Attorney David J. King


Filing A Personal Injury Claim

In South Dakota, the general statute of limitations for a personal injury action is three years, SDCL §15-2-14, whereas, in Iowa, it is only two years. Iowa Code §614.1(2). There are other timeframes to consider as well.

For instance, in South Dakota, if you are injured by someone in an official government role, for example, you are rear-ended by a city or state-owned vehicle, you would first have to give the government authority notice within 180 days of the accident, SDCL §3-21-2 then you would have only two years to bring your car accident case. Statutes of limitations differ by jurisdiction and can be very complex. It’s vital to get an experienced lawyer involved early so as to not bar a claim by waiting too long.

Client Expectations

Once you secure representation and file a claim, you should expect your case to be worked up appropriately. An experienced attorney should put together medical evidence, and have it examined by a doctor specializing in the related medical area to determine whether the injury is permanent or transitory.

You should expect a period of negotiation with the insurance company. We try to give the insurance company every opportunity to settle the case reasonably without a lawsuit. Unfortunately, with many insurance companies, they seem to be no longer be interested in settling a case reasonably. So frequently, that means we will have to file a lawsuit.

Filing a lawsuit does not mean that your case will necessarily go to trial. When you file a lawsuit, the legal paperwork will be filed with the court by our office. Interrogatories typically follow that with a request for the production of documents, depositions, and medical evidence worked up.

Personal Injury Settlement

Generally, there are two types of damages in a personal injury case. The first would be economic damages, and the second would be non-economic damages. Economic damages include:

• Cost of medical bills
• Wage loss
• Time off-work
• Pre-judgment interest
• Loss of future earnings
• Ongoing medical treatments
• Property damage

Many economic damages can easily be measured, but a lot of non-economic damages need to be considered as well, such as pain, discomfort, suffering, and disfigurement.

Past costs, expenses, and damages are relatively straightforward to document and calculate an amount and prove. The amount of property damage suffered to the car, wage loss, medical bills, and pre-judgment interest can be calculated from the proper documentation. However, consider the action of any future medical care and other expenses that may need to be projected to the end of the injured party’s life.

Projections should be compiled with the use of expert witnesses. Suppose there will be future medical expenses, such as MRIs, injections, surgery, or medication. In that case, we need to establish the cost of those necessary treatments and establish the frequency they are anticipated to be needed. We need to project these costs out throughout a person’s expected lifetime.

Having an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you can increase your likelihood of a more significant settlement. I’ve had cases where an insurance adjuster has been at the victim’s door the day after an accident with a check in hand, offering a settlement of $2,500 – $5,000. However, after my firm has properly worked up the case we have settled the case later for $250,000-$500,000.

Having an experienced attorney dramatically increases the likelihood of a better outcome for the client in terms of a settlement. Frequently, the injured person has little experience in negotiating, not to mention valuing and resolving those types of claims. These are things we do every day in my office, multiple times a day. We have the contacts, reputation, and staff to put everything together and help the client and their family reach a better outcome.

For more information on Filing A Personal Injury Claim In South Dakota, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling 855-201-0098 today.