Minot Car Accident Lawyers
Experienced & Aggressive Auto Accident Attorneys Serving North Dakota
Although no one expects to be involved in a car accident, the most careful and attentive driver can be injured in a severe collision when others disregard traffic laws and safe driving practices. North Dakota had the highest percentage of drunk driving fatalities in the nation according to government statistics in a recent one-year period. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported more than 4 in 10 driving fatalities involved a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) that exceeds the legal limit of 0.08 percent. If you have been the victim of a driver who was intoxicated, speeding, distracted, or otherwise unsafe, you might have a right to financial compensation. Our Minot, North Dakota car accident lawyers protect the rights of injury victims against insurance companies while pursuing the fullest financial recovery for our clients.
We recognize the enormous physical and emotional toll of suffering serious injury in an auto accident. Therefore, our lawyers help clients effectively navigate insurance company traps and legal complications. Also, insurance policies are dense, complex, and filled with exemptions, exclusions, and conditions. On the other hand the civil litigation process involves understanding and navigating civil procedural rules, substantive legal standards, court rules, legal deadlines, case law (e.g., judge made law), statutes, evidentiary rules, etc. At Sand Law, PLLC, our motor vehicle accident attorneys are committed to demystifying the complex process of pursuing legal compensation. By doing so, we can keep clients informed throughout their case and diligently work to obtain the best outcome for injury victims.
Car Accident Statistics
- In the United States each year, there are approximately six million car accidents, with about half of those accidents resulting in injury and a third resulting in permanent injury.
- While seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45%, one in seven people still choose not to wear them. Seat belts also cut the risk of serious injury by 50%.
- People who don’t wear seat belts are thirty times more likely to be ejected from their vehicle in a serious crash.
- Approximately 6% of accidents result in a fatality, while 27% result in non-fatal injury, and 72% result in property damage (often the damage to another person’s vehicle).
- While texting and driving, you’re 23 times more likely to get into a crash.
- 40% of American teens have stated that they have been in a vehicle with drivers who have used their cell phones dangerously.
- In 2018 there were 36,560 fatalities because of car accidents. 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people in the United States.
- In North Dakota in 2018, there were 1,437 fatalities because of car accidents. 13.8 per 100,000 people in the state, slightly above the national average.
- There were 745 car accidents in 2019 in Williams County, North Dakota, where Minot is located.
Why Seriously Injured Car Accident Victims Select Sand Law, PLLC
Our Minot, North Dakota auto accident lawyers have built a reputation among judges, peers, opposing counsel, and former clients based on proven results and dedication to providing a high-quality attorney-client experience. Sand Law, PLLC has a policy of striving to respond to client calls and emails the same business day or the next business day. We also provide periodic updates and copy clients on correspondence because we recognize the importance of effective client-attorney communication.
Our reputation is reflected in client and peer evaluations, along with numerous accolades and awards, such as:
- Many 5-Star Ratings from Prior Clients Posted on Legal Portals and Websites Rating Professional Service Providers (See Facebook, AVVO (William Sand), AVVO (Richard Sand), Google Reviews;
- Rated 4.9 (5.0) Scale Based on Peer Review (Martindale.com);
- “AV Preeminent” (Highest Rating) Martindale-Hubbell;
- Designated “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers;
- Average Rating of “Excellent” from AVVO (Service Rating All U.S. Lawyers); &
- Selected “Top 40 Under 40” by Super Lawyers.
Why a Top North Dakota Auto Accident Attorney Makes a Difference
Although you have the right to take on at-fault parties and their insurance companies on your own, car accident victims represented by experienced personal injury lawyers tend to fair much better than those who go it alone. An adjuster or investigator from the insurance company might contact you to arrange an in-person interview or recorded statement. Be warned, the insurance representative’s goal is to obtain information that devalues your claim or provides a defense to partially or totally deny liability.
While results of cases will vary depending on numerous factors, insurance carriers are aware of industry studies that reveal claimants with attorneys recover as much as 350% more than individuals who handle their own claims. Insurers and their team of investigators, adjusters, experts, and lawyers are not motivated by a sense of fairness. Rather, their goal is to protect the financial interests of their employer by limiting the amount of money injury victims receive.
Experienced legal representation from a North Dakota car accident attorney benefits individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents in numerous ways, including but not limited to the following:
- Determining the value of your claim;
- Conducting an investigation and analysis to gather the evidence needed to prove negligence, causation, and recover damages;
- Consulting with and retaining appropriate experts;
- Negotiating potential settlements with the insurance company from a position of strength after building a compelling case;
- Ensuring compliance with critical deadlines like the statute of limitations;
- Guiding clients past insurance company traps for the unwary;
- Effectively litigating claims based on appropriate legal standards, evidentiary and procedural rules, court practices, case law, and statutes; &
- Explaining the process, providing legal advice, and keeping injury victims informed of significant developments.
