OKLAHOMA CITY CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER
Car Accidents Frequently Asked Questions
I have been a car accident that was the other driver’s fault. How do I protect my rights?
Immediately after a car accident, if you are not too hurt to act, there are several steps you can take to gather evidence that will help if you pursue a legal claim.
First, you should report the accident to police right away. You will also need to contact your auto insurance company to file a claim.
If you can, take photos of the accident scene, including vehicle positions, damage, skid marks and debris. When you talk to police, answer questions about the accident honestly. However, do not volunteer information. Do not admit fault. Do not blame anyone else.
If you have been hurt, see a doctor as soon as you can. If an ambulance / emergency medical services arrive at the accident scene, follow their instructions. Seeing a doctor or an EMT ensures you are taken care of. It also documents your injuries and the medical care they require. This will be important in a claim for compensation.
Won’t my car insurance pay all my bills from a car accident?
Liability insurance pays for personal injuries and property damage if you are at fault in a car accident. Therefore, you would seek payment from the other driver’s insurance if he or she caused your crash.
The minimum amount of liability coverage required in Oklahoma is “25/50/25,” or $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 for all persons injured in one accident, and $25,000 for all property damage in one accident. If you have collision insurance, it should pay for damage to your vehicle according to what the policy provides.
You may also have uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. This coverage pays for personal injuries caused by an uninsured motorist, an underinsured motorist or a hit-and-run driver. You are not required to carry this coverage in Oklahoma. Still, insurers are required to offer it with every auto insurance policy.
Oklahoma law also embraces the doctrine of “comparative negligence.” In a car accident, each party’s contribution to the accident is considered. For example, the comparative negligence among two drivers may be found to be 80/20 (one is 80 percent at fault, the other is 20 percent). If you are 20 percent at fault, your claim would be reduced by 20 percent. If you have 50 percent or more of the negligence, you would not be compensated for your losses.
An experienced car accident attorney can challenge claims that your negligence contributed to a car accident and thus increase your claim. Your attorney can also pressure a reluctant insurance company to pay a proper settlement in a timely manner.
If I pursue a lawsuit from my car accident, what can I expect to receive from such a claim?
When you pursue a car accident lawsuit, your attorney will calculate all of your expenses and losses. The attorney will then ask for that sum from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
An attorney will meet with the responsible insurance company representatives to negotiate a settlement. In cases that involve severe or permanent injuries that cause temporary or permanent disability, an appropriate settlement will be considerable.
If the insurer will not agree to a proper payment, the case must be presented in court for judgment.
A full investigation of your car accident may also determine that multiple parties beyond the other driver are liable for your injuries and losses. This could result in one or more lawsuits seeking compensation, which would follow the same course as outlined above.
My son was injured in a car accident caused by the teenage friend he was riding with. We’re reluctant to hurt this young man with a legal claim, but we do have medical bills. What can we do?
It is an unfortunate fact that young drivers are more likely than adults to engage in negligent behavior that causes car accidents such as speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving and fatigued driving. A majority of those who are injured or killed in car accidents caused by teenage drivers are the at-fault driver’s passengers of similar age.
Like adults, teenage drivers are responsible for their actions behind the wheel. Indeed, learning to drive responsibly is part of becoming an adult. And teenage drivers, like adults, are insured.
Even when teen drivers are on their parents’ auto insurance, compensation is available without financially damaging innocent parents.
I was hurt in a car accident caused by a teen who was driving drunk. Can I file a claim against the people who sold alcohol to this underage driver?
Unlike other states, Oklahoma does not have a specific “dram shop” law pertaining to businesses’ responsibility for drivers they sell alcohol to. But case law indicates that Oklahoma courts will hold a vendor liable for selling alcohol to drivers who are not yet 21 years old, the legal age for drinking.
A dram shop liability claim may be possible against a store or bar owner who sold alcohol to an underage driver, even without a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction against the driver.
A Burch, George & Germany, P.C., car accident attorney could discuss your case with you for free and do the other necessary work to determine whether we can pursue a claim on your behalf. If we can, we will seek all of the compensation you deserve for your car accident losses.
