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What is a Tort Case, and What does it Involve in North Dakota?

Tort cases are civil cases that involve claims for damages or monetary claims as compensation for loss, damage, injury, or pain. This may include property loss or damage, physical injury or pain, emotional or psychological stress. In a tort case, the injured party files a claim against the party whose actions, whether deliberate, negligent, or reckless, caused the injury, damage, or loss. The North Dakota District Court hears tort cases in the state. In North Dakota, persons 18 years or older and legally emancipated persons may file a tort case.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What is North Dakota Tort Law?

Under North Dakota’s General Personal Rights (N. D.C. C. §14–02–01), every person has a right to freedom from harm, bodily restraint, defamation, personal insult, and injury from personal relations. Consequently, persons who violate these rights are liable for damages or recompense as specified by law. Additionally, N. D.C. C. §9–10–01 states that every person must not infringe on another person’s rights and may not injure another person or the person’s property. Persons who violate this law are liable for damages.

What Kinds of Cases are Covered by Tort Law in North Dakota?

Tort law considers a person’s intent in categorizing torts and determining appropriate damages. In North Dakota, there are three (3) major types of tort cases:

  • Negligence tort: careless or negligent acts that result in injury, damage, or loss to another person are negligent torts. Pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, and truck accidents are examples of negligence torts.
  • Intentional tort: these are deliberate acts that cause harm, damage, or injury to another party. Deceit, defamation, trespass, and intentional infliction of emotional stress are examples of intentional torts.
  • Strict liability tort: these are acts for which a person may be liable even though a resulting injury may not be attributable to the person. Defective products and animal attacks are examples of strict liability torts.

What are the Differences Between Criminal Law and Tort Law in North Dakota?

Although one event or action can be both a crime and a tort, state laws view crimes and torts as affecting different parts of society. In the eyes of the law, a crime affects societal order and is an offense against the state. Typically, a crime is a deliberate act. Consequently, the North Dakota Criminal Code lists the definitions and accompanying penalties for crime in the state. A tort, on the other hand, affects an individual and/or the individual’s property. It is an infringement of General Personal Rights (N. D.C. C. §14–02–01).. Tort law and the Rules of Civil Procedure focus on damages or compensation for a tort victim.

What is the Purpose of Tort Law in North Dakota?

Tort law provides a way for victims of torts or wrongful acts to seek compensation from the party or entity who is liable for the tort. Because a tort affects the victim’s well-being, tort law focuses on the victim to offer damages for the loss or injury. Tort law provides guidelines for aggrieved parties to file tort claims and recover damages from the offender.

What is a Tort Claim in North Dakota?

A tort claim is a civil claim for compensation for damages or loss sustained as a result of a tort. Unlike lawsuits, tort claims are simplified settlement processes that do not involve jury trials. In North Dakota, the District Court hears court cases. An aggrieved party may file a tort claim against an individual, a corporate entity, the state, its political subdivisions, or state agencies. The statute of limitations for personal injury and property damage tort claims in North Dakota is six (6) years, and for wrongful death, two (2) years.

How Do You File a Tort Claim in North Dakota?

Interested parties may file a tort claim in North Dakota by filing a Complaint or a Claims Affidavit and a Summons with the District Court Clerk in the county where the defendant lives, does business, or works. The plaintiff may also file a tort claim in the county where the event that resulted in the injury or loss occurred. If the claim amount involves no more than $15,000, the petitioner may file the claim in the Small Claims Court. Upon filing the complaint or claims affidavit, the petitioner must serve the defendant copies of the complaint and a Summons form. Anyone 18 or older under the court’s direction may serve a summons. Alternatively, the plaintiff may serve the summons by publishing it in a newspaper or on a designated court website. The defendant must then respond with an answer or a counterclaim. After the defendant’s response, the court will schedule a hearing.

What Does a Tort Claim Contain in North Dakota?

A written tort claim in North Dakota must contain:

  • Claimant’s legal names
  • Claimant’s address and contact details
  • Defendant’s name, address, and contact details
  • A description of the event that led to the injury
  • A description of the injury
  • The claim amount
  • The claimant’s signature

What Happens after a Tort Claim is Filed in North Dakota?

After a claimant files the complaint and summons with the District Court, the claimant must ensure that the defendant receives the summons and copies of the complaint or claims affidavit. The claimant may serve the defendant the summons through a process server, a court-designated website, or a newspaper. The defendant must respond to the summons within a specified time, typically within 20 days. The defendant may respond with a counterclaim. After the defendant’s response, the court will schedule a hearing, and both parties may begin the discovery process in preparation.

Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Tort Claim?

Tort claims case parties may be self-represented, especially for small claims. The court makes the processes simple enough that parties do not need to be represented by an attorney. However, hiring a personal injury lawyer may make a significant difference in damages that a claimant can recover or the defense a defendant can put forward. Additionally, personal injury lawyers can help case parties with documentation, investigation, and other steps in the discovery process.

How Can I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me?

The North Dakota Courts website offers a Lawyers Directory where interested parties may find personal injury lawyers. The State Bar Association of North Dakota offers a Lawyer Referral and Information Service, a Volunteer Lawyers Program, and access to other legal databases and service providers. Interested parties may contact the State Bar or search third-party websites for helpful information on where to find personal injury lawyers in the state.

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