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A 2023 statistic report by Becker’s ASC Review states that Idaho ranks 47th out of all the states in the U.S. for medical malpractice cases, with a total number of 133. This means that the number of Idaho’s medical malpractice issues is considerably lower compared to other states. 

This result may be attributed to the high level of expertise among the medical professionals in the state, leading to a higher standard of care and a lower likelihood of negligence or errors occurring. In fact, in a recent study conducted by the personal finance website WalletHub, Idaho placed third for employing skilled medical professionals.

However, no matter how skilled a healthcare provider may be, mistakes are always possible while providing treatment, thus leading to a medical malpractice case. Patients in Idaho have suffered from strokes, brain injuries, or invasive and unwanted surgeries while receiving medical care.

In these situations, it is important for plaintiffs to determine if they have a valid medical malpractice case and how they can be compensated for their injuries. They must also be aware of the filing deadlines and the costs associated with the process.

This article will delve into each of these aspects to consider if you think you or your loved one is a victim of medical malpractice in Idaho.

What Qualifies as Medical Malpractice in Idaho?

Medical malpractice and medical negligence can be two confusing terms, as it may seem like they deliver the same meaning. However, in Idaho and other states in the U.S., these terms are completely used in different situations.

In Idaho, the actions of a healthcare provider who performs their duties below the required standard of care may lead to accusations of medical negligence. If their negligent actions cause injury or death to a patient who received treatment from them, the case will then escalate to a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Examples of common medical malpractice cases in the state include incorrect administration or prescription of medicine, misuse of medical equipment, errors in performing surgery, and negligent actions contributing to birth injuries.

Who Can You Sue for Medical Malpractice in Idaho?

If you suffered injuries due to a medical malpractice case in Idaho, you can file a case against the medical provider, such as doctors, nurses, dentists, or physical therapists. You may also sue establishments like hospitals and nursing homes responsible for your damages.


While it is discussed that healthcare providers who performed negligent acts will be sued for medical malpractice, certain exemptions apply to different situations. The sections below will discuss specific scenarios where a healthcare provider cannot be held liable for negligence.

Sovereign Immunity

Sovereign immunity typically exempts government bodies from being held liable for lawsuits. This is because this immunity allows government bodies in the U.S. to have their own set of standards when it comes to legal liability. It also enables them to decide which specific law they can overrule. 

However, this immunity does not apply in the state, via the Idaho Tort Claims Act, which holds government entities liable for torts such as medical malpractice claims.

This means that if the government or its employees have neglected their duties, they can be sued for monetary damages. This employee can refer to people like supervisory physicians who are affiliated with licensed ambulance services and responsible for establishing medical policies and patient care guidelines.

If these types of employees committed negligence that led to a patient's injury, note that the government will only cover its fair share of the damages and will not be blamed for their entirety. 

Good Samaritan Law

If a civilian is voluntarily helping a person in need of medical assistance, such as first aid or CPR, they are under the protection of Idaho’s Good Samaritan Law. This means that they will not be sued for any mistake made during the process of giving medical care as long as they are not careless in their actions.

This protection will only stop once the injured individual has been loaded in an ambulance, taken to the hospital, and received professional medical care.

Medical Malpractice Liability Insurance Requirements

What Is the Minimum Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirement in Idaho?

Idaho does not have any minimum requirements for medical malpractice insurance. In fact, it is one of the many states in the U.S. that does not require its healthcare providers to carry this policy. But even if this coverage is not required, some healthcare facilities in Idaho still mandate their medical providers, like visiting physicians, to carry medical malpractice insurance.

Who Needs Medical Malpractice Insurance in Idaho?

Other than doctors, physicians, and hospitals, there are a variety of healthcare providers in Idaho who can benefit from carrying medical malpractice insurance to protect them from lawsuits filed by their patients. These include:

  • Physicians and surgical assistants

  • Nurse practitioners

  • Ancillary healthcare professionals

  • Optometrists.

