Car Accidents

Rapid City Car Accident Lawyer

Injured in an Auto Accident in South Dakota?

Every year, thousands of people are injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents in South Dakota. According to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety (DPS), 12.8% of all South Dakota drivers involved in collisions were injured in 2021, and another 0.4% were killed. Even more alarming, Pennington County was one of the top two most dangerous counties in terms of overall traffic crashes, second only to Minnehaha County, with 1,285 accidents.

If you or your loved one was involved in an automobile accident in South Dakota, you already know the devastating impact these collisions have, both on the victim and their family. What you may not realize is that you could be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, vehicle repair costs, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Continue reading to learn more or contact Beardsley, Jensen & Lee at (605) 777-7466 to speak to one of our Rapid City car accident attorneys during a free, no-obligation consultation.

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Filing a Car Accident Claim in South Dakota

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in South Dakota?

First, you should be aware of the state’s statute of limitations, or deadline to file a car accident claim. In South Dakota, you only have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If your loved one died due to a motor vehicle collision, you have three years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death claim.

Is South Dakota a Fault or No-Fault State for Car Accidents?

South Dakota is what is known as a “fault” or “tort” state when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. Unlike in no-fault states, this means that you will likely be unable to recover compensation through your own auto insurance provider after the accident

That is, unless you have elected specific coverage outside of the state’s mandatory minimum liability coverage. Instead, you will need to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. An experienced auto accident lawyer in Rapid City can help you prove that they were to blame for the accident and fight for the compensation you deserve.

How to Prove Fault for a Car Accident in South Dakota

Proving the fault of another driver (or some other party) is a critical element of your car accident claim. Typically, the at-fault party is also the one liable for your damages.

Another motorist may be at fault for the accident if they acted negligently or wrongfully, and this conduct led to the accident. Examples include:

Third-Party Auto Accidents

In some cases, the at-fault party might not be another motorist but a third party whose negligence contributed to or caused the accident. For example, if the accident occurred due to defective road design or construction, or if it was worsened by an auto defect, the liable construction company or manufacturer could be held accountable.

Accidents Involving Multiple Parties

In some cases, multiple parties are at fault for a single accident. In South Dakota, you are not barred from filing a personal injury claim if you were partly at fault for the accident. However, under the state’s unique comparative negligence rule, your role in the crash must be “slight” for you to have grounds for a claim.

“Slight” fault is open to wide interpretation, and insurance companies often use this to dispute or deny claims. It is very important that you have an experienced car accident attorney in Rapid City on your side who can help you protect your rights.

Injured in an auto accident? Speak with skilled car accident attorneys serving South Dakota at Beardsley, Jensen & Lee. Call (605) 777-7466.

Types of Damages in South Dakota Car Accident Claims

Car accident victims in South Dakota may be eligible to recover compensation for two categories of damages: economic and non-economic damages. In short, this means that you will be able to pursue compensation for both the quantifiable losses related to your wreck as well as other types of harm that may be more difficult to assign a dollar value to, such as pain and suffering.

  • Economic damages, also known as "compensatory damages," seek to compensate you dollar-for-dollar for losses related to things like medical bills, prescription drug costs, lost wages, vehicle repairs and other property damage, and home modifications to accommodate for an injury-related disability.
  • Non-economic damages, also known as "general damages," offer compensation for more subjective types of harm like physical and emotional pain, loss of enjoyment of life, and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
  • Punitive damages may also be awarded in rare cases where the at-fault driver acted with extreme negligence or willful intent.

Every car accident case is different, therefore it is recommended you speak to an attorney about your case to get a more accurate estimate of the value of your case and the specific damages you may claim.

What Types Damages Are Available in South Dakota Car Accident Claims?

You may be able to recover the following damages:

  • Property damage: This compensation will help you pay for repairing or replacing your property damaged in the crash, such as your vehicle and your cell phone.
  • Medical costs: As you know, healthcare in America is astronomically expensive. If you’re hurt in a crash, you’ll need this compensation to pay for the past, current, and future medical expenses associated with your injuries in the collision.
  • Lost wages: If you’re unable to work as a result of your injuries from the collision, you may be able to recover damages for your lost wages. If you cannot go back to work, you may also be able to recover your future lost wages.
  • Pain and suffering: These damages will pay you for the physical pain you suffered as a result of the collision. This can also include compensation for emotional or psychological suffering, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Loss of consortium: These damages are designed to compensate you for the loss of your partner’s physical companionship, including sexual intimacy. If your relationship is impacted by your injuries, you may be able to recover these damages.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: A collision can alter the course of your life in major ways. The harm you’ve endured can make it more challenging or impossible to live your life as you always have. If you’re unable to conduct yourself as you did before the crash, including any hobbies you used to enjoy but no longer can, you may be able to recover these damages.

