Personal Injury Law in South Dakota

Were you hurt due to another’s negligence in South Dakota? If so, it may have far-reaching consequences such as a loss of wages or extensive medical treatment. Personal injury law allows an injured person to get damages if the responsible person acted recklessly. A personal injury attorney in South Dakota can help navigate the lawsuit to make sure you receive all of the compensation you deserve.

What Is Personal Injury Law?

Personal injury law in South Dakota relates to the legal process of getting compensation for an injury caused by someone else’s negligent behavior. These cases involve one party, the plaintiff, trying to seek financial compensation for expenses incurred and money lost as a result of the defendant’s reckless behavior. These cases involve both parties’ insurance companies and may even settle before proceeding to litigation.

Examples of Personal Injury Claims in South Dakota

Some personal injury claims are more common than others. However, almost any incident that ends with a physical or mental injury could qualify, depending on the circumstances.

A few of the most common personal injury claims are:

  • Car Accidents
  • Slip and Fall
  • Dog Bites
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Workplace Accidents
  • Burn Injuries

Most Common Injuries in South Dakota 

The South Dakota Department of Health reports 306,352 emergency department visits and 23,683 hospitalizations related to injuries state-wide from 2011 to 2018. Over 92 percent of these cases involved unintentional injuries such as falls, motor vehicle traffic crashes, and poisonings. A majority of these injuries were caused by falls, responsible for hospitalizing 14,751 individuals over the same time period. While motor vehicle crash injury hospitalizations have decreased in recent years, both hospitalizations and emergency department visits for incidents of poisoning have increased significantly. From 2011-2018, 49 percent of all poisoning-related emergency department visits were unintentional.

Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in South Dakota

Once you determine that you wish to proceed forward with a personal injury action in South Dakota

A lawsuit begins when a complaint is filed with the court and served on the defendant. The complaint alleges your assertion as the plaintiff that the defendant’s negligent behavior resulted in damage to your body or mental state. As the process proceeds forward, you may have to go through depositions, independent medical evaluations and document production. This discovery process is lengthy and ends in either settlement or a court appearance.

The personal injury complaint filing fee to a South Dakota Circuit Court (trial court) is $70. For claims less than $12,000, complaints can be directed to a small claims court at the Magistrate Court level. The fee there ranges from $19.50-37.50. A case is usually filed where the injury-causing incident occurred.

South Dakota Personal Injury Settlement

With most personal injury cases, insurance companies and injured parties prefer settlement negotiations rather than going to court for a trial. You may wonder how much you should seek in your settlement and factors that impact the final amount.

The South Dakota Safety Council estimates that for every injury death, there are 3 severe traumas, 10 injuries that require hospitalization, and 100 injuries seen by the emergency department. The average price of a South Dakota emergency room visit is $1,641 according to hospital pricing specialists. On top of the cost of immediate medical treatment lies the expense of work losses, property damage, and non-economic losses such as mental anguish, further increasing your damages and the potential size of your settlement. While no settlement amount is guaranteed, seeking a legal team will help you receive the compensation you are owed due to someone else’s negligence.

If the other party has insurance, the insurance company likely wants to settle out of court. In order to avoid leaving the final settlement decision to a jury. Settlements benefit injured parties as much as they do insurance companies. This is because accepting a settlement means you receive compensation sooner rather than later. Also, by going to court in SD, that means you risk not receiving any compensation at all.

Damage Awards in South Dakota

If your South Dakota personal injury lawsuit goes before a judge or jury, your legal team will be ready with a request for damages. In personal injury cases, there are three types of damage awards a court may order the defendant to pay to compensate you for the damage he or she inflicted.

Special compensatory damages reimburse you for things such as lost income, medical bills and insurance deductibles. You submit receipts proving these losses.

General compensatory damages are subjective. If you receive special compensatory damages, you may also collect general damages. If your injury was particularly painful, you might request that the judge order the defendant compensate you for the pain and anguish.

Punitive damages are the most rare and are up to the court. The judge or jury may determine that the defendant’s negligence was particularly heinous and the resulting injury to you was equally horrific. 

South Dakota does not enforce damage award limits in most situations. Though in medical malpractice cases, there is a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages such as the loss of a parent’s care and guidance.

Statute of Limitations in South Dakota Personal Injury Law?

The injured party may have a set amount of time to file suit for a personal injury case. State law establishes statutes of limitation. Commonly, the plaintiff’s injury or discovery of the injury begins the statute of limitations. However, the latter factor is trickier, as the plaintiff will have to prove when the injury was first realized.

The window to take action in South Dakota is three years. In instances of medical malpractice, however, the window shrinks to two years.

We recommend you speak with a personal injury lawyer for this matter. Don’t wait too long and miss out on receiving the compensation you deserve for your injury. 

Work With an Experienced South Dakota Lawyer

Pursue a personal injury claim in South Dakota against the responsible person if you are dealing with an injury caused by someone else. One of our experienced lawyers can help you navigate your personal injury claim.  We can even help you connect with an attorney across South Dakota state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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