How Oklahoma City Statutes Affect Personal Injury Claims
Before you take legal action after a car accident or animal attack, you need to know how Oklahoma statutes impact personal injury claims.
In some instances, this information can be the difference between you being able to collect the compensation you deserve or having to pay for medical expenses out of your own pocket.
The experienced Oklahoma City personal injury attorneys at McGuire Law Firm have compiled all of the details you should know on this page.
If you have any further questions once you finish reading through it, please give us a call or contact us online to discuss it with a member of our team.
What Is a Statute?
A statute is a written law passed by a legislative body and signed by a governor in its simplest form.
In Oklahoma, these rules cover a wide range of issues and legal areas, including:
- Personal injury claims
- Real estate disputes
- Public health
- Criminal offenses
- Social welfare
If the negligence of another party caused you to sustain an injury in a car or truck crash, you might be able to use the Sooner State’s statutes to sue them for damages. However, it is essential to note that the same laws that give you the right to pursue compensation can also limit how you do so.
Statutes of Limitations in Oklahoma
If you’ve been injured because of a defective product or in a slip and fall accident in the state of Oklahoma, you must take legal action against the at-fault party as quickly as possible. State law places strict time limits (statutes of limitation) on all personal injury claims.
12 OK Stat § 12-95 explains that the standard statute of limitations for the majority of personal injury claims in the state of Oklahoma is two years.
In practice, this rule means that individuals who suffer a fractured bone or a brain injury in an accident in Oklahoma City must usually take legal action against the liable party before the second anniversary of the incident.
There are, however, a few scenarios under which courts in Oklahoma may extend or toll (pause) an injured party’s statutory window:
- Injured Children: The statute of limitations does not typically begin on the date of the accident when minors suffer injuries in falls and car crashes. Instead, it starts on their 18th birthday.
- Delayed Diagnoses: When accident victims do not discover their injuries until weeks or months after their incident, the state shifts the start date of their two-year filing window to the day a doctor diagnosed them.
- Fleeing Defendant: When defendants leave Oklahoma state to escape civil justice, courts toll the victim’s statute of limitations until they return to the area.
There is also one notable scenario under which the state of Oklahoma can shorten the length of time an injured person has to file a claim. Individuals who wish to take legal action against a government agency must start the legal process within a year of their accident.
The skilled Oklahoma City personal injury lawyers from McGuire Law Firm are ready to help you file your suit before your statutory window closes. Please contact us today to set up a free consultation with a member of our team.
Damage Caps in Oklahoma
The compensation you are likely to get at the conclusion of your personal injury case comes in two distinct categories:
Courts dole out economic damages to reimburse the victims of accidents for the monetary losses they incurred as a result of the incident. The most common types of economic damages are medical fees, property damage, and lost wages.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, aim to provide injured parties with compensation for more subjective losses like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional anguish.
In 2011, the state of Oklahoma passed a law that capped the amount of non-economic damages an injured person can recover in the aftermath of an accident at $350,000.
There is no such cap on economic damages.
Over the years, many lawyers have called the constitutionality of the cap on non-economic damages into question. So, if you would like to find out how or if a court will apply it in your case, please get in touch with one of the experienced attorneys at McGuire Law Firm.
Comparative Negligence in Oklahoma
Most Oklahoma residents know they can sue for compensation if they get injured in an accident that was caused by another individual’s negligence. However, many think that they may lose this right if they hold a portion of the blame for their accident.
Oklahoma’s comparative negligence law is clear on this matter. It explains that people who sustain injuries in accidents may pursue damages as long as they hold less than 51 percent of the responsibility for the incident.
However, this statute further states that people who seek damages under these conditions may not recover their full compensatory award. Damages are reduced in direct proportion to a victim’s degree of blame.
So, if an injured party receives a $100,000 award from a jury after an auto accident in Oklahoma City for which they hold 20 percent of the blame, a judge will only release $80,000.
Strict Liability for Dog Bites in Oklahoma
In many jurisdictions throughout the United States, dog owners can avoid liability the first time their dog attacks an innocent person, as long as they did not have a reason to believe the animal was dangerous. In the state of Oklahoma, dog owners do not have any such protections. 4 OK Stat § 4-42.1 explains that:
“The owner or owners of any dog shall be liable for damages to the full amount of any damages sustained when his dog, without provocation, bites or injures any person while such person is in or on a place where he has a lawful right to be.”
This statute makes the owner “strictly liable” for any damages caused by their dog – regardless of their past behavior or history of aggression.
If you need legal advice on the best way to handle your dog bite case, all you need to do is reach out to the seasoned attorneys at McGuire Law Firm. We have been helping Oklahoma City residents with everything from workers’ compensation claims to wrongful death lawsuits for many years – and we are ready to assist you in any way we can.
Exemptions from Liability in Oklahoma
In general, Oklahoma residents have the right to take legal action against any person, business, or government agency whose negligent behavior is responsible for their injuries.
However, Oklahoma’s Good Samaritan Act offers exemptions from liability for people who inadvertently cause injuries or death while making a good faith effort to render aid.
To be exempt from liability under this statute, a good samaritan must:
- Not have a contractual relationship with the victim
- Act voluntarily, and
- Not receive any compensation for their efforts
To learn more about how the Good Samaritan Act may impact your claim, please reach out to our legal team today.
How Oklahoma City Statutes Affect Personal Injury Claims – Contact Our Law Firm for More Information
Would you like more information about how statutes in Oklahoma City affect personal injury claims? If so, please do not hesitate to pick up your phone and get in touch with the legal team at McGuire Law Firm. We have an in-depth understanding of all areas of Oklahoma personal injury law – and we would be happy to provide you with the answers you seek.