After a car accident, be sure you preserve your rights says Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney, Dakota Low. Dakota has represented hundreds of car accident victims in Oklahoma ensuring they get a rent car immediately and that their medical bills are paid before they are justly compensated for their injuries, loss of work and other economic awards. See Car Accidents in Oklahoma Statistic.
The physical pain of your injuries is only the beginning when you’re harmed in a vehicle accident in Oklahoma. How will you pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related expenses? How do you get your finances back on track?
Under Oklahoma law, you have options, but the process of obtaining compensation for a car accident might be complicated for someone who hasn’t done it before. Needless to say, this disadvantages the injured individual because insurance firms are well-versed in the system and use it to safeguard their profits.
You need to know what you’re up against in order to level the playing field. Here’s everything you need to know about filing a claim for a car accident in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is a “fault” state.
When it comes to car accidents in Oklahoma, Oklahoma is a “fault” state, like most states. The “fault” system holds the individual who caused the accident (the at-fault driver) liable for any financial losses incurred as a result of the collision. In other words, the at-fault driver is responsible for medical bills, missed wages, vehicle damage, and other losses. The liability insurance of the driver will cover the losses, up to the policy level.
As a result, if you’re hurt from any car accidents in Oklahoma, you have 3 options:
- If you have first-party benefits such as uninsured motorist protection or medical payments coverage, file a claim with your own insurance provider (a first-party claim) for damages covered by your own policy. Your insurance company will subsequently attempt to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, if possible (this is called subrogation).
- Submit a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier to have their liability insurance cover your losses up to the policy limit.
- Bring a civil case against the at-fault driver. While you’re legally suing the driver and not the insurance company, the insurance company’s lawyers will defend their interests, and if you win, the insurance company will pay.
The process is different if you are injured out of state in a “no-fault” state (such as Kansas or Arkansas).
Drivers in Oklahoma are just required to have liability insurance.
You must have at least 25/50/25 coverage to lawfully operate an automobile in Oklahoma. That is $25,000 for a single person’s injury or death, $50,000 for several people’s injuries or deaths in the same accident, and $25,000 for property damage. This amount of coverage, however, may not be sufficient to cover an accident that results in catastrophic or permanent injuries.
If you are hit by a driver who does not have insurance or does not have enough to cover all of your costs, uninsured and underinsured motorist protection (UM) covers for your damages up to the policy maximum. In Oklahoma, you are not forced to have this insurance, but the insurance provider must offer it to you. We strongly advise you to purchase uninsured motorist coverage because Oklahoma has a high rate of uninsured drivers, and you don’t want your ability to recover in an accident to be dependent on someone else’s decision to be at fault.
Medical payments coverage (MedPay), which pays for medical expenditures incurred as a result of an accident up to the policy limit, and collision and comprehensive insurance, which pays for damage to your car, are two other possible types of insurance. While collision and comprehensive coverage are optional under state law, they will almost certainly be required by the lienholder if your vehicle is financed.
In Oklahoma, the “modified comparative blame rule” is in effect.
A car accident can sometimes be caused by numerous parties, such as two drivers or a driver and another party, such as a vehicle manufacturer. When this occurs, each party is liable for damages in proportion to their share of the blame for the accident. For example, if one motorist is determined to be 60% guilty and another is found to be 40% responsible, they will be accountable for 60% and 40% of the damages, respectively.
If you are deemed partially at fault for the accident as the injured party, you can still recover as long as you are less than 50% at fault. Your recovery will be limited by the proportion of fault you have. For example, if your total damages are $100,000 and you are determined to be 25% at blame, your award will be reduced by 25%, giving you $75,000 instead. You will almost always be unable to recover if you are 50 percent or more in blame.
Car accident claims are subject to strict time constraints.
Your capacity to submit a claim for damages is limited by a legal deadline known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations in Oklahoma is usually two years from the date of the accident. If your accident was caused by a government employee or a government-owned vehicle, there is a critical exemption (whether state, county, or municipal). If your case includes potential government culpability, you usually only have one year to file a formal claim.
In the case of car accidents, there is also a more practical time restriction. You need evidence to win your case, and essential evidence in a car accident case might vanish swiftly. Witnesses forget what they saw, camera footage is rewritten or lost, and tangible evidence is washed away by the elements. Furthermore, the longer you wait to file a lawsuit, the easier it will be for the insurance company to argue that you are faking your ailments or that something happened in the interim that caused the damage.
That is why you must consult with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. While you focus on healing, your lawyer can investigate to secure evidence before it vanishes and protect your interests in interactions with the insurance company. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Oklahoma, you should contact an experienced attorney as quickly as possible. Contact Dakota Low today for a free case review and consultation at 405.601.8899 or use our contact form if you’ve been in a car accident in Oklahoma. We’ll do everything we can to make sure you get the money you deserve.