Car Accident Lawyers in Bismarck, North Dakota
Helping Victims Injured in Auto Accidents in Bismarck and throughout Burleigh County
Even though a car accident is over in the space of a few seconds, the aftereffects can last for weeks or months. For some accident injury victims, the effects can be lifelong. North Dakota’s rate of auto accidents is higher than the national average, with one occurring almost every thirty minutes within the boundaries of the state.
Another facet of car accidents is the time it takes to navigate the legal avenues in seeking compensation for damages inflicted on you in the accident. Lawyers representing the other party in the accident can dispute your claim, denying you the reimbursement you are entitled to. Having a North Dakota car accident lawyer in your corner is key to coming out on top in a contentious claim case. The attorneys at Sand Law can help you take action against the responsible parties and get you the compensation you deserve.
Common Types of Accident Cases
A car accident often happens suddenly with little warning. The vast majority are the result of otherwise preventable human error. This is known as negligence on the part of the driver that causes the accident, and it is key to the argument you need to make in claims court.
Car accidents take many forms, with a wide range of severity:
- Fender bender – A lighter collision, with no or minor injuries to the parties involved and minimal damage to vehicles. Though it may seem right to let such minor incidents slide, the damage incurred can still be expensive.
- Collisions – The severity of the average collision is dependent on a variety of factors, including the speed both cars were moving and road conditions such as rain or snow. If the driver that hits you is driving distracted (ie. on their phone) or intoxicated, they are liable for the damage they do.
- Interstate or highway collisions – More often than not, accidents that happen on the highway are the most devastating to passengers and vehicles. Highway speeds equate to far more force when cars collide, leading to incredibly severe injuries.
- Truck accidents – Because of the size and weight difference between a typical passenger car and a commercial truck, accidents between the two are often serious.They can cause severe injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, broken bones, and more. It can be trickier to determine fault with truck accident cases, as many parties could be liable for an accident.
- Motorcycle Accidents – Motorcyclists are extremely unprotected on North Dakota’s roadways. They have no exterior protection, no seatbelts, and are often overlooked. Because of this, accidents between car and motorcycles can cause devastating injuries. Motorcycle accidents often cause road rash, causing potentially permanent damage to the skin. Road rash occurs when skin scrapes against asphalt, leaving damage similar to an intense burn. Severe road rash requires a skin graft and is at great risk for infection and scarring. Motorcycle accidents most commonly occur because of improper lane changes, distracted driving, and driving under the influence.
- Oilfield vehicle accidents – North Dakota is well known for its oil industry jobs. And while working in the oil fields has its own dangers, the trucks that transport the oil and equipment can cause serious injuries too. Accidents on an oilfield include pad site accidents, injuries, and explosions, hazardous materials accidents, slip and fall accidents, and wrongful death. These can lead to injuries such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, burns, and broken bones.
- Pedestrian and crosswalk accidents – Crossing the road can be an extremely dangerous event. But most people cross roads like it’s no big deal. Motorists, too, often do not take crosswalks serious enough. When a car hits a pedestrian, the result can me serious.
- Bicycle accidents, including those involving children – Bicyclists, like motorcyclists, are unprotected against the heavy steel of cars. When a car hits a person riding a bike, the cyclist is often left with life-long injuries.
Liable Parties in a Truck Accident
- Driver: The truck driver can be considered negligent when they break the duty of care that they owe to keep other drivers safe on the road. This may be by driving while under the influence, distracted driving, driving recklessly, driving while exhausted or fatigued, or inexperienced driving.
- Trucking Company: The trucking company may be liable for encouraging their employees to break federal trucking regulations. Most commonly, trucking companies will encourage their drivers to drive over the legally allowed limits, causing fatigue and exhaustion.
- Truck Manufacturer: The truck manufacturer could be liable if a defective part caused the accident, especially If the manufacturing company didn’t address the problem or send out a recall for the part.
- Loaders: If the commercial vehicle’s improper loading caused the accident, the truck loaders might be at-fault for the accident. Liable parties can include:
- Truck Owner: In some cases, trucks are owned by one company and rented out by trucking companies. If the trucks are rented, it’s often up to the truck owner to ensure that the vehicles are being maintained properly.
