Anyone who has been injured in a car accident in South Dakota will want to get familiar with the various state laws and car insurance requirements that could affect any settlement or lawsuit over the crash. This page provides a summary of the South Dakota-specific resources available on All-About-Car-Accidents.com, plus links to more detailed information.
If you are going to file a lawsuit after a car accident in South Dakota -- and even if you’re only making an insurance claim for the time being -- there are a few state laws to keep in mind, beginning with the time limit for getting a car accident lawsuit started (this kind of law is called a “statute of limitations”).
The relevant deadlines for filing a car accident lawsuit in South Dakota are:
So, what if you don’t get your lawsuit filed before the deadline passes? It’s safe to assume that the court will refuse to hear your case in that situation. So it’s critical to pay attention to the deadline, even if you think your case is going to settle out of court. You always want to leave open the option of bringing a lawsuit, not merely for leverage during settlement talks, but also to make sure you can turn to the court system for a remedy if the settlement process isn’t promising a satisfactory solution.
Get details on other South Dakota laws that could impact your car accident case in our article Car Accident Laws in South Dakota.
Like most states, South Dakota requires drivers to carry adequate car insurance coverage on any vehicle owned and operated in the state. The following minimum coverage is mandatory:
Uninsured motorist coverage is also a requirement for any car insurance policy issued in South Dakota. For more details, check out our companion article South Dakota Car Insurance Laws.
You may not need to hire a lawyer for every variety of car accident claim. For example, in a situation where the other driver’s insurance carrier isn’t disputing that its insured was at fault for the car accident, and you suffered only minor injuries, it’s probably fine to handle that kind of claim yourself as long as you’re comfortable with the process.
But what if the other driver’s insurer is saying that you caused the car accident? Or what if you suffered serious injuries and the insurer is balking at the extent or the costs of your medical treatment? In those situations, things can get complicated (and contentious) very quickly, and it may be time to discuss your situation with a local car accident lawyer in South Dakota. Remember that most lawyers will take a car accident case on a contingency basis, meaning that the lawyer only gets paid a percentage of any successful settlement or court award.
A good attorney knows how to successfully navigate not just the back-and-forth of settlement negotiations with car insurance adjusters, but also the car accident lawsuit process if your case proceeds to South Dakota civil court.