Thursday, April 21, 2016


1. You only have two years to file your claim. In Idaho, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim is only two years. You lose your claim forever if you do not file in time!
2. The insurance companies involved may not have your interests at heart! Like any business, insurance companies aim to keep costs down and reduce their overhead. Hiring an attorney can be the best way to insure you have an advocate for you!
3. If you don’t hire an attorney, you may not be aware of all of your potential legal rights to recovery in Idaho. Other than your medical bills, you may also be able to recover for lost wages and pain and suffering. Even your family members may have claims due to your severe injuries.
4. You need to understand your settlement options. A lot of injury cases resolve out of court without a trial. In such cases, the defendant or his insurance company may offer you compensation to avoid a lawsuit. Your attorney can provide an evaluation to help you decide whether settling is the best option in your case or not.
5. Proving who is at fault can be complex. Even with a police report saying the other party is at fault, sometimes proving negligence can be difficult in a Court of law. An attorney who understands Idaho law can provide citations, legal authority and other sources that support your position.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Reverse Drug Stings: One Way the Idaho Law Enforcement Community is Capitalizing on Legalization of Recreational Marijuana in Oregon and Washington

Although two contiguous states, Washington in 2012 and Oregon in 2015, have legalized recreational marijuana it is still very much illegal, and prosecuted aggressively, in Idaho.  For example an individual in Ontario, Oregon can possess up to eight (8) ounces of recreational marijuana for personal use whereas possession of three (3) ounces or more just across the Snake River would subject the same individual  to a felony arrest and prosecution and up to five (5)  years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine.

Further depending on the actual amount possessed or the how the marijuana is packaged, could expose the individual in Idaho to much larger fines, longer prison sentences and mandatory minimum prison sentences for delivery, intent to deliver or marijuana trafficking.

The Idaho State Police, county sheriffs and prosecutors, city attorneys and police chiefs in Idaho are sworn to uphold Idaho law, however, they have discretion on arresting and making recommendations on sentencing.  For example Payette County Sheriff, Chad Huff, recently stated he has given his officers discretion to cite and not arrest those found with small amounts of marijuana and many of those end up with a $250 fine and no probation.  This begs the question, however, what is law enforcement doing to stem the flow of marijuana into Idaho and what other techniques are they using to enforce Idaho laws and pay for additional enforcement, prosecution and incarceration.  One possible answer, REVERSE DRUG STINGS.

Recently I have seen in my criminal defense practice, and I have heard similar anecdotal evidence from my colleagues, an uptick in so called "reverse drug sting" operations.  These operations are termed "reverse" as it is the undercover officer or the confidential informant that offers not to buy a controlled substance, but to sell it.  What was once considered clear entrapment by law enforcement and an unheard of law enforcement technique, became sporadically used by the DEA in the 1970's and 1980's to cripple large drug trafficking organizations by confiscating and obtaining forfeiture of drug buy money. 

State, county and city law enforcement agencies soon learned that they too could fill their coffers with these reverse sting forfeited monies.  The focus turned not just to large drug operations but to low level street dealers and even to small level drug users.  In the digital age undercover officers are now trolling Facebook and other social medicia cites to find possible interested purchasers to Friend and gain trust which eventually leads to the officer offering to sell, usually a trafficking amount (a pound or more in Idaho), of marijuana at a below market price.  When the unsuspecting purchaser shows up with the funds at the meet, he is arrested and the funds are seized. 

Such operations have received wide spread criticism as they often reward confidential informants with handsome pay days, encourage unscrupulous law enforcement behavior and attract a criminal element to a small cities and counties.  Further the criticism levied is that the operations now are often focused on young, low cognitive functioning, addicted or mentally ill individuals into committing crimes they otherwise would not commit.  

The Idaho law enforcement community seems to recognize that the number of purchasers is growing in and around Idaho and as such are confiscating tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands or dollars, from Idaho citizens and citizens of other states drawn into Idaho.  This issue will play out over the next few years in the Idaho courts and in the court of public opinion, but these "reverse stings" are very much a slippery slope.     

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

School Bus Crashes: Dealing with the nightmare

We have all seen it.  A school bus driver turns on the blinkers and engages the stop sign, yet a vehicle speeds by the driver either not knowing, or caring, about the danger he or she has created.  The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates there were 1,214 fatal crashes involving school transportation vehicles from 2004 to 2013, averaging 134 fatalities each year.

How can we keep our children safe on school buses and what should we do if our child is injured in a bus accident? 

School Bus Safety

School buses are designed and manufactured to have safety features that passenger vehicles do not.  However, whether it is negligent training of or operation by the bus operators or the negligence of the other drivers on the road, accidents can and do happen.    