WHEN DO YOU NEED A CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY?
As many people who are involved in car accidents don’t have prior experience with lawsuits, it makes sense for the process to seem overwhelming and stressful. On top of that, it can be hard to decide when you should hire an attorney and when you can probably get by without one. The best way to make this decision is to speak with an attorney. Most attorneys offer free case evaluations, and if they don’t believe that your case needs to be handled by an attorney—they’ll tell you.
If an attorney won’t give you a free case evaluation or won’t advise you on whether or not you really need an attorney, that’s a good indication that you should be running in the opposite direction.
However, in general, there are some circumstances that will help you determine whether or not you need to hire a car accident attorney. For example, if you weren’t injured in your car accident and the damage to your car is minimal, you’ll likely be able to handle it on your own, as you won’t have complicated damages or high medical bills to deal with. Or, if you have knowledge of law and insurance, you may also feel comfortable taking on your case alone.
The most important thing is how confident you feel. If you think you’re capable of taking on a smaller case without any outside help, by all means. However, larger more complex cases will always benefit from an attorney. Attorneys have built connections within the industry, and they can use those connections to benefit you.
If you don’t feel confident about taking on your case alone, or you have high damages and injuries, hiring an attorney is your best bet. And if you’re unsure of whether or not you need an attorney, schedule a free case evaluation to get advice from an attorney in real-time.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A MINOT CAR ACCIDENT
- Seek Emergency Medical Attention: If you or someone else involved in the accident have a serious injury, contact 911 (or allow someone else to contact 911 on your behalf) to receive emergency medical attention. If you’re unable to move, talk, or stay awake, emergency attention will likely be required.
- File a Police Report: If you can stick around at the scene of the accident, you should first contact the police to file a police report. Others may try to convince you not to get the police involved, but that would be a mistake. A police report provides solid evidence for your case. Some insurance companies may deny your claim without one.
- Exchange Information: Make sure to get the first and last names, best contact phone numbers, and insurance information of any drivers involved in the accident. Give them the same information of yours.
- Take Pictures: You should take as many pictures as possible, as they can showcase how the accident occurred and even who is at fault. Take photos of your vehicle and other involved vehicles, as well as your injuries and the scene of the accident. For example, pictures could show skid marks, proving that a vehicle was speeding before coming to an abrupt halt.
- Talk to Witnesses: If anyone witnessed the accident, make sure you talk to them. Get their contact information and let them know that someone may be in touch to speak with them about the accident. You should also encourage them to stick around to speak with the investigating police officer. A police report with a witness statement reflecting your story on it is powerful evidence.
- Seek Medical Attention: After you’ve collected as much evidence as you can, you should then seek medical attention. Even if you don’t believe that you’re injured, you should still be examined by a medical professional. Even severe injuries may be masked by the adrenaline caused by car accidents. When you see a doctor, make sure to let them know that your injuries are because of a car accident. Tell them where you were in the vehicle and where the car was impacted. Don’t talk to them about fault, even in casual conversation. Not seeking medical attention right after your accident can cause insurance companies to raise an eyebrow. They’d use this as an excuse to lowball your settlement, stating that your injuries must not have been serious if you didn’t receive medical treatment right away.
- Speak to an Attorney: After you receive the medical treatment, you should immediately speak with an attorney regarding your case. This can be done from the hospital if you’ve been checked in for a more extended stay. You must talk to an attorney before filing a claim with your insurance company. Once you file a claim with your insurance company, both your insurance company and the at-fault party’s insurance company will want statements from you regarding the accident. The at-fault party’s insurance company may try to offer you quick cash in exchange for your statement or the signing of a waiver. Do not give any statements without first speaking to your attorney, and do not accept any money or sign any documents.
Common Causes of Auto Collisions in Ward County
Liability in most car accident cases is based on some form of negligent or reckless driving. While North Dakota law recognizes multiple degrees of negligence, “ordinary negligence” is defined as the “want of ordinary care and diligence.” The most common cause of traffic accidents is unsafe driving practices, such as:
- Exceeding the posted speed limit: When drivers speed, it makes it much harder for them to slow down when traffic changes. Even if they’re only going 10 mph over the speed limit, it makes a difference. Speeding can lead to rear-end accidents, sideswipe accidents, and t-bone accidents.
- Failure to observe right of way rules: When the right of way rules aren’t observed, an accident may occur. These types of accidents often occur at four-way stops and turns that require a yield, such as right and left turns at red lights.
