Richardson Richardson Boudreaux | Overview of Personal Injury Laws in Oklahoma
In 2020, there were 599 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the state of Oklahoma. Additionally, traffic deaths in Oklahoma increased by 87 from 2020 to 2021. As the number of motor vehicle crashes and deaths continues to rise, it’s important for drivers to know an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer they can trust in the event of an accident.
If you’ve been in an accident in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area, a personal injury lawyer in Tulsa can advise you of the most relevant injury laws for your case. An experienced attorney can investigate your case, gather evidence, and walk you through the rest of the legal process. No one should have to deal with the aftermath of an accident alone, and experienced personal injury lawyers are equipped to help you face the challenges that often arise on the road to resolution.
Importantly, even if you are not a lawyer, it’s important to know your legal rights after an accident. This starts with understanding basic personal injury laws in Oklahoma. From knowing the amount of time you have to file your claim to the very definition of negligence itself, being aware of what you may be able to do after an injury can save you from a lot of distress and confusion.
Important Personal Injury Laws in Oklahoma
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of the carelessness of someone else, it’s important to seek help from a personal injury lawyer in Tulsa as soon as possible. In your free initial consultation, an injury attorney will explain your legal rights. Before this meeting, however, it’s important to have a list of questions you may want to ask, as well as some context surrounding some of the laws they will discuss. Here are some of the most important personal injury laws in place in the state of Oklahoma:
1. Statute of limitations
The statute of limitations for a lawsuit is the amount of time a plaintiff (injury victim) has to bring an action against a defendant (the person believed to have caused the injury). In Oklahoma, plaintiffs have two years from the date of the accident to file suit if it involves a personal injury. In most states, including Oklahoma, this time limit can vary based on the action. For example, while personal injury victims have two years to bring a claim, businesses or individuals seeking to collect debt on an account have five years to bring an action. If the plaintiff is a minor, however, they have until one year after their 18th birthday to file suit.
Personal injury claims in Oklahoma and across the country hinge on proving negligence. An entity or person is believed to have been negligent if they violated a duty owed to another person. There are five elements of negligence in Oklahoma:
- The defendant owed a duty to act or not act.
- The defendant breached (violated) that duty.
- This violation caused the plaintiff to suffer an injury.
- The defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the injury, or the defendant should have reasonably known their actions would cause injury.
- As a result of the defendant’s negligence, the plaintiff suffered actual damages (pain and suffering, time off work, property damage, and hospital bills, etc.).
A successful plaintiff will be able to prove all these elements. By working with a Tulsa injury attorney, a plaintiff can gather evidence that supports each part of a negligence claim. By proving negligence, personal injury victims can pursue the maximum compensation they deserve.
Oklahoma is an at-fault state, meaning that if a driver causes a car accident that injures someone else or causes property damage, then they are responsible for the harm. Importantly, fault can be shared between drivers. For example, if someone rear-ended your vehicle but you were distracted while driving and contributed to the collision, then your recovery might be reduced by the portion in which you were at fault. Oklahoma has modified comparative negligence laws, which means that if you are found to be 50% or more at fault for an accident, then you cannot recover any compensation for damages.
While personal injury laws may seem complicated, a trusted injury lawyer can help you understand them more fully. If you are in Tulsa and are wondering, “Where is a personal injury lawyer near me,” look no further than Richardson Richardson Boudreaux. We can answer your questions and help you get your life back on track after you’ve been injured in an accident.