Personal Injury Law: South Dakota

Because state laws and statutes dictate personal injury claims, regulations surrounding fault and compensation vary from state to state.

South Dakota is a “Comparative-Fault” State

The term “comparative-fault” means that each party’s degree of fault determines the outcome of the case and the payment of compensation.

In most comparative-fault states, claimants are allowed to hold 50 percent or more of the responsibility for their own injuries and still be awarded compensation. However, South Dakota’s interpretation of personal injury law is relatively strict. Claimants must hold “minimal” responsibility in order to receive compensation for his or her injuries.

Most comparative-fault states set a limit for the amount of responsibility the injured party can hold for their own injuries. In South Dakota, there is no predetermined limit. The law simply requires that the claimant is “minimally” responsible. This means that responsibility is decided on a case by case basis.

If your claim is successful and you hold some level of fault for your injuries, the compensation you receive will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault assigned to you. In other words, if you are found to be 5 percent at fault, then you can only expect to receive 95 percent of the potential compensation.

Potential Damages for Personal Injury in South Dakota

In South Dakota, claimants can seek compensation for both economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, cost of household help, and loss of future earnings ability. Non-economic losses include pain and suffering. If you are unsure about what types of damages or the amount of compensation you are entitled to, you should contact a personal injury attorney familiar with South Dakota claims. He or she will help you determine the best way to receive the compensation you deserve.

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in South Dakota

Each state has a timeframe in which a personal injury claim must be filed. In South Dakota, the statute of limitations for filing a claim for libel, slander or medical malpractice is two years. For all other types of personal injury lawsuits, the statute of limitations is three years.

It’s important to keep in mind that the statute of limitations begins the moment you realize you’ve been injured. In some personal injury cases, injuries are obvious right away. In other cases, the injuries may not become apparent until later. If you were not immediately aware of the injuries you suffered, you may need the assistance of a personal injury attorney familiar with handling cases that are an exception to the standard South Dakota statute of limitations.