Liability and Negligence in OKC Auto Accidents

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The legal aftermath of a car accident can be confusing. A personal injury attorney can be a helpful guide through this difficult time. In addition to advocating for full and fair compensation, your lawyer will ensure you’re kept updated every step of the way of your auto accident claims. While you’re pursuing a personal injury claim, you’re likely to hear the words “liability” and “negligence” thrown around a lot. Though the terms are interrelated, they are not interchangeable.
Negligence is the failure to exercise a reasonable level of care, both by an action and a failure to act. The action of texting while driving endangers the safety of passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers. The failure to erect a “wet floor” sign endangers the safety of anyone who unknowingly walks across the slippery floor. Liability is another word for responsibility. When someone is “held liable” they are really being held responsible for their actions (or their failure to act when they ought to). In personal injury lawsuits, defendants are held liable for their negligent acts and omissions.

What is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence happens in circumstances where multiple parties are at fault for the accident. For example, if a pedestrian negligently crossed the street without looking, but the driver was texting at the wheel, both parties are somewhat responsible for the collision. In assessing the victim’s claim, consideration will be given to how much of the accident was caused by their own negligence. If they are deemed to be 40% at fault, they will only be able to claim 60% of the damages they would otherwise be entitled to.

In the state of Oklahoma, the comparative negligence system is used to assess damages in personal injury cases.

What is Contributory Negligence?

Similar to comparative negligence, contributory negligence accounts for the fact that an accident may be caused by multiple parties. However, there is a critical distinction between the two. Under the contributory negligence system, a plaintiff will be unable to claim damages if they are partially at fault for an accident. This is only adhered to in Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.

What is Vicarious Liability In Auto Accident Claims?

Generally speaking, vicarious liability is where a party is held liable for the actions of another. This type of liability typically applies to employers. For example, if you were struck by a truck driver who was delivering goods on behalf of their employer, you would be able to claim damages from both the driver and the employer. In auto accident cases, this also applies to suing the owner of the vehicle, even though their friend may have been the one driving at the time of the accident.

What is Strict Liability?

Strict liability is also known as absolute liability. This applies in circumstances where there is no legal defense available to the defendant. The victim needs only to prove that they were injured due to the defendant’s negligence.

An example of a strict liability law is found in the Oklahoma statutes §4-42.1, which deals with liability for dog bites. The owner of a dog will be liable for the full amount of damages where their dog bites or injures another person. The only conditions are that the dog was not provoked and the victim had not been trespassing. There is no defense available to the owner of the dog in these circumstances.

An Oklahoma Auto Accident Claims Lawyer Can Ensure the Negligent Party is Held Liable

If you were injured in an auto accident, it’s time to take action against the responsible party. Get in touch with our experienced Oklahoma auto accident attorney to get started.

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