Focus on your health, while our Oklahoma City car accident lawyers focus on the insurance company.
Imagine standing at a crossroads after a car accident in Oklahoma City, one path leading towards stress, confusion, and uncertainty, the other towards clarity, support, and justice. The deciding factor? Hire an experienced car accident lawyer. At our law firm, we’re not just legal professionals; we offer help during one of the most challenging times in your life. We’re your advocate, guide, and defender in the face of insurance companies. Our car and truck accident attorneys can navigate the legal terrain, answering your questions and easing your concerns. The choice to hire a lawyer is not just about winning a legal battle; it’s about reclaiming your peace of mind and securing the fair compensation you deserve.
What’s my Oklahoma car accident case worth?
The settlement value for a case can be anywhere from just over 1x to more than 5x the medical bills. Case settlement evaluations vary greatly because no two car wrecks are the same. Insurance adjusters and Oklahoma City juries will consider how the wreck occurred, the types of injuries and medical treatment, how much missed work, and if the injuries are permanent. Damages include Economic and Non-Economic categories. Economic damages already have a price tag next to them—stuff like medical bills or lost income. Non-economic losses are what we can’t easily measure. For example, the pain from a broken leg differs from a sprained ankle or the cost of being unable to play with your kids without back pain.
Car Accident Case Damages Summary
|Medical Bills||The cost of medical treatment and ongoing care|
|Lost Wages||Income lost due to missed work or reduced work capacity|
|Property Damage||Cost of repairing or replacing damaged property|
|Pain and Suffering||Physical and emotional distress caused by the accident|
While economic damages such as hospital bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and missed work can cause financial strain, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering can have a much more significant impact on a person’s life.
What should I do after a car accident in OKC?
- Prioritize your safety by checking for injuries and moving away from danger. Dial 911 to contact the police once safe. The police accident report and officer interviews can aid in determining fault, preserving evidence, and maximizing the insurance claim and legal action.
- Document everything at the accident scene: Use your cell phone to document all accident details, including the contact and insurance details of the other drivers.
- Seek immediate medical attention even if you feel okay, as some car accident-related injuries may not be immediately apparent and could escalate if untreated. What feels like a sore hip can easily be an underlying painful back injury causing sciatica pain.
- Remember to seek the medical treatment you need. Too many people wait weeks, or even months, to get medical care for a severe injury. The insurance attorney will claim that the personal injuries are unrelated if there is any “delay in treatment.”
- Contact a lawyer to discuss your rights for free. You may not need a lawyer, but you’ll at least make sure you’re not “wrecking your case twice.”
- Hire a lawyer. According to the Insurance Research Council, motor vehicle accident victims with legal representation receive nearly 3.5 times higher settlements than those without.
Oklahoma City Liability Insurance Requirements
The minimum coverage requirement for car insurance in Oklahoma is only a “25/50/25” policy. Drivers must have at least $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person, $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident, and $25,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident. To make matters worse, according to the Oklahoma Insurance Department, 24% of drivers in Oklahoma are uninsured. Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) Motorist Coverage is vital for every automobile policy. It helps protect people injured in a car accident if a careless driver hits them and doesn’t have insurance or enough coverage.
The Oklahoma Car Accident Case Process (Getting Full and Fair Settlement Value)
At the outset, the client is actively undergoing medical treatment. At the same time, the law firm diligently collects evidence, building the case to establish liability against the at-fault driver. Your attorney will start the claims process, securing key documents such as traffic collision reports, witness statements, Oklahoma City Police or Oklahoma Highway Patrol interviews, surveillance camera footage, and medical records. Engaging a lawyer early on can significantly bolster the case, as witness recollections tend to be most vivid and accurate shortly after the accident.
Personal Injury Settlement Demand Packet
After the client completes medical treatment, the law firm compiles a demand packet that includes all relevant information regarding the personal injury damages: past/future medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. This packet summarizes the case with exhibits and all relevant evidence to establish liability and damages. The insurance claims adjuster will review this packet and use it as the basis for their offer towards compensation for damages incurred due to the car accident.
