Anyone who has been in a car accident in North Dakota needs to understand the different state laws and insurance requirements that could affect any injury claim over the accident -- most notably, how North Dakota’s no-fault car insurance system works.
This page provides a guide to the North Dakota-specific resources on All-About-Car-Accidents.com, starting with an introduction to North Dakota’s no-fault rules. We’ll also look at state laws that could affect a car accident lawsuit in North Dakota -- if your claim qualifies for exemption from no-fault -- and when it might make sense to get help from an experienced lawyer.
After any car accident in North Dakota, the first thing to understand is that the state follows a “no-fault” car insurance system. That means, regardless of who may be to blame for the accident, anyone who has been injured turns first (and often exclusively) to his or her own car insurance coverage to get compensation for injuries and lost income. North Dakota’s no-fault rules even cover vehicle damage.
North Dakota's no-fault insurance laws prohibit drivers and passengers from suing one another unless the claim qualifies for exemption from no fault because:
Why does exemption from no-fault matter? For one thing, taking a claim outside of no-fault lets an injured person demand compensation for pain and suffering and other kinds of non-economic damages (these aren’t available to a claimant under no-fault). For more information, including a breakdown of the car insurance coverage minimums in the state, check out North Dakota No-Fault Car Insurance Laws.
If your injury claim is serious enough to let you step outside of North Dakota’s no-fault system and file a lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident, there are a few state laws that could come into play, starting with the deadline for filing a personal injury case in court. This kind of law is called a “statute of limitations,” and every state has one; different deadlines apply to different kinds of cases.
North Dakota’s personal injury statute of limitations is one of the most generous in the country. You have six years from the date of the car accident to get your case started -- that means getting the initial complaint and summons filed in North Dakota’s civil court system.
The same six-year deadline applies whether the lawsuit is for injuries caused by the car accident, or for vehicle damage.
To see the full text of North Dakota's statute of limitations related to car accident lawsuits, see North Dakota Century Code section 28-01-16.
If you miss the six-year window, the court will probably throw your case out, so it’s crucial to pay attention to the statute of limitations as it applies to your claim. Even if you’re only making a third party insurance claim against the other driver and you think it’s bound to settle outside of court, you always want to keep open the option of turning to the court system for a remedy if the settlement process isn’t promising a satisfactory solution.
Learn more about Car Accident Laws in North Dakota.
You might not need the assistance of a lawyer in every car accident claim scenario. If you were involved in a minor car accident and you are simply making a claim through your own policy under North Dakota’s no-fault car insurance rules, you can probably handle it yourself, as long as you’re comfortable doing so.
But if you’ve suffered significant injuries and you think your claim meets the North Dakota threshold for taking a car accident case outside of no-fault, you might find that there is a lot more at stake. An experienced lawyer can be your best bet when you’re trying to prove that your case qualifies for exemption from no-fault, and once it does qualify, your lawyer will protect your rights at every stage of any liability claim or lawsuit you decide to pursue.