Sioux Falls collision on interstate highway results in injuries and death

Areas that experience harsh winters and the poor road conditions that come with adverse weather are a serious problem for drivers. Icy roads and snow create severe road hazards that can result in injuries or death. It is incumbent upon all drivers in adverse conditions to alter driving habits to make the road safe for all motorists.   A tragic example of this fact occurred recently when a man driving an SUV in winter conditions on a South Dakota highway died after his vehicle went onto the wrong side of the road.

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety released information regarding a fatal accident that occurred on Interstate 29 just a few miles north of Sioux Falls.

Young father dies on Interstate 29 crash near Sioux Falls

The incident happened when an SUV was travelling northbound on I-29 at just before 6 am.  . At some point the driver of that vehicle went off the road, through the median, and was hit by a truck on the southbound side. After the initial impact, both vehicles came to a rest in a ditch on the side of the road.

The drivers of both vehicles were 30 year old males. The SUV driver died at the scene, while the pickup truck driver only suffered from minor injuries. Police said that both of the men were wearing seatbelts when the impact occurred.

Following the accident, the victim’s employer set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for his wife and two young children. His wife stated that her husband had just moved to South Dakota and had never driven in severe winter conditions before. She also said that the accident occurred just one day before their new life insurance plan became active, which denied them the ability to collect on a claim related to the accident.

Local authorities are not yet releasing any specific information about the victim’s injuries or cause of death, but photos from the scene show significant front end damage to the white SUV he was driving at the time of the accident. The South Dakota Highway Patrol has been placed in charge of the investigation.

Personal Injury Lawsuits

As a general matter, there are lawyers who focus on common situations like automobile accidents to help victims get payment through the civil court system. Most of the lawsuits they file are actually negligence cases. While the negligence laws are slightly different in each state, the four elements of negligence are a relevant duty of care, a breach of that duty, causation of an accident, and damages or losses related to the accident. There is always a relevant standard of care on the roads, so for automobile accidentsaccidents the main issues are establishing fault or causation, and damages caused by the incident.

Lawyers can use evidence from medical records, accident reports, and police investigations to prove that the defendant is responsible and that their client should be paid an appropriate amount that covers all of their losses. These damages or losses normally include missed time from work, hospitalization and treatment, vehicle repairs, and even non-economic damages related to the trauma and emotional pain and suffering caused by the accident.

The process after a fatal accident

As this news story shows, the aftermath of any fatal accident can cause financial problems for children and spouses in addition to the severe emotional distress of losing a family member.

The best remedy provided by  civil law  for family members is a wrongful death lawsuit. Certain family members are allowed to file an action against the person or business responsible for the accident and death of a relative. This can be done even if the state does not bring criminal charges, and families should also bring this case even if there is a separate criminal case, as restitution or other criminal sanctions are normally insufficient to cover all of the expenses associated with the person’s death.

South Dakota’s wrongful death law

Under South Dakota’s wrongful death statute, only the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can bring the case. The damages available to the estate are related to expenses such as a funeral and burial, future lost wages, and the medical treatment immediately preceding death. The family can also make an argument that they should be compensated for the services that the deceased person could have provided for them through employment or other means if they had lived.

There is a shorter statute of limitations for a wrongful death case than most other lawsuits. The action must be filed in the local civil court within 3 years of the date of the victim’s death. This is why it is crucial to have a discussion with a local attorney shortly after learning of a family member’s death. They can give advice and guidance regarding how to proceed to get financial help and make it through a difficult time.

Learn more about the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit

To get help after an accident in Sioux Falls or nearby parts of South Dakota, contact Ogborn, Mihm, and Quaintance. They provide superior legal representation throughout the state.

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