Negotiation with the Insurance Company of the Negligent Driver(s)
It’s important to remember that a claims adjuster’s job is to try to pay as little as possible. They aim to get the claim off their desk for as small of a settlement as possible. They often use strategies like delaying or denying to avoid paying. They might offer low settlement amounts or try to blame the injured person. That’s why we set a 30-day deadline for them. If they don’t agree to a fair deal within that time, we move forward with a lawsuit. The adjuster must disclose their insured’s policy limits after the case is filed in court.
File the Car Accident Lawsuit
Even though the insurance company handles the car accident claim, the driver responsible for the car crash is the defendant. Your Oklahoma City car accident attorney files a Petition in the Oklahoma County District Court or a Complaint in the Western District of Oklahoma. Note that a settlement can occur at any time, and sometimes, just filing a lawsuit can result in a better insurance adjuster handling the claim. Be aware of Oklahoma’s two-year deadline to file a civil lawsuit; missing the statute of limitations will forfeit any ability to recover compensation. Lawsuits are usually the last resort when the insurance company refuses a fair offer, but it forces them to evaluate the claim entirely.
Discovery Phase in Civil Litigation
During a lawsuit’s “discovery” phase, both parties gather and exchange information related to the case. This phase is crucial in building a solid case since it involves obtaining evidence to present at trial. The process can take several months, at the very least, depending on the case’s complexity. The discovery phase typically involves three main components:
- Written requests (interrogatives and requests for admissions/production of documents)
- Expert witness testimony (including the insurance doctor’s examination)
Mediation, sometimes a court-ordered process, involves using a neutral third party to facilitate communication and negotiation to reach a mutually agreeable compromise. An experienced car accident attorney can recommend the best mediators in Oklahoma City to get a case settled. Here are some benefits:
- Cost-effective: Mediation is generally less expensive than going to trial.
- Confidentiality: Unlike litigation, which is public record, mediation is confidential. Anything said during the mediation cannot be used against either party in court, giving the parties a better chance at settling the case.
- Control: Both parties have more control over the outcome than they would if a judge or jury were making the decisions. In effect, it takes the risk of going to trial.
- Certainty and Closure: Mediations tend to reach a successful settlement in nearly 90% of cases, allowing the parties to settle the case and move on with their lives.
Oklahoma City Car Accident Trial
Most OKC car accident cases that go to verdict are jury trials. The parties can agree to have a “bench trial” where the judge decides the judgment or a jury trial. Potential jurors will be interviewed in a “voir dire” process to assess their impartiality. Once the jury is selected, both sides will make opening statements outlining their case and what they intend to prove.
Note: Even though the insurance defense lawyer defends the case, the jury will not hear which insurance company is involved or the insured’s policy limits. Most Oklahoma City car accident jury trials take 2–3 days. During the trial, each side will present evidence through witness testimony, expert opinions, and documentary evidence such as medical records or police reports. The plaintiff has the burden of proof in showing by the “greater weight of the evidence” that their version of events is more likely true than not. After all of the evidence is presented, each side will have the opportunity to make closing arguments. During this time, they will summarize their case and request a specific verdict from the jury.
Hopefully you have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist’s Coverage. If you do, then your policy will pay for your damages, up to the amount of coverage you have. Our car accident lawyers can review your insurance policy for free.
If you don’t have UM/UIM, your chances are not great in getting a fair settlement. You can file a lawsuit against the defendant driver, and get a judgement. After a court judgement is obtained, and the driver is not willing or able to pay, the next step is to start the collections process.
We begin with an in-depth consultation to understand the facts of the case and determine the best course of action. We work diligently to gather all relevant evidence, drive out to the Oklahoma City accident scene, police reports, witness statements, and records from the medical providers.
