Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law
North Dakota Personal Injury Laws
No one plans on being injured by someone else in an accident or due to an intentional act, but personal injuries happen every day. In North Dakota, injury laws allow you to file a civil lawsuit for injuries caused by another person’s intentional, reckless, or negligent acts. Whether you were injured in Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks, or anywhere else in the state, it is important to understand the personal injury law process.
Suffering a personal injury can leave you with serious financial burdens, so an experienced personal injury attorney can help you build a claim to receive monetary damages due to:
- Injuries that occurred on someone else’s property
- Defective products or warning labels
- Intentional torts like assault, battery, defamation, or slander
How Will My Claim Be Processed?
The process for your personal injury claim will depend on a number of factors, such as the type of claim you are bringing and the severity of the injuries and financial losses you’ve suffered.
For car accident cases, some people choose to directly deal with the insurance company of the person who hit them, as well as their own insurance company in hopes of reaching a fair settlement agreement. If you are dissatisfied with the offer or the insurance companies cannot agree who was at fault for the accident, you may need to move forward with filing a lawsuit.
If your claim involves damages less than $15,000, you may try to handle the claim on your own in small claims court. However, if you have suffered severe physical harm or substantial property damages, you may wish to hire an attorney and file your lawsuit in court from the start.
Litigating a personal injury claim begins with pretrial discovery to gather evidence and build your case. This often includes hiring expert witnesses to testify at trial and conducting depositions. At the conclusion of discovery, the opposing party may approach you with a settlement offer, which you can accept or decline and move forward to trial.
Damages for North Dakota Injury Claims
Damages for North Dakota injury claims will be based on the type and extent of your injuries. An attorney can review your claim to help you determine the type of compensation you are eligible for and advocate for what you deserve.
- Economic damages cover expenses like medical bills, property damage, time out of work, or other monetary losses.
- Noneconomic damages compensate for things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, or loss of companionship in wrongful death claims.
- Punitive damages are meant to serve as a punishment and may be awarded if the court determines the person who hurt you acted fraudulently or with malice. North Dakota law states these damages cannot be more than double your economic damages or $250,000.
Damages for Car Accidents
North Dakota requires drivers to have no-fault auto insurance coverage, commonly known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP). No matter who was at fault, your insurance policy reimburses you for expenses relating to your injuries. However, there are some damages the no-fault system does not cover, like:
- Medical expenses exceeding $2,500
- Grave injuries or death
- Property damage
North Dakota requires liability coverage as well, so you may end up filing a claim with the insurance company of the person who hit you. If your damages exceed their policy, you may have to consider litigation to receive compensation.
Damages for Negligence Claims
North Dakota uses a modified comparative negligence approach to calculate estimated damages, which looks at the reasonableness of your actions. This approach allows an injured party to receive damages in proportion to their degree of fault if it is less than the fault of the opposing party. However, if you are at fault, either equal to or more than the opposing party, then you will not be able to receive compensation.
Say you are speeding down the highway during a storm when another car crashes into you. If your speeding accounts for 49% of the fault in the accident, then you may receive damages for the remaining amount. On the other hand, if you are found 50% or more at fault for the accident, you may not be able to receive any compensation.
Hiring an Attorney in North Dakota
A number of attorneys offer free consultations to review the details of your claim and discuss their fees. Although hiring an attorney may seem expensive, personal injury attorneys often don’t require payment up front. Most injury attorneys use contingency fee agreements, meaning you agree to pay the attorney a percentage of your potential damages at the end of your case. This allows your attorney to begin work on your case right away and handle the complications of the court system on your behalf.