After suffering severe injuries in a car crash, you may be entitled to financial compensation. However, you may be unsure of where to get started with your case, who is responsible, and how much your damages are actually worth. For these reasons and more, it is generally not recommended that you represent yourself when pursuing a car accident insurance or civil claim.
You are well within your rights to represent yourself. Be aware that going into your lawsuit without an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney could have a negative impact on the amount of compensation you can recover in your claim.
Here’s Why It’s Not a Good Idea to Represent Yourself
It is usually not a good idea to try to represent yourself after being involved in a car accident. Here are some of the top reasons why:
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You Are Still Recuperating
After a car accident, you may be coping with severe, catastrophic, or life-threatening injuries. During this time, you will need to devote all of your time and energy to healing. This is not the time to try to take legal action without help, which will take considerable time and effort.
Instead, you could have your car accident lawyer handle every legal detail of your case so you can spend your time recuperating, attending occupational or physical therapy appointments, continuing to receive medical treatment, and starting to rebuild your life. Some of the important legal matters your car accident lawyer will handle on your behalf include:
- Investigating the cause of the collision
- Gathering valuable evidence to support negligence and blame
- Identifying those responsible for causing your injuries
- Figuring out what legal options are available to you
- Going over your damages to calculate the value of your car accident claim
- Preparing insurance documents and court filings
- Negotiating with insurance adjusters
- Protecting you from being taken advantage of
- Regularly updating you with case status changes
- Bringing your car accident lawsuit to trial if insurance is not enough to cover your losses
Evidence Needs to Be Gathered ASAP
The burden of proof in car accident and personal injury claims is based on a preponderance of the evidence. In criminal court, for the state to obtain a guilty verdict, they must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil court is different.
Here, the evidence presented must be convincing. It must show the jury or judge that the defense is likely at fault for causing your car accident and subsequent injuries. While you are dealing with the immediate fallout of your injuries, you will not have time to gather the evidence we need to support your case.
When you have a car accident lawyer working for you, we can begin collecting evidence at the scene of the accident. Some of the most compelling types of evidence used to prove liability in a car accident case include:
- Photos of property damage at the accident scene
- Video footage of the collision from dash cams, traffic cams, or bystander videos
- Witness statement
- Testimony from experts
- Reports generated by accident reconstructionists
- Police and accident reports
- Photos of your injuries
- Data obtained from the vehicle’s black box
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You May Not Be Aware of How Personal Injury Laws Work
You may be hoping to save money or feel intimidated at the thought of calling a car accident lawyer for help. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that you have an in-depth understanding of how Oklahoma personal injury laws work.
There are multiple laws that could have a substantial impact on the outcome of your case. If you do not understand them or how to utilize them on your behalf, you could wind up settling for less than you deserve or losing your case altogether. Here are some of the most notable personal injury laws you should be aware of:
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The Statute of Limitations
Oklahoma law under Oklahoma Statute §12-95 allows personal injury lawsuits to be filed up to two years from the date of the accident. If your car accident claim is not filed before time runs out, the court system will refuse to hear your case.
Oklahoma Fault Insurance Laws
Oklahoma is a fault state for car accidents and civil claims. This means the person or party responsible for causing the accident and also required to compensate victims for their damages. When you are filing a claim with the insurance company, this means you will need to deal with the liable party’s auto insurance provider.
Since insurance companies are notoriously profit-driven, it is crucial to have an experienced legal advocate on your side who will protect you from being taken advantage of.
Modified Comparative Negligence
In Oklahoma, the state operates under a modified comparative negligence system. This means when you are partially responsible for causing an accident, your settlement will be reduced. If your portion of the fault is greater than 50%, you will lose your right to compensation altogether.
Do not be surprised if the liable party attempts to blame you for the accident. This is one of the most common tactics used to reduce financial liability. If you are not careful, the at-fault party could get away with blaming you for the accident, even if you are not at fault.
These are just a few of the most important personal injury laws that could have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. If you hope to protect yourself during this challenging time in your life, make sure you have a knowledgeable and experienced legal advocate fighting for you.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for Legal Support Today
You may have thought about representing yourself after a car accident despite suffering physical injuries and having an unclear understanding of how Oklahoma personal injury laws work. On top of this, you may not have the ability to cover the costs associated with pursuing a case of this nature. In cases like this, having a powerful legal advocate fighting for your rights is generally in your best interest.
Learn more about how a car accident attorney at BDIW Law can help you demand justice when you contact our team for a 100% free consultation. You can reach us through our online contact form or by phone to start working on your car accident case as soon as today.
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