Schedule a consultation with a qualified car accident lawyer in South Dakota. Contact Beardsley, Jensen & Lee at (605) 777-7466 now.

What to Do After a Car Accident

If you are involved in a car accident in South Dakota, there are several steps you should take immediately, as well as in the hours, days, and weeks after the crash:

  • Seek Medical Attention: Check yourself and others for injuries and, if necessary, call 911. If you do not require emergency medical care, be sure to still see a doctor or another health care provider as soon as possible after the accident.
  • Call the Police: South Dakota law requires you to report any accident resulting in bodily injury, death, or $1,000 in property damage to a single person’s property or $2,000 in property damage total to local law enforcement.
  • Exchange Information: You should exchange contact and insurance information with anyone else involved in the accident. Be sure to get the other driver’s name, address, phone number, and insurance provider/policy number.
  • Document Everything: Take pictures of the accident, as well as your injuries, and talk to any witnesses who saw what happened. Keep a record of your recovery, including all doctor’s appointments and treatment programs.
  • Notify Your Insurance Company: Most auto insurance providers require their policyholders to report accidents within a certain timeframe. Make sure to follow the specifications outlined by your policy to avoid insurance penalties.
  • Contact an Attorney: Lastly, to protect your rights and improve your chance of securing maximum compensation for your damages, you should consult with a car accident lawyer right away. We strongly recommend that you do this BEFORE talking to anyone from the other person’s insurance company.

Why It's Worth Hiring a Lawyer After a Car Accident

If you've been seriously injured in a car accident, it's often a good idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer. For example, Personal injury law can be complex and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. An experienced lawyer can navigate the legal system on your behalf, ensuring your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. Also, An experienced car accident lawyer knows how to build a strong case and can often help you secure a higher settlement than you might be able to on your own.

It's important to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident, as there may be time limitations (statute of limitations) for filing a claim. Keep in mind that this information is general in nature, and the specific circumstances of your case may vary. It's advisable to seek personalized legal advice from a qualified personal injury attorney who is experienced in personal injury cases in your jurisdiction.

Speak with an Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer Today

At Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, our Rapid City car accident attorneys are ready to answer your questions and guide you through the legal process. Whether you suffered catastrophic injuries, lost a loved one due to a commercial truck collision, or need help getting your vehicle repaired or replaced, our team of award-winning attorneys can fight for you. When you choose our firm, you get an entire team of legal professionals dedicated to helping you get back on your feet.

Our Rapid City car accident attorneys are here to help. Contact us online or call our office at (605) 777-7466 to get started with a free initial consultation. There are no fees unless we win!

    I loved working with Matt McIntosh and Katrina for my personal injury case.

    I loved working with Matt McIntosh and Katrina for my personal injury case. It is hard getting through an accident mentally, medically, and financially, but they made my experience worry free. I would not been able to get through this without them, glad”

    - Cathryn P.
    I had the pleasure of working with Matt and I was very pleased with how professional and his knowledge in my case!

    I had the pleasure of working with Matt and I was very pleased with how professional and his knowledge in my case! I highly recommend Matt and his team, they have been nothing but great!

    - Whitney S.
    Brad and his team were excellent in all aspects

    “Brad and his team were excellent in all aspects. Brad made sure I was informed at all stages and never felt in the dark. His representation of me and my case were better than I could have imagined. Being unfamiliar with the process, I could not have been i”

    - Cindy H.
    I worked with Matt he was very helpful and did an awesome job with my case. Would definitely recommend.

    “I worked with Matt he was very helpful and did an awesome job with my case. Would definitely recommend. Even after all my stuff has been settled I’m still able to reach out and ask him questions and he always helps me get an answer.”

    - Cody J.
    I highly recommend their firm

    “Matt and Katrina were very helpful and reliable, and were on the ball on my case they did a great job, got back to me right away on all my emails and I highly recommend their firm, very courteous and respectful, Thank you again”

    - Russell M.

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