North Dakota is known for its extended highway and roads surrounded by grassland and farms. At times, you may encounter huge pieces of metal sculptures that bring you to an enchanted view. However, whether you're driving on I-94 or on a country road, car accidents are unavoidable. If you have been in a car accident in North Dakota, it's important to research the state's car accident compensation laws to discover your legal options. Read on to learn about North Dakota car accident compensation laws and the standards that may apply to your 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. Here is a list of available damages that are awarded in car accident cases in North Dakota:
- Damages arising from medical and medical care, rehabilitation services, custodial care
- Loss of earnings and earning capacity
- Loss of income or support
- Burial costs
- Cost of substitute domestic services
- Loss of enjoyment or business or employment opportunities
- Other monetary losses
- Pain, suffering, and inconvenience
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Fear of injury, loss, or illness
- Loss of society and companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Injury to reputation
- Other nonpecuniary damage
Damages caps, which are laws that limit the amount of damages you can recover, are only applicable in medical malpractice cases.
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 fault is shared, there are three different standards a state may use to calculate the amount of damages you can recover: contributory negligence, pure comparative negligence, and modified comparative negligence rules. North Dakota applies the "modified comparative negligence" standard. Under this rule, you will 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.
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.
- The person against whom recovery is sought was more than 50 percent at fault.
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.
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.