South Dakota Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury & accidents in South Dakota is three (3) years (Ref: S.D. Codified Laws § 15-2-14). 


What this means is that you (or your attorney) must file a lawsuit against a defendant within three years of the date of your accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within three years, generally you forfeit any potential claim against the defendant as a matter of law - meaning there will be no opportunity for a settlement, arbitration, or trial. 


Disclaimer: Although the information presented on this page is generally true there are some exceptions to this information, and the South Dakota Statute of Limitations (and the exceptions) may change over time. If you or a family member was involved in an accident and considering seeking compensation for your injuries it is crucial that you speak to a South Dakota personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and potential recovery.

Variations on Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit in South Dakota

There are some variations & exceptions to the 3 years statute of limitations on personal injury cases in South Dakota. Because of this, it is critical you discuss your matter with a lawyer who is highly experienced in personal injury law. 


  • Owner Liability For Injury by a Dog or Other Animal: There is no specific statute in South Dakota governing personal injury liability for dog bites. Owners will be held liable for injuries caused by their dog (or other animals) if the injured party can show that the owner “should have known” the animal was dangerous. This is known as the “one bite” rule.
  • Caps on Injury Damages in South Dakota: Caps on personal injury damages work to limit the amount of compensation an injured person can receive from another at-fault party. Many states have caps on certain types of damages, like pain and suffering damages or punitive damages.
    In South Dakota, damages in medical malpractice cases are capped at $1,000,000, including both economic and non-economic or "pain and suffering" damages. Similarly, damages in product liability cases are capped at $1,000,000. South Dakota does not currently cap punitive damages. 
  • Injury Claims Against the Government in South Dakota: If your accident or injury case involves the potential liability of a government employee or government agency, you'll have to follow a different set of rules than you would in an ordinary personal injury case. In South Dakota, you have one year to file a claim against a government agency or employee.

What if You Miss the Deadline to File a Lawsuit?

If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit and the South Dakota statute of limitations passes (barring any exceptions), the opposing party will almost surely move for case dismissal and it will likely be granted. This also means that nearly any hope of a settlement will also be forfeited because there is no leverage to potentially pursue a trial (since it would immediately be dismissed). 

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