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Spearfish Personal Injury Blog

Personal injury cases involve proving the elements of negligence

Having a car accident while on the road is no one's idea of fun. Of course, these incidents happen every day and have numerous causes. In some cases, the outcomes may be nothing more than a slight fender-bender, but in others, individuals could suffer serious injuries or lose lives.

If you recently suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by another person, you may be considering your available options for seeking compensation and justice. While filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim may be viable for your case, you will have a lot of work ahead of you to prove your claim.

What hazards could cause you to fall outside an establishment?

Though you may want to do nothing more than stay indoors during these winter months, that is not always an option. Most of the time, you and other South Dakota residents must brave the winter weather in order to commute to work, go to the grocery store, take the kids to school or complete numerous other activities. Unfortunately, any of these events could prove dangerous.

Not only do drivers on icy roads pose dangers, but the conditions outside buildings could also put you at risk. You may give a sigh of relief after driving to your destination safely, but you could still face the possibility of a slip-and-fall accident as you walk across a parking lot, on a sidewalk or up a flight of stairs.

Did your life change forever after a South Dakota car accident?

Many South Dakota families have laid loved ones to rest. If an elderly person passes away of natural causes, you no doubt feel sorrow in saying goodbye to your beloved family member. However, it's an entirely different type of grief than you might experience if you lose a loved one in a fatal motor vehicle collision. Even if your family member survived the initial impact of the crash, if he or she later dies, you may have a difficult time coping with the shock and grief that hits you.

Maybe you were traveling in the same car as your loved one and struggle with thoughts about why you survived, but he or she did not. Then again, you might have been miles away from your loved one at the time of the accident but still feel like you should have been able to do something to prevent it. Others who have experienced similar loss have been better able to cope by putting certain ideas into practice. Knowing where to seek support is a key factor.

South Dakota winters can be brutal and dangerous

Chances are, if you decided to settle in South Dakota, you're a person who loves cold weather and snow. Then again, perhaps you had little to no say in the matter and transferred here because of your job. Either way, if you live in this state, you will likely encounter severe, inclement weather during winter months. If you're an outdoorsy person, this might be music to your ears, beckoning you to the nearest ski slope.

If the last place you want to be when it's cold outside is outside, plummeting temperatures and snow might make you want to curl up under a blanket by a warm fireside with a nice, hot cup of cocoa or cider. It's likely that you'll have to drive in the snow at some point, however, and when that happens, you'll want to be cautious and alert; otherwise, you might be at risk for collision, especially if a negligent driver is nearby.

Protect your family against carbon monoxide and fire hazards

There is no escape from the cold winter weather in South Dakota, except for the comfort provided by heating equipment. If you are a homeowner or if you rent an apartment or home, you would be wise to heed the warnings issued by the National Fire Protection Association. It reminds everybody of the dangers associated with space heaters, fireplaces and wood burning stoves.

NFPA says misuse of heating equipment causes most of the residential fire fatalities nationwide, with the majority occurring from December through February. Further reports indicate that most such fires originated from circumstances that involved flammable objects dangerously close to equipment that provides heat. You might not even realize the risks when you place bedding, blankets, clothing or upholstered furniture near heat sources.

Drunk driving facts that may have been factors in your collision

No matter how safe and responsible you act behind the wheel, every time you drive on a South Dakota roadway, you cannot predict with 100 percent accuracy what other drivers are going to do. Part of what makes motor vehicle collisions so devastating is how sudden and unexpected they can be. In fact, even if you notice suspicious driving behavior in another motorist, you may not be able to react swiftly and safely enough to avoid a crash.

Drunk drivers are menaces to motorists and pedestrians who share their roads. If you suffer because of another person's irresponsible choice to drive while intoxicated, injuries may reach far beyond your physical condition. The emotional and economic losses associated with drunk driving accidents can be just as damaging as physical suffering.

If your loved one died in an accident, what are your options?

Losing a loved one in an accident is a traumatic event. There is nothing that can prepare you for the difficulties of navigating the aftermath of a fatal accident, including the financial losses that often accompany this kind of event. South Dakota families often experience devastation in many areas of their lives and are unsure of how to move forward. 

If you are grieving the loss of a loved one after a fatal accident or other type of personal injury incident, you could be entitled to damages through a civil claim. This will allow your family to recoup certain losses and move forward. These types of claims, however, are time-sensitive, and it is in your interests to move quickly to learn more about how this specific option can benefit your family.

For motorcyclists, auto drivers might pose the biggest hazard

Soon, temperatures will cool down, and if you are a keen motorcyclist in the areas surrounding Spearfish, South Dakota, and Sundance in Wyoming, you will likely take to the roads as much as possible before it becomes too cold. However, you can never be careful enough when you are out riding. Awareness of your surroundings and an understanding of the risks are crucial.

Although there are far fewer motorcycles than automobiles on the roads, a significant percentage of crashes nationwide involves bikes. Statistics also indicate that bikers are more likely to suffer catastrophic or even fatal injuries because motorcycles provide no protection.

Are you worried about drowsy driving? You should be

You already know that drunk driving is dangerous. South Dakota drivers who get behind the wheel while intoxicated usually face steep criminal penalties for their actions, but did you know that other drivers could be just as dangerous? Drowsy drivers are often just as likely to cause a serious accident as someone who is drunk.

This problem is widespread and largely unnoticed. Unlike drinking and driving, you may not associate being sleepy with also being dangerous. After all, most people would take the keys away from an intoxicated friend. But a sleepy friend? Maybe not.

The numerous scenarios in which disaster could strike on the road

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident may rarely be a stress-free experience, and even a minor fender bender can disrupt your daily activities. While you may choose to take measures to avoid a collision, such as remaining alert and aware while driving, you cannot force others to practice such vigilance.

With an ever-increasing number of drivers out on South Dakota roads each day, you may also worry that the chances of encountering a negligent driver are less than favorable. While detecting a possibly hazardous scenario could help you avoid a disaster, it can also prove challenging at times.

State Bar of South Dakota 1931 SDTLA | South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association State Bar Association of North Dakota Wyoming State Bar