How is Fault Determined in a Car Accident in Oklahoma?
Posted on Sunday, March 5th, 2023 at 1:15 pm
A car accident can be traumatic. Determining fault is crucial if you need to seek compensation for your injuries, lost wages, damage to your vehicle, and other losses. The Oklahoma car accident lawyers at Abel Law Firm have decades of experience helping those injured in our community. We want to help you understand your rights and legal options if someone else’s negligence harmed you.
Understanding Fault in Car Accidents
Determining fault after an injury accident is vital because it plays a significant role in:
- Potential compensation for losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle repairs or replacement, pain and suffering, and more
- Insurance claims and premium adjustments
Factors that Determine Fault in a Car Accident
Several factors could help determine which party is at-fault for a car accident, including:
- The police report and investigation – The police report and investigation – Police officers document the accident scene, collect evidence, and speak to witnesses. Their report often contains their assessment of fault. The insurance company will use this as a primary piece of evidence.
- Traffic laws and rules of the road – Violation of traffic laws, such as running a red light or speeding, can indicate fault.
- Witness statements – Independent witnesses can provide an objective account of the accident. This can be crucial in determining fault.
- Vehicle damage and accident reconstruction – Examining vehicle damage and reconstructing the accident scene can help determine how the accident occurred and who is at fault. An attorney may engage an expert witness to explain how to determine who caused it.
- Admissions of guilt or responsibility by the involved parties – Statements made by involved parties admitting fault can be evidence.
Comparative Negligence in Oklahoma
Oklahoma follows a comparative negligence system when determining fault in car accidents. According to Oklahoma Statutes Title 23, Section 13, a plaintiff’s compensation is reduced by their percentage of fault. This means:
- If you are found to be partially at fault for an accident, the court would reduce your compensation according to the percentage of blame you receive for the crash.
- If you are 50 percent or more responsible, you cannot recover any compensation from the other party.
Is Oklahoma a No-Fault Car Accident State?
Many readers might wonder if Oklahoma follows a no-fault insurance system. No-fault insurance typically means that each party involved in an accident must file a claim with their own insurance company, regardless of who caused the accident. However, Oklahoma is not a no-fault car accident state. The state follows a fault-based insurance system, which has the following implications for car accident victims:
- The at-fault driver’s insurance company should compensate the injured party if the other party is at fault.
- Victims can file a claim with their own insurance company, the other driver’s insurance company, or pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
The Importance of Hiring a Lawyer to Determine Fault and Seek Compensation
Establishing fault in a car accident can be complex and challenging. Hiring a skilled lawyer is crucial to protecting your rights and seeking the fair compensation you need and deserve. An experienced Oklahoma car accident lawyer could help you by:
- Collecting and analyzing evidence – A lawyer can gather crucial evidence, such as police reports, witness statements, and photographs, to help establish fault in your case.
- Negotiating with insurance companies – Most cases settle long before a lawsuit is necessary. Your attorney will negotiate with the other party’s insurance company on your behalf and will work to secure a fair settlement that accounts for your injuries and losses.
- File a lawsuit and seek compensation in court – If your lawyer cannot reach a fair settlement, they will advise filing a lawsuit and fighting for the compensation you deserve in court if necessary.
Injured in a Crash? Contact an Oklahoma Car Accident Lawyer for Help
Determining fault in a car accident is crucial to pursuing fair compensation. It is important to understand how insurance companies, courts, and attorneys assess fault and how Oklahoma’s comparative negligence and fault-based insurance system affect accident victims.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact the Oklahoma car accident attorneys at Abel Law Firm for the qualified counsel you need. We’ll be ready to fight for what is fair. To get started on your case, call or contact us online for a free case evaluation.