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol: Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol has a huge impact on one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. Alcohol affects decision-making, vision, and critical thinking skills.
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving doesn’t just mean texting or talking on the phone while driving, but can also include eating, putting on makeup, looking for a playlist, looking for directions, or talking to someone in the back seat.
- Running red lights and stop signs: Running a stop sign or red light is dangerous, even if you think no one is coming. Running a red light or stop sign is a common cause of t-bone accidents.
- Neglecting to look when changing lanes: You should always look to make sure that no one is in your blind spot before changing lanes. When someone doesn’t look, they may cause a sideswipe accident.
- Illegal left turns: Illegal left turn accidents tend to occur at intersections with a red arrow and can be extremely dangerous, especially when speeding. These may occur because the driver believes that turning on a red arrow is legal when it’s not.
- Following too closely: When a driver doesn’t leave proper space between themselves and the car in front of them, an accident may occur when traffic conditions change abruptly, as the following driver doesn’t have time to adapt.
- Not adjusting driving to road, traffic, and weather conditions: When the traffic, weather, or road conditions change, drivers should always adjust. This is especially true in poor weather conditions such as snow or heavy rain.
- Cell phone use while driving: Using a cellphone, even for a few seconds, while driving can cause an accident easily, as it takes one’s mind and eyes off the road.
- Drowsy or fatigued drivers: When someone drives tired their reaction times are much lower, meaning they may fail to react to changing traffic conditions in time.
Maximizing Recovery for Auto Collision Injury Victims
Our Minot auto accident lawyers work diligently to maximize our clients’ financial compensation. We accomplish this task by pursuing several strategies that include:
Identifying All Responsible Parties: Even when a careless driver causes your injuries, the at-fault party might lack adequate insurance or assets to compensate you for your loss fully. To start, this process begins with the initial consultation at the onset of our legal services. Then, our motor vehicle accident lawyers carefully investigate the potential liability of third parties. These may include public entities that fail to design, construct, or maintain safe roadways; manufacturers of defective vehicles; employers of drivers on work-related outings; the vehicle owner; and others depending on the specific facts and circumstances.
Exploring All Insurance Coverage Options: Although North Dakota requires drivers to carry auto insurance, many motorists disregard this mandate or carry the bare minimum. The statutory minimum can prove woefully inadequate. The minimum bodily injury coverage is $25,000 per person and $50,000 for all injury victims. When a person suffers severe injury, this amount might not even cover medical bills. If multiple people are injured, the entire $50,000 in coverage could be exhausted before you file your claim. Therefore, we analyze other coverage, like umbrella policies or our client’s own uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage to increase our clients’ “net recovery.”
Building a Compelling Case for Litigation: While most auto collision claims settle without the need for a trial, we work hard to make a compelling case so that we can negotiate from a position of strength. However, we want insurance companies to know that we will not hesitate to take your case to trial if it is in your best interest.
Negotiating with Medical Providers: Maximizing the amount our clients receive does not end once a settlement or judgment has been obtained. We negotiate with medical providers to secure reductions in medical bills so that our clients put more of their compensation in their pockets.
Providing Experienced Legal Representation in All Types of Collision Injury or Fatality Claims
Our seasoned vehicle accident lawyers have handled thousands of car accident cases. We frequently use experts to analyze the accident scene, vehicle damage, the law enforcement accident report, and other evidence to craft a persuasive explanation regarding the cause of the crash and our client’s injuries. We have the experience and expertise to handle all types of car accidents, such as:
Rear impact crashes;
Parking lot crashes;
Chain reaction collisions;
Unsafe road accidents;
Sideswipe accidents; &
Injuries Experienced in North Dakota Auto Accidents
The number of traffic fatalities in North Dakota decreased in 2018 according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol. However, vehicle collisions still claimed the lives of over a hundred people and caused severe injury to many more.
A significant number of serious injuries experienced in auto collisions do not immediately manifest serious symptoms. For example, a headache that might be attributed to the stress of the incident could be a symptom of a brain injury. Delays in seeking medical attention can adversely affect a person’s prognosis and compromise his or her financial recovery. Car accident victims should visit a doctor following an accident even if their symptoms seem minor. Additionally, all symptoms should be reported to the doctor. Further, the injured party should submit to all ordered diagnostic tests and imaging.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Some of the injuries we frequently see that can cause intense pain, long-periods of recovery, and/or disfigurement or disability include:
Head and Brain Injuries: These types of injuries include concussions, skull fractures, brain bleeds, and facial injuries requiring plastic surgery. Brain injuries can have devastating long-term consequences on cognition, sensation, mobility, mood, communication ability, personality, and many other physical and mental functions.