How long after a car accident do I have to file a claim in Oklahoma?
The two years available to file a claim begins at the date of injury or death. In some personal injury cases, the two years may be counted from a later date on which an injury is diagnosed or otherwise discovered. In cases involving a minor plaintiff, the two years begins once the child turns 18.
Personal injury and wrongful death claims are often complex. They take a long time to develop.
For instance, the investigation of a personal injury case stemming from a car accident requires investigating the accident and the extent of the individual’s injuries. This may involve consulting with outside professionals who perform accident reconstruction work, medical records analysis and financial forecasting. All of this takes time that eats away at a two-year calendar.
We advise Oklahoma car accident victims to contact a personal injury / wrongful death attorney as soon as possible so that work toward a potential legal claim can begin without delay.
I’ve been out of work since my accident. How can I afford a car accident attorney?
Paying a car accident attorney should be the last thing you worry about as you recover from your crash injuries. In fact, we won’t ask for a dime until you have received a settlement or court award from your claim.
Burch, George & Germany, P.C., pursues personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This means any fee paid to us is contingent upon us obtaining compensation for you. Simply put: If you don’t win, you don’t pay.
Once we obtain a satisfactory settlement or a court order in your lawsuit, our fee will be a percentage of the total award. We will agree to this percentage when you ask us to represent you.
Before that, we will meet with you to discuss your case and outline how we can help you. We will do this for no charge, regardless of whether you pursue a claim with our legal help.
To learn more, simply contact us today.
More answers to the most frequently asked car accident questions.
A car accident can happen in an instant and leave you with injuries that may forever change your life. In addition to the pain and suffering caused by your injuries, a serious accident may leave you facing medical bills, the costs of repairing your vehicle, loss of income while you are out of work, and other unanticipated expenses.
According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, 33,721 people were injured in traffic fatalities in our state in 2013 and 678 were killed. Of the deaths, a fourth were the results of alcohol impaired crashes where the driver had a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. Even more fatal accidents involved a speeding driver.
If another driver caused your car wreck injury, you should be fully compensated for your medical bills and other losses. When you turn to the at-fault driver’s insurance company for the financial assistance you thought you could rely on, you may be disappointed. Insurers protect their bottom line first. They have many ways to delay, low ball, and even deny legitimate auto accident claims.
How and Why Car Accidents Occur
About 70,000 car accidents happen every year in Oklahoma, averaging more than 190 a day. Though the year-to-year trend in the number of fatal and injurious accidents in Oklahoma is downward, there are still tens of thousands of families experiencing heartbreak and financial hardship every year because of a catastrophic car accident.
Most car accidents result from some type of driver error. Commonly seen types of car accidents include:
- Single car accident Oklahoma. It’s not always the driver who’s at fault in a single-car accident. Many accidents are caused by defective autos or auto parts, faulty roadways, or other factors, such as road work and the poorly designed work zones set up by contractors.
- Hit and run accidents. A hit-and-run accident can create particular problems as the injured person tries to obtain compensation through their own insurance for damage done by an unidentified person.
- Interstate accidents. Accidents on interstate highways often involve high speeds and may include multiple vehicles or commercial motor vehicles (i.e., large trucks). Those who are hurt in interstate crashes are more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries.
- Distracted driving accidents. Any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from the primary task of driving is a distraction. Common distractions include talking on a cell phone, texting, eating, grooming, and adjusting the radio. Engaging in distracted driving is dangerous and distracted drivers who cause accidents can be held liable for the harm they cause.
- Texting and driving accidents. Texting and driving is considered to be a particularly dangerous form of distracted driving because it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention. Texting while driving, which is more prevalent among younger drivers, leads to thousands of accidents.
- Drunk driving accidents. While the courts may severely punish a drunk driver, a person injured by an impaired driver must turn to civil action for financial restitution. In addition to the impaired driver, in some car accident cases others who enabled a drinking driver may be held liable for your injuries.
- Teen car accidents. Teenage drivers are more likely to get into car accidents because of their inexperience and because of recklessness. In fact, young drivers are more likely than adults to engage in risky driving behavior. But teens are required to carry auto liability insurance like any driver and victims of their recklessness have a right to restitution.
