IS OKLAHOMA A NO FAULT STATE?
No, Oklahoma is an at-fault, or “tort” state. This means that the driver who causes the accident is responsible for all medical bills and property loss. Oklahoma is also a comparative negligence state, which means the damages you recover will depend on how much of the accident is your fault.
Of course, the driver will use their insurance to pay for these damages, so insurance companies are almost always involved in car accidents. Usually, the police investigate accidents with injuries or fatalities and then the insurance company decides who is at fault. While police departments usually designate one driver as at-fault for the accident, insurance companies break things down further and allow drivers to share fault.
WHAT IS COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE?
Oklahoma’s modified comparative negligence laws mean you can only collect damages for accidents you aren’t at fault for. If you are 50% or more at fault for your accident, you cannot file a personal injury claim. Additionally, if you are 20% responsible for an accident, you can only recover 80% of the damages associated with your crash.
Because of comparative negligence rules, insurance companies and at-fault drivers will try to shift the blame for the accident onto you. If you have a good attorney on your side, they will have a harder time using this tactic. Our team at Richardson Richardson Boudreaux PLLC, for example, will thoroughly investigate your accident gather evidence showing fault.
We will also help you identify when insurance companies are undervaluing your claim. Sometimes, insurers admit that their driver is at fault and then try to downplay the severity of your injuries and losses. That’s why, in many cases, you should contact an attorney before you contact your insurance company.
PROS AND CONS OF AT-FAULT CAR INSURANCE
Although determining liability for injuries and medical costs using fault is fair and can keep insurance costs low, it can be time-consuming. Drivers in no-fault states can recover funds for medical treatment from their own insurance policies right away. In at-fault states like Oklahoma, though, you may have to pay out of pocket and get reimbursed later.
Sometimes car accident cases and insurance disputes can take a long time to resolve. If you want to file a car accident claim, you also have to adhere to timelines. In Oklahoma, you only have 2 years from the time of your car accident to sue the at-fault driver and their insurance company. In most cases, filing a lawsuit is different from negotiating an insurance settlement, so again, it helps to work with a lawyer from day one.
NEED HELP AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT?
Dealing with insurance companies can be stressful, especially when you’re recovering from an injury or loss. Our firm can do the hard work for you, so you can focus on what matters – getting better. For assistance after a car accident, look no further than Richardson Richardson Boudreaux PLLC. Your consultation is free and you won’t owe any legal fees unless you win your case.
Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 918-492-7674 or contact us online today.