This week’s fatal truck accident in Oklahoma City served as a grim reminder of how dangerous commercial trucks can be on the road. Their massive size and weight, coupled with their speed on Oklahoma highways, can lead to catastrophic results in the event of a collision.
If you or a loved one was hurt or killed in a trucking accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other losses. But there are things you should know before filing a lawsuit in Oklahoma. An Oklahoma truck accident lawyer from BDIW Law is familiar with Oklahoma’s legal procedures and can eliminate any confusion you have regarding your accident or the legal claim process.
Know What to Do After Your Trucking Accident
If you are considering filing a lawsuit after your trucking accident, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of receiving compensation for your losses.
- Take Photos: Photos of the accident scene can be strong evidence of what happened and can help prove liability against the at-fault parties.
- Gather Information: If there were any witnesses to your accident, get their contact information. Witnesses can play an important role in your lawsuit. Also, get the insurance information for the at-fault driver if possible.
- Seek Medical Treatment: Even if you do not feel seriously injured, it is important to receive medical treatment. You may have injuries you cannot see. You need documented evidence to support your claim against the parties responsible for your accident.
- Maintain Evidence: Keep all correspondence and documentation you receive from any parties relating to your accident. You may receive documents from insurance companies, medical providers, or law enforcement agencies. Preserve them all.
- Keep a Journal: Write down what you remember about your accident and how you feel physically and mentally. Such records will help demonstrate negligence and your losses.
- Track Your Expenses: Keep a record of your medical visits and other expenses you incur as a result of your accident. These costs may include mileage for doctors’ visits, prescriptions, or copays.
The more information and documentation you have regarding your accident, the better.
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Know that Liability Must Be Established
To file a trucking accident lawsuit in Oklahoma, you must be able to show another party was negligent and responsible for the accident. It is okay if you were partly at fault. If you also held some responsibility, your damages award may be reduced, but it does not prevent you from filing a lawsuit.
According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO), nearly 60% of truck drivers involved in accidents in Oklahoma took some improper action that made them responsible. Improper actions of truck drivers that cause accidents can include:
- Changing Lanes Unsafely
- Following Too Closely
- Failure to Stop or Yield
- Improper Turns
- Failure to Signal
- Disregarding Warning Signals
- Improper Lane Use
- Improper Backing
- Failure to Secure the Load
- Alcohol or Drug Use
- Driving While Tired
Establishing liability is required to file a trucking accident lawsuit in Oklahoma.
Know You Have Limited Time to File a Lawsuit
In Oklahoma, you have two years from the date of your trucking accident to file a lawsuit against the negligent or responsible parties. This time limit is called a statute of limitations.
The sooner you contact an experienced trucking accident attorney in Oklahoma, the better. Consulting a lawyer at BDIW Law quickly after your accident can help you focus on recovering while your attorney focuses on your accident. Through a thorough investigation, liability can be established, and your losses can be determined.
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Know There are Several Phases to a Lawsuit
The legal process is not always fast. Sometimes, lawsuits can take years to reach resolution. The reason it can take so long to resolve your case is that there are several phases to a lawsuit in Oklahoma. Some of the main phases of a legal action can include:
- Investigating Your Claim: This is the process of fact-finding and gathering evidence of liability and damages.
- Filing Your Complaint: Your attorney will prepare and file your allegations against the responsible parties and request compensation for your losses.
- Serving the Responsible Parties: The responsible parties must receive a copy of your lawsuit.
- Answering Your Claim: The responsible parties will usually respond to your lawsuit and assert their defenses.
- Discovery: This is the exchange of important documents and information relating to your accident.
- Mediation: Mediation is a voluntary process of meeting with a neutral third party to help the parties reach a satisfactory resolution.
- Trial: Not all cases go to trial. You may reach a settlement out of court with the responsible parties before a trial date is reached.
As a party to a lawsuit, sometimes it is difficult not to get anxious while waiting for a resolution, especially if your case seems to be taking a long time. Remember that sometimes, a resolution may take years. Hiring a BDIW Law attorney can help you reduce some of your angst, as your lawyer will keep you updated on the status of your trucking accident case throughout the daunting legal process.
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Know What Damages You Can Collect
In Oklahoma, you may be eligible to recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include your monetary losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages include your non-material losses, such as pain and suffering and emotional trauma.
Recently, the Oklahoma Supreme Court removed the cap on non-economic damages you can receive as a result of your accident claim. An experienced attorney at BDIW Law can fight to help you receive the damages you deserve.
In Oklahoma, you may also be awarded punitive damages. These damages are intended to punish the responsible parties for their negligent conduct.
Know What Attorney Will Fight for You
Consulting with an attorney to represent you in a trucking accident lawsuit is wise, considering the complexities of Oklahoma law. Hiring an experienced Oklahoma trucking accident lawyer can help you build a strong case against the responsible parties and collect compensation for your losses.
What you should know prior to filing a trucking accident lawsuit in Oklahoma can be overwhelming and confusing. To save yourself time and stress, contact BDIW Law today for a free consultation. Let a professional BDIW Law attorney pursue justice on your behalf.
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