If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by a speeding driver in Oklahoma City, you likely have many questions about your legal options and next steps. We’re ready to walk you through the process and get you the compensation you deserve.
What is my car accident case worth? Factors to Consider
After a speeding-related accident, one of your top concerns is likely how much compensation you can recover. Several key factors influence the value of an injury claim. Your attorney will help you evaluate:
Your accident-related medical expenses can be included in a settlement or court award. This includes ambulance transportation, ER visits, hospitalization, appointments with your doctor and specialists, medications, surgery, physical therapy, and more. Be sure to keep complete records of all bills and treatment.
If injuries force you to miss work for recovery, you can claim lost wages. This includes any sick/vacation time used. Calculations consider your average earnings and projected income loss over time. If your ability to work is permanently impacted, future lost earnings are factored in.
Pain and Suffering
This covers physical discomfort, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and other intangible damages from your injuries. More severe injuries warrant higher pain and suffering damages. Your attorney will advocate for total compensation based on the uniqueness of your situation.
Other losses might include damage to your vehicle, loss of household services you can no longer perform, medical equipment costs, and out-of-pocket expenses like hiring help for daily tasks. Your lawyer will identify all applicable damages to include in your demand.
A personal injury case isn’t just about the damages. A plaintiff must prove the damages are related to the defendant’s wrongdoing.
Proving Liability and Comparative Fault
To receive damages, you must prove liability. This involves showing:
- The at-fault driver owed you a duty of reasonable care on the road.
- They breached this duty through negligent actions like speeding.
- This breach directly caused your accident and injuries.
Oklahoma follows modified comparative fault rules. You can still recover compensation if you are less than 50% at fault. But your award is reduced by your percentage of fault.
Key Evidence: Police Reports and Witnesses
Police reports contain vital details to help prove fault and damages in your claim. Be sure to obtain a copy of the official report for your attorney. Witness statements also provide critical firsthand accounts of the accident circumstances and who was at fault. Your lawyer can effectively locate witnesses and get legally admissible statements to support your version of events.
Photographs of the accident scene, vehicle damage, skid marks, and your injuries also offer valuable visual evidence. Your medical records substantiate the treatment required and the extent of your injuries.
Steps in the Legal Process after a Crash
Investigation – As described above, your lawyer comprehensively investigates liability and damages related to your accident.
Initial Claim – Based on investigative findings, your attorney submits a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurer requesting compensation for your damages.
Negotiations – Your lawyer negotiates with adjusters to reach a fair settlement. Uncooperative insurers necessitate filing a lawsuit.
Litigation – If needed, your attorney files a lawsuit to initiate the litigation process. This involves:
- Formal Complaint (Petition in Oklahoma state court)- Details your allegations against the defendant.
- Discovery – Obtaining evidence from the other side through depositions, interrogatories, document requests, and more.
- Trial – Present your case in court or arbitration if no settlement is reached.
Settlement/Judgment – Either a negotiated settlement or jury award resolves your case with payment of damages.
Oklahoma City’s Alarming Speeding Accident Statistics
Excessive speed is an alarming problem on Oklahoma City roads. Consider these troubling statistics:
- In 2018, 1,217 speed-related crashes in the metro area caused 24 deaths.
- Statewide, 8,581 speeding accidents occurred in 2018, resulting in 123 fatalities.
- In Oklahoma County, speeding crashes numbered 1,367, with 25 deaths. Neighboring Canadian County had 159 speeding wrecks and three deaths.
- Over 35% of all traffic fatalities in the state involve speeding.
- Speeding is a factor in around 1/3 of OKC’s most serious accidents.
Choosing the Right Accident Lawyer
Feel free to ask the attorney questions that you’re thinking about hiring. Keep these tips in mind during your search:
- Look for experience handling accident cases in Oklahoma City. Is this a “settlement-only firm,” or do they actually go to trial?
- Ask about the lawyer’s track record of results in similar cases.
- Select an attorney you feel comfortable with. You want someone responsive who will keep you informed each step of the way.
- Understand fee structures like contingency fees, where you pay nothing upfront.
- Ask them what they think your case is worth!
How Contingency Fee Agreements Work
Most accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This arrangement means the lawyer only collects a fee if they succeed in getting you a settlement or court award. The fee is a percentage of your total recovery. Rates range from 25% to 40% on average.
This structure benefits the client by avoiding any upfront legal costs. Attorneys are also incentivized to maximize your payout since their fee increases as your compensation increases.
What to Expect as a Client
Once you retain an attorney, here is an overview of what to expect:
- A thorough initial meeting to examine all details of your accident and injuries.
- Periodic case updates as your attorney undertakes investigation and negotiations.
- Requests from your attorney asking you to provide documents, records, and information to assist your case.
- If a lawsuit is filed, you must answer questions for your attorney during the discovery phase of litigation.
- Preparation if you need to testify or be deposed.
- Explanation from your lawyer before agreeing to any settlement offers.
- Professionals are handling the legal complexities while you focus on getting well.
Take the Next Step
If you or someone you love has been harmed in an Oklahoma City speeding accident, take action now. The experienced attorneys at Hasbrook Law offer free, no-obligation consultations. We will evaluate your potential case and help you understand your rights.