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 total and fair compensation, your lawyer will ensure you’re kept updated every step of the way of your auto accident claims. While pursuing a personal injury claim, you’ll likely 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. 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 held responsible for their actions (or failure to act when they ought to). In personal injury lawsuits, defendants are liable for their negligent acts and omissions.
What is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence happens when multiple parties are at fault for the accident. For example, if a pedestrian negligently crosses 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 negligence. If they are deemed to be 40% at fault, they can only claim 60% of the damages they would otherwise be entitled to.
In Oklahoma, the comparative negligence system assesses damages in personal injury cases.
What is Contributory Negligence?
Similar to comparative negligence, contributory negligence accounts for the fact that multiple parties may cause an accident. However, there is a critical distinction between the two. Under the contributory negligence system, a plaintiff cannot 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 delivering goods on their employer’s behalf, you could claim damages from both the driver and the employer. In auto accident cases, this also applies to suing the vehicle owner, even though their friend may have been driving at the time of the accident.
What is Strict Liability?
Strict liability is also known as absolute liability. This applies when no legal defense is available to the defendant. The victim must only prove that they were injured due to the defendant’s negligence.
An example of a strict liability law is in the Oklahoma Statute §4-42.1, which deals with liability for dog bites. The owner of a dog will be liable for the full number of damages where the dog bites or injures another person. The only conditions are that the dog was not provoked and the victim had not been trespassing. No defense is available to the dog’s owner 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.