Determining the amount of compensation you are entitled to for an Oklahoma car accident can be challenging. How do you value pain and suffering in a car accident settlement? And who is responsible for calculating the value of your settlement? While recovering from the incident, having more information about effectively estimating your car accident settlement is beneficial to assess whether the insurance company’s offer is reasonable.
For examples of actual settlement amounts, please refer to our case studies.
- Who Calculates Car Accident Settlements in Oklahoma?
- Adding Economic and Non-economic Losses Together
- Contributory Negligence in Oklahoma
- Contact an Attorney to Calculate Compensation for Your Oklahoma Car Accident
- Car Accident Settlement Calculation FAQs
- How long do I have to file a car accident claim in Oklahoma?
- Can I still receive compensation if I was partially at fault for the car accident?
- What types of damages can I recover in a car accident settlement in Oklahoma?
- How is pain and suffering calculated in Oklahoma?
- Should I accept the insurance company’s first settlement offer?
- What if the other driver involved in the accident was uninsured?
- Can I recover compensation for emotional distress caused by a car accident?
- How does the presence of pre-existing conditions affect my car accident claim?
- How can I prove lost wages in my car accident claim?
Who Calculates Car Accident Settlements in Oklahoma?
Typically, the value of an Oklahoma car accident settlement is calculated by two parties: the insurance company covering the driver responsible for the accident and you, with guidance from your personal injury attorney.
Your perspective and the insurance adjuster’s perspective on the compensation you deserve for your car accident injuries may differ significantly.
The Insurance Company
The insurance company covering the at-fault driver will initially assess the losses you incurred due to the accident, focusing on your vehicle’s damage and immediate medical expenses. Many insurance companies employ computer systems to evaluate a car accident claim’s worth.
The first settlement offer from the claims adjuster usually covers reasonable compensation for vehicle damages, typically based on a certified repair shop’s estimate. However, it might only cover some of the medical expenses you incurred due to the accident. Consulting with a knowledgeable car accident attorney can provide insight into the compensation you may be entitled to and how to pursue it.
Your car accident attorney will thoroughly evaluate your total losses from the accident, including a detailed look at the damage to your vehicle and estimated repair costs. Additionally, your attorney’s calculation will consider several other important factors, such as the nature of your injuries and the type and duration of medical treatment you have received.
Breaking Down Your Medical Bills
Car accident injuries often lead to significant medical expenses. Costs can start with ambulance transport from the accident scene and extend to hospital stays, surgical procedures, durable medical equipment, therapy, and more.
Your attorney will review all medical expenses related to your car accident injuries, offering guidance on what to include in your claim. If you have Medical Payment Coverage (MedPay) insurance, which is an optional coverage that helps with medical bills following a car accident in Oklahoma, you can still include the cost of treatment covered by MedPay in your claim, as you have paid for this insurance coverage, not the driver who caused the accident.
Calculating Wage Loss
A severe car accident can result in significant time away from work as you undergo treatment and recover from your injuries. Some injuries may prevent you from performing your job duties, while others may impose restrictions recommended by your doctor, leaving you unable to dedicate time to work tasks. If you have experienced lost wages due to your car accident, discuss with your lawyer how to incorporate those lost wages into your claim. Document any work time missed, including used vacation time.
Taking Pain and Suffering Into Account
Your Oklahoma car accident claim can also include compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced after the accident. This may encompass significant physical pain, ongoing emotional distress, or suffering due to activities you missed or could not participate in during your recovery.
Adding Economic and Non-economic Losses Together
Pain and suffering fall under the “non-economic damages” category in a personal injury case. Non-economic damages can be calculated in two ways:
- As a percentage of your total economic losses (which include medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repair costs, etc.), Non-economic compensation can range from 5% to over 500% of your economic damages, depending on the severity of your injuries and the type and duration of treatment.
- Using a “per diem” rate: A specific compensatory amount is assigned for each day until you reach the maximum possible recovery for your injuries, often based on your potential income if you had not been injured. Insurance companies may not favor this method as it can result in higher calculations than an arbitrary dollar amount.
After calculating your non-economic damages, your economic losses and non-economic damages are combined to estimate your total car accident settlement. The insurance company’s offer may be significantly lower than what you or your personal injury attorney consider a fair settlement amount.
Contributory Negligence in Oklahoma
Oklahoma follows the comparative negligence doctrine in car accident cases. If you are found to have contributed to the accident, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For instance, if the jury determines you were 10% at fault and the defendant 90%, the judge will reduce your compensation by 10%.
If your fault exceeds 50%, you are ineligible to receive compensation for your injuries. Oklahoma statutes specify that if your negligence “is of greater degree than the combined negligence of…” the other parties involved, meaning anything over 50%, you cannot recover damages.
For example, if the jury awards you $100,000 but finds you 51% at fault and the defendant 49% at fault, the law mandates the judge to reduce the verdict to zero.
Contact an Attorney to Calculate Compensation for Your Oklahoma Car Accident
If you have sustained injuries in a car accident in Oklahoma, consulting with an attorney can help you accurately calculate your settlement and understand the value of your claim. More importantly, they can ensure you are not disadvantaged by insurance companies aiming to minimize payouts. Consider scheduling a free consultation with an Oklahoma car accident lawyer to learn more.
Car Accident Settlement Calculation FAQs
How long do I have to file a car accident claim in Oklahoma?
You generally have two years from the date of the car accident to file a personal injury claim. This time limit, known as the statute of limitations, is crucial to adhere to, as failing to file within this period can result in losing your right to seek ANY compensation.
Can I still receive compensation if I was partially at fault for the car accident?
Oklahoma’s comparative negligence law allows you to receive compensation even if you were partially at fault, as long as your fault is not greater than 50%. Your percentage of fault will reduce your compensation.
What types of damages can I recover in a car accident settlement in Oklahoma?
You can recover economic and non-economic damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle repair costs, and compensation for pain and suffering. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded.
How is pain and suffering calculated in Oklahoma?
Pain and suffering are calculated either as a percentage of your total economic losses or using a per diem rate. The method and amount can vary significantly based on the specifics of your case.
Should I accept the insurance company’s first settlement offer?
It’s advisable to consult with a car accident attorney before accepting any settlement offer from an insurance company. Initial offers may not fully compensate you for your losses, and an attorney can help negotiate a fairer settlement or give you an estimate of what the case is worth.
What if the other driver involved in the accident was uninsured?
If the other driver was uninsured, you might still be able to recover compensation through your insurance if you have uninsured motorist coverage. An attorney can help you explore all available options for recovery.
Can I recover compensation for emotional distress caused by a car accident?
Yes, compensation for emotional distress falls under non-economic damages and can be included in your claim. Documenting the impact of the accident on your mental health can support your claim for these damages.
How does the presence of pre-existing conditions affect my car accident claim?
Pre-existing conditions do not prevent you from recovering compensation. However, the insurance company may argue that your injuries were not caused by the accident. An attorney can help demonstrate how the accident exacerbated your pre-existing conditions.
How can I prove lost wages in my car accident claim?
To prove lost wages, you can provide documentation such as pay stubs, a letter from your employer detailing your absence and lost income, and medical records indicating the necessity of your time off work.