Liability for Oilfield Vehicle Injuries
Your employer may be liable for your injury if one or more of the following caused your accident:
- Faulty maintenance of machinery
- Non-compliance with safety regulations
- OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) violations
- Lack of training previous to handling dangerous equipment or hazardous materials
Dangerous Habits While Driving
Driving any type of vehicle requires one’s full attention. Therefore, anything that takes that attention away is considered to be a dangerous habit. However, dangerous habits don’t just include distractions. They also include short-cuts or bad habits that you have while driving. Dangerous habits include:
- Texting or talking on the phone while driving or otherwise using your phone for any purpose in non-hands free mode. This includes looking up directions while driving, checking social media, or checking your email.
- Changing the radio or using your phone to pick songs to listen to.
- Talking to someone in the passenger seat (while looking at them) or talking to someone in the backseat. Even just talking to someone (without looking at them) can cause you to become engrossed in conversation. So even though your eyes are still on the road, your mind isn’t.
- Eating while driving. Many think that it’s okay to eat while they’re driving. But this too can take your attention away from the road.
- Not using your blinker is also a dangerous habit, as others on the road won’t know that you’re about to merge. This could cause a sideswipe accident.
- Relying too heavily on the safety features of your car can also be dangerous. If you have a backup camera, lane assist, and/or blind-spot monitoring, you may find yourself being more careless with your driving. If you have a backup camera, you should still be checking behind your vehicle with your eyes. The same is true with your blind spots.
- Not checking your blindspots, weaving in and out of lanes, and speeding are also dangerous habits that many drivers find themselves picking up. To best drive safely, you should be following all the rules of the road at all times. You may speed when you’re in a hurry. But if speeding causes an accident, it’s going to cause you much more of a delay in getting to where you were going.
Any of these reasons is enough to hold a driver responsible for the accident due to their negligence.
Types of Injuries Associated with Motor Vehicle Accidents
If you’re involved in a car accident (whether you’re a passenger vehicle or vulnerable road user), the injuries that result from these accidents are often serious and expensive. Car accident injuries can result in a huge change to one’s quality of life, requiring the victim to seek long-term treatment, such as surgeries, physical therapy, and medication use. Treatment options are different for different types of injuries, and some may require less treatment than others. However, even basic treatment in a hospital for a minor injury can run a person over a thousand dollars.
Common injuries associated with car accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Amputations (at the scene or surgically)
- Soft tissue injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Bruises and lacerations
What To Do After a Bismarck Car Accident
Seek Help on the Scene
Have an EMT assess you on the scene of the accident to ensure you are not in any immediate danger from injuries you may have sustained.
File a Police Report
Many people may try to argue that you shouldn’t file a report at the scene of the crime. However, this is a mistake. Filing a police report will provide your case with hard evidence from people who saw the aftermath of the accident. In some cases, your insurance company may deny your claim if a police report wasn’t filed.
Document the scene as best you can by taking plenty of pictures; a cell phone camera works perfect for this. Take pictures of your car, the other cars involved in the accident, and any injuries you or your passengers have sustained. Collect personal information from the other parties in the accident, as well as from witnesses.
You should collect their full name and preferred method of contact, whether that’s their phone number or email. You should also ask them to stick around to speak with the investigating police officer about what they saw. A witness statement that shows the other driver was at-fault on a police report is incredibly sound evidence that can be hard to argue against in court.
These are vital for court proceedings in the future.
Seek Further Evaluation From a Physician
Even if you are cleared by EMTs at the scene, you should still be proactive and seek a full physical a few days after the accident. Sometimes damage from the accident does not become fully apparent until some time after the accident, such as the full extent of internal damage or whiplash.
Speak to an Attorney
You should not speak to any insurance companies until you have spoken to an attorney. Once you file a claim with your insurance company, they’ll reach out to the at-fault party’s insurance company, who will contact you. They will try to get you to give them a statement in exchange for quick cash or a small settlement. It’s important that you do not do this, as you can damage your lawsuit before it’s even begun.
Speak to a Bismarck car accident attorney for a free case evaluation. This is your chance to ask questions while also learning about your rights as a victim and your potential options.
Do I need to Hire a Bismarck Car Accident Attorney?
Hiring legal representation for your lawsuit will improve your chances of receiving a higher settlement offer or a trial win. Additionally, it will also protect your legal rights and ensure that you can actually file a legal claim for financial compensation.
