Whether in a minor accident or a severe head-on collision, determining who is at fault for the accident and how much to compensate the injured person is difficult. Relief for injuries usually refers to monetary compensation, also called "damages," which are generally broken down into economic and non-economic compensation. Like other states, North Dakota has its own laws that determine the amount of damages you can recover.
Read on to learn about the key North Dakota laws that could substantially affect your accident case.
North Dakota's No-Fault Car Insurance System
North Dakota is one of the few states that have a no-fault auto insurance law, which limits the amount of damages you can recover. Under this system, you need to first turn to your insurance provider for medical expenses and reimbursement for lost wages. The maximum amount of all economic damages you can recover is $30,000.
Additionally, the no-fault system limits your option to directly bring a lawsuit. However, the state will allow you to file a liability claim against the other driver in the following serious car accident cases: (1) claims in which you incurred more than $2,500 of medical expenses as a result of the car accident, or (2) claims involving serious and permanent disfigurement or disability lasting more than 60 days.
Compensation for Damages Available in North Dakota
In North Dakota, the jury or the judge will make three separate findings on the amount of compensation for (1) past economic damages, (2) future economic damages, and (3) noneconomic damages. Below is a list of available damages that are awarded in car accident cases in North Dakota.
North Dakota allows recovery for economic damages, including damages arising from medical injuries and medical care, rehabilitation services, and custodial care; loss of earnings and earning capacity; loss of income or support; burial costs; cost of substitute domestic services; loss of employment or business or employment opportunities; or other monetary losses.
North Dakota also allows recovery for some non-economic damages, including pain, suffering, and inconvenience; disfigurement; mental anguish; emotional distress; fear of injury, loss, or illness; loss of society and companionship; loss of consortium; injury to reputation; humiliation; or other nonpecuniary damages.
Damages Caps in North Dakota
Damage caps refer to limits on the amounts of damages you can recover from your opponent at trial.
|Medical Malpractice Cases
||Under N.D.C.C. § 32-42-02, the non-economic damages cap for medical malpractice claims in North Dakota is $500,000. However, any award ab
|All Other Types of Injury Cases
||The state of North Dakota refers to punitive damages as "exemplary damages." Under N.D.C.C. § 32-03.2-11, if the trier of fact determines that exemplary damages will be awarded, they are limited to two times the amount of compensatory damages, or $250,000, whichever is greater. No exemplary damages may be awarded if no compensatory damages were awarded.
Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time, usually through the enactment of newly passed legislation but sometimes through higher court decisions and other means. You may want to contact a North Dakota personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Modified Comparative Negligence Rule in North Dakota
In a car accident case, your opponent may argue that you were the one at fault for your injuries. When the fault is shared, there are three different standards a state may use to calculate the amount of damages you can recover: pure contributory negligence, pure comparative negligence, and modified comparative negligence rules.
North Dakota applies the "modified comparative negligence" standard. Under this rule, you will be able to recover damages reduced by the percentage of your liability, as long as you were less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. However, if you were 50 percent or more at fault, you are barred from recovering any damages.
For example, at trial, the jury determines the total amount of damages is $100,000. You were found 10 percent at fault, and your opponent 90 percent at fault. In this case, you are entitled to recover 90 percent of $100,000, which is $90,000.
Exceptions to the Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
There are certain exceptions to this rule for "property damages." The amount of damages will not be diminished in proportion to the amount of your fault in the following situations:
- Property damages resulted from a motor vehicle accident in which two persons are at fault;
- Direct physical property damages are $5,000 or less; indirect physical property damages are $1,000 or less; or
- The person against whom recovery is sought was more than 50 percent at fault.
Get Help with North Dakota's Car Accident Compensation Laws
Regardless of the type of accident you were involved in, your car accident claim may be subject to counterclaims and multiple limitations. North Dakota's no-fault system can make a car accident claim complicated. To find out if you have a viable case, contact an experienced attorney in North Dakota to discuss your legal options.