The case timeline will depend on the specific circumstances of your case, but you can expect regular updates and clear communication throughout the process. Hasbrook & Hasbrook has extensive experience in settlement negotiations and will work tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome for your case.
In the event that a trial is necessary, the team is well-equipped to provide thorough trial preparation and representation. We’re willing and able to try both the small cases and the large. Throughout the entire process, Hasbrook & Hasbrook prioritizes client communication, ensuring that you are informed and involved every step of the way.
To start, it's important to determine who was at fault for the accident. If the other driver was at fault for the car or truck accident, then their insurance company would be responsible for covering the damages. Another option is to go through your own insurance company, but this would require you to pay your deductible.
Depending on what your insurance policy coverage is, you may also be able to get money for Collision Coverage, Medical Payments Coverage and/or Underinsured Motorist’s Coverage.
The short answer is whatever amount the insurance company is willing to pay as fair compensation and/or what a jury will award.
Determining the true value of a claim in the aftermath of a car accident can be a complex process that requires careful evaluation of various factors. These factors include insurance coverage, medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Calculating compensation is not as simple as adding up total treatment bills and car repairs. It involves taking into account the extent of the injuries sustained, the duration of recovery, the impact on the victim's daily life, and any emotional distress experienced as a result of the accident.
Sometimes it’s useful to evaluate a case using the "multiplier method." This involves calculating the total economic damages (medical bills, lost income, and property damage) and then multiplying that number by a factor between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of the injuries and the overall impact on the victim's life. While this method can provide a rough estimate of the compensation a victim may receive, it is important to keep in mind that each case is unique and requires careful consideration of all factors involved.
It is important to recognize that auto accidents can happen for a multitude of reasons, but some causes are more prevalent than others. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the most common factors that contribute to automobile accidents are:
1) Distracted driving. This can include anything from texting while driving, to eating, to simply not paying attention to the road.
2) Speeding. When drivers exceed the speed limit, they have less time to react to unexpected situations and are more likely to lose control of their vehicle.
3) Drunk driving is another common cause, as alcohol impairs judgment, slows reaction time, and reduces coordination.
4) Other factors such as road conditions, reckless driving, and weather conditions can also greatly increase the risk of a motor vehicle accident.
According to the Oklahoma car accident statute of limitations, injured parties have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the at fault driver. If the filing deadline is missed, the injured party may lose their right to pursue a claim altogether.
It is important to note that there are exceptions to the filing deadline, such as when the injured party is a minor or if a governmental entity is involved. Additionally, preserving time-sensitive evidence can be critical in building a strong case.
Seeking legal assistance as soon as possible after an accident can help ensure that the necessary evidence is properly preserved and that the injured party's rights are protected.
Insurance companies have a legal obligation to act in good faith when handling their insured’s insurance claims, and if they fail to do so, the affected party may have legal recourse. Bad faith tactics by insurance companies can come in many forms, such as denying valid claims, delaying the investigation and settlement process, or offering unreasonably low settlements. These tactics are not only unethical, but they can also have serious legal consequences for the insurance company.
When an insurance company acts in bad faith, the affected party may have several filing options. They can file a complaint with the state insurance department, hire an attorney to negotiate a settlement, or file a lawsuit against the insurance company. Legal recourse may include compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees, and court costs. While settlement negotiations may be possible, legal action may be necessary to ensure that the affected party receives the insurance coverage they are entitled to. It is important for individuals to be aware of their rights and legal options when dealing with insurance companies to ensure that they are not taken advantage of.
A client can hire an attorney on a flat fee or an hourly rate, but most personal injury lawyers work on a “contingency fee basis.” This means that the attorney’s fee is contingent on a settlement or verdict. Contingency fee attorneys only get paid if they win. Most Oklahoma City personal injury attorneys charge between 33 and 40% of the total settlement or verdict.
