North Dakota Car Accident Laws, Lawsuits, and Lawyers
For those who enjoy Native American culture, Scandinavian immigrant history, or the great outdoors, North Dakota is able to satisfy one’s desires. North Dakota is bordered on the north by Canada, on the east by Minnesota, on the west by Montana, and on the south by South Dakota. The town of Fargo contains examples of Native American Art while the town of Minot contains an homage to Scandinavian culture and heritage. The state also showcases both the Great Plains and the Badlands. Only about 723,000 people make their home in North Dakota, whose weather can be quite unpleasant at certain times during the year.
Even though North Dakota may not boast a large population, a significant number of car accidents do occur in the state every single day. These crashes can result in a person suffering serious injuries or even death. Compensation may be obtained through a car crash lawsuit, but only if injury victims or surviving family members act in a timely manner.
North Dakota Car Accident Statistics
The North Dakota Department of Transportation maintains yearly “crash clocks” – statistics which break down in simple terms the frequency with which accidents and other traffic incidents occur in the state. In 2014, the crash clock showed that:
- A traffic crash happened every 33 minutes;
- A traffic-related injury was reported every 1.7 hours;
- A person was killed in a traffic collision every 2.7 days;
- A speed-related crash occurred every 2.9 hours;
- An alcohol-related crash happened every 8.9 hours.
These statistics tell readers two important facts. First, a state’s population is not an accurate gauge as to how safe its roadways are. Even less-populated states like North Dakota can and do experience a surprising number of traffic crashes. Secondly, the majority of traffic accidents in North Dakota are not truly “accidents” but are the result of one or more individuals making poor decisions. This is known as acting “negligently” or “carelessly,” and when a driver behaves in a negligent or careless manner and causes injury or death to another person, that careless driver can be held responsible for the financial impact and consequences of that behavior.
North Dakota Is a “No Fault” Insurance State
North Dakota mandates that all drivers in the state have a “no fault” accident insurance policy. No fault policies are offered in about a dozen states – the main benefit to them is that injury victims can obtain payment for their claims from their insurance carrier and need not fight for compensation from the other insurance carrier, regardless of which driver caused the accident. In certain circumstances, if the compensation obtained from one’s own insurance company is not sufficient to cover one’s own losses, a lawsuit against the other driver may be permitted.
In a lawsuit setting, the fact that the injury victim is partly to blame for the crash and the resulting injuries will not normally keep him or her from obtaining compensation for his or her losses unless the injury victim was determined (by a judge or jury) to be 50 percent or more responsible for the accident’s occurrence. Otherwise, if the injury victim is partly to blame for the accident and/or his or her own injuries, the compensation award the victim would have received would be reduced in proportion with the amount of fault attributable to the victim.
How Long Do I Have to File a North Dakota Car Accident Lawsuit?
The time within which a lawsuit for compensation must be filed in North Dakota depends on whether the victim was injured or killed. If the victim was injured, North Dakota law gives him or her a very-generous six years within which to file his or her action for compensation. If the victim is killed, however, and wrongful death lawsuit is to be filed, that wrongful death suit must be filed within two years of the fatal collision. The fact that this distinction exists serves to illustrate how an attorney can provide useful – even crucial – advice. The surviving family members of a deceased motorist killed by another may not understand what a wrongful death lawsuit is and may not understand that such a suit must be filed much sooner than an injury case. Having an experienced attorney help with a claim for compensation can prevent a lawsuit from being filed out of time.
Call Stern Law, PLLC Today for Assistance
When you or a loved one need assistance with filing or prosecuting a claim for damages following a car crash, look to Stern Law, PLLC for help. Attorney Ken Stern has helped numerous car accident victims recover compensation awards and will bring his vast experience and knowledge to your case as well. He is dedicated to helping injury victims successfully navigate the maze of insurance claims and lawsuits so that they can move forward with their lives. Contact Stern Law, PLLC by calling (844) 808-7529.