Educating your child is the first step to increasing safety on his or her way to and from school.  The following tips can help:

  • Educating your children to be aware of things around them: Be attentive and prepared to get on and off the bus and keep distractions such as playing with electronic devices, wearing headphones and horseplay to a minimum.
  • Keeping an eye on your children if possible: If you have spare time in the mornings and afternoons, consider checking on the bus stop and help keep it clear of hazards.
  • Speaking to your children about following the bus rules and safety procedures: Your children should know how to respond to unsafe situations at the bus stop and on the bus itself.
  • Immediately reporting unsafe or unfit drivers or equipment to school administration or law enforcement:  Should you witness, or receive information from your child, that a bus driver is speeding or not following other rules of the road or if you suspect the driver is operating while impaired by drugs or alcohol you should report such immediately to the school district or law enforcement, and, if necessary, not allow your children and other children onto the bus.  
  • School Bus Injuries and Legal Cases
  • Despite you and your children taking reasonable safety measures, oftentimes, situations that you and your children cannot control lead to accidents and resulting bodily injury.    
  • Smith Horras, P.A. and its attorneys can help you determine if a pursuing a civil lawsuit is prudent by looking at the following:

Liability: It must be determined who breached the duty to not injure your child.  In Idaho it could be one or multiple parties including the other drivers involved, the bus driver, the school district, the bus manufacturer and others.  In Idaho It will be important to file a notice of tort claim within 180-days of the accident with the school district or your child may not be able to recover for his or her injury.
Damages:  Your child must suffer some type of injury as a result of the accident.  Typically a bodily injury must occur that requires medical treatment to recover other damages including, but not limited to, medical bills, pain and suffering, out of pocket expenses and wage loss if your child is old enough to be working and currently has a job.   

Smith Horras, P.A. can offer a free initial consultation to help you make an informed decision about pursuing a case for your child. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Driving in the summer is not necessarily safer than driving in the winter months.  At times, the summer roads can be more deceptive than icy roads in winter or floods during springtime. According to the driving statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from July to August, during the years 2006 to 2009, there was an increased fatality rates during the summer months.

One reason for the increase in driving fatalities is that school is out for the summer which results in more teens on roads and highways. Students Against Destructive Decisions reports that teens spend approximately 44% more time driving during summer than they do during the school year.  Naturally, the more drivers there are on the roads, the higher risk of accidents.

In addition, many vacationers choose the summer months for their trips.  Due to the high costs of flights, travelers often chose to drive to their destinations.   What results is congested roads and an increase in car accidents because of unpredictable driving from others.

Further, because of the nice weather, road construction is generally prevalent during summer months. This increased road construction has also led to a rise in accidents on highways.  With traffic lanes narrowed or reduced, as well as intrusive barricades and traffic congestion, this "perfect summer storm" can be problematic. In 2009, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reported nearly 700 fatalities resulted from car crashes in construction zones.

Finally, due to the increased temperature, more cyclists are utilizing the roads during summer. This forces motorists to share the road with cyclists, which can be a difficult, dangerous but extremely important task.  

As you enjoy the last bit of your summer, it is vitally important to stay safe and alert while driving, as there can be an increased accident rate for drivers. If you or someone you know has been injured in a vehicle accident as a result of another person's negligence, we strongly recommend that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney, such as the professionals at Smith Horras, P.A., along with seeking immediate medical attention. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ouch! Continued Pain From a Slip and Fall Accident?

Slip and fall accidents can result in personal injury law claims. Have you been injured on someone else’s property?
Hundreds of thousands of people are injured every year in slip and fall accidents. The cause is often a defect in the floor or an unsafe condition such as changes in the walking surface, poor lighting, or a slippery surface.
If you get injured in such an accident, the law requires that you prove that:
  1. A dangerous condition existed;
  2. The property owner knew or should have known about the condition; and
  3. The property owner did nothing to remedy the dangerous condition.
The law limits the amount of time you may wait before filing your slip and fall lawsuit. Don't deny yourself compensation simply because you took too long.  Contact Smith Horras, P.A. now for a free consultation to evaluate your claim.

Financial Assistance For Adoptions in Idaho!

Adoption is an amazing process that is able to match a loving family with a child that needs stability, safety and nurturing.  Your family will need to obtain the services of an attorney to file the petition for adoption and get that adoption finalized.

Smith Horras, P.A. has experienced and qualified attorneys to help you with this process.  In addition, in Idaho, there are resources available to assist with the costs if you and your adoptive child qualify.  If you are adopting a child eligible for adoption assistance, these fees can qualify for reimbursement after adoption finalization. Financial assistance for adoption may be available through one or more of the following sources:
·         Adoption Assistance: Idaho offers an adoption assistance program for eligible children with “special needs”. Most children in foster care are considered to have special needs. Adoption assistance can include up to $2,000 reimbursement of adoption-related costs, a monthly subsidy for the ongoing care of the child, and a Medicaid card to assist with medical expenses until the child is 18 years of age. 
·         Adoption Tax Credit: You may be able to take a tax credit for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child, including a child with special needs. The adoption credit is an amount subtracted from your tax liability.  Learn more through the IRS website
·         Employer Benefits: A number of employers offer adoption benefits. Contact your Human Resources department to inquire about the availability of adoption benefits.
·         Military Benefits: The military provides active-duty personnel a reimbursement for most one-time adoption costs. The National Military Family Association provides further information and resources.
·         Loans and Grants: Loans or grants are available through a variety of organizations such as adoption agencies, foundations and banks.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Subrogation is a legal concept whereby a party "steps into the shoes" of another. Most commonly you see subrogation in the context of insurance contracts. For instance, an insurance company that is obligated to its insured might pay the claim to their insured and then "step into their shoes" and sue a third party who is arguably liable. Subrogation provides an opportunity in some situations for an insurer to mitigate what might otherwise be a losing endeavor. Subrogation is most common in construction contracts, insurance contracts, suretyship and negotiable instruments. Seeking to have an insurance company compromise in part their subrogation interest is a common method that plaintiff's attorneys use in the context of personal injury claims to achieve greater recovery for the injured person than they might otherwise be entitled to. There are generally two kinds of subrogation, express and implied.