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What happens after an auto accident injury in South Dakota?

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2020 | Firm News

If you suffer a serious auto accident injury, South Dakota laws govern whether you can recover costs such as medical bills and lost wages. You must prove that the other driver caused the accident, whether you decide to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit. 

Review the factors that influence financial recovery after a South Dakota car accident. 

Rules about negligence

When you seek economic recovery after a car crash, the insurance adjuster or the court will review the evidence to determine whether the defendant was at fault. South Dakota is unique because of its slight-gross negligence law, which means you can seek damages if you shared fault for the accident. However, you must show that your fault was slight compared to the fault of the other motorist. 

The state also uses the modified comparative negligence standard. If you are partially responsible for the accident (up to 50%), the judge in your case will reduce your financial award by your damage percentage. For example, if you qualify for $100,000 in damages but have 10% fault for the accident, you would receive $90,000. 

Available damages

You can recover both economic and noneconomic damages. The first category refers to actual costs stemming from the accident, including lost wages, medical bills and property damage. Noneconomic damages are the losses that are more difficult to quantify, such as loss of companionship, loss of affection, emotional distress and physical pain. 

You have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit after a South Dakota car crash that causes injury, so you should gather evidence early to prepare for this step if necessary.