Facilities like medical spa services and weight-loss clinics may also benefit from the coverage that medical malpractice insurance provides.

How Much Coverage Do You Need in a Medical Malpractice Insurance in Idaho?

Since there is no minimum requirement for medical malpractice insurance in Idaho, you are going to have to follow the one set by the facility you belong to. For instance, if the medical facility you work in requires a minimum coverage of $200,000 to $600,000, you are advised to purchase a policy in this amount.

Factors That Affect Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates in Idaho

Various factors can affect the rates of medical malpractice insurance in Idaho. These aspects include the type and amount of coverage, the specific county, and the history of claims that a policyholder has made.

Simply put, the more policies you have on your insurance plan, the higher the cost. These policies include occurrence and claims-made policies, along with tail and nose coverage.

What Is the Statute of Limitations in Idaho for Medical Malpractice Cases?

In Idaho, the plaintiff has two years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a negligent healthcare provider from the date that the injury happened. However, this statute of limitations typically applies if the injury is immediately visible.

In instances where the injury is discovered late, the plaintiff will only have one year to file a case. Additionally, there are cases where the deadline for filing will be extended for up to six years. This applies to cases where the medical provider intentionally hid the injury from the patient or if there was a foreign object left in the patient’s body after surgery. Because of the difficulty in determining the injury in such cases, Idaho medical malpractice laws give patients more time to file a claim.

This extended deadline will also help the plaintiff calculate the actual damages they have to claim, which will consider how much the injury has impacted their day-to-day life.

Special considerations also apply if the patient is a minor or mentally unfit. For minors, the timer for the deadline will be put on hold until they turn 18. After that, they will have the standard two-year statute of limitations to file a claim.

On the other hand, if the patient is mentally unfit, the timer will also be paused until they regain their mental capacity to understand the damage that they suffered due to their healthcare provider’s negligence. 

What Do You Need to Prove in an Idaho Medical Malpractice Case?

To file a medical malpractice claim against a healthcare provider in Idaho, you must establish the following aspects:

  • There must be a doctor-patient relationship. 

  • The provider violated their duty of care to the patient. 

  • The provider's actions caused the injury.

  • The patient suffered damages as a result of the provider's negligence.

However, as pointed out in the previous sections of this article, not all acts of negligence can lead to medical malpractice.

To prove that the medical provider did not perform their duties up to the required standard of care, you must produce an expert witness. This witness will be the one to determine if you have a valid medical malpractice case. 

Take note that only those who have professional expertise and knowledge of the standard of medical care in Idaho can be brought in as expert witnesses.

Moreover, if the medical provider in Idaho apologized and showed compassion for your injuries or condolences for your loved one’s death, you cannot use this conduct as evidence to prove their fault. This is because under Idaho’s I’m Sorry Law, healthcare providers and their staff members will be protected from being held liable simply for expressing their apologies to the patient.

How Much Can You Sue For Medical Malpractice in Idaho?

Not all medical malpractice payouts will be the same in Idaho since every situation is different. There are certain factors that can affect the compensation amount, such as the extent of your injury and the type of healthcare provider involved in the case. 

Working with a lawyer can also increase your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve, rather than representing yourself in court.

Types of Damages

If you suffered injuries due to a medical malpractice case in Idaho, you are entitled to recover compensation for damages that you sustained. The table below will discuss the different types of recoverable damages.

Types of Damages


Damage Caps

Economic damages

These types of damages cover the out-of-pocket expenses you had to pay due to medical bills, physical therapy, and lost current and future wages.


Non-economic damages

These are meant to compensate you for aspects that are difficult to quantify, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.

$250,000, but may be adjusted each year for inflation.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are losses or injuries that you suffered as a result of the medical provider’s malicious intent. Awards for punitive damages can be three times the standard compensation amount.

$250,000, or three times the amount of the compensatory damages, whichever is higher.