- Most clients prefer a contingency fee because:
- No upfront costs for clients
- Motivation for lawyers to work hard and win cases
- Allows access to the courts for those who cannot afford it, otherwise only corporations and wealthy people would be able to file car accident cases.
- Risk is shared between client and the OKC car accident attorneys.
- Encourages efficient use of resources: The plaintiff’s lawyer doesn’t have any interest in wasting time filing frivolous lawsuits or wasteful court motions.
- Protects clients from financial risk: Paying exorbitant hourly attorney fees only to later get nothing at trial.
Of course! Don’t just hire the first attorney you see a TV advertisement for.
At the conclusion of a car accident claim, your attorney will prepare a “Settlement Summary.” This will include a detailed summary of:
- Attorney’s fees
- Case/litigation costs advanced by the law firm
- Medical Provider bills/health insurance subrogation paid out of the settlement
= Settlement Payment to the Client
Oklahoma City, OK Car Accident Statistics
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office has compiled recent crash data on severe injuries:
Overview of Oklahoma Crashes in 2020: The total number of crashes reported was 72,267, which resulted in 607 fatalities and 28,635 injuries. Of these crashes, 56.3% occurred in urban areas, and the rest in rural areas. 59.3% of deaths occurred in rural areas.
Impaired Driving: Out of the total crashes, 3,716 were alcohol-related, leading to 151 fatalities and 1,839 injuries. Drug-related crashes numbered 2,044, resulting in 145 deaths and 1,100 injuries.
Speed-Related Crashes: 8,983 accidents, causing 172 fatalities and 4,913 injuries.
Motorcycle Safety: 1,342 reported motorcycle crashes resulted in 92 fatalities and 1,150 injuries. Of these, 68% of the motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety: 474 crashes involving pedestrians led to 88 fatalities and 390 injuries. Crashes involving bicycles numbered 208, resulting in 4 deaths and 180 injuries.
Teen Drivers: Aged 16-19 were involved in 8,848 crashes, resulting in 42 fatalities and 3,024 injuries.
Seat Belt and Child Restraint Use: Oklahoma’s overall seat belt use is 87.6%. Unrestrained occupants were involved in 2,450 crashes, leading to 246 fatalities and 1,597 injuries. Child restraint usage is 92.4%.
Distracted Driving: Distracted driving caused 8,581 crashes, which led to 36 fatalities and 3,630 injuries.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Crashes: Commercial vehicles were involved in 4,758 crashes, resulting in 98 fatalities and 1,596 injuries.
Older Drivers: Drivers aged 65 and above were involved in 8,372 crashes, resulting in 134 fatalities and 2,782 injuries. The Oklahoma Distracted Driving Prevention Act and the Oklahoma Impaired Driving Elimination Act were enacted to prevent these auto accidents. These laws make it illegal to use a handheld electronic device while driving and under the influence of alcohol or drugs. By obeying these laws and practicing safe driving habits, such as wearing a seatbelt and avoiding distractions while driving, individuals can help reduce the number of car accidents and fatalities in Oklahoma City.
The Oklahoma Distracted Driving Prevention Act and the Oklahoma Impaired Driving Elimination Act have been enacted to prevent these auto accidents further. These laws make it illegal to use a handheld electronic device while driving and under the influence of alcohol or drugs. By obeying these laws and practicing safe driving habits, such as wearing a seatbelt and avoiding distractions while driving, individuals can help reduce the number of car accidents and fatalities in Oklahoma City.
The most common types of car accident injuries we see
Car and truck accidents can cause injuries, from minor bruises to life-threatening wounds. Among the most common injuries sustained in car accidents are whiplash, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. These types of injuries can have long-lasting effects on a person’s physical and mental health, making it essential to seek medical attention immediately after an accident.
