North Dakota Car Accident Laws

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If you’re in a car accident in North Dakota, you’re required to file a police report if anyone was killed or injured or if there are property damages of $4,000 or more. If you’re found to be less than 50% at fault, you’ll be able to claim damages proportionate to your degree of responsibility. 
Any kind of car accident, even a minor one, is an upsetting experience. It’s easy to get flustered in the chaos and emotion of the moment, and you may not always be in the state of mind to make the best decisions. That’s why it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the laws and procedures surrounding car accidents before you have one, so you can handle the situation in the best manner possible.  
If you’re not sure where to start, car insurance comparison broker app Jerry is here to give you a rundown on the car accident laws in North Dakota. We’ll cover accident reporting, financial responsibility, personal injury lawsuits, and what exactly “modified comparative fault'' means so you’ll feel informed and prepared in case of an auto accident. We'll even help you find the lowest North Dakota car insurance costs.
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What to do after a crash: North Dakota car accident reporting laws

The very first thing that you should do after a car accident is to check if everyone is okay. Move your vehicle to a safe location (if possible) and identify injuries of any kind. Call 911 immediately if you or anyone else needs medical attention. 
After that, take a few moments to thoroughly document the crash and the events that led up to it—jot down your recollections and take plenty of pictures. If there was another driver involved, remember to exchange insurance information with them. 
Then, depending on the nature of the accident, you may need to notify the following parties:
  • Law enforcement
  • Your insurance company 
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the aspects of North Dakota laws that deal with accident reports. 

When to report an accident to the police

In North Dakota, you are required to immediately notify the appropriate authorities and file a police report for any accident that results in bodily injury, death, or damages worth more than $4,000:
  • If the accident occurred on a public highway outside of a city, report it to the state highway patrol or county sheriff 
  • If the accident took place within a municipality, you should report it to the local police department
  • If you are involved in an accident with an undomesticated animal that only results in minor damage to your vehicle, you don’t have to file a police report
Once the report has been filed, you can request a copy of it for your records and insurance purposes. If an officer is making the official report, you won’t need to report it to the North Dakota DMV. 

Financial responsibility and coverage minimums: North Dakota’s insurance laws

While we’re on the subject of insurance, what exactly are North Dakota’s laws and coverage requirements with regard to car insurance? 
North Dakota state law requires all drivers to purchase a minimum of 25/50/25 liability coverage. Here’s what that looks like: 
Additionally, North Dakota requires all drivers to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in the amount of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, as well as $30,000 per person in personal injury protection (PIP). 
If you are found to have insufficient insurance (or aren’t able to provide proof of insurance when required to do so), it can result in a Class B misdemeanor and a fine of at least $150. You might also be required to file an SR-22 in North Dakota, which will result in a dramatic hike in your insurance premiums
It’s worth noting that not every driver in North Dakota is insured. A 2019 study by the Insurance Information Institute found that about 13% of North Dakota drivers don’t carry car insurance. Fortunately, North Dakota is one of the states that requires uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, so you’re protected to at least some extent.  
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Claiming damages after an accident: North Dakota’s personal injury laws

Depending on the circumstances and outcome of an accident, you may want to go beyond an insurance claim and file a personal injury lawsuit to collect damages. Under Chapter 32-03.2 of the North Dakota Century Code, you have the right to claim both economic and non-economic damages associated with a car accident. 
Those include: 
  • Economic damages: medical bills, lost wages, lost employment or business opportunities, loss of use of property, burial expenses
  • Non-economic damages: pain and suffering, mental suffering, inconvenience, humiliation
North Dakota has a statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits stemming from most car accidents of six years per Century Code Chapter 28-01, but the limit varies by circumstance.
As mentioned, North Dakota is a state that has a mandatory PIP requirement. This policy will be useful in covering any additional damages or costs above and beyond what your insurance pays out. The statutes around North Dakota’s personal injury laws are involved (to say the least), so be sure to seek appropriate legal counsel if you feel you may have a case for a personal injury claim. 

Who’s to blame: North Dakota’s modified comparative fault law

One of the biggest issues that follows any car accident is the question of who is at fault. For example, let’s say Jason runs a red light and hits Steve, who was making an illegal right on red. 
Under North Dakota’s modified comparative fault law, only the party who is deemed less than 50% at fault can claim any damages in a car accident. 
This means that if Steve is found to be 40% at fault and Jason is found to be 60% at fault, Jason will be responsible for 60% of Steve’s medical bills and vehicle repairs. But Jason cannot make any claims for his own damages, as he was found to be more than 50% at fault. As far as the remaining 40% of damages, Steve will have to cover those on his own. 
The laws around who is responsible for what vary by state, but North Dakota is one of 11 that has a modified comparative fault structure. It bears mentioning that North Dakota has a few cities that sit right on the border between states, so make sure you know the laws where you are and where you’re headed. 

How to save money on car insurance in North Dakota

One of the first things people worry about when they are involved in a car accident is their insurance rate—and with good reason. Being in a car accident can raise the cost of your insurance anywhere from 35% to 80%. That's a big jump and can add a lot of stress to what’s already a pretty traumatic event. 
But even if you’ve had an accident, Jerry has your back! Jerry is a trusted brokerage app that partners with more than 50 of the top insurance companies in the nation, so you can rest assured knowing that you’ll get the best deal possible—even if your driving record is less than perfect. 
Just download the app for free and sit back as Jerry shops around for cheap car insurance—without sacrificing the coverage you need. Choose the policy and price that works for you, and Jerry will take care of getting signed up and even help cancel your old insurance. 
On average, folks who shop for insurance on the Jerry app save more than $800 a year, which can definitely go a long way toward repairing your car after an accident. 
Jerry makes choosing new insurance as easy as grocery shopping. Even though I had a car accident within the past 2 years, Jerry found me a great deal with Nationwide—I went from paying $340 to $90 a month!” —Pan N. 
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