In the aftermath of a crash, it is vital to focus on your own recovery. Generally, the question of who is responsible for the accident won’t be too significant until later when you need help dealing with the financial and medical issues that arise.
Once you are fully healed and recovered from the collision, you should start determining who might be responsible to start the process of getting compensation.
South Dakota is a tort state, which means whomever is responsible for the wreck pays the damages. Under the tort system, someone must be found to be at fault for causing the accident. Usually, it is the negligent person’s insurance company who pays out the claim. However, they usually won’t do this until they are ready to pay you everything you are owed. This process could potentially take months, and all the while you have bills to pay.
So, while you need support to get back on your feet before your claim is settled, a South Dakota car accident lawyer can help you make claims on your own insurance. An attorney may be able to help you get the money you need to support yourself while your claim is in the process of settling.
Who Is at Fault for the Accident?
Car accidents are normally confusing and stressful events. Assessing the details of what happened are crucial in order to get a fair settlement. Some collisions are relatively easy to analyze. For example, if you were rear-ended, it’s likely the second driver will be held responsible.
Others, however, are more complicated. Multi-car pileups, serious crashes that result in injury and large truck accidents involve many potential victims and insurance companies. Regardless of the kind of accident you experienced, it helps to gather relevant evidence as soon as possible, including:
- Names and contact info of witnesses
- Photos of accident scene
- Medical reports
- Police reports
- Owners or renters of the vehicles involved
Having as much of this information as possible is vital in order to have a productive discussion with your lawyer. The more information you have, the better your attorney can create a plan to help you with your claim.
In South Dakota, fault can be divided between more than one party as long as you are not more than slightly at fault for your own injuries. If a court or jury finds you were partly responsible for what happened, you are still entitled to recover, less your proportionate percentage of fault. For example, if you are less-than-slightly at fault, you will still be able to recover the percentage of your damages from the other parties who were mostly at fault. Some insurance companies dream up ridiculous reasons to tag you with some fault, even where non exists, just so they can deny your claim and force litigation which means no money for your injuries while you fight and win. Because the judicial process is inherently slow, this can starve you while you wait. In order to best resolve your claim as soon as possible you should discuss the crash with your lawyer while your memory is still fresh and important evidence can still be obtained and brought to a court or jury.
Who Can You Call?
Because the investigation of your crash is so vital, it is important to know when to get an attorney for a car accident. The answer is as soon as possible. Contact Turbak Law at (866) 231-0914 to see how we can get you the compensation you are owed.