There are many reasons why people enjoy living in North Dakota, including a relatively low crime rate, a low cost of living, good employment rates, and spectacular air quality. Unfortunately, despite North Dakota’s positive features, dangers still exist on every roadway in the state. The North Dakota Department of Transportation notes that car accidents are the leading cause of accidental injuries in the state.
If a negligent driver injured you in a North Dakota car accident, you can seek compensation for the monetary and psychological costs of your injuries. An experienced North Dakota car accident lawyer from Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers can help you understand this process and tell you about the services our legal team can provide to assist you with your claim.
Why Choose Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers?
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers have been in the business of assisting the injured in Wisconsin and Minnesota since 2007 and now also serve North Dakota. Through the years, our team has grown, and we have expanded and established offices in several communities so that our clients can enjoy the personal touches and easy accessibility of having a local law firm.
With team members and attorneys across numerous locations, the Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers legal team combines its resources to help more people obtain the compensation they need after being injured in an accident.
Our Team Is Pleased to Help With North Dakota Car Accident Claims
Having our law firm assist you with your case means you have an attorney who lives and works in your community and knows the area’s medical facilities and courts. Expanding our services to North Dakota provides us with an exciting opportunity to positively impact more people through our services and involvement in local charitable organizations, which is also an important part of our mission.
Having a local office also provides additional options for case evaluations. We can meet with you at our local office or even come to you at home, the hospital, or the nursing home where you reside. For your convenience, we can also evaluate your case over the phone or virtually. Contact us today to get started on the claims process.
How Much Is a North Dakota Car Accident Claim Worth?
One of the most frequently asked questions by those injured in motor vehicle accidents is: how much is my claim worth? It’s an understandable question, considering the extraordinary expenses involved in obtaining medical treatment for an injury while simultaneously experiencing wage loss and other unanticipated expenses and inconveniences.
However, no standard amount of compensation is available after a car accident occurs, and the worth of your claim cannot be established until your injury has stabilized. Your physician has determined that you have made all the meaningful recovery possible. The reason for waiting until this point is that there is a better view of your medical treatment expenses, how many expenses remain after you have exhausted your personal injury protection (PIP) policy, the presence of permanent injuries, and other issues that must be accounted for.
Here is a look at some factors that can affect the value of your claim.
The Clarity of Liability
North Dakota is one of a handful of no-fault states where drivers must maintain a personal injury protection policy. After a car accident, they must seek compensation for medical expenses and income loss, regardless of fault. However, if the expenses of your injury exceed the limits of your no-fault policy and you can prove that another party caused the accident, you can file a claim against the other party’s liability insurance policy.
Many accidents do not feature a single at-fault party and a single victim. Instead, they can include negligence from multiple drivers and other parties and injuries. If there is a dispute over liability, the at-fault party’s insurer will be more likely to dispute the claim or reduce the amount of the settlement offer they make to the claimant.
How Much Insurance Coverage the At-Fault Party Has
Insurance policies provide nearly all of the compensation available for individuals injured in accidents caused by someone else’s negligence.
In North Dakota, the minimum insurance requirements for vehicle owners include:
- Bodily injury liability coverage of $25,000 per injured person or $50,000 for two or more people injured in the accident
- Property damage liability coverage of $25,000 per accident
- Uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 per injured person or $50,000 for two or more people injured in the accident
- Underinsured motorist coverage provides the same amount of coverage as is provided for uninsured motorist claims
- Basic no-fault insurance—commonly referred to as personal injury protection—of at least $30,000
If an individual is injured in a car accident in North Dakota, their basic no-fault policy is generally the first resource for coverage of expenses. Once the accident’s expenses exceed the policy’s limits, the injured party can file a claim against the at-fault party’s auto liability policy.
However, unlike their no-fault coverage, the claimant must prove that the policyholder is liable for the accident to obtain compensation for the expenses and impacts of their injury through a claim against someone else’s insurance policy. However, even in those cases, the claim can run into policy limits that can prevent the claimant from receiving the full value of their claim.
The Severity of Your Injuries
Typically, the more severe your injuries are, the higher your claim will be valued. This is because serious injuries tend to result in more extensive medical treatment and a lengthier stay in the hospital, as well as more significant psychological impacts such as pain and suffering or loss of the enjoyment of life. They commonly cause the injured person to miss more time away from work and drive up the expense of wage loss experienced as a result of the injury.
