North Dakota Auto Accident Laws

North Dakota Auto Accident Laws

No one wants to get into a car accident anywhere. But after a car accident in North Dakota, you may want to understand the laws and regulations in the state. This can help you get adequate compensation for your losses. This article discusses the most important North Dakota auto accident laws that could affect your case.

North Dakota Is A No-Fault Car Insurance State

This is a no-fault state. That means that you usually need to file a car accident claim under your coverage after an auto accident. Because of this, you can receive compensation for your property damages and personal injuries. 

It usually doesn’t matter in North Dakota who caused the car accident. Your policy generally covers your damages and losses. However, if your injury case meets a few prerequisites, it’s possible that you can sue the at-fault driver. 

Exceptions To North Dakota No-Fault Rule

There are a few situations where you can hold the liable driver responsible for your damages and injuries: 

  • Your medical expenses after the accident were more than $2,500, or
  • You suffered severe and permanent disability or disfigurement that lasted more than 60 days

If you meet either of these criteria, you may hold the at-fault driver responsible. The next steps may be filing an auto accident claim or personal injury lawsuit. This means you can pursue medical costs, lost earnings, and pain and suffering judgments. 

North Dakota Car Insurance Minimum Requirements

In this state, every vehicle must have auto insurance with the following coverages for damages. These commonly occur in accidents: 

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury 
  • $25,000 per incident for property damage
  • Uninsured driver: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident
  • Underinsured driver: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident
  • Personal Injury Protection: $150 per week with a maximum of $30,000

Bodily Injury

Regarding bodily injury coverage, this will cover the medical costs for death or injuries. But, only for people in the other vehicle. It also can pay for lost earnings for the injured that may have happened in the accident. 

If you’re sued, bodily injury coverage will cover your legal fees or judgements, up to the limits. It’s important to remember that you can purchase higher levels of coverage in North Dakota. This is often advisable if you have a lot of assets and property. Most drivers buy between $100,000 and $3000,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident. 

Under or Uninsured Motorist

Uninsured and underinsured coverage is necessary because many drivers in North Dakota don’t have car insurance. Some people will get auto insurance when they renew their registration but drop it immediately afterward. 

Suppose an uninsured driver ever hits you in North Dakota. In that case, this coverage will pay for your medical costs and personal injuries if the other person has no or not enough insurance. 

Personal Injury Protection

Personal injury protection or PIP pays for your personal injuries in a car accident, whether you’re liable or not. This is a quick way to get medical bills covered in an accident. If you cannot work because of your accident injuries, PIP also can protect your wages. You can buy more PIP, but most people in North Dakota get the minimum amount. 

North Dakota Auto Accident Laws – Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations establishes the time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit. If you don’t file your lawsuit in that timeframe, the courts will dismiss your case in most circumstances. 

According to North Dakota Century Code section 28-01-16, you have six years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. This could be for personal injury or property damage. 

Perhaps there is a vehicle accident in North Dakota. You would have six years from the date of the incident to initiate a lawsuit. The lawsuit could include any damages or injuries sustained by a passenger, driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist.

However, if someone dies in the accident, the statute of limitations is different. North Dakota Century Code Section 28-01-18 states that you must file a wrongful death lawsuit no more than two years after the date of the person’s death. 

It’s important to remember the statute of limitations as it pertains to your car accident lawsuit. If the statute of limitations will expire soon, you may want to talk about your case with a car accident attorney.   

Comparative Negligence in North Dakota Auto Accident Cases

If the other driver caused your auto accident, the liable party will pay you for medical costs, lost earnings, and related losses. But what happens in North Dakota if you’re partially responsible for the accident? 

North Dakota Century Code section 32-03.2-02 states that North Dakota has a modified comparative fault rule when both drivers share blame for the crash. In most auto accident trials, the jury needs to calculate two factors according to the evidence. These include: the dollar amount of your damages and how much fault each party has for the accident.

According to the modified comparative fault law, your damages reduce by a percentage equal to your share of the fault. However, you must be less than 50% at fault to collect money from the other driver. If your fault is more than 50%, you cannot claim any damages. 

For example, say that the jury in your car accident case says your total damages are $100,000. However, they find you’re 30% responsible for the accident. The comparative fault rule states that you should get $70,000 instead of the total $100,000. It’s still a large sum, but not as much as you would receive if the accident were all the other driver’s fault. 

The comparative negligence rule in this state dictates how North Dakota judges and juries can rule on auto accident lawsuits. It also guides how auto insurance claims adjusters assign fault and offer compensation in auto accident claims. 

The claims adjuster will decide based on what is most likely to happen if the case goes to court. However, that shouldn’t dissuade you from trying to collect on a car accident settlement or lawsuit. 

