What Should I Do If Someone Sues Me After a Car Accident in Oklahoma?
You can sue another driver for damages after a car accident in Oklahoma. Under personal injury law, the at-fault driver can be held financially liable for the injuries and damages caused by a car crash. However, you can also be sued if you cause a car accident.
Being sued for a car accident in Oklahoma can be frightening. Talk to a car accident attorney before you assume you are liable for damages. Your insurance company should hire a lawyer to defend the lawsuit, so contact your insurance provider immediately.
Car Insurance Requirements for Oklahoma Drivers
Oklahoma is an at-fault state for car insurance. Drivers must have a minimum amount of liability insurance. The minimum insurance coverage for Oklahoma City drivers is:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person
- $50,000 bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 property damage coverage
Although uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage are not required, many drivers add this optional coverage to their auto insurance policies. UM and UIM coverage pays medical bills, lost wages, and other damages if the at-fault driver’s insurance does not cover your damages.
If you are involved in a car accident that is your fault, your insurance company is liable for the other person’s damages up to your policy limits. If the victim sues you, you could be liable for damages above your policy limits. Drivers may want to consider purchasing higher coverage amounts to pay an injury claim if they are responsible for causing a car wreck.
Why Did the Accident Victim Sue Me When I Have Car Insurance to Cover Injury Claims?
Insurance companies may deny liability for a car accident claim for several reasons. Common reasons insurance companies give for denying accident claims include:
- Coverage had lapsed at the time of the car accident
- Damages were excluded from the coverage
- The accident did not cause the injuries the victim claims
- The company disputes the amount of damages
- Lack of evidence to prove the insured was at fault for the cause of the car accident
- The claimant did file a claim before the deadline for claims
- The claimant did not respond to a request for additional information
Insurance companies always try to limit liability for accidents. They pay as little as possible to resolve claims.
Therefore, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may refuse to pay a claim. When an insurance company refuses to settle a car accident claim, the victim may sue the at-fault driver for damages.
What Should You Do If You Receive a Lawsuit for a Car Accident in Oklahoma?
Contact your insurance company immediately if you receive a lawsuit for a car accident. You must notify your insurance provider of the lawsuit for your company to be responsible for damages.
Your insurance company hires an attorney to respond to the complaint. You must cooperate with the attorney in defending the lawsuit. The lawsuit may seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Past and future cost of medical treatment
- The loss of income, including decreases in future earning potential and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering caused by physical injuries, mental anguish, and emotional distress
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Diminished quality of life
You are personally responsible for any amount awarded that exceeds your insurance policy limits. Therefore, if you have minimum insurance coverage and the jury awards the victim $100,000, you are responsible for $75,000 of the judgment.
How Does Comparative Negligence Affect a Car Accident Lawsuit in Oklahoma?
The parties liable for the cause of a car accident are liable for damages. Therefore, if a party shares liability for causing a car crash, that party might not be entitled to receive compensation for all damages.
Oklahoma’s comparative negligence law does not bar a victim from recovering compensation for damages unless the victim is 51% or more at fault. If the victim is less than 51 percent at fault, their compensation is reduced by their percentage of fault.
For example, if the jury awards the victim $100,000 but finds the victim was 20% at fault for the car crash, the victim is only entitled to $80,000. Comparative negligence claims can significantly reduce the amount of money an accident victim receives for a personal injury lawsuit.
How Can I Protect My Right to Recover Compensation for Damages After a Car Accident?
The steps you take after a car accident can impact the outcome of a car accident claim. First, call 911 to report the car accident and request medical assistance. Do not admit fault or apologize for the accident or the insurance company may allege comparative negligence.
Seek medical treatment for your injuries. Prompt medical care helps prove the car accident caused your injuries. Delays in medical treatment could result in claims of failure to mitigate damages.
The insurance adjuster may request a written or recorded statement. Making a statement before seeking legal advice is not in your best interest. The statements you make could hurt your injury case.
Document your injuries through medical records and photographs. It is also important to document your financial losses by keeping detailed records and copies of receipts, bills, and invoices. You can also recover compensation for out-of-pocket expenses if you have proof you incurred and paid those expenses.
As soon as possible, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your case. An attorney investigates the crash to gather evidence proving the other driver was responsible for causing the accident. You have the burden of proving causation, fault, and liability to recover damages.
Your attorney also helps you document damages to increase the value of your personal injury claim. A lawyer may hire medical experts and financial professionals to provide evidence of future damages.
The insurance adjuster may pressure you to accept a settlement offer. However, most initial settlement offers are less than the value of the claim.
Therefore, talk with a lawyer before signing a final settlement agreement or release. When you sign a settlement agreement, your case is closed. The settlement agreement releases the other driver, insurance company, and all other parties from any further liability for your damages.
Contact the Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyers at McGuire Law Firm Today for Free Consultation
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