Several injuries can cause permanent physical impacts simply due to the part of the body that incurred the injury. These are known as catastrophic injuries and require a higher value to account for the permanent loss of earning capacity experienced by the sufferer and the need for additional medical treatment in the future.
Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries are the most common types of catastrophic injuries. However, limb amputations, loss of hearing or sight, or severe spinal vertebrae or disc damage can also be considered permanent and catastrophic.
How Car Accidents Happen in North Dakota
According to North Dakota’s Department of Transportation, there are three factors that account for a significant number of injuries sustained in car crashes.
Those factors include:
- Whether the parties involved in the accident were wearing their seat belts. Around 46 percent of the fatalities on North Dakota roadways involve vehicle occupants not wearing seat belts.
- One of the drivers involved in the accident was impaired by alcohol. Alcohol impairment is a factor in around 42 percent of all fatal accidents in the state.
- Speed and aggressive driving are considered a factor in nearly a quarter of North Dakota’s fatal accidents.
The areas of North Dakota that experience the highest numbers of crashes include Williams and Ward Counties, which each see more than 900 crashes a year; Stark County, where more than 600 car accidents occur in a year; and Stutsman County, which experiences around 500 accidents a year.
Types of Car Accidents and Injuries that Can Result in a Personal Injury Claim
Many car accidents can occur on North Dakota roads and lead to an insurance claim or lawsuit, including:
- Head-on collisions involve the front of one vehicle colliding with the front of another vehicle.
- Right-angle collisions, also known as T-bones or broadside accidents. These accidents involve the front of one vehicle impacting the side of another vehicle.
- Rear-end accidents, one of the most common types of accidents involving more than one vehicle, occur when the front of one car collides with the rear of another.
- Sideswipe accidents involve the side of one vehicle contacting the side of another vehicle.
- Rollovers occur when the vehicle rolls over due to its tires “tripping over an obstacle” or due to a weight imbalance in a vehicle with a high center of gravity as it attempts to negotiate a sharp curve or corner.
Car accidents can result in injuries to almost any part of the body.
Some of the injuries that can result in a claim include:
- Catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries.
- Broken bones, including ribs, hips, spinal vertebrae, arms, legs, and even facial bones.
- Internal injuries, including damage to vital organs due to puncturing from broken ribs or blunt force trauma to the abdomen.
- Soft tissue injuries, including whiplash as well as muscle sprains and strains. As explained by Johns Hopkins Medicine, while most cases of whiplash heal within a few weeks, some people deal with persistent pain from the injury for many months or even years.
- Burns, lacerations, and other skin damage can result in scarring and disfigurement.
Fighting the Insurance Company for the Compensation You Need
One of the biggest obstacles those injured in car accidents face as they attempt to seek compensation for their injuries is reluctance by the at-fault party’s insurance provider to fairly compensate the claim. It is important to understand that an insurance company’s business goal is not to pay the full value of a claim made against their insured’s policy. Instead, their goal is to make money. Money is made through selling policies, and the company keeps this money by disputing and devaluing claims.
While many people think hiring an attorney is an option after an accident, for most claims, having an attorney is crucial, as the insurance company will find a way to avoid fairly compensating the claim if there is not an attorney to hold them accountable. The legal team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers is committed to fighting the insurance company for the compensation you need, whether that fight takes place in settlement negotiations or a courtroom.
How to Protect the Value of Your Claim
While your attorney and their legal team do the heavy lifting in your claim, you can protect your right to compensation by:
- Complying with your doctor’s treatment plan, taking all prescribed medications and attending all injury-related doctor’s appointments to have the best opportunity for physical healing.
- Journaling about the impacts you are experiencing as a result of your injury. Journals are also an effective way to track your pain levels and keep track of your medical appointments.
- Avoid posting about your accident on social media, as the insurance company can demand to see social media posts and use the information you posted as a public statement, even if your social media is set to private.
- Understand that patience is required in the personal injury process. Settlement negotiations take time, and scheduling a trial takes time. Impatience leads to low settlements that will not necessarily provide enough compensation to fully cover the expenses and impacts of your injury.
Injured in a North Dakota Car Accident? Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers Can Help
Being injured in a car accident is one of the most stressful experiences in life. The legal team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers is eager to answer your questions about your claim and explain to you the services we can provide to help you with the personal injury claims process. Reach out to a North Dakota personal injury lawyer.