Personal Injury Damages in North Dakota

Damages that you may be eligible to receive in Idaho include: 

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Auto repairs or replacement
  • Lost wages
  • Rental cars
  • Loss of companionship or affection
  • Wrongful death

These damages often are non-economic and economic damages. Economic damages mean the expenses of repairing or replacing your vehicle. They may also may pay for medical expenses in the past or future. Lost wages and related out of pocket expenses that you can add up also are your economic damages. Non-economic damages include things such as emotional suffering, disability, and disfigurement.  

Your non-economic damages can be more challenging to calculate. After all, how do you figure out how much your pain and suffering are worth? Most laypeople cannot accurately determine this number. That’s the reason it’s wise to talk to an attorney if you’re in a severe North Dakota car accident. Trying to settle a significant car accident case by yourself usually has a poor outcome. 

Auto accident attorneys know how insurance companies calculate pain and suffering. So, your attorney will help you get as much compensation as possible. 

Reporting An Auto Accident In North Dakota

North Dakota state law requires that any driver in a car accident must report the incident in certain situations. This is true if the accident results in death or injury or property damage of $1,000 or more. Note that it’s illegal to leave a crime scene in North Dakota without taking these steps. 

It’s always wise to stay at the accident scene until the police arrive. That way, you don’t risk the accusation of hit-and-run later. 

North Dakota Driver’s Duty To Provide Information and Render Aid

A driver involved in an auto accident resulting in death or injury must give their personal information to anyone injured. This includes their name, address, vehicle information, and insurance policy information. Also, you must render aid, such as arranging to have the injured party taken to a doctor or hospital.  

North Dakota Open Alcohol Container Law

In North Dakota, a driver or passenger cannot possess an open container of alcohol when the car is traveling on state roads. Laws also prohibit the use of a controlled substance while in a motor vehicle. 

Only store an opened container of alcohol in the trunk or in the rear seat where a driver wouldn’t sit. You are not allowed to keep it in the glove compartment. 

North Dakota Dram Shop Law

North Dakota has a modified Dram Shop Law. This refers to the potential liability of bars, hotels, nightclubs, and private social hosts. These are entities who give alcohol to guests or minors who injure others in drunk driving accidents. 

Under state law, it is illegal for a commercial business or social host to offer alcohol to minors or someone who is clearly intoxicated. If they do, then they may be liable for the intoxicated person’s actions. 

North Dakota Caps On Personal Injury Damages

Like many states, North Dakota law enacts caps on damages in personal injury lawsuits. There is a cap of $500,000 on pain and suffering damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit in this state. 

Also, there may be a review in court of economic damages more than $250,000 to determine if they’re reasonable. However, this cap only applies to medical malpractice and no other cases. 

North Dakota Government Lawsuit Claims – Sovereign Immunity

You can file a claim against a government agency or employees for property damage or personal injury in this state. But the claim must relate to the actions of the government agency or its employees during the scope of their daily work. 

In some instances, the property damage or injury happened because of an illegal action. Then, the plaintiff can only sue the person individually responsible for the injury or property damage. The government itself isn’t liable in this case. 

North Dakota Car Accident Settlement Taxes

If you receive a personal injury settlement from your car accident, you may wonder what your tax situation will be. Generally, you’re not required to pay state income tax on settlement proceeds in this state, but there are a few exceptions.

At the federal level, the IRS states that a settlement related to a physical illness or injury is not taxable as personal income. This includes funds that you get for pain and suffering and medical bills. But if you only receive compensation for mental anguish, this is taxable at the federal and state levels. 

If you receive payment for lost wages, this is taxable as income. After all, you’re receiving money that you would have been taxable if you were working. 

Note that punitive damages are always taxable in North Dakota and at the federal level. This compensation is punishment for the driver and isn’t for your personal injuries or property damages. 

When you receive a settlement in North Dakota, it’s vital to run your tax situation by your CPA to prepare for any due taxes next year. If you have a personal injury attorney, he or she can probably recommend a tax professional for you. 

Also, your personal injury attorney can structure your settlement so you owe as little money as possible in state and federal taxes. 

Get Legal Help For Your Auto Accident Case

Any auto accident is an upsetting experience, but it helps if you’re prepared. Now that you know more about the car accident and personal injury laws in North Dakota, you will know what to do if an accident happens. 

But most importantly, if you’re hurt in an auto accident in North Dakota, make sure that you call law enforcement and receive medical assistance if you need it. 

Lawsuit Info Center can assist you in finding a skilled personal injury attorney in your region. You may be due compensation for your physical and emotional injuries. Use our site to find a North Dakota auto accident lawyer today.