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Pain and Suffering Damages in South Dakota

Residents of South Dakota enjoy a relaxed lifestyle in the expansive land of prairies and glacial lakes. But let's say one day someone crashes into your car and now you are forced to endure physical and mental pain and suffering. The Mount Rushmore State is no exception to the accidents and injuries that occur every day across the country. If you are suffering from an accident or injury, you may be able to receive compensation for both the economic losses as well as the intangible consequences you've suffered. 

Check out the table and explanations below to learn more about pain and suffering damages in South Dakota.

Statute of Limitations
Noneconomic Damages Caps
  • Noneconomic damages, including pain and suffering, are capped to $500,000 in medical malpractice cases [Section 21-3-11]
Comparative Negligence Standard
  • If you were partially at fault for your own injuries, you can recover damages from the other party only if your fault was "slight" [Section 20-9-2]

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 South Dakota personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

How Pain and Suffering Damages Work

Damages can be divided into two different categories: (1) economic and (2) noneconomic. Economic damages refer to specific pecuniary harm, including lost wages due to missed work, medical expenses, and damages to your property. On the other hand, noneconomic damages are intangible losses, such as pain and suffering.

South Dakota defines "noneconomic loss" as any non-monetary harm for which damages are recoverable. South Dakota allows you to recover the following types of noneconomic losses:

  • Physical and emotional pain
  • Suffering
  • Physical impairment
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of companionship, services, and consortium
  • Other nonpecuniary losses

As a part of noneconomic loss, pain and suffering can include both past and future damages in connection with an accident or injury.

Measuring the Costs of Pain and Suffering Damages

There is no guideline or absolute means of measuring the pain and suffering of every individual person. Generally, states that allow pain and suffering damages consider a wide range of circumstances surrounding the incident.

In South Dakota, a jury will find separate findings for the following:

  • Past damages
  • Future damages
  • Medical and other costs of health care
  • Other economic loss
  • Noneconomic loss

In order to consider all other types of damages into your calculation, review FindLaw's Damage Estimate Worksheet and make sure you don't overlook other types of applicable damages.

Limitations on Noneconomic Damages in South Dakota

If you are seeking noneconomic damages in South Dakota, you should also note that there are several limitations. First, the "statute of limitations" imposes a time limit on bringing a lawsuit against the person who caused the accident. Second, damages caps limit the amount of damages you can recover.

Third, negligence standards are applied when fault is shared among the parties. South Dakota is the only state that has its own version of "comparative negligence" rule. Under this rule, you can recover damages only if your fault was "slight." There is no clear definition of "slight", and it is up to the jury to determine the amount.

An Attorney Can Help With Your South Dakota Pain and Suffering Claim

Sometimes an accident can take on a life of its own and cause a ripple effect that impacts your ability to enjoy life. If it's due to someone else's negligence, you may have a valid claim for pain and suffering damages. Whether you're suffering from chronic pain or mental distress, an experienced South Dakota injury law attorney can help you get the maximum compensation you're entitled to by law.

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