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A Car Accident Lawyer Explains Negligence Laws, Compensation, and Limitations

Car accidents are not only dreadful due to the physical injuries and emotional pain they can impart, but also the litigation that comes afterward, especially when the driver who caused the accident is unwilling to pay proper compensation.

In Oklahoma, negligence plays a role in many car accident injury cases. Furthermore, different remedies can be obtained within certain limits. An Oklahoma car accident lawyer discusses the relevant state laws on negligence, compensation, and the statute of limitations when it comes to filing a claim.

How an Oklahoma Car Accident Lawyer Helps You Win Proper Compensation

The Concept of Comparative Negligence

In Oklahoma, courts apply the concept of comparative negligence. The legal theory behind comparative negligence lies in the appropriate allocation of fault. Even if you’re the victim of a vehicular collision but your negligence contributed to your injury, the damages you can receive will be decreased in proportion to your negligence.

For example, if you’re awarded $10,000 for your injuries but the court found that you were 10 percent negligible because you did not park your car properly, you’ll only receive $9,000. In other words, comparative negligence punishes all the parties involved in the accident in accordance to their share of the blame. The overall goal of comparative negligence is to instill driver responsibility in general.

To collect damages from car accident injuries due to the negligence of the other driver, your lawyer must be able to prove the following: 1) the defendant had a duty to perform an act or refrain from doing an act, such as failing to stop during a red traffic light; 2) the defendant violated this duty (all drivers are expected to follow traffic rules and violating any is a breach of duty); 3) the breach of obligation harmed the plaintiff;  4) the defendant’s actions or lack of action directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries, such as when someone rearends your car, resulting in your whiplash symptoms; and 5) that the plaintiff incurred damages, such as lost wages and medical bills.

Car Accident Compensation

Plaintiffs can obtain two kinds of damages from a car accident: economic and non-economic. Economic damages pertain to the direct and indirect costs incurred due to injuries or damage to properties, while non-economic damages consist of accident costs that are more abstract and harder to financially compute, such as emotional distress.

Economic damages can include car repairs or full vehicle replacement for totaled cars, medical expenses, and lost wages. Non-economic damages can include physical pain and suffering, loss of affection or companionship, and emotional distress. If you lost a loved one due to a car accident, you should receive compensation for loss of affection and companionship as well as emotional distress.

Not all damages are limitless. Oklahoma puts a cap on non-economic claims from physical injuries, except when the defendant shows gross negligence. The state caps non-economic damages in general at $350,000. Conversely, the state does not limit economic damages. Lost wages and medical expenses in the long run depend upon the victim’s situation and age. A cap might prove unfair.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations refers to deadlines that the state imposes for plaintiffs who are filing lawsuits. Time limits are important. They are intended to keep plaintiffs from threatening someone with lawsuits indefinitely, to ensure the integrity of evidence, and to promote the efficiency of hearing cases.

The limitation period usually starts at the time of the accident. In general, Oklahoma plaintiffs are allowed two years to file for personal injury and injury to personal property. If your case isn’t filed within two years after your accident, you will be inhibited from filing future lawsuits.

You don’t have to deal with your car accident case on your own. Consult with lawyers who specialize in dealing with personal injury cases and possess extensive resources for proper and full investigation. Let them handle your lawsuit to gain either a fair settlement or to have a strong case in court.

Sources
Oklahoma Car Accident Compensation Laws, StateLaws.FindLaw.com
Oklahoma Civil Statute of Limitations Laws, StateLaws.FindLaw.com
Oklahoma Negligence Laws, StateLaws.FindLaw.com