·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Lawsuits & Litigation

What Types of Damages Can You Recover After an Accident in South Dakota?

— April 22, 2022

Non-economic damages are meant to compensate you for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries.

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone’s negligence, South Dakota laws allow you to file a personal injury claim or to take the matter to court if you cannot agree on a settlement with the insurance company. For minor accidents, such as a fender bender, the process of recovering damages is pretty simple, but if you were seriously injured you should consider talking to a seasoned South Dakota accident lawyer to explain your options.

Why should I hire an accident lawyer in South Dakota?

Money. Serious injuries require extensive medical care and the costs can be eye-watering high. Add to that your lost earnings for the duration of your recovery and you’ll be needing serious money. Most personal injury claims can be settled with the insurance company, but it’s going to be a battle. 

Insurance companies like it when they take your money and they insist on you paying your premium on time. When it comes to holding to their end of the bargain and covering your damages they will try everything in their power to minimize the value of your claim.  You will need a tough accident lawyer in Sioux Falls to do the bargaining for you as insurance adjusters are highly skilled at coming up with false pretexts to reduce your damages. 

If, for instance, you injure your back in a slip and fall, they might claim that you had a preexisting medical condition and your present pain has nothing to do with the accident.

Medical Board Says Doc is Incompetent After Plaintiff Loses Suit
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Likewise, if you are injured in a car accident, they will try to pin some of the blame on you to minimize your damages or deny your claim altogether.  South Dakota uses a modified comparative fault rule and you can recover damages even if you are partly to blame for an accident. 

What sort of damages can you recover after an accident?

First of all, you can recover compensatory damages which are of two types: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages should cover all your medical expenses, any property damage, as we

ll as your lost wages, past and future, if you will be unable to work for a long period of time.

Non-economic damages are meant to compensate you for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries. This refers to both physical pain and mental suffering. These are determined based on the severity of your injuries and the extent to which they have impacted your life. An accident lawyer with many years of experience in the field can help you put a value on your pain and suffering.

For certain types of accidents, such as medical malpractice or product liability, compensatory damages are capped at $1,000,000. 

Punitive damages are usually awarded if the case goes to trial and only in certain types of accidents. Your lawyer will have to prove that the party at fault acted with gross negligence, complete disregard for the safety of others or malicious intent. For example, you can claim punitive damages in a DUI case if the drunk driver had a high BAC or if they had previous convictions for drunk-driving. Punitive damages are not capped in South Dakota so it’s up to your lawyer’s skills how much money you can get. 

Join the conversation!