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North Dakota Negligence Laws

According to the legal theory of negligence, a person is held liable (or financially responsible) for any injuries caused by either doing something or failing to do something in a reasonable manner. An "injury" can include financial loss, emotional distress, and other wrongs caused by the negligent person's act or lack of action. For example, a motorist who slams into another driver while sending a text message on their phone -- causing injuries -- has not acted like a reasonable person and would be held liable for these injuries.

Negligence Law at a Glance

General information on how North Dakota handles negligence claims is listed in the chart below. See FindLaw's negligence section for more articles.

Elements of a Negligence Case

A plaintiff must be able to prove the following five elements in order to collect damages for injuries resulting from the defendant's negligence:

  1. Defendant owed a duty to commit an act or refrain from committing an act,
  2. Defendant breached this duty,
  3. This breach of duty caused injury to the plaintiff,
  4. Defendant's actions (or inactions) were the proximate cause of the injury, and
  5. Plaintiff suffered actual damages, examples of which are lost wages, hospital bills, and suffering.
Code Section §32-03.2-02
Comparative Negligence North Dakota does not use the comparative negligence standard.
Contributory Negligence-Limit to Plaintiff's Recovery

In North Dakota, "contributory fault" does not always bar a person from recovering compensation when someone sues someone else for negligence. However, "contributory fault" does bar such recovery in North Dakota, if the fault of the person pursuing compensation was as great as the combined fault of all other persons who contribute to the injury. Any damages must be lessened in proportion to the amount of fault that is assigned to the person that is pursuing recovery. If plaintiff's negligence is greater than 50%, recovery is completely barred.

Contribution Among Tortfeasors Under relevant North Dakota law, there is contribution among tortfeasors. However, it's only for their pro rata share of their liabilities. "Contribution among tortfeasors" refers to the sharing of liability by multiple wrongdoers under any set of circumstances where a tort has been committed or is alleged to have been committed. It's important to note that there is no such contribution in North Dakota, if the defendant(s) intentionally committed the injury or wrongful death.
Uniform Act 32-38-01 to 04

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the enactment of newly signed legislation, higher court decisions, and other means. While we strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you also 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.

Research the Law

For more information about laws in North Dakota, including those related to negligence, consider reviewing the following resources:

North Dakota Negligence Law: Related Resources

Consider reviewing the following for more information about negligence, as well:

Questions about Negligence? Speak with a North Dakota Attorney

Negligence laws cover both personal injuries and damage to property. If you've suffered either and believe that someone else was at fault, you may be able to recover money for your losses. It's critical to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to review your case and protect your rights. Speak with a North Dakota personal injury attorney today.

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