A personal injury claim provides a legal remedy or monetary compensation if you have suffered a physical injury caused by another person or entity. That person or entity must either have been negligent or intentionally caused you harm. You can bring a claim for physical injury, pain and suffering, and monetary losses under various personal injury actions. These include medical malpractice, product defects, premises liability, animal attack, or motor vehicle accident.
Although personal injury law in North Dakota is similar to that in other states, there are differences in procedure, proof of liability and damages requirements, time and notice requirements, and court procedures.
In What Jurisdiction Should I File My Claim?
You must file your injury claim in the appropriate court or risk losing your right to compensation. You should file in the district court in the county where the accident or wrongful conduct occurred, or where the defendant lives. The North Dakota District Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil cases. Each court has a small claims division for injury claims not exceeding damages of more than $5,000.
The North Dakota Statute of Limitations
You can also lose your right to compensation if the time limit for filing your claim expires before you act. These limits vary depending on who brings the claim and the type of action you are filing. Most personal injury claims in North Dakota must be brought within two years of the act or accident. In product liability cases based on negligence or strict liability, the period is 10 years from the date of injury or death, or from the date of the initial purchase of the product. It can be 11 years from the date of the product's manufacture. Asbestos exposure claims must be brought within three years of diagnosis or after you discovered the disease. For a medical malpractice action, you have two years from the date of the injury or from the time when the injury should have been discovered, but not more than six years after the negligent act.
If you are under 18, these time limits begin when you reach your 18th birthday, except for medical malpractice suits. In this case, your minority cannot extend the period for more than 12 years. There is no extension for minors in wrongful death actions.
How are Damages Awarded?
North Dakota allows injured victims to claim damages for medical expenses, including the cost of rehabilitation or nursing care, loss of past and future wages, lost earning capacity, emotional distress, and for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering includes compensation for any permanent disability or disfigurement, as well as for loss of consortium or intimate spousal relations.
You can collect punitive damages in North Dakota up to $250,000 for intentional harms or actions that showed willful indifference to your life or safety.
In medical malpractice actions, North Dakota limits non-economic damages to $500,000. The state requires court review of the reasonableness of economic damages that exceed $250,000.
In any personal injury case, your compensation is reduced by your degree of comparative fault. You may not collect any compensation if you were more than 50 percent at fault.
Contact a North Dakota Personal Injury Attorney
Different laws and rules govern each state. Getting advice and representation from a North Dakota personal injury lawyer can help ensure that you are reasonably compensated for your injuries.