Oklahoma Trooper Shortage – What to Do If You Need Assistance on the Highway
We are concerned and some may be alarmed by a recent report that says recruitment of Oklahoma State Highway Patrol troopers is not keeping up with statewide need. OK troopers are primarily known for enforcing traffic laws and assisting motorists who have had car accidents, but they do much more. Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers also patrol the state capitol and lakes. The patrol has a bomb squad, tactical teams, special operations, aircraft divisions, an audits and fraudulent driver license program, and public information and training personnel. But as a KOCO report sums up the situation, recruitment has leveled off in the last few years while demand has grown. Many troopers are joining specialized units although new roads, increased traffic and higher speed limits increase the need to patrol our state’s highways. To make matters worse, a fourth of troopers currently on the job are eligible for retirement. The upshot is that it may take troopers longer to respond to car accidents. If you’re interested in serving the State of Oklahoma as a law enforcement professional, consider the Patrol’s recruitment information. What to Do if You Have Been in an Accident? Here are some tips for dealing with the immediate aftermath of a car accident in Oklahoma while waiting for law enforcement to arrive:
- Stop immediately. If you leave the scene of an accident you could be charged with hit-and-run. This could result in a fine of up to $500 and a year in jail. It could also lead to you being liable for compensating the other driver for three times the value of the damage caused by the accident. If you hit a car that is unoccupied, Oklahoma law requires you to leave a note with your name, contact information and insurance information.
- Report the accident. Call 911 as soon as possible after an accident. Request an ambulance if anyone has been hurt. Oklahoma law requires you to provide reasonable assistance to anyone hurt in a collision you are involved in if you are able, including calling an ambulance or making arrangements to get them to a doctor or hospital if the injured person requests assistance or it is apparent that medical treatment is necessary. If you don’t need emergency medical help, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident with any possibility of injury.
- Exchange information. While you await the Highway Patrol or other law enforcement assistance, exchange names, contact information, insurance information and driver’s license numbers with the other driver. In all contact with the other driver, passengers, witnesses and bystanders after a wreck, be civil and business-like. Do not argue, cast blame or accept fault for the accident.
- Protect your rights. Take photos or video of the accident scene, including the position of the vehicles, damage and debris. This will help explain the accident if there is a claim. If anything at the scene contributed to the accident, such as badly damaged roadway or an obstructed view, get photos or video to depict that, too.
- Contact your insurer. You must file a claim to be paid for damage done to your vehicle. Follow your insurer’s instructions, but do not accept or cast blame for the accident. Do not downplay vehicle damage or any injuries you may have suffered. Do not sign anything offered by any insurer. Don’t accept an insurance settlement offer without the advice of a car accident attorney.
- Contact a car accident attorney. Your initial consultation with a Burch, George & Germany car accident attorney is free and available with no strings attached. We pursue car accident cases to help clients obtain appropriate insurance compensation for medical expenses, vehicle damage and other losses when they have been injured in an accident that was not their fault. When we can help a client pursue a claim, we do so on a contingency-fee basis. This means we will retain an agreed-upon portion of money we recover as our fee, but if we recover nothing we don’t charge a fee.
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