Oklahoma Car Accident Laws
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Oklahoma Car Accident Laws
If you or someone in your family is dealing with the fallout from a vehicle accident caused by someone else, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and other damages.
A Morgan & Morgan lawyer who understands relevant car accident laws in Oklahoma will be able to help you determine your next steps and the best way to proceed. There are many different Oklahoma car accident laws that may influence your ability to recover compensation and the types of compensation that you are eligible to receive.
The best course of action is to find someone who is familiar with these laws to begin gathering evidence and handling other aspects of your personal injury claim. It can be overwhelming for a victim to deal with the consequences of an Oklahoma car accident, but finding a lawyer qualified to assist with this process reduces the stress you experience and puts you in the best possible position to maximize your damaged recovery.
To learn more about your case, you can contact Morgan & Morgan for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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Who Is Responsible for a Car Accident in Oklahoma?
When someone else is responsible for the injuries you sustain in a vehicle accident, this may become the basis of a personal injury claim. You may contact your own car insurance company to notify them about the accident, but you may also have to interact with the other driver's insurance company if you allege that they are responsible.
Oklahoma is what is known as a fault state. This means that the at-fault driver is responsible for the financial losses incurred due to the accident. As an injury victim, you may have many different expenses that begin to add up in the weeks following the accident. The other at-fault driver may be responsible for vehicle damage, loss of income, medical expenses, and other damages. Up to the applicable policy limit, most of these expenses will be covered by the driver's liability insurance.
You have three major options to pursue compensation when you have been hurt in an accident. The first is to file a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company, which is known as a third-party claim. The purpose of this is to get their liability insurance to pay for your losses up to the total policy limit. The second option is to pursue a claim with your own car insurance company for losses covered by your policy, such as medical payments coverage, or uninsured motorist protection. If you're filing a lawsuit against someone who does not have the right amount of insurance or any insurance at all, you will need to verify that you have uninsured motorist coverage to protect you. Your third option is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. You are suing the driver and not their insurance company, but the interest of the insurance company will be defended by the insurance carrier's lawyer. This means that if you are successful in this lawsuit, the insurance company will pay.
What Is Modified Comparative Fault?
There are some situations in Oklahoma car accident laws where more than one entity may be responsible for injuries or causing the accident. Whether it is a vehicle manufacturer who made a defective part or simply two drivers, each party is responsible for damages in accordance with their percentage of fault for that wreck.
If a driver is found 70% responsible for an accident and the other driver 30%, the driver with 30% responsibility will have reduced damages. If you are found partially at fault for an accident, this means you are still eligible to recover compensation as long as you are less than 50% at fault. The party with more than 50% at fault is not eligible to recover compensation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
You need to contact your car insurance company and a lawyer familiar with Oklahoma car accident laws as soon as possible after the incident. This is because it's difficult to gather evidence and also remember all of the facts that contributed to the accident after this point. Furthermore, Oklahoma has laws like many other states known as the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations is a law that means that you cannot file a lawsuit after a specific period of time following the accident. This is typically two years from the date of the incident, and because you may be relying on these benefits to help pay for lost income, medical expenses, and other costs, you have taken on as a result of the accident, it is far better to communicate with a lawyer familiar with Oklahoma car accident laws sooner than that point. The support of an attorney can make a big difference in your ability to recover compensation.
What Should I Look for in an Attorney?
Your attorney should be someone that you can count on to handle all aspects of your claim. You will need to speak with your lawyer about your intended goals in the lawsuit and some of the challenges that you may expect. Your attorney should be familiar with handling common objections and problems with insurance companies, as this is often a tactic that is used to delay the payment of appropriate benefits.
It can be hard to go through this situation on your own, but having a lawyer is a great way to protect yourself and to help you decrease the level of stress you face during this challenging time. If you need guidance in understanding Oklahoma's car accident laws, you need an attorney who has handled lawsuits like this before. Protecting your rights and minimizing the possibility of further problems can be done when you have a lawyer who is just as invested in the outcome of your case as you do.
How Do I Have to Pay My Lawyer?
Your lawyer will probably take your case on a contingency fee basis. This is outside the typical scope of most payment agreements for attorneys because most attorneys accept retainers, hourly agreements, or flat fee payments for certain services.
Personal injury lawyers, such as those who work with Oklahoma car accident laws, will accept a contingency fee case, meaning that they are paid a percentage of your successful case amount if resolved in settlement or in court. You should always talk with your lawyer immediately after your accident happens to discuss your options.
Am I Legally Required to Report a Car Accident in Oklahoma?
You may be curious about Oklahoma car accident laws that mandate whether or not you need to contact the police. It is always a good idea to contact the police about your accident when it happens because you may need that police report in the future.
You may not realize the scope of your injuries at that time, but notifying the police protects you more effectively. Per Oklahoma statutes Title 47, Section 10-107, whenever a car accident results in a death or an injury, any drivers involved must immediately notify the local police department, state highway patrol, or office of the county sheriff. These drivers involved in the accident may be required to also submit a written report of the incident to the Department of Public Safety.
It is always good to err on the side of caution, to gather all contact information for witnesses at the scene, and to communicate with the police just in case. Plus, the police record of the incident may be useful evidence for your legal case, should you pursue one.
What Happens if One Driver Leaves the Accident Scene?
Regardless of how minor a collision appears to be, you should never leave the scene of the accident. You may expose yourself to criminal allegations and other problems if you leave the scene of the accident when someone else appears to be hurt. The last thing you want is to be cut unprepared when police officers show up. Common reasons for people to flee the scene include panicking, not having the right insurance, or driving a vehicle that doesn't have updated registration and tags.
Remember that insurance is mandatory, but you should not leave the scene of an accident. You also should be prepared to move your car off the road to avoid additional accidents or hazards.
Finding an Attorney
Since there's so much at stake for your future, you need to retain a lawyer immediately to protect your legal rights. Your attorney may be found in one of a few ways. You might start by asking friends who have been in an accident if they had a good experience with an injury firm. You can also look in online directories. Doing some research to discover what you can about a firm through reviews and testimonials is very valuable when you don't have access to someone who can give you a direct referral.
If you're in the market for an injury lawyer, ensure that their experience lines up with your case type. The right law firm will have the resources, commitment, and ability to serve you through your entire case.
As the largest personal injury firm in the country with over 35 years of experience, Morgan & Morgan lawyers are well-versed in Oklahoma car accident laws, and we know the most common questions and pitfalls that injured clients face. We’ve recovered over $15 billion for our clients, and we’re ready to help you get what you need and deserve to move forward with your life after an unfortunate event has happened.