When you have been harmed in a car accident in Oklahoma, you are bound to have concerns about your physical and emotional well-being as well as how you will overcome medical expenses and loss of income you have incurred because of the accident. It is crucial that you file a car insurance claim so you can receive reimbursement for your damages.
Recourse Under Oklahoma Law
The process of receiving compensation for the damages incurred in a car accident in Oklahoma can be confusing at times. Without an experienced car insurance claim attorney at your side, you may be at a disadvantage. Insurance companies are in the business of making profits, and they will do their best to manipulate the system in their favor so they can protect those profits.
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Damages You May Be Entitled To
If you have been injured in a car accident, you understand the many damages it can create. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future income, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and more.
Oklahoma operates under a “fault” system, meaning the person who caused the wreck is responsible for the financial damages the accident created. The at-fault driver will be responsible for medical expenses, loss of income, property damage repairs and replacements, and fixing damage to the vehicles. The at-fault driver’s liability insurance will cover these damages up to their policy’s limit.
Three Options Following a Car Accident
After a car accident, when you need to recover damages, there are three things you can do.
File a First Party Claim
You can file a claim with your insurance company for your losses. Whatever is covered by your policy, if you have first-party benefits like medical expense coverage or uninsured motorist protection, can be taken up with your insurance carrier. This hands responsibility for getting money from the at-fault driver to the insurance company.
Through subrogation, your insurance company will pay you for whatever your policy covers, and then it will be their responsibility to seek reimbursement from the driver who was at fault.
File a Claim with the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Carrier
Filing a claim with the driver at fault’s insurance company to get them to pay for your damages after an accident is a necessary route in most cases. You may be able to collect compensation up to their policy’s limits.
File a Lawsuit in Civil Court
After a car accident, you can pursue a civil case against the at-fault driver. While you are suing the at-fault driver, their insurance company will step in to defend them. So, if your case ends with a favorable resolution, the at-fault party’s insurance company will pay you.
It is important to note that the process may work differently if the accident did not happen in Oklahoma but in a no-fault state.
In Oklahoma, drivers are required to carry liability insurance. The minimum amount that allows you to operate a vehicle in the state is 25/50/25 coverage, which means that $25,000 for injury or a fatality to a single person is covered. $50,000 is the total amount paid out if there were multiple injuries or deaths, and $25,000 covers property damage.
The minimum amount may not be enough coverage to cover a serious accident or enduring injuries. In this case, uninsured motorist protection (UM) pays for the damages you sustained up to the policy’s limits if you are hit by an uninsured individual or someone who is underinsured. UM is not required in Oklahoma, but insurance companies are mandated to offer it.
While not required, it is seriously encouraged since Oklahoma has many uninsured drivers.
Modified Comparative Fault Rule
In Oklahoma, the modified comparative fault rule is applied to vehicle accidents. Sometimes, there are several parties that are responsible for an automobile accident. This could mean that two drivers are involved, but also the vehicle manufacturer if the car had a defect that caused the accident.
When this happens, a percentage of responsibility is assigned to each party involved. An example of this is if one driver is 70% at fault, but the other driver is assigned 30% of the blame, the driver who was 70% responsible will pay 70% of the damages amount.
As long as you are not 50% or more at fault, you can seek damages from the other party. They will be reduced by the amount you are at fault. In actual dollars, this looks like if you were 30% at fault and you were awarded damages of $100,000, your award would be reduced by 30%, and you would receive $70,000 from the other party.
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Statute of Limitations for Filing an Insurance Claim in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, you must adhere to a strict deadline when filing an insurance claim following a car accident. The statute of limitations in the state is two years from the date of the accident. Though, government-owned vehicles do not fall under the same deadline.
If your accident involved a government vehicle, you have one year to file a written claim.
Filing Early Has Its Advantages
Though you legally have two years to file a claim, doing so earlier is advisable. By waiting to file your claim, some of the evidence may not be properly preserved.
In order to be awarded your compensation, you need relevant evidence. This means security footage, physical evidence, and eyewitness accounts while they are fresh in their minds. Evidence may degrade or get lost over time.
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Contact BDIW Law Today
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to a car accident, call BDIW Law today so that we can begin analyzing your case and constructing a strategy that protects your rights and resolves your case with a generous compensation settlement.
We are comfortable negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf. If negotiations do not produce the desired result, we will take your case before the court. Our talented litigators are ready to fight for justice for you.
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