-805, 6-806 .

SPECIAL DEFENSES

Sellers other than manufacturers are not liable where they do not have a reasonable opportunity to inspect the product in a manner which could reveal the existence of the defective condition. Under certain conditions, sellers will not be liable where the seller acquires the product in a sealed package or container and sells the product in the same sealed package or container. Idaho Code §6-1407 .

Evidence of changes in product design, warnings or instructions, technological feasibility, "state of the art," or industry custom after manufacture and delivery of the product is not admissible to prove defect or failure to warn. Idaho Code §6-1406 .

Unforeseeable misuse of a product is a defense in product liability which will reduce recovery by the claimant's comparative negligence. In addition, alteration or modification by the user reduces recovery in a similar manner, subject to certain conditions. Idaho Code §6-1405 .

A manufacturer shall receive reasonable attorney's fees and costs, and shall be indemnified by the product seller for any judgment rendered against the manufacturer: (a) if the seller provided the plans or specifications for the product; (b) if such specifications were a substantial cause of the product's alleged defect; and (c) if the product was manufactured in compliance with those specifications. However, this does not apply where the manufacturer knew or should have known of the defect in the product. Idaho Code §6-1407 .

STATUTES OF LIMITATION

Product liability actions shall be brought within two years. Idaho Code §6-1403(3) .

Breach of warranty actions shall be brought within four years. This period of limitation may be reduced in the original agreement to not less than one year, but may not be extended. Idaho Code §28-2-725 .

STATUTES OF REPOSE

Ten years after delivery of a product, the presumption that any harm was caused after the useful safe life of the product has expired can be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence. The statute of repose period:
(1) may be extended by warranty or promise;
(2) does not apply to intentional misrepresentation or fraudulent concealment;
(3) does not affect right to contribution or indemnity;
(4) does not apply to prolonged exposure to a defective product; and
(5) does not apply where the either the defect or the harm was not discoverable within ten years.

Idaho Code §6-1403(2) .

STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT

In civil actions based on personal injury or property damage, where future damages exceed $100,000, the court may, at the request of either party, enter judgment providing for periodic payment of that portion of the damages. Idaho Code §6-1602 .