Norman, OK – Home to the greatest football program in the country! Not to mention getting a swirl at the Mont, or hitting up Tarahumara’s Mexican Cafe or Ray’s BBQ (I like it better than Van’s) for some excellent food.
Wait, you’re not here to talk about sports or food? You’re here because you’ve likely been in a car accident and have legal questions about your case and the insurance company that isn’t returning your calls.
What to do Immediately After a Car Accident in Norman
- Call the police to get an officer to investigate the wreck. At the very least, this can speed up the process in getting your property damage claim resolved.
- If you are hurt, seek immediate medical care. If needed, get an ambulance from the accident scene. Norman Regional now has multiple convenient locations. Waiting to go to the doctor doesn’t help your health, or any potential lawsuit.
- Take photos of the accident scene with your cell phone. You should also take photos of the other driver(s) license, insurance information, and license plate.
- Talk with an attorney to make sure you are not missing anything on your claim, and hire one if you do not want to deal with the insurance adjuster on your own.
Medical Treatment after a Car Wreck
One of the most important “rules of the road” after a car accident is to make sure you get the medical treatment you need. Waiting to go to the doctor, with the hope that your injuries will heal on their own, plays into the hands (or boxing gloves with some) insurance companies in limiting fair settlement offers. Insurance defense lawyers call this the “delay in treatment” defense.
Another “way to wreck a car accident case” is by skipping doctor’s appointments, or failing to make sure the doctor is aware of all of the medical ailments that were caused from the wreck. It’s common for someone with a shoulder injury from a car accident to also have pain in their hip. Even if the shoulder is the main medical complaint at the time, the doctors need to be aware of the hip pain before it gets worse. The radiating hip pain can be a symptom bulging disc or other type of back injury.
Negligence in Car Accidents
When someone files a lawsuit to seek compensation for their injuries, they must be able to show that another person was at fault for the accident. The “fault” is referred to as “negligence.” All drivers in Norman have the responsibility to drive safely so they do not hurt anyone else on the road.
When drivers speed excessively, drive while distracted, exhibit road rage, or otherwise break the “rules of the road,” they are acting negligently. They are not taking the care needed to make sure the people on the road around them are safe.
Negligence is the basis of all personal injury claims. When one person is negligent and those actions injure another, the injured party can file a civil lawsuit to claim compensation for those injuries. When this is the case, the victim should speak to a car accident lawyer in Norman who can help them file their lawsuit.
How to Prove Negligence in Norman
Proving negligence in civil court is not like proving guilt in a criminal case. The injured party does have to prove the defendant acted negligently, but they do not have to prove it “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Instead, the victim must prove that it was “more probably true than not,” that the negligent party caused the accident.
Even though the standard of proving guilt is much lower in civil court, it can still be difficult for a plaintiff to recover everything to cover what the accident caused. Insurance companies have spent billions in public relations-style advertising campaigns and they have strategically painted injury victims and their trial lawyers as “greedy plaintiffs.”
The reality is much different: Most people just want a fair car accident settlement from the insurance company. Most car accident claimants have no interest in filing a lawsuit, but are forced to when given the option of either accepting a “low-ball” offer from the insurance adjuster or wanting to recover everything to cover what the wreck has put them through.
Surprisingly, a clear cut rear-end collision with a plaintiff, in a stopped vehicle at a red light, can have issues regarding liability. Those accused (the other driver’s insurance company handling the claim) of being at fault for the accident will not want to admit they caused the accident as they want to pay as little compensation as possible.
Insurance companies often wait until right before the case is ready to go to trial to use a defense strategy of “admitted liability.” They’ve denied liability throughout the case, but wait until the very last minute to finally admit that “yeah, we caused the wreck.” The defense is that their insured caused the wreck, but did not cause the harm or damages from the wreck. Yes, they are now “sorry” about the wreck, just not what happened because of the wreck.
It is important that injured individuals contact the police who can come out to the scene and write a report. Oklahoma Statute Title 47, Chapter 10, Section 10-107 states that drivers involved in a car accident that results in injury or death must report the incident to the police. The insurance company will also want a copy of this report, as it will help them determine who was at fault for the accident.
Insurance Issues after a Car Accident
Oklahoma is an “at-fault car accident” state, meaning that the insurance company of the at-fault party will be responsible for paying for the damages to anyone who suffered injuries. Insurance companies will always try to offer the lowest settlement possible and their “final pre-suit settlement offer” will often not be enough to cover the full expenses of the injuries and property damage. It’s surprisingly common to see “final” offers that don’t even cover all of the medical bills. The insurance company, and their lawyers, will be defending any lawsuit if one is filed.
Note that using variations of the phrase “liability insurance” is generally not allowed in car accident trials, so the jury may be under the impression that the at-fault driver had to hire a lawyer to defend him or her in the case. It is highly unlikely to see a car accident case go to trial if the defendant does not have liability insurance.
People can speak to their own insurance company after the accident. However, they generally should not speak to the other person’s insurance company or insurance adjustors until they have spoken to a Norman car accident attorney.
You should get a copy of your own insurance policy to double check to see if you have Uninsured/Underinsured (“UM/UIM Coverage”) or Medical Payments Coverage (“Med Pay”). UM will cover, up to the amount of coverage you purchased, for the damages sustained from an uninsured driver. Likewise, UIM coverage will cover over and above the amount of insurance coverage the at-fault driver has. Med Pay will pay for medical bills from the wreck, up to the amount of coverage purchased.
Being in a car accident is stressful and confusing. When someone else was at fault for the accident, it can be even more upsetting. However, anyone who was injured due to the negligence of another has options. If you were involved in an accident, call a Norman car accident lawyer who can guide you through the process. There are many laws surrounding car accidents in Norman. An attorney will be able to explain these laws and can fight to get you the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.