Auto Accident Injury in South Dakota
Have you suffered an injury due to a car accident in South Dakota? If so, your life may never be the same again. Injuries from a car accident can interfere with your ability both to work and to enjoy everyday activities. They can also be incredibly painful. As such, you need an auto accident attorney who understands the laws in SD that will fight for your legal rights and help you receive the financial compensation you deserve.
Auto Accident Injury Statistics in South Dakota
According to the National Safety Council, in 2019 about 4.4 million people suffered serious injuries in motor vehicle accidents and an estimated 38,000 were killed. According to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, 80 individuals died in traffic-related accidents in the state in 2019. Another 3,973 South Dakotans suffered injuries in motor vehicle crashes that year.
To reduce both injuries and fatalities, government leaders have implemented policies to stop distracted, drowsy and impaired driving. The state’s traffic safety plan also includes measures to decrease speeding and increase seat belt usage.
What to Do After an Auto Accident
It’s important to be prepared in the event you are a victim of a car accident. Below are the steps to remember immediately after your crash.
Receive Immediate Medical Attention
What is the most important step that you need to take after an auto accident? You need to receive immediate and proper medical treatment. You may believe that the injuries sustained after an auto accident are minor. Proper medical treatment helps ensure that you have not sustained any internal injuries that you may not be aware of.
File a Police Report
Even if no one sustained injuries, you still need to call 911 and request law enforcement assistance. When officers arrive, jot down each one’s name and badge number. Answer their questions honestly, but don’t volunteer any unasked for information, especially your thoughts on exactly what happened or who caused the car accident. Be sure to ask the officers for the number of their police report. Also ask when and where you can get a copy of it, including how much it will cost you.
Section 32-34-7 of South Dakota’s Motor Vehicle Code requires individuals to report a motor vehicle accident to law enforcement if any of the following applies to the accident:
- Someone sustains an injury.
- Someone dies.
- One individual has more than $1,000 in property damage.
- The accident causes more than $2,000 in total damage.
- There is a damaged vehicle, but its owner is not available.
- Unattended property has damage, but its owner is unknown.
Gather the Appropriate Documentation
While waiting for officers to arrive after a car accident, collect information from all other drivers involved in the accident, including the following:
- Full name, address, phone number and email address
- Driver’s license state and number
- Auto insurance company name, policy number and phone number
Use your cell phone to take pictures of each driver’s license, auto insurance card, your vehicle and each additional vehicle involved in the car accident. Don’t rely on verbal communication. Having as much information as possible will only help you and your case later on. Try to keep this exchange as civil and friendly as possible. However, do not apologize for causing the accident or indicate in any way that you think you may have caused it.
Recovering Damages After an Auto Accident Injury
After surviving a car accident, the emotional and economic toll it takes can be staggering. You are not only dealing with the mental anguish that comes with being involved in a crash, but you may also be experiencing severe physical harm as well.
Common injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents include:
- Burn injuries
- Back and neck injuries, such as whiplash
- Brain and head injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, South Dakota traffic accident injuries and fatalities caused $205 million in economic losses in 2018. This figure includes roughly a million dollars in medical bills and $204 million in work losses.
Hiring a car accident lawyer ensures you have the financial ability to cover any losses that have occurred as a result of a crash. An auto accident attorney will also help you handle the paperwork that you will have to complete from insurance companies. This boosts your odds of receiving the insurance compensation you deserve.
Auto Accident Laws in South Dakota
Liability Laws for SD
When car accidents happen, it is essential to determine who bears responsibility for the resulting damage and medical bills. Determining fault impacts everything from your insurance claim and level of liability to the amount of confusion you may endure during the claims process.
For car accidents, South Dakota is a fault-based jurisdiction. This typically means the person who causes the accident is financially responsible for its damages. Furthermore, though South Dakota has a comparative negligence rule, you may still be eligible for financial damages if you were slightly to blame for the crash.
Statute of Limitations in SD
Each state has its own tort laws that determine the statute of limitations on a claim. In some states, this gives you just one year to file a claim in court, while some others may give you up to six years. For injury claims, South Dakota’s statute of limitations is typically three years. This gives you a full three years to bring a cause of action for the injuries you suffer in a motor vehicle accident. If you have property damage, though, you likely have up to six years from the date of the accident to bring a legal claim.
This is why it is important to consult with an attorney immediately after your car crash. Don’t wait and risk losing out on any compensation they can recover.
Work With an Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer In South Dakota
After a car accident, you have enough to worry about. We can help you find an auto accident attorney for your unique case. Get the financial restitution that you deserve if you’re the victim of someone else’s conduct.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in SD!