In addition, if your loved one passes away due to their healthcare provider’s negligence, as the surviving family member, you can claim damages that involve funeral expenses and loss of companionship.


Like other statutes, the damage caps in Idaho have certain exemptions. First, if you are injured due to the intentional or reckless misconduct of the defendant, you are eligible to receive more than $250,000 as long as you can prove the defendant’s willful conduct.

The second exception will apply if the court has determined that the defendant’s misconduct is considered a felony case under federal or state law. In this situation, the court will lift the damage cap for the victim’s compensation amount.

Negligence System

Idaho adheres to the modified comparative fault for medical malpractice cases. This means that the compensation amount that the plaintiff is supposed to receive will be affected by the percentage of their fault resulting in the injury.

For instance, if the plaintiff was 49% at fault for their injuries, the court will reduce the compensation award based on this value. However, if it is determined that the plaintiff was responsible for 50% or more, they will be barred from recovering compensation for their injuries.

Methods of Obtaining Compensation

Most people who sustain injuries in a medical malpractice case in Idaho tend to settle their case out of court, such as through arbitration or mediation. However, not all claims can be resolved through these methods, leading to a court trial.

The Board of Medicine in Idaho oversees a pre-litigation process before a medical malpractice case can go to trial. Plaintiffs who wish to start this process are required to submit a Medical Malpractice Pre-Litigation Screening form to the board.  

This form will include the necessary details of the case, such as the plaintiff’s name and the identities of the healthcare providers involved. It should also specify the date and location where the malpractice took place. 

Take note that attending this pre-litigation process is important since this is where the Board of Medicine will determine if the case has merit or not. Nonetheless, the plaintiff will still be able to file a lawsuit against the medical provider in the event that the board decides against them.

Once the case is filed with the court, the victim will have to work with medical providers to review the records and prove the validity of the case.

How Much Does It Cost to Pursue a Medical Malpractice Case in Idaho?

The average cost of completing the initial filing steps of a medical malpractice case in Idaho is between $5,000 and $10,000. This amount is influenced by the need to consult expert witnesses to determine the validity of your case, along with gathering the necessary evidence to support your claim, such as your medical record.

You will also be paying filing fees for starting a civil case with the District Court, which can total up to $221.

In addition, you might need to pay attorney fees since fighting this case alone in court can put you at a disadvantage. Idaho currently does not have any limitations on attorney fees, as long as the lawyer follows the standard procedure for calculating fees and does not exploit the plaintiff in any way.

Most lawyers in Idaho, however, work on a contingency basis, which ranges from 25% to 40%. This type of fee arrangement means that the lawyer will only get paid if they win the case they are representing. If the case is unsuccessful, you, the client, will not be obligated to pay for their services.

Legal Resources for Medical Malpractice Victims in  Idaho

The resources below focus on assisting residents in Idaho who have suffered injuries as a result of a medical malpractice case. This list includes nonprofit organizations dedicated to providing free legal assistance to low-income families and those who require assistance with their medical records.

Idaho Legal Aid Services

Idaho Legal Aid Services provides self-help resources, advice lines, and donation information for residents in the state. It also offers free legal services to senior citizens and low-income families who are facing civil issues. It also focuses on continuously improving its client services by co-locating its lawyers in two family centers in Idaho, allowing them to better serve their clients in the state.

Idaho Care Line

Idaho Care Line is an independent organization that has been serving the people of Idaho since 1999. Its comprehensive database program is designed to offer free or budget-friendly health and human services, such as medical assistance, emergency shelter, childcare resources, and food and clothing. Since 2006, Idaho Care Line has helped over 150,000 people with their health and social issues. It also provides referrals to counseling, crisis resources, and health insurance.

Health West

Health West is a nonprofit organization in Idaho dedicated to providing patient-centered care. Its services include dental, medical, pediatrics, and behavioral health, all set at a budget-friendly rate. The organization also helps people who seek to obtain access to their medical records by acting as a third party on their behalf.

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