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Hepworth Holzer, LLP
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Life-Changing Law
Life-Changing Law

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Suing a Governmental Entity

Suing a governmental entity for personal injuries you have sustained can be a real challenge. In most cases, there are legal hoops you have to jump through before you can even bring a lawsuit.

Most cases begin with a Tort Claims Notice that has to be sent to the governmental entity involved. It is easy to run afoul of the procedural requirements involved with a Tort Claims Notice, and that is why you need an experienced law firm like ours to help guide you through the governmental bureaucracy.

IDAHO’S TORT CLAIMS NOTICE REQUIREMENTS
If your claim involves any of the following types of entities or their employees, you will need to file a Tort Claims Notice before you can bring suit:
State office or department;
State agency, authority, commission or board;
State hospital;
State college or university;
County;
City;
Municipal Corporation;
Health District;
School District;
Irrigation District;
Special Improvement or Taxing District;
Hospital or Nursing Home established by a County or City;
Any other State or local governmental entity

When does the Tort Claims Notice have to be filed?
THE TORT CLAIMS NOTICE HAS TO BE FILED WITHIN 180 DAYS OF THE DATE OF YOUR INJURIES. IF YOU DO NOT FILE YOUR TORT CLAIMS NOTICE WITHIN THIS TIME FRAME, THEN YOU WILL NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO SUE FOR YOUR INJURIES.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does the Tort Claims Notice have to be filed?
It depends on the governmental entity involved in the incident. IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO FIGURE OUT WHERE THE CLAIM NEEDS TO BE FILED BECAUSE IT IS NOT ALWAYS CLEAR WHETHER THE ENTITY INVOLVED IS LEGALLY CONSIDERED THE STATE OR ONE OF ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS. WE RECOMMEND CONSULTING WITH AN ATTORNEY TO HELP FIGURE THIS OUT.
Is there a form?
There is no special form to fill out, but the Tort Claims Notice does have to contain certain information. The Tort Claims Notice has to specify:
The conduct and circumstances which brought about the injury;
The nature of the injury or damage;
The time and place the injury or damage occurred;
The names of all persons involved;
The amount of damages claimed: BE CAREFUL WHEN SPECIFYING THE DAMAGES CLAIMED. YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO RECOVER ANY AMOUNTS ABOVE WHAT YOU HAVE SPECIFIED;
The residence of the claimant at the time of filing the Tort Claims Notice;
The residence of the claimant for a period of six months before the filing of the Tort Claims Notice
The Tort Claims Notice needs to be signed by the claimant. If the claimant is incapacitated or is a minor or is a nonresident of the state of Idaho, then a Tort Claims Notice can be filed by any relative, attorney, or agent representing the claimant.

What happens after I file a Tort Claims Notice?
The governmental entity involved in the incident has 90 days to respond to a Tort Claims Notice. There are three types of responses that the governmental entity may make: (1) admit the claim and offer to settle; (2) deny the claim; or (3) fail to respond within the 90-day time frame. If the governmental entity denies the claim or fails to respond within the 90-day time frame, then you have the right to sue. If the governmental entity offers to settle the claim and the offer is acceptable to you, then the claim is resolved without suit. You are the only one who can settle your claim. If you are not satisfied with a settlement offer, you do not have an obligation to accept it. You can reject the offer and file suit to recover more money.

Is there a limit to the damages that can be recovered from a governmental entity?
Maybe. In many cases, a person who has a claim against a governmental entity may not be able to recover more than $500,000 for his or her injuries. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. It is important to discuss these exceptions with your attorney.

Can I recover punitive damages against a governmental entity?
No. Idaho law unequivocally states that punitive damages are not allowed against a governmental entity.

THERE ARE OTHER TORT CLAIMS NOTICE REQUIREMENTS FOR CLAIMS AGAINST THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND ITS AGENCIES AND DEPARTMENTS.

If you have a claim against a government office, consult with an attorney immediately. There are important time limitations on your claim.
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Referrals From Other Attorneys A Key to Merger of Two of Idaho’s Leading Injury Law Firms

Boise, ID- July 11, 2017: Two of the most respected names in Idaho injury litigation, Hepworth, Janis & Kluksdal, Chtd. and Holzer Edwards, Chtd. have come together. The firm is now Hepworth Holzer, LLP. The merger was effective as of July 1. The lawyers will all practice at 537 Bannock in Boise starting July 24.

The merged firm offers injured clients a team of respected trial attorneys and leaders of the trial bar. The firm’s lawyers have established themselves as Idaho’s “go to attorneys” for other attorneys who have clients in need of representation in medical negligence, semi-truck collisions, product liability, auto crash and other injury claims.

“This merger opens a new and exciting chapter in the history of our firm,” said Charlie Hepworth. His father, John C. Hepworth, founded the firm in 1952 in Twin Falls. “The number of great trial attorneys that have been, and are, part of the firm is a point of pride for us,” according to Hepworth. “With this merger that tradition continues.” Hepworth is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates and recognized as one of the 100 Best Lawyers in the Mountain States by Superlawyers. For many years he has represented clients for medical malpractice and other injury claims with his partners John Janis, a former President of the Idaho Trial Lawyers Association (“ITLA”) who was acknowledged as 2015 Plaintiff’s Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers In America and an American Board of Trial Advocates member, and John Kluksdal, a Meridian native who has been recognized by Superlawyers since 2009. All are AV-rated.

John Janis notes “The firm’s focus is representing people who have been wronged by others. Referrals from, and associations with, other lawyers will remain a key part of our practice.” He continued “Combining with two other AV-rated lawyers, John Edwards and Kurt Holzer strengthens our team and solidifies our unparalleled client-focused approach to injury law. Other lawyers know clients, friends and family they refer will be treated right.”

John T. Edwards, raised in Canyon County, epitomizes the client-centered approach of the firm. He founded Holzer Edwards in 1992 and has cared for clients since then. He will serve as managing partner of Hepworth Holzer. Edwards noted, “This merger builds on the foundation of caring representation that is the hallmark of both firms.” The fifth partner, Kurt Holzer was the 2011 Idaho Trial Lawyer of the Year, is a past ITLA President, and has repeatedly been recognized by Best Lawyers In America.

The 5 partners have winning records in courtrooms across Idaho and across the country. They are joined by associate attorney Zach Zollinger.
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Here is a quick review of auto insurance policy basics. Make sure you are getting the protections you want and need.
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