Personal Injury Attorneys in South Dakota
When you've suffered serious injury from a car accident, you'll have a lot to handle. A personal injury attorney can help you through all aspects of your personal injury claim, negotiating with insurers about your settlement, helping you prove liability, and getting you the damages you deserve.
NOTE: The content of this website is intended solely for informational purposes. It is not a source of legal advice and should not be used as such.
"Personal injury" arises when someone suffers harm caused by another person's actions. Potential causes include recklessness, malpractice or negligence, or sometimes just a failure to take any action. If you've been injured in a vehicle accident, a personal injury lawyer can be your voice in negotiations with your insurer and can represent you in court, if you decide to file a lawsuit.
Personal injury cases can be tricky for a layperson to deal with, and the damages caused from an accident can be difficult to determine. This is why some experts feel that, if you are injured, you should get an attorney, especially one with personal injury experience, to represent you.
The crux of the personal injury case is to both:
- Determine fault (liability).
- Determine the amount of damages, and require the party at fault to pay for those damages.
Sometimes punitive damages are awarded when it is found that that the guilty party's actions were so reckless that the injured person should receive compensation beyond their actual determined costs.
Personal injury attorneys are able to:
- Review your case.
- Determine its validity.
- Advise you on how soon you must act.
- Help ascertain your actual and potential damages.
Many times, you won't have to pay for this legal advice unless you are awarded with a favorable judgment. However, you should always consult with an attorney about fees BEFORE hiring him or her.
Keep in mind that auto insurance companies are used to dealing with these matters, and have their own, specialized team devoted to these sorts of claims. They may pressure you to take a settlement early, which often may not adequately cover your needs, or be near the amount you are entitled to collect. An attorney will know when you've been offered an appropriate settlement and can advise you whether to accept what you've been offered.
In South Dakota, the majority of the time you must prove that the other person failed to use "reasonable care." In other words, they were negligent.
This means that you need to demonstrate that:
- The other person had a duty towards you to perform.
- They failed to do so.
- This failure caused the injury.
- You suffered damages from this injury.
Fault is always cut and dry. South Dakota has a law to deal with partial fault.
If you were partly to blame for the accident, the amount of damages you receive will be reduced under the state's comparative negligence law. The reduction will be in accordance with the percentage of fault you held for the accident.
For example, if total damages are $10,000 and you are 20% at fault, you'll only be entitled to $8,000.
South Dakota personal injury attorneys are well versed in comparative negligence law and can explain to you how it can factor into your case.
As we mentioned earlier, determining the amount of damage caused by the accident can be difficult. Take a look at all of the possible damage factors:
- Car damages (and other items damaged in the accident).
- Medical expenses (past, current, future).
- Work time lost (even time lost to see doctors or to have therapy).
- Possible limits on future earning potential.
- Permanent disfigurement or disability.
- Home care.
- This can even include help to perform housework duties that the injured party can no longer perform.
- Emotional distress and its impact on relationships.
- Other costs stemming from the accident.