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Essential Statutes Accident Victims Should Know in North Dakota

— March 28, 2024

A good lawyer can help you understand the specifics of your situation.

Being involved in an accident in Minot, whether a car crash, slip and fall, or another incident, can be a stressful and confusing experience. It’s even worse if you do not have sufficient knowledge about North Dakota laws or statutes in place regarding your specific situation.

As soon as you’ve sought medical attention, you should reach out to Minot personal injury attorneys to take on your case.

Nonetheless, here are the essential personal injury statutes that concern you as a victim:

1. North Dakota Century Code § 32-03.1-02: Comparative Fault

North Dakota Century Code § 32-03.1-02 applies a “comparative fault” system to accident claims. This means your compensation hinges on the percentage of fault you share. Here’s the breakdown:

If you’re partly responsible for the accident, your compensation gets reduced proportionally. Let’s say you’re 30% at fault and your damages total $15,000. You’d recover a maximum of $10,500 (70% of $15,000).

As a victim, you should also understand how much fault you might share. The percentage can depend on factors like traffic violations, distracted driving, or failing to yield the right of way. Consulting an attorney can help assess your specific situation.

In extreme cases, if you’re found more than 50% at fault, you might be barred from recovering any compensation from the other party’s insurance.

2. North Dakota Century Code § 29-19-14: Statute of Limitations

North Dakota Century Code § 29-19-14 sets a strict deadline for accident claims: two years from the accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit in North Dakota. 

Missing this deadline, known as the statute of limitations, can significantly limit or even eliminate your ability to receive compensation for damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Don’t wait to seek legal counsel after an accident. Evidence can fade, and witnesses can become difficult to locate over time. A personal injury attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure your claim is filed within the two-year window.

3. North Dakota Century Code § 29-17-18: No-Fault Insurance

North Dakota is a no-fault insurance state. This means your own insurance company will typically cover your initial medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who caused the accident. However, there are exceptions:

  • Serious Bodily Injury: If your injuries meet the definition of “serious bodily injury” under North Dakota law (typically involving permanent disfigurement, broken bones, or significant internal injuries), you can pursue a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company for additional damages beyond what your own policy covers.
  • Threshold Exceeded: If your medical bills and lost wages exceed a certain amount (currently $2,000 in North Dakota), you can also pursue a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance for all your damages.

4. North Dakota Century Code § 26.1-31-01: Dog Bite Laws

Dog baring its teeth; image by freegr, via
Dog baring its teeth; image by freegr, via

Unlike some states, North Dakota holds dog owners liable for bite injuries even if the dog has no prior bite record. This simplifies the legal process for victims, ensuring you don’t have to prove the dog was known to be aggressive.

The law centers on the specific bite incident. Key factors considered might include where the bite occurred (public vs. private property) and the victim’s actions (trespassing, provoking the dog).

However, there are some situations where strict liability might not apply. Here are a few of them:

  • Trespassing: If you were trespassing on private property when bitten, the dog owner’s liability might be reduced or even eliminated.
  • Provocation: If you were teasing, harassing, or otherwise provoking the dog, the owner might have a defense against full liability.

Wrapping Up

You do not have to go through the entire process on your own. A good lawyer can help you understand the specifics of your situation. With their help, you can navigate the legal process to recover compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering caused by the dog bite.

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