How did your car accident happen in South Dakota? Were you hit by a speeding driver on I-90? A distracted driver on I-29? A drunk driver on I-229? Whatever the cause of your crash, it's critical that you take strong legal action as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could miss out on your opportunity to be fairly compensated.
The car accident attorneys at Northern Plains Justice help victims get the compensation they rightfully deserve. We know what evidence to look for after a crash and what it takes to win. Whether you were hurt by a reckless driver heading to Mount Rushmore or Badlands National Park or a distracted driver in Sioux Falls, we can help.
Types of Car Accident Cases We Handle
Some of the many types of car accidents we handle at Northern Plains Justice include:
- Rear-end accidents. If you were hit from behind, you almost certainly were not responsible for your accident. The other driver might have been distracted or simply not paying attention, but now you may be dealing with neck or head injuries or broken bones or strains.
- Hit and run accidents. Hit and run car accidents can be very frustrating. Normally, you deal directly with the driver who caused your crash or that driver's insurance company. However, when the driver flees the scene of your accident, knowing what to do afterward can be confusing.
- Uninsured and underinsured drivers. All drivers in South Dakota must have insurance, but not every driver follows the state's laws. Unfortunately, some drivers choose to drive a car without insurance. Other times, some drivers don't have enough insurance.
- T-bone collisions. T-bone is the phrase commonly used to describe a broadside collision or side-impact car accident. Typically, these car wrecks involve one vehicle's front end slamming into the side of another vehicle. You might have been struck in an intersection by a driver who ignored a red light or stop sign or failed to yield.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
One of the first things we will do when we accept your case is to determine the cause of the accident. Some reasons drivers can be held financially responsible include:
- Distracted driving. What makes these cases so complicated is most drivers who engage in such reckless behavior often deny doing so. That's why you need us on your side. We know what evidence to look for, and we can challenge the other driver's claims. If necessary, we're prepared to take your case to court. We put your best interests first.
- Speeding. South Dakota has very generous speed limits. On Interstates 90 and 29, the speed limit in most places is either 75 mph or 80 mph. Even so, many people still drive faster than the posted speed limit. And when they crash into another vehicle, the injuries they cause can often be extremely serious or even fatal.
- Texting and cell phone use. Texting while driving is against the law in South Dakota. Yet, some drivers continue to text and drive. Some people believe they can safely do both things at the same time—even though study after study has shown that texting drivers simply aren't aware of their surroundings and routinely cause serious accidents.
- Drunk driving. Everyone knows the dangers of driving drunk, but some drivers choose to ignore all these warnings and get behind the wheel of a car and drive while impaired. When these drivers cause an accident, they need to be held accountable for their actions. That's where we come in.
- Fatigued or asleep at the wheel. When drivers fall asleep at the wheel, it might seem unintentional—but tired drivers can choose to pull over and take a break. When they cause a car wreck, they need to be held accountable for their reckless, negligent behavior.
- Tailgating. Tailgating might seem like a minor offense, but the reality is car accidents involving tailgaters can result in serious injuries to the head, neck, and back, including whiplash (sprained neck), concussion (brain injury) and spinal cord injuries.
What You Should Do After a Car Accident
Even if the other driver seems to be clearly reckless or negligent, don't count on them admitting they did anything wrong. In fact, the other driver might even try to blame you. And once the insurance company and defense attorneys get involved, you might suddenly find yourself involved in a fierce legal battle for the compensation you deserve.
After a car accident, you need to:
- Call the police. In South Dakota, drivers are required by law to report all motor vehicle accidents that result in an injury, death, or an estimated $2,000 or more in damage. Also, if you call the police, the investigating officer will create an official South Dakota Motor Vehicle Traffic Accident Report. This document can help you get fair compensation for your injuries and losses from the crash.
- Take photographs. Photographs can be an important piece of evidence for any accident claim. Take photos that show exactly where the two cars collided, street signs, traffic signals, skid marks, and weather conditions.
- Exchange information with the other driver. Get their name and contact information, driver's license number, and insurance information. Remember to keep your comments to just the facts because what you say could be used against you to deny your accident claim.
- Talk to any witnesses. Witness statements are important for any accident investigation. Be sure you get their name and contact information, in addition to their statement.
- See a doctor. Even if you feel OK and don't believe you were injured, see a doctor promptly. Internal injuries and traumatic brain injuries, like concussions, can have delayed onset symptoms. If you don't see a doctor promptly, the insurance company may also use that to deny compensation by questioning if you were really injured in your car crash.
- Contact your insurance company. Remember to keep your comments to just the facts. The insurance company should be on your side, but they're a business looking out for their bottom line. Anything else you say about your car accident can be used to challenge your claim and could cost you the money you deserve. If the other driver's insurance company contacts you, politely decline to answer their questions and direct them to talk to your lawyer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is South Dakota a fault insurance state?
Yes. The insurance company for the at-fault driver who caused your car accident is responsible for repairing your car and paying your medical bills.
Should I accept a settlement offer from an insurance company?
Maybe, but beware of any quick settlement offer. What might seem like a reasonable amount now might turn out to be way less than the true cost of your accident. A lowball settlement offer might not cover your medical costs, long-term expenses for medical treatment, and lost wages for missed workdays that add up over time.
How much is my car accident claim worth?
This is difficult to say because every car accident is unique. Some are worth a few thousand dollars, while others might be worth millions. The severity of your injuries, medical treatment you need to fully recover, damage to your car, and time missed from work are just some of the factors that go into calculating damages.
How can a Sioux Falls car accident attorney help me?
Insurance companies often have teams of lawyers defending their interests. Hiring a personal injury attorney can level the playing field for you.
In order to file a successful lawsuit, you need to have the facts on your side. That's where a lawyer can make a difference. Experienced car accident lawyers know how to find the evidence needed to build strong legal cases, including:
- Statements from witnesses
- Expert analysis of accident reports
- Medical examinations which support an injury victim's claims
All of these items and many more often add up to a winning legal strategy. That's why you need a lawyer you can trust in your corner, standing up for your rights.
At Northern Plains Justice, we don't work for the police or insurance companies. We strictly work for you—and our job is to make sure your accident receives our full attention. This includes rigorously investigating your crash in search of the facts. When we investigate accidents, we visit the scene of the crash, interview witnesses, consult with experts, and carefully review accident reports. We do everything we can to move your accident case forward.
When you have our legal team working for you, you can dictate what happens. Instead of insurance companies, other lawyers, or even your boss setting the agenda, our forward-thinking car accident attorneys will do everything we can to help you get the time and money you need to fully recover. Contact our law firm to schedule your free consultation.