- Aggressive drivers. Aggressive behavior such as speeding, tailgating, and road rage contributes to many car accidents and injuries. Aggressive drivers can and should be held accountable for their actions.
- Accidents with uninsured drivers. Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the country, the Insurance Research Council says. Being in an accident caused by an uninsured driver complicates your case for restitution, but you can obtain compensation in many cases with appropriate legal help.
If someone else’s carelessness, negligence, or recklessness was responsible for the car accident you were involved in, Oklahoma law may provide a means for you to obtain compensation for your losses.
After any car crash you will most likely have to deal with an insurance company adjuster, regardless of whether the accident was a fender bender or resulted in serious personal injuries and property damage. Some Oklahoma car accident victims attempt to deal with insurance companies without consulting with an experienced car accident attorney and wind up getting far less than they deserve for their accidents and injuries.
You can avoid that mistake. If you have suffered any injuries in a car accident, you need to talk to an experienced auto accident attorney at Burch, George & Germany, P.C. We offer a free initial consultation and will give you our guidance about your legal rights and best options. It costs you nothing to discuss your case with us. We do not receive attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you on your car accident claim. We also have our Oklahoma City lawyers for accidents involving large trucks. In case you need to know more about Oklahoma laws for truck accidents, you may also contact us.
Auto Accident Attorney Legal Protection and Assistance After a Car Crash Accident
Auto insurance companies protect their interests. Let us protect yours.
Our car crash lawyers have years of experience dealing with such insurance issues as liability, claim valuation, deductibles, medical bills, insurance policy exclusions, and reimbursements for vehicle damage.
We know how insurance companies operate. We know that their primary interest is protecting their bottom line, even when they are dealing with their own policyholders who have paid premiums for years.
When you hire us, we can assist in several ways:
- We have the resources to fully investigate your accident to help you determine who was really at fault. We frequently work with accident reconstruction experts and other specialists to determine what actually happened in a crash.
- We can deal with the insurance adjusters while you concentrate on healing.
- We can help you make sure you get the medical treatment you need for your car accident injuries.
- We can analyze every detail of the insurance policies involved (including issues related to liability coverage, uninsured or underinsured motorists, comprehensive and collision coverage, and medical expense reimbursements). It is our goal to help you get all of the compensation you deserve from every source.
- When insurers drag their feet, we can help move your claim forward.
- We can obtain your medical records and have them analyzed by doctors or other medical specialists. With a full understanding of your injuries and impairments and their long term costs, we can ensure that you don’t accept a lesser settlement amount that short changes your future. It is critical for you to be aware of the full extent of your injuries and how your disabilities will affect your ability to earn a living.
Insurance companies have a duty to deal with their policyholders in good faith. Unfortunately, many take advantage of accident victims, which may indicate bad faith insurance practices. You can be certain that insurance companies have teams of attorneys to represent their interests. Make sure someone stands up for yours.
Sustained a car wreck injury? Contact an Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyer to get help with a car accident claim
The Burch, George & Germany, P.C. litigation team has successfully represented many Oklahoma City car accident victims at trial and at the negotiating table. We know what it takes to fight and win against big insurance companies. We have a record of courtroom success.
We understand how important your car accident claim is to you. That’s why when you’re our client, we will always treat you with the respect, attention, and compassion you expect and deserve. All of our clients deserve our best and they get it.
Ready? Call us toll free today at (405) 213-0674.
- Oklahoma Uninsured Driver Accidents
- Texting and Driving
- Single Car Accident
- Teen Driving Resource Center
- Hit and Run Car Accident
- How We Handle Car Accident Cases
- Interstate Car Accidents
- Distracted Driving
- Steps to Take After a Car Accident
- Car Accident FAQs
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Teen Driving Accidents
- Aggressive Driving Accidents
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Our personal injury law firm’s attorneys and paralegals share the same core values as the founders. As a team, we strive to provide each client with hard work, dedication, personal service, respect and everything we can do to prevail in their legal pursuits. Through honest and ethical practices, active participation in collegial organizations and lecturing to other lawyers and law students, our attorneys have earned the respect of our peers in the legal profession and in the community.