Fractures & Broken Bones: Broken bones can cause excruciating pain, require surgeries, and necessitate the implantation of screws and metal plates.
Severe Burns: Serious burn injuries can lead to skin grafts, surgeries, permanent disfigurement, and intense pain.
Spinal Cord Injuries: When the spinal cord is damaged, an injury victim can suffer the loss of sensation and movement in the extremities. The affected areas of the body will depend on the severity of the injury and location of the damage.
Soft Tissue Injuries: For example, tendons, muscles, and ligaments can be torn or strained in a collision. These injuries can be excruciating, requiring surgical repairs and long periods of rehabilitation to recover fully.
Neck & Back Injuries: These types of injuries can be debilitating, causing recurrent pain or permanent damage. Common neck and back injuries include lumbar strains, spinal stenosis, herniated discs, degenerative spinal disorders, and more. Spinal cord injuries are severe, as damage to the spine can leave one paralyzed.
Wrongful Death: No amount of money can restore the love of a family member whose life is taken prematurely. However, compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit can ease the financial burden that accompanies the tragic death of a family breadwinner.
TYPES OF DAMAGES CAUSED BY A CAR ACCIDENT
Special damages or non-economic damages are losses that have a monetary value associated with them. They can be easily tabulated by gathering medical bills, lost wage documents from your employer, and other receipts.
Treatment and procedure expenses
Cost of surgery
Loss of future earnings
Cost of future medical Care
At-home care and therapy
Other direct costs related to injury
General damages are harder to calculate, as they don’t rely on a specific monetary value but instead reflect the change to your quality of life that you may have experienced after your accident. The more your life has worsened because of your injuries, the more compensation you’re likely to receive.
Physical pain and suffering
Mental pain and suffering
Lost earning ability
Loss of companionship (in wrongful death cases)
Wrongful Death Damages
When a loved one passes away because of the injuries they sustained from a car accident, either at the scene or later on because of complications, you can collect wrongful death damages on their behalf. You can claim damages for the special and general damages they experienced and the damages that you experienced because of their passing.
Funeral and burial expenses
Cost of pre-death medical care
Emotional distress of surviving family and loved ones
Financial contribution loss
Loss of services and support
Loss of companionship and consortium
Punitive damages are rare but may occur when gross negligence is involved. This type of damages is awarded to the plaintiff to punish the defendant further. They’re also used to try and prevent the defendant (or similar parties) from committing the same act again in the future.
How Much is My Car Accident Worth?
Most people’s decision to file a lawsuit is based on money. Car accidents are expensive, and many are eager to know as soon as possible how much money their attorney will be able to get them. However, all car accident cases are different, and the value of your claim depends on a variety of different factors, such as:
- The severity of your injuries
- The total combined value of your damages
- How much insurance coverage the at-fault party has available
- Whether or not there was gross negligence involved
- If you settle or take your case to trial
The most important factors that determine your claim’s worth are the severity of your injuries and your total damages. These two are very interconnected, as how bad your injuries are determines how much your damages are overall. The more severe your injuries are, the more you’ll have in medical debt and lost wages. Not only that, but the more severe your injuries are, the more likely you are to experience a change to your quality of life, which will result in higher pain and suffering compensation.
Unfortunately, you can’t receive more in compensation than the at-fault party has available to give. However, if the at-fault party acted with gross negligence, you’ll receive punitive damages, adding to the total value of your claim.
And finally, whether or not you settle also has a huge impact on the amount of money you receive. In general, you can receive more money when you take your case to trial, but most cases don’t make it that far. You also will only receive compensation if you win, which can be chancy. It’s said that your settlement value is a percentage of your trial value based on the chance you have at winning your case.
For example, if your trial value is $300,000 (your total and highest possible value), and you have a 50% chance of winning your case if it were to go to trial, your settlement value would be 50% of your trial value, or $150,000.
Speak with a Minot Traffic Accident Injury Attorney About Your Right to Compensation
Our personal injury attorneys at Sand Law, PLLC work diligently to take on insurance carriers and fight for our clients’ rights and interests. Although the precise types and amount of compensation in your case will depend on your unique circumstances, some of the kinds of damages in car accident claims include:
Expenses for vehicle replacement/repair
Costs of hospitalization and other medical expenses
Lost earnings, lost wages, and diminished earning capacity
Pain and suffering
Cost of burial/funeral (wrongful death)
Punitive damages (cases of particularly egregious conduct)
Our traffic accident injury attorneys offer a free case evaluation so that we can review your claim, determine your legal rights, and advise you about how to protect your right to compensation. Call Sand Law, PLLC today at 701-609-1510 or email us for a free consultation as to your accident claim.