Whiplash is a common injury sustained in car accidents that can cause neck pain, headaches, and other symptoms. It occurs when the head suddenly jerks forward or backward, causing the neck to move beyond its normal range of motion. The sudden force can damage muscles, ligaments, tendons, or even nerves in the neck area. The causes of whiplash include any impact that causes the head to jerk suddenly, including rear-end collisions, side-impact car crashes, and rollover accidents. The symptoms of whiplash usually appear within 24 hours after an accident and may last for several weeks or months. Treatment options include rest, ice, or heat therapy on the affected area, physical therapy exercises to strengthen muscles around the neck, and medication to relieve pain and inflammation. In injury cases with nerve damage or persistent pain despite conservative treatment, measures may require more intensive medical care such as injections or surgery.
|Conservative treatment options are effective in most cases||Recovery time varies among individuals|
|Early diagnosis leads to better outcomes||Chronic pain may develop in some patients|
|Physical therapy exercises improve mobility and strength||Medical treatments such as injections have potential side effects|
Broken bones, a common injury from traumatic incidents, can result from car wrecks due to the sudden impact. Causes can range from a high-speed collision with another vehicle or object, seatbelt, and airbag injuries to pedestrian accidents. Treatment often involves immobilization and pain management, with severe cases requiring surgery. Car accident victims with broken bones should seek legal advice, as they may face high medical expenses and lost wages and may be entitled to compensation.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), severe and possibly life-changing results of high-impact incidents, occur from forceful head hits or jolts, leading to brain function damage. Symptoms can range from headaches and confusion to coma or death, necessitating immediate medical attention after an accident. TBI treatment involves:
- Immediate medical intervention.
- Imaging tests to determine the full extent of the injury.
- A treatment plan.
- Long-term rehabilitation.
Depending on injury severity, rehabilitation may involve physical, speech, and occupational therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for emotional support. Proper treatment allows TBI patients to recover over time.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries from high-impact incidents can disrupt nerve signals between the brain and body, ranging from temporary numbness to permanent paralysis, significantly affecting a person’s quality of life. Though there might be limitations, rehabilitation options like physical, occupational, and speech therapy aim to help patients regain function and improve their quality of life. Long-term effects often require ongoing medical care and familial or caregiver support.
Schedule a free consultation with our Oklahoma car accident attorneys.
Give our Oklahoma City car accident lawyers a call to get started on your case or to discuss what your case is worth. We’ve handled a similar case to yours and can give you a range on the settlement value. At the very least, talk with an experienced personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement offer. At our auto accident law firm, we prioritize our client’s needs and strive to provide exceptional service. Our experienced vehicle accident attorneys are committed to obtaining maximum compensation for our clients, and we have a proven track record of success as car accident attorneys. Don’t just take our word for it – read our client testimonials to see how we have helped others in similar situations. Schedule a free consultation with our car accident attorneys to take the first step in getting the legal representation you need to receive the compensation you deserve.
Just as a patient consults a doctor for a diagnosis, a car accident victim consults a lawyer for guidance. A lawyer will sit down with you (or by phone if you prefer) and review your case. After the free consultation you should have a clear map on what your best next steps should be. You should expect to review how the accident happened, what medical treatment you’ve received/facing, and what to do next.
Comparative negligence is a legal principle that often applies in car accident lawsuits where both parties share some level of fault for the wreck.
In Oklahoma City, this means that even if you were partially at fault for the car accident, you may still be able to file a lawsuit against the other driver. However, your potential recovery may be reduced based on your percentage of fault. It is important to seek legal representation in such cases as an experienced attorney can help assess your level of liability and determine whether filing a lawsuit is appropriate. Moreover, they can work with you to build a strong case and fight for the fair compensation you deserve.
While being partly responsible for an accident can be daunting, it does not necessarily bar you from seeking justice and receiving compensation for any damages incurred.
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HIGHLY RATED LOCAL AUTO REPAIR SHOPS
- OKC Auto Works
701 SE 89th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73149
- Davis Paint & Collision Auto Center
10830 SE 29th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73130
- Lonnie’s Auto
4301 NW 50th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73112