You can attempt to file a claim on your own to submit to the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, you will always have a hard time getting money out of them. They don’t care about paying you. And if you’re not willing to put in the effort to fight hard against them, you may never get paid. Hire an experienced attorney who knows how to get money out of insurance companies to do the dirty work for you so you can focus on relaxing and recovering.
Recovering Damages from your Bismarck Car Accident
The car accident attorneys at Sand Law can help you file an insurance claim against a negligent driver. These claims seek to recover compensation from the party that caused the accident to compensate financial losses because of:
- Lost wages from missed work
- Pain and suffering from injuries
- Future lost earnings in the event the crash leaves the victim unable to perform their current job and forces them to resign
- Medical bills for severe injures like whiplash, bone fractures, muscle tears, traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord damage
- Funeral expenses, in the event that the crash is fatal to someone that is not one of the responsible parties
Insurance companies often seek to mitigate insurance payouts because of how high the amount can be. It is important to enlist a qualified car accident attorney to help you navigate the legal space and get the compensation you are entitled to.
How Much is My Car Accident Claim Worth?
Determining the dollar amount that you’ll receive from your car accident claim is not an easy task. There are many factors that influence your claim’s value, and negotiations to determine what your settlement will be can last for months. Your attorney may be able to give you a ballpark estimate of the compensation you could receive by the end of your case. However, this number may fluctuate over the course of your lawsuit if you receive more medical treatment or if your injuries worsen.
If you choose not to hire an attorney, your claim’s value won’t change—but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get the same amount an experienced attorney would be able to. Hiring an attorney is the best way to ensure maximum compensation, as they have years or decades of experience working with insurance companies.
Your claim’s value is based on a variety of different factors, such as:
- The severity of your injuries
- The total amount of all your damages (economic, non-economic, and punitive)
- The amount of insurance coverage the at fault party has available
- Whether or not gross negligence played a part in your injury
- How much your injuries have affected your quality of life
While your attorney can give you a rough estimation of how much you can expect to receive by the end of your lawsuit, this number may change and isn’t guaranteed. Whether or not your case goes to trial also plays a large part in how much compensation you receive.
Your claim has two values, your trial value and your settlement value. Your trial value is the total value of all of your damages and your settlement value is often a percentage of that. That percentage is determined based on your trial value. For example, if you have an 80% chance of winning your case in trial, your settlement value would be approximately 80% of your trial value.
However, this, again, is just an estimation. Your attorney may be able to get you more than the percentage, or the insurance company may be unwilling to pay out more, leading to a trial. Every case is different, which is why it’s so important to speak with an attorney before making any decisions about your lawsuit.
The Timeline of a Car Accident Lawsuit
For anyone who hasn’t filed a lawsuit or been involved in the legal process before, it can be overwhelming. Thankfully, your attorney will be able to walk you through the entire process, answering any questions you may have throughout.
The timeline starts when your accident occurs. It’s important to note when your accident occurs, as you only have a certain amount of time to file according to the statute of limitations. In North Dakota, you have six years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit if you so choose.
After your accident occurs and you receive medical attention, you should then hire an attorney. Once you have chosen an attorney, the discovery process will begin. During the discovery process (often the longest portion of your case), your attorney will:
- Notify the insurance company that you’re intending to sue
- Seek medical records from all hospitals, doctors, and other specialists you’ve seen
- Request medical records from before your accident to confirm that your injuries did not occur beforehand
- Request financial records to show any financial losses you’ve incurred
- Interview witnesses
- Take your deposition
- Review any medical data and follow up with your doctors with any questions
- Create a case to present to the insurance company
After the discovery process, negotiations will begin. Most cases settle during this time period, but it can take anywhere from a few months to a year. This process will begin with your attorney making a demand. The insurance company will return with their offer, and they will go back and forth until your attorney gets a settlement offer that you are happy with. If this doesn’t occur, the case will be taken to trial.
Experienced Bismarck Car Accident Lawyers
When it comes to injuries resulting from a car accident anywhere in Burleigh County, you need an experienced team to advocate for you. You deserve compensation for the harm you’ve suffered, and our team is the best to help you get it. Contact our experienced truck accident lawyers at 701-609-1510, or fill out our online contact form today.