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Car Accident Attorneys in Rapid City

We're Here to Give you Options!

Being involved in a car accident, even a fender bender, can be scary. Suffering a severe injury in a car crash can be life-altering. At Whiting Hagg Hagg Dorsey & Hagg, LLP, we are highly experienced in handling all types of car accident injury claims, and are dedicated to not only pursuing compensation for our clients, but seeing that justice is served. Negligent and irresponsible drivers should be held accountable, and our firm strives to do exactly that!

If you've been injured in an accident, you deserve to be fairly compensated. Call our office today at (605) 250-3003 to protect your rights!

Proving Liability in Car Accident Cases

Car accidents are one of the most common types of accidents that occur in the United States. Despite efforts to make the roads safer and improve driver attention, many drivers fail to follow the law. At our firm, we are committed to evaluating all of the facts of your case, including accident reports, photos from the scene, and other evidence. We use this to build a personal injury case illustrating the cause of the accident and therefore the other driver's responsibility.

A few of the common causes of car accidents include:

  • Driving over or below the speed limit
  • Failing to signal
  • Driving under the influence
  • Disregarding traffic laws
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road

In some cases, we may be able to hold a driver liable for reckless driving, for example, a driver who was engaged in street racing or another type of willful disregard for others would be considered reckless.

Most car accident cases are handled using the law of negligence. The insurance company or the responsible driver's attorney may try to show that they were not liable for the accident. Meanwhile, we look for evidence to prove that the other person behaved negligently, operating their vehicle in a way which led to the accident. Proving that the other party failed to use reasonable care is the basis for a successful lawsuit.

    What to Do After a Car Accident

    A car accident can be a disorienting experience. While you may be feeling shaken up immediately after a collision, it is important to stay calm and follow certain steps to get the situation under control. What you say and do immediately after a crash can have an impact on your ability to recover compensation.

    If you have been involved in a car accident:

    • Stop and render aid. Never drive away from the scene of a crash. If anyone is seriously hurt, call 911.
    • Call the police. South Dakota law requires you to immediately notify the police after an accident if anyone is injured or killed, if any person suffers more than $1,000 of property damage, if the total property damage is $2,000 or more, or if an unattended vehicle is damaged and the owner cannot be identified.
    • Exchange information. Record the license plate numbers, insurance information, and vehicle identification numbers of all involved vehicles. Get the contact information of all involved drivers and passengers as well.
    • Take photographs. If you have a camera phone, take photos of all vehicle damage, the resting places of the vehicles in relation to each other, road conditions, traffic signals, and other details of the scene. Take photos of your injuries as well, if you can.
    • Do not apologize. ​​​​​ While it may seem innocent, saying "I'm sorry" can be seen as an admission of fault and can cause you to be held liable before an investigation is performed.
    • Tell the police your version of what happened. The other drivers will surely tell the police what they think happened. Make sure your version of the events is also included in their report.
    • See a doctor immediately, even if you feel fine. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent and can go unnoticed for days or weeks following a crash. Seek a full medical evaluation and let your doctor know you were in a car accident.
    • Call an attorney. An attorney can help you evaluate your legal options, identify the responsible parties, and determine the best course of action moving forward.

    Is South Dakota a No-Fault State?

    No. South Dakota is a "fault-based" state in regards to car accident liability, meaning that the person or persons responsible for a crash will also be financially responsible for any resulting harm. If you have been injured in a car accident, you may seek compensation from the at-fault driver in any of the following ways:

    • Filing a claim with your own insurance company, who will seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver's insurer
    • Filing a third-party claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company
    • Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver

    The South Dakota Car Accident Statute of Limitations

    Car accident lawsuits in South Dakota are subject to a "statute of limitations" which limits the amount of time injured parties have to seek legal action against the at-fault driver. Under South Dakota Codified Laws section 15-2-14, you have three years from the date of your crash to file a civil claim in pursuit of damages. If a loved one was killed as a result of the crash, you have three years to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver. Finally, property damage lawsuits must be filed within six years of your collision.

    If you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, your case will almost certainly be dismissed, thereby permanently preventing you from pursuing damages. It is important to note that these deadlines are different for car accident insurance claims; most insurance policies require accident claims to be filed within a few days of the crash to be eligible for coverage. Whatever the case may be, it is recommended you speak with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you are compliant with all deadlines which may apply to your case.

    No Recovery, No Fee - Call now!

    Regardless of the severity of your injuries, our legal team at Whiting Hagg Hagg Dorsey & Hagg, LLP is here to support you. Our car accident lawyers in Rapid City operate on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay us nothing unless we secure a favorable outcome to your case.

    Contact our firm today at (605) 250-3003 to set up a case consultation. We're here to support you!

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