Personal Injury Claims in South Dakota

Personal injury is a legal term used for an injury to mind, body, emotions, or property. If you are a victim of an accident in South Dakota, you may be able to make a personal injury claim against the person who is held responsible for your injury. You may ask for the assistance of a personal injury attorney to strengthen the claim of your personal injury case.

Statutes of Limitations

Different states have different amounts of time that you are allowed after an injury to file a claim. This is known as the “Statute of Limitations”. In South Dakota, a personal injury victim has THREE YEARS time to file his or her personal injury claim. There are several points to remember however:

  • Your 3 years’ time under South Dakota’s statute of limitations start from the moment when your injury or the accident occurs.
  • If it has been more than 3 years since your injury occurs, the courts of South Dakota can, and most likely will, refuse to hear your case.

Motor Vehicle Insurance Policies in Personal Injury Cases

South Dakota is a ‘Fault’ state in terms of who is financially responsible for the losses in a personal injury case. The injured person might file a claim with his or her own insurance company or they can even file a third party claim with the insurance carrier of the person who is at fault. The minimum insurance required for auto insurance motor coverage is:

  • $25,000 for one person for body injury,
  • $25,000 per accident for damage to the property, and
  • $50,000 per person for body injury in case more than one person is hurt.

Who Is At Fault In a Personal Injury Case?

South Dakota is unique in that it uses a special kind of comparative fault rule for in a personal injury case known as “slight/gross negligence comparative fault”. With this method, the injured person can only collect damages if his or her percentage of the fault is “slight” compared to the “gross” negligence of the defendant. Still, if you are injured in a personal injury in South Dakota, and found to be slightly at fault, your compensation amount will be reduced by the slight percentage corresponding to your fault share.

Let’s take an EXAMPLE: Suppose you are crossing a road and you decide to go against a ‘don’t walk’ sign, and a motor vehicle hits you. In court, it was found that you are 5 percent at fault in the whole accident and the driver was 95 percent at fault since he was speeding. Your compensation that should have been $10,000 gets reduced to $9,500 due to your own slight partial fault. However, had you been found to share a significant percent of the fault, you would have been barred from recovering damages.

Caps In South Dakota For Personal Injury Cases

Damage caps come into act in order to limit the amount of compensation that can be recovered by an injured person after a personal injury. The damage caps in South Dakota are as follows:

  • Damage caps in medical malpractice are set to $1,000,000. This includes both non-economic and economic damage.
  • Damage caps are set at $1,000,000 for product liability cases.
